Text: Arthur Hobson Quinn, “Chapter 16,” Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography (1941), pp. 496-534


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[page 496:]

CHAPTER XVI
 
Widening Horizons — Friends and Enemies

As the new year broke it found Poe still at 85 Amity Street, with no definite means of support. He turned to Duyckinck again:

Jan 8. 46.

Dear Mr. Duyckinck, — For “particular reasons” I am anxious to have another volume of my Tales published before the 1st of March. Do you not think it possible to accomplish it for me? Would not Mr Wiley give me, say $50, in full for the copyright of the collection I now send? It is a far better one than the first — containing, for instance, “Ligeia,” which is undoubtedly the best story I have written — besides “Scheherazade,” “The Spectacles,” “Tarr and Fether,” etc.

May I beg of you to give me an early answer, by note, addressed 85 Amity St?

Truly yours

EDGAR A. POE.

E. A. Duyckinck Esq.(1)

No edition appeared, however. A letter to Mrs. Sarah J. Hale, written January 16, 1846 reveals in his clear firm handwriting that Poe, even in times of distress, was usually in control of his faculties. It is a courteous letter dealing with her play “Ormond Grosvenor,” which she had sent him for his criticism. The postscript is of especial interest to us:

The B. Journal had fulfilled its destiny — which was a matter of no great moment. I have never regarded it as more than a temporary adjunct to other designs. I am now busy making arrangements for the establishment of a Magazine which offers a wide field for literary ambition. Professor Chas. Anthon has agreed to take charge for me of a Department of Criticism on Scholastic [page 497:] Letters. His name will be announced. I shall have, also, a Berlin and a Parisian correspondent — both of eminence. The first No. may not appear until Jan. 1847.(2)

Poe must have had mental resiliency to a remarkable degree, for he remained undaunted after defeat. There was always comfort and devotion at home. A charming if pathetic evidence of the love of Virginia for him exists in the Valentine she wrote him on February 14, 1846. The initial letters of the lines spell his name:

“Ever with thee I wish to roam —

Dearest my life is thine.

Give me a cottage for my home

And a rich old cypress vine,

Removed from the world with its sin and care

And the tattling of many tongues.

Love alone shall guide us when we are there —

Love shall heal my weakened lungs;

And Oh, the tranquil hours we’ll spend,

Never wishing that others may see!

Perfect ease we’ll enjoy, without thinking to lend

Ourselves to the world and its glee —

Ever peaceful and blissful we’ll be.”(3)

Conventional as the verses are, there are some that reflect their lives together. The “cottage” was soon to be their home, but the “tattling tongues” were not to be silent. It is the utterance of a wife who wants her husband for herself, and not of the child she is pictured as being by those who force her relations with Poe into a false theory concerning his own physical nature. She was shrewd enough to encourage his friendship with Mrs. Osgood because she recognized that Mrs. Osgood protected him from the literary women like Mrs. Ellet, whose advances were more harmful and whose anonymous letters plagued Virginia. She had to watch the painful later scene, at Fordham, when Mrs. Ellet, seeing a letter from Mrs. Osgood lying open, took it upon herself to supervise her rival’s relations with Poe. How she persuaded Mrs. Osgood to permit her to interfere is a mystery, but she did send two other self-appointed guardians of morality to demand from Poe the return of Mrs. Osgood’s letters. When these ladies, whom Mrs. [page 498:] Whitman identifies as Margaret Fuller and Anne C. Lynch,(4) came to the Poe cottage, Poe was naturally incensed and incautiously exclaimed “Mrs. Ellet had better come and look after her own letters.” Poe’s own account of what followed was given to Mrs. Whitman to warn her against Mrs. Ellet:

I will give you here but one instance of her baseness & I feel that it will suffice. When, in the heat of passion — stung to madness by her inconceivable perfidy & by the grossness of the injury which her jealousy prompted her to inflict upon all of us — upon both families — I permitted myself to say what I should not have said — I had no sooner uttered the words, than I felt their dishonor. I felt, too, that, although she must be damningly conscious of her own baseness, she would still have a right to reproach me for having betrayed, under any circumstances, her confidence. Full of these thoughts, and terrified almost to death lest I should again, in a moment of madness, be similarly tempted, I went immediately to my secretary — (when those two ladies went away —) made a package of her letters, addressed them to her, and with my own hands left them at her door. Now, Helen, you cannot be prepared for the diabolical malignity which followed. Instead of feeling that I had done all I could to repair an unpremeditated wrong — instead of feeling that almost any other person would have retained the letters to make good (if occasion required) the assertion that I possessed them — instead of this, she urged her brothers & brother-in-law to demand of me the letters. The position in which she thus placed me you may imagine. Is it any wonder that I was driven mad by the intolerable sense of wrong? — If you value your happiness, Helen, beware of this woman! She did not cease her persecutions here. My poor Virginia was continually tortured (although not deceived) by her anonymous letters, and on her death-bed declared that Mrs. E. had been her murderer. Have I not a right to hate this fiend & to caution you against her? You will now comprehend what I mean in saying that the only thing for which I found it impossible to forgive Mrs. O. was her reception of Mrs. E.(5)

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A Valentine by Virginia Poe [thumbnail]

[Illustration facing page 498]
 
A Valentine by Virginia

The friendship was interrupted and Mrs. Osgood and Poe seem not to have met after 1847. But she sprang to his defence on her own [page 499:] death bed in 1850. This eloquent tribute, from which I have already quoted, was printed, it is true, by Griswold, and the original has disappeared. Yet it rings true, and since it is in Poe’s favor it is probably genuine.

There is an informal letter by Mrs. Osgood printed in the correspondence of Dr. Griswold(6) which is so different in its tone, as not to seem the work of the same woman. It is a defence of her actions, and seeks to prove that Poe sought her and that she did not descend to the tactics of the others: “It is too cruel that I, the only one of those literary women who did not seek his acquaintance, — for Mrs. Ellet asked an introduction to him and followed him everywhere, Miss Lynch begged me to bring him there and called upon him at his lodgings, Mrs. Whitman besieged him with valentines and letters long before he wrote or took any notice of her, and all the others wrote poetry and letters to him, — it is too cruel that I should be singled out after his death as the only victim to suffer from the slanders of his mother.” In view of the Broadway Journal courtship, this sentence is rather quaint.

The echoes of his Boston episode did not prevent Poe from being invited in April to read a poem at the Anniversary of the Literary Societies of the University of Vermont in the following August, but he was unable to accept. He declined on the plea of ill health, and pressing engagements,(7) but he probably was too wise to risk another occasional poem, which he could not write. The same letter to Duyckinck asks for a number of autographs, which he was apparently planning to use in connection with the articles on the “Literati.”

The year 1846 saw little of Poe’s creative writing. “The Sphinx,” a short story published in Arthur’s Ladies Magazine in January, must have been written in 1845. It is a satiric story of a man who thinks he sees a huge animal on a distant hill, when in reality he has been looking at an insect of only one sixteenth of an inch in size, which is, however, barely one sixteenth of an inch distant from the pupil of his eye. The satiric purpose of the story is to call attention to the undue emphasis laid on Democracy by those who see it too near them. “The Sphinx” has its importance in revealing Poe’s continued interest in the America of his own day, but the story is not in his best vein. One of his finest Arabesques, however, was probably written early in 1846, [page 500:] although it did not appear in Godey’s until the November issue. “The Cask of Amontillado” is a powerful tale of revenge in which the interest lies in the implacable nature of the narrator. By his apparent unwillingness to lead his enemy to his family vaults, he deepens his revenge. He hurls no reproaches at his victim, as he builds up the wall of masonry that will be Fortunato’s tomb. For he knows that as Fortunato slowly dies, the thought of his rejected opportunities of escape will sting him with unbearable regret, and as he sobers with terror, the final blow will come from the realization that his craving for the wine has led him to his doom. There is not one word to spare in “The Cask of Amontillado.”

Poe had been busy, however, in writing criticisms for Godey’s Lady’s Book. Poe’s reviews in Godey’s were dignified by being placed in a special department called “Literary Criticism” and were signed with his name, an unusual proceeding in those days. The only important utterance, however, in this department was his discussion of Bryant’s poetry. While it owed somewhat to his earlier review in 1837 in the Southern Literary Messenger, Poe seized the occasion to publish a scathing description of the log-rolling methods of reviewing then in vogue. He defended Bryant against Griswold’s criticism that Bryant was not versatile, had related no history, had not sung of the passion of love and had not described artificial life. Poe claimed that it was by these very omissions that Bryant proved he knew what were the legitimate themes of poetry. In Graham’s Magazine for April, 1846, appeared one of Poe’s major critical articles, his “Philosophy of Composition” in which he purported to describe the composition of “The Raven.” I have already discussed this essay in connection with the poem itself.

The “Marginalia” in Graham’s for March, 1846, were mainly trifles, but in one passage Poe developed his ideas on dreams in an interesting analysis of the fancies he was able to induce, just at the brink of sleep. To him the ecstasy which sprang from these fancies was “a glimpse of the spirit’s outer world.”

The Democratic Review was more hospitable to large installments of “Marginalia” than the other journals. In April, 1846, Poe discoursed at length on topics that varied from credulity and penance, to Longfellow and Carlyle. Poe inveighed also against hero-worship in literature, and observed that except for the inevitable reaction against Carlyle, “we might have gone on for yet another century Emersonizing in prose, Wordsworth-izing in poetry, and Fourier-izing in philosophy.” In the Democratic Review for July, 1846, there was a [page 501:] discussion of the decline of the drama, repeating some of Poe’s essay(8) on the American Drama, but varying the language somewhat. Simms’ volume of sonnets was highly praised and Christopher Pease [sic] Cranch was more tenderly treated than Poe’s custom, when dealing with the Transcendentalists. This essay is a preliminary sketch for the article on Cranch which appeared among “The Literati” in the same month in Godey’s.

In May, 1846, appeared in Godey’s the first installment of “The Literati of New York City. Some Honest Opinions at Random Respecting their Autorial Merits, with Occasional Words of Personality.”(9)

So much comment was occasioned by the May installment that Godey republished it in June, announcing that “the May edition was exhausted before the first of May, and we have had orders for hundreds from Boston and New York, which we could not supply.” He also recorded the receipt of letters protesting against the criticisms by Poe, but asserted that he was not to be intimidated. To the reprint of the May number in June, Poe added some autographs, and the series belongs to the same division of his critical work as his earlier “Autography” papers. But he gave up this idea or could not obtain the necessary autographs, for no more appeared.

The perturbation on the part of the writers or their friends was in most cases unnecessary. Poe made clear in his introduction that he intended to reproduce the tone of conversation in literary circles in New York, while expressing his own unbiased opinions. He believed that oral judgments were more sincere than published criticism.

Nearly all of the thirty-eight authors of whom he spoke in Godey’s have been forgotten, and of those who are now remembered, Poe’s opinions have usually been ratified by the judgment of time. When he made a mistake it was more often on account of too great leniency, than of too great severity. The women generally were treated with gallantry, although there was some slight malice in his personal picture of Margaret Fuller. The accounts of Willis, Halleck, Catherine Sedgwick, Lydia M. Child, Anna Cora Mowatt, Caroline Kirkland, Christopher Pearse Cranch and Epes Sargent will remain valuable to the student of American literature.(10) [page 502:]

Considering Lewis Gaylord Clark’s personal attack in his review of The Raven and Other Poems, Poe’s picture of him, although a bit contemptuous, was mild. “Mr. Clark once did me the honor to review my poems, and — I forgive him. . . . He is noticeable for nothing in the world except for the markedness by which he is noticeable for nothing,”(11) is the worst thing Poe said of his enemy. His statements concerning the Knickerbocker, Clark’s magazine, are quite fair. But the Knickerbocker clique was the strongest in New York, and Clark was personally popular.

In a few cases Poe indulged in personal criticism unworthy of him. “Mr. Briggs,” he remarked, “has never composed in his life three consecutive sentences of grammatical English. He is grossly uneducated.”(12)

A letter from Poe to Field, the Editor of the St. Louis Reveillé, on June 15, 1846, shows that the first installment of “The, Literati” papers had drawn an editorial attack from Hiram Fuller, the new Editor of the Mirror since Willis and Morris had left it. After a vitriolic account of Fuller’s private life, which is of no interest to us here, Poe continued:

All that I venture to ask of you in the case of this attack, however, is to say a few words in condemnation of it, and to do away with the false impression of my personal* appearance it may convey, in those parts of the country where I am not individually known. You have seen me and can describe me as I am. Will you do me this act of justice, and influence one or two of your editorial friends to do the same? I know you will.

I think the “N. O. Picayune,” which has always been friendly to me, will act in concert with you.

There is, also, an incidental service of great importance, just now, which you have it in your power to render me. That is, to put the following, editorially, in your paper:

“A long and highly laudatory review of his Tales, written by Martin Farquhar Tupper, author of ‘Proverbial Philosophy,’ ‘The Crock of Gold,’ etc., appeared in a late number of ‘The London Literary Gazette.’ ‘The Athenaeum,’ ‘The British Critic,’ ‘The Spectator,’ ‘The Popular Record,’ ‘Churton’s Literary Register,’ and various other journals, scientific as well as literary, have united in approbation of Tales & Poems. ‘The Raven’ is copied in (18) [page 504:] full in the ‘British Critic’ and ‘The Athenaeum.’ ‘The Times’ — the matter of fact ‘Times!’ — copies the ‘Valdemar Case.’”(13)

P. S. Please cut out anything you may say and en[close] it to me in a letter. A newspaper will not be likely to reach me.

I have been very seriously ill for some months* and, being thus utterly unable to defend myself, must rely upon the chivalry of my friends. Fuller knows of my illness & depends upon it for his security. I have never said a word about the vagabond in my life. Some person, I presume, has hired him to abuse me.(14)

* I am 33 years of age — height 5 ft. 8.

* Am now scarcely able to write even this letter.

Poe was also summoning aid, in preparation for the attack he knew was coming, in consequence of the “Literati” article on Thomas Dunn English. This article, published in the July number of Godey’s(15) must have been out by June 20th, for English replied to it in the Mirror on June 23rd. Poe and English had been friends in Philadelphia and they had contributed to each other’s journals. English claimed that he had loaned Poe thirty dollars to help buy the Broadway Journal; Poe claimed that English owed him money for an article on “American Poetry” for The Aristidean — this caused some feeling. Poe’s explanation for the break is given in a letter to Hirst:

New: York — June 27. 46.

My Dear Hirst,

I presume you have seen what I said about you in “The New-York Literati” and an attack made on me by English, in consequence. Vive la Bagatelle!

I write now, to ask you if you can oblige me by a fair account of your duel with English. I would take it as a great favor, also, if you would get from Sandy Harris a statement of the fracas with him. See Du Solle, also, if you can & ask him if he is willing to give me, for publication, an account of his kicking E. out of his office.

I gave E. a flogging which he will remember to the day of his death — and, luckily, in the presence of witnesses. He thinks to [page 504:] avenge himself by lies — by [sic] I shall be a match for him by means of simple truth.

Is it possible to procure me a copy of E’s attack on H. A. Wise?

Truly yours,

POE.(16)

Judging from these letters to Field and Hirst, Poe evidently felt that an organized attack was being made on him and that he had better strike first. His criticism of English even in its first form, in Godey’s, was contemptuous and unfair. Poe referred to him as, “without the commonest school education. . . Mr. E. is yet young — and might with his talents, readily improve himself at points where he is most defective. No one of any generosity would think the worse of him for getting private instruction. . . . I do not personally know Mr. English.” This was sufficiently galling to a man who had attended two good preparatory schools and graduated from the School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and Poe’s denial of acquaintance with English was silly. Poe paid little attention to the writings of English except to accuse him of plagiarising from Hirst.

English replied in the Evening Mirror of June 23, 1846, in a vicious attack on Poe’s morality and sanity, which even Griswold later said was unworthy of a man of his standing. It is fortunately unnecessary(17) to reprint it here. English repeated with additions all the unsavory details of the scandals circulated concerning the Ellet and other affairs, describing Poe as “thoroughly unprincipled, base and depraved, but silly, vain and ignorant, not alone an assassin in morals, but a quack in literature.” He also made a definite charge that Poe had committed forgery.

Notwithstanding the vileness of English’s language, Poe should have let the obvious, intemperance of the attack defeat itself. But instead he sent to Godey a long reply, dated June 27th, which that editor declined to print. Godey secured its publication, however, in the Philadelphia Spirit of the Times, of July 10, 1846, paying ten dollars for the privilege. Poe literally tore English apart so far as his charge of cowardice was concerned. He had the manliness to admit the charge of intoxication and he gave an explanation which is of great value to his biographers.(18) [page 505:]

The specific charge of forgery Poe successfully disproved by publishing the letter of the merchant, E. J. Thomas, who had been the source of the rumor. Thomas cleared Poe fully of this charge. English published a second reply in the Mirror on July 13, 1846, daring Poe to sue him.

Poe instituted a suit for damages against Fuller and Clason, the editor and proprietor of the Mirror, in the Superior Court of New York City on July 23, 1846. English departed for Washington, fearing to be involved in a criminal action, and the Court appointed a commission to go to the Capitol and force him to make a deposition.(19) The defence could find no witnesses to establish the truth of English’s charges, and Poe was awarded a verdict of $225.00 damages on February 17, 1847. It was a costly victory, however, from the point of view of his reputation. His own view of the matter was given later to Eveleth.(20)

A letter from E. J. Thomas to Mrs. Osgood shows the sordid level of the trial:

March 15, 1847.

You know the result of Poe’s suit vs Fuller. It went as I thought it would for I always believed the article a libel in reality. I had strong apprehension that your name would come out under English’s affidavit in a way I would not like, for I believed Poe had told him things (when they were friends) that English would swear to; but they left the names blank in reading his testimony so that a “Mrs ——” and “a merchant in Broad St” were all the Jury knew, except on the latter point which I made clear by swearing on the stand that I was “the merchant in Broad St.” I got fifty cents as a witness for which sum I swore that Poe frequently “got drunk” and that was all I could afford to swear to for fifty cents.(21)

When Griswold published the Literati as Volume III of the Complete Works of Poe, in 1850, he substituted for five of the papers other versions, among them one on English entitled “Thomas Dunn Brown.” This paper is more contemptuous than the actual version published in Godey’s, stating that English’s father was a ferryman on the Schuylkill, emphasizing English’s supposed lack of education, and calling him “an ass.” This paper was actually written by Poe and is now in manuscript in the Huntington Library. It is part of a projected book to be called Literary America, Some Honest Opinion about our Autorial [page 506:] Merits and Demerits with Occasional Words of Personality, on which Poe was working during 1846, 1847, and 1848. Griswold found this manuscript and substituted it for the article in Godey’s. Killis Campbell defended Griswold on the ground that Poe intended to publish this paper in his Literary America. But the important point remains, that he had not published it, and had not written the worst features of it in 1846. Griswold’s insertion of the later article as though it had been published in 1846, makes English’s reply apparently more justifiable. Poe’s later article is dated 1848, and was written by him after the charges of forgery made by English had been disproved and English had become his bitter enemy. An author even of a foolish paper, such as Poe’s first sketch, is entitled to have it republished as it was written on the date assigned to it.

According to a letter from Mary Hewitt to Poe, he had gone to Baltimore early in 1846, probably to lecture, and had been ill while there.(22) He had also been keeping his residence from her and the rest of the literary society, for Mrs. Hewitt did not know where to address him. There may have been method in his madness, however. There is also a long and rambling letter from Dr. R. D’Unger to E. R. Reynolds,(23) which despite many obvious errors, seems to establish Poe’s presence in Baltimore in 1846, at least for a short time. D’Unger’s account of Poe’s work on the Patriot, an evening paper, during 1846 cannot be reconciled with known facts, but his picture of Poe, mingling with the Bohemian crowd of newspapermen but always maintaining the reserve of a gentleman, can hardly be entirely imaginary. D’Unger’s statement, “The loss of his wife was a sad blow to him. He did not seem to care, after she was gone, whether he lived an hour, a day, a week or a year; she was his all,” indicates that Poe was in Baltimore in 1847 or 1848.

The family in New York spent a brief time at a farmhouse of Mrs. John C. Miller, near what is now the foot of 47th Street. It was known as Turtle Bay, and provided healthful surroundings for Virginia until Poe could secure a home of their own.

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The Poe Cottage at Fordham, NY [thumbnail]

[Illustration facing page 506]
 
The Poe cottage at Fordham

This was found in a cottage at Fordham, in the district known as West Farms, at that time thirteen miles out of the city.(24) When the Poe family went there in May or June of 1846, there were farmhouses [page 507:] and cottages, lining at intervals the Kingsbridge highway. Near the present East 192nd Street, on the eastern side of the road, stood a small frame dwelling house of one story and an attic, surrounded by about an acre of ground. It was owned by John Valentine, who leased it to Poe for an annual rent of one hundred dollars. Valentine had bought it from Richard Corsa on March 28, 1846. The cottage during Poe’s day stood close to the road, with lilac bushes and a cherry tree between them. There were three rooms, on the first floor, a sitting room, a small bedroom for Virginia and a kitchen. The attic was divided into two rooms, that were evidently unheated. From the piazza, Poe could look south and east over the grounds of St. John’s College, and if he walked to the high point of the ledge nearby, he could even see the Long Island hills beyond the East River.

The cottage was an inspiration to him. In a letter to Mrs. Whitman, written in October, 1848, he paints a picture of an ideal life with her in a home which is a dramatization of the actual surroundings of the cottage, but is evidently inspired by them. In his published story, “Landor’s Cottage,” the picture of the house which attracted him on his walking trip begins: “The main building was about twenty-four feet long and sixteen broad — certainly not more. Its total height, from the ground to the apex of the roof, could not have exceeded eighteen feet. To the west end of this structure was attached one about a third smaller in all its proportions.” These figures are close to the actual proportions of the Fordham Cottage, although Poe naturally did not limit himself to an exact photograph of the house. The surroundings, including the flowers and the birds in their cages enter, too, into the story. As was Poe’s usual method, he idealized reality.(25)

A vivid contemporary description of the house and its occupants as they were in 1846 was given by Mrs. Mary Gove Nichols in 1863.(26) [page 508:] Mrs. Mary Gove, as she was known in 1846, before her divorce from her first husband, was described in “The Literati” as “a mesmerist, a Swedenborgian, a phrenologist, a homeopathist and a disciple of Priessnitz.”(27) She and George Colton, who had accepted “The Raven,” paid the Poes a visit:

We found him, and his wife, and his wife’s mother — who was his aunt — living in a little cottage at the top of a hill. There was an acre or two of greensward, fenced in about the house, as smooth as velvet and as clean as the best kept carpet. There were some grand old cherry-trees in the yard, that threw a massive shade around them. The house had three rooms — a kitchen, a sitting-room, and a bed-chamber over the sitting-room.(28) There was a piazza in front of the house that was a lovely place to sit in in summer, with the shade of cherry-trees before it. There was no cultivation, no flowers — nothing but the smooth greensward and the majestic trees. . . .

Poe’s voice was melody itself. He always spoke low, even in a violent discussion, compelling his hearers to listen if they would know his opinion, his facts, fancies, or philosophy, or his weird imaginings. These last usually flowed from his pen, seldom from his tongue.

On this occasion I was introduced to the young wife of the poet, and to the mother, then more than sixty years of age. She was a tall, dignified old lady, with a most ladylike manner, and her black dress, though old and much worn, looked really elegant on her. She wore a widow’s cap of the genuine pattern, and it suited exquisitely with her snow-white hair. Her features were large, and corresponded with her stature, and it seemed strange how such a stalwart and queenly woman could be the mother of her almost petite daughter. Mrs. Poe looked very young; she had large black eyes, and a pearly whiteness of complexion, which was a perfect pallor. Her pale face, her brilliant eyes, and her raven hair gave her an unearthly look. One felt that she was almost a disrobed spirit, and when she coughed it was made certain that she was rapidly passing away.

The mother seemed hale and strong, and appeared to be a sort of universal Providence for her strange children.

The cottage had an air of taste and gentility that must have [page 509:] been lent to it by the presence of its inmates. So neat, so poor, so unfurnished, and yet so charming a dwelling I never saw. The floor of the kitchen was white as wheaten flour. A table, a chair, and a little stove that it contained, seemed to furnish it perfectly. The sitting-room floor was laid with check matting; four chairs, a light stand, and a hanging bookshelf completed its furniture. There were pretty presentation copies of books on the little shelves, and the Brownings had posts of honour on the stand.

After a walk in the nearby woods, Mrs. Gove Nichols tells how Poe split his shoes in leaping with some of the other men in the company. Mrs. Clemm was, as usual, equal to the occasion. She took the visitor aside and asked her to speak to George Colton about the poem which she had taken to him the week before. The practical nature of Mrs. Clemm led her to continue:

“If he will only take the poem, Eddie can have a pair of shoes. He has it — I carried it last week, and Eddie says it is his best. You will speak to him about it, won’t you?”

We had already read the poem in conclave, and Heaven forgive us, we could not make head or tail of it. It might as well have been in any of the lost languages, for any meaning we could extract from its melodious numbers. I remember saying that I believed it was only a hoax that Poe was passing off for poetry, to see how far his name would go in imposing upon people. But here was a situation. The reviewer had been actively instrumental in the demolition of the gaiters.

“Of course they will publish the poem,” said I, “and I will ask C—— to be quick about it.”

The poem was paid for at once, and published soon after.

The poem was probably “Ulalume.” Let us hope Mrs. Gove was more accurate in her statement concerning the payment than she was concerning the publication, for the poem did not appear until December, 1847.

The installments of the Marginalia which appeared in Graham’s and the Democratic Review during the early part of 1846 had been written earlier, for Poe was too ill from February to July to write for the magazines.(29) He was not idle, however, when his illness permitted him to work. He spent the morning in what Mrs. Clemm called euphemistically “his study,” and later worked in the garden or read aloud to Virginia and herself.(30) [page 510:]

Two more installments of the “Marginalia” appeared in Graham’s in November and December, 1846. A long passage on the principles that should guide translators has some valuable suggestions. Those critics who dwell heavily on the supposed influence of German literature upon Poe might read with advantage his judgment on German criticism, including his statement, “I am not ashamed to say that I prefer even Voltaire to Goethe, and hold Macaulay to possess more of the true critical spirit than Augustus William and Frederick Schlegel combined.”

He was working on his projected book on “American Letters,” preliminary extracts from it, such as the revised critique on Hawthorne and “The Rationale of Verse,” appearing in 1847 and 1848. Magazine editors were evidently not printing his contributions as soon as he expected, for while he wrote Eveleth that the Hawthorne article was to appear in January, 1847, it was not published until November. How closely he kept secluded at Fordham, watching over Virginia, one of the two extant letters from him to his wife reveals:

June 12th, 1846

My Dear Heart — My Dear Virginia, —

Our mother will explain to you why I stay away from you this night. I trust the interview I am promised will result in some substantial good for me — for your dear sake and hers — keep up your heart in all hopefulness, and trust yet a little longer. On my last great disappointment I should have lost my courage but for you — my little darling wife. You are my greatest and only stimulus now, to battle with this uncongenial, unsatisfactory, and ungrateful life.

I shall be with you to-morrow [illegible] P. M., and be assured until I see you I will keep in loving remembrance your last words and your fervent prayer!

Sleep well, and may God grant you a peaceful summer with your devoted

EDGAR.(31)

What this business was is not clear. Perhaps it was the proposed publication of The Literati in book form, with autographs, simultaneously in this country and England, which is announced in an [page 511:] article accompanying a republication of “The Raven.”(32) If so, it came to nothing.

What sacrifices he was making for Virginia are indicated by another interview with Mrs. Gove:

“Do reviewers sell their literary conscience thus unconscionably?” said I.

“A literary critic must be loth to violate his taste, his sense of the fit and the beautiful. To sin against these, and praise an unworthy author, is to him an unpardonable sin. But if he were placed on the rack, or if one he loved better than his own life were writhing there, I can conceive of his forging a note against the Bank of Fame, in favour of some would-be poetess, who is able and willing to buy his poems and opinions.”

He turned almost fiercely upon me, his fine eyes piercing me, “Would you blame a man for not allowing his sick wife to starve?” said he.

This last sentence explains, perhaps, the charges that he was willing to substitute his own work for that of another if he were paid to do so.

If we accept his various statements concerning his health, Poe was too ill to do any work during 1846. He may have overstressed this condition, for he did not neglect his correspondence with other writers. A letter from Hawthorne shows what his closest rival in fiction thought of his judgment:

Salem, June 17, 1846.

My dear Sir, — I presume the publishers will have sent you a copy of “Mosses from an Old Manse” — the latest (and probably the last) collection of my tales and sketches. I have read your occasional notices of my productions with great interest — not so much because your judgment was, upon the whole, favorable, as because it seemed to be given in earnest. I care for nothing but the truth; and shall always much more readily accept a harsh truth, in regard to my writings, than a sugared falsehood.

I confess, however, that I admire you rather as a writer of tales than as a critic upon them. I might often — and often do — dissent from your opinions in the latter capacity, but could never fail to recognize your force and originality in the former.

Yours very truly,

NATH. HAWTHORNE.(33) [page 512:]

A letter from Poe to Chivers gives some important personal information:

New-York, July 22 /46.

My Dear Friend,

I had long given you up (thinking that, after the fashion of numerous other friends, you had made up your mind to desert me at the first breath of what seemed to be trouble) when this morning I received no less than 6 letters from you, all of them addressed 195 East Broadway. Did you not know that I merely boarded at this house? It is a very long while since I left it, and as I did not leave it on very good terms with the landlady, she has given herself no concern about my letters — not one of which I should ever have received but for the circumstance of new tenants coming in to the house. I am living out of town about 13 miles, at a village called Fordham, on the rail-road leading north. We are in a snug little cottage, keeping house, and would be very comfortable, but that I have been for a long time dreadfully ill. I am getting better, however, although slowly, and shall get well. In the meantime the flocks of little birds of prey that always take the opportunity of illness to peck at a sick fowl of larger dimensions, have been endeavoring with all their power to effect my ruin. My dreadful poverty, also, has given them every advantage. In fact, my dear friend, I have been driven to the very gates of death and a despair more dreadful than death, and I had not even one friend, out of my family, with whom to advise. What would I not have given for the kind pressure of your hand! It is only a few days since that I requested my mother in law, Mrs. Clemm, to write to you — but she put it off from day to day.

I send you, as you request, the last sheet of the “Luciferian Revelation.” There are several other requests in your letters which I know you would pardon me for not attending to if you only were aware of my illness, and how impossible it is for me to put my foot out of the house or indeed to help myself in any way. It is with the greatest difficulty that I write you this letter — as you may perceive, indeed, by the M. S. I have not been able to write one line for the Magazines for more than 5 months — you can then form some idea of the dreadful extremity to which I have been reduced. The articles lately published in “Godey’s Book” were written and paid for a long while ago.

Your professions of friendship I reciprocate from the inmost [page 513:] depths of my heart. Except yourself I have never met the man for whom I felt that intimate sympathy (of intellect as well as soul) which is the sole basis of friendship. Believe me that never for one moment, have I doubted the sincerity of your wish to assist me. There is not one word you say that I do not see coming up from the depths of your heart.

There is one thing you will be glad to learn: — It has been a long while since any artificial stimulus has passed my lips. When I see you — should that day ever come — this is a topic on which I desire to have a long talk with you. I am done forever with drink — depend upon that — but there is much more in this matter than meets the eye.

Do not let anything in this letter impress you with the belief that I despair even of worldly prosperity. On the contrary although I feel ill, and am ground into the very dust with poverty, there is a sweet hope in the bottom of my soul.

I need not say to you that I rejoice in your success with the silk. I have always conceived it to be a speculation full of promise if prudently conducted. The revulsion consequent upon the silk mania has, of course, induced the great majority of mankind to look unfavorably upon the business — but such feelings should have no influence with the philosophic. Be cautious and industrious — that is all.

I enclose you a slip from the “Reveillée.” You will be pleased to see how they appreciate me in England.

When you write, address simply “New-York City.” There is no Post Office at Fordham.

God Bless You

Ever your friend,

EDGAR A. POE.

P. S. I have been looking over your “Luciferian Revelation” again. There are some points at which I might dissent with you — but there [are] a 1000 glorious thoughts in [it].(34) [page 514:]

Simms wrote him on July 30th from New York City where he was too busy reading proof to visit Poe, a long and friendly letter, giving him some good advice concerning the tone of his criticism, but declining to be drawn into any of the controversies.

A request from Poe to Cooke to continue Lowell’s memoir on Poe brought a friendly discriminating letter from Cooke on August 4th. Poe, in reply, showed how well he could criticize his own work:

New York — August 9, 1846.

My Dear Sir, Never think of excusing yourself (to me) for dilatoriness in answering letters — I know too well the unconquerable procrastination which besets the poet. I will place it all to the accounts of the turkeys. Were I to be seized by a rambling fit — one of my customary passions (nothing less) for vagabondizing through the woods for a week or a month together — I would not — in fact I could not be put out of my mood, were it even to answer a letter from the Grand Mogul informing me that I had fallen heir to his possessions.

Thank you for the compliments. Were I in a serious humor just now, I would tell you frankly, how your words of appreciation make my nerves thrill — not because you praise me (for others have praised me more lavishly) but because I feel that you comprehend and discriminate. You are right about the hair-splitting of my French friend: — that is all done for effect. These tales of ratiocination owe most of their popularity to being something in a new key. I do not mean to say that they are not ingenious — but people think them more ingenious than they are — on account of their method and air of method. In the “Murders in the Rue Morgue,” for instance, where is the ingenuity of unravelling a web which you yourself (the author) have woven for the express purpose of unravelling? The reader is made to confound the ingenuity of the supposititious Dupin with that of the writer of the story.(35)

Not for the world would I have had any one else to continue Lowell’s memoir until I had heard from you. I wish you to do it (if you will be so kind) and nobody else. By the time the book appears you will be famous (or all my prophecy goes for nothing) and I shall have the éclat of your name to aid my sales. But, seriously, I do not think that any one so well enters into the [page 515:] poetical portion of my mind as yourself — and I deduce this idea from my intense appreciation of those points of your own poetry which seem lost upon others.

Should you undertake the work for me, there is one topic — there is one particular in which I have had wrong done me — and it may not be indecorous in me to call your attention to it. The last selection of my Tales was made from about 70, by Wiley & Putnam’s reader, Duyckinck. He has what he thinks a taste for ratiocination, and has accordingly made up the book mostly of analytic stories. But this is not representing my mind in its various phases — it is not giving me fair play. In writing these Tales one by one, at long intervals, I have kept the book-unity always in mind — that is, each has been composed with reference to its effect as part of a whole. In this view, one of my chief aims has been the widest diversity of subject, thought, & especially tone & manner of handling. Were all my Tales now before me in a large volume and as the composition of another — the merit which would principally arrest my attention would be the wide diversity and variety. You will be surprised to hear me say that (omitting one or two of my first efforts) I do not consider any one of my stories better than another. There is a vast variety of kinds and, in degree of value, these kinds vary — but each tale is equally good of its kind. The loftiest kind is that of the highest imagination — and for this reason only “Ligeia” may be called my best tale. I have much improved this last since you saw it and I mail you a copy, as well as a copy of my best specimen of analysis — “The Philosophy of Composition.”. . .

Touching “The Stylus”: — this is the one great purpose of my literary life. Undoubtedly (unless I die) I will accomplish it — but I can afford to lose nothing by precipitancy. I cannot yet say when or how I shall get to work — but when the time comes, I will write to you. I wish to establish a journal in which the men of genius may fight their battles; upon some terms of equality, with those dunces the men of talent. But, apart from this, I have magnificent objects in view — may I but live to accomplish them!

Most cordially your friend,

EDGAR A. POE.(36) [page 516:]

Poe naturally welcomed any recognition from abroad. On December 30, 1846, he wrote to Duyckinck:

Dear Duyckinck, — Mrs. Clemm mentioned to me, this morning, that some of the Parisian papers had been speaking about my “Murders in the Rue Morgue.” She could not give me the details — merely saying that you had told her. The “Murders in the R. M.” was spoken of in the Paris “Charivari,” soon after the first issue of the tale in Graham’s Mag: — April 1841. By the enclosed letter from Stonehaven, Scotland, you will see that the “Valdemar Case” still makes a talk, and that a pamphlet edition of it has been published by Short & Co. of London under the title of “Mesmerism in Articulo Mortis.” It has fairly gone the rounds of the London Press, commencing with “The Morning Post.” “The Monthly Record of Science” &c gives it with the title “The Last Days of M. Valdemar. By the author of the Last Conversation of a Somnambule” — (Mesmeric Revelation).

My object in enclosing the Scotch letter and the one from Miss Barrett, is to ask you to do me a favor which (just at this moment) may be of great importance. It is, to make a paragraph or two for some one of the city papers, stating the facts here given, in connexion with what you know about the “Murders in the Rue Morgue.” If this will not give you too much trouble, I will be deeply obliged. If you think it advisable, there is no objection to your copying any portion of Miss B’s letter. Willis or Morris will put in anything you may be kind enough to write; but as “The Home Journal” has already said a good deal about me, some other paper would be preferable.

POE.(37)

Poe’s reference to the Charivari was probably an error, but it is true that the first important analytical criticism of the Tales of 1845 came in 1846 from France. Poe’s recognition in France began in 1845, when in the November issue of the Revue Brittannique appeared a translation of “The Gold Bug” entitled “Le Scarabée d’Or,” and signed “A. B.” Alphonse Borghers was, therefore, the first translator of Poe into French.(38) In September, 1846, the Revue also published “Une [page 517:] Descente au Maelström,” signed “O. N.,” or “Old Nick,” the pen-name of E. D. Forgues. In both cases, the stories were credited to Poe. In the meantime, La Quotidienne, a Paris newspaper, had published, on June 11, 12, and 13, 1846, “Un Meurtre sans exemple dans les Fastes de la Justice” a free version of “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” representing it as being found in the papers of an American. It was signed “G. B.” and Poe was not mentioned. The rue Morgue became “rue de l’Ouest,” Madame L’Espanye became Madame Duparc, “Dupin” was transformed into “Bernier,” and there were changes tending to deepen the horror.(39) On October 12, 1846, E. D. Forgues published in Le Commerce a version of VThe Murders” under the title of “Une Sanglante Enigme,” without credit to Poe. Forgues had accused a rival paper, La Presse, of plagiarism and this journal seized the occasion to accuse Forgues of having copied his story from La Quotidienne. In his reply, he acknowledged that he had taken the story from Poe. La Presse refused to print his reply and he sued that journal, but lost the suit. The trial in December, 1846, and consequent discussion brought Poe’s name prominently before the French public.

On October 15, 1846, E. D. Forgues published an extended criticism of Poe’s Tales in Revue des Deux Mondes. (40) In a sympathetic and penetrating analysis, Forgues treated the Tales seriously and placed them for the first time in the great succession of English fiction. [page 518:] Instead of merely describing the stories, he tried to discover the underlying creative principle of Poe’s fiction, and he found it in the triumph of logic over an apparent mystery, which is the basis of the novel and the drama. The Frenchman naturally was attracted by the logic of Poe, and it was this quality which maintained Poe’s hold on French critics and readers. With Poe, Forgues pointed out, logic is the mistress, not the slave, and he weighs probabilities not by uniform precepts, but by an instinctive sagacity belonging to the man himself. Forgues analyzed first Monos and Una, the tale in which Poe took “au serieux” that brotherhood of sleep and death which so many poets have sung. He felt that Poe, probably for the first time, had given to the memories of a dead man the character of an exact definition and of a reasoned conviction.

“Eiros and Charmion” attracted Forgues through the verity of its scientific approach. He devoted three of the ample pages of the Revue to this “récit extraordinaire,” retelling the growth of the terror as the comet relentlessly approached the earth, appreciating Poe’s marvellous establishment of its effect by the sudden vividness of vegetable life, until the end comes in the flame of universal destruction.

Forgues did not know, of course, the dates of the first appearances of Poe’s stories in magazines. But in his efforts to show a development in Poe’s fiction, or at least to establish a classification, the French critic revealed a certain instinctive knowledge of a progress which later students of Poe, with more material to judge, still find interesting. Having attempted with success to deal with problems of the future life, Poe was drawn to seek a plausible explanation of the relations of the human soul and the divinity. To illustrate this phase, Forgues chose “Mesmeric Revelation,” and showed his understanding of the lucidity of Poe’s logic in the story, which I have discussed fully elsewhere.

Forgues was not always an understanding critic. His objection to the “paysan” who tells the story of the wreck in “A Descent into the Maelström,” because he could not have thought out the theory of the cylinder which saved him, is beside the question. In the first place, he is not a “peasant” but a fisherman, and, in any event, the reader of that story has to swallow the initial improbability of the fisherman talking like a man of letters, and nobody bothers about it.

When it came to the stories of ratiocination, the Frenchman recognized that Dupin was not a name, but a human being, and prepared his readers by a description of Dupin’s intellectual training for his [page 519:] analytic feats. Apply this perspicacity, Forgues said, resulting from a tension of mind almost superhuman, and from a marvellous instinct, to an “operation de police,” and you have an investigator whom nothing escapes. He attributes this success to Poe’s American tenacity. Forgues regretted that Poe should have chosen Paris for his scene of Dupin’s exploits, although he recognized the valid reason why Poe placed them far away from Baltimore or Philadelphia. He remarked that of Paris Poe had not the least idea, and gave evidence of errors in localities which disprove the stories that place Poe at any time in Paris. Forgues was also bothered by the spectacle of the prefect of police visiting Dupin — again missing Poe’s method. Indeed, Forgues’ treatment of the ratiocinative stories is the least effective portion of his essay. He omitted any analysis of “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” possibly because of his own earlier translation, treated “The Purloined Letter” and “The Gold Bug” with scant mention, and selected for extensive treatment “Marie Rogêt,” the weakest of the four. Even here he does not contribute much of value. But he recognized that “The Black Cat” and “The Man of the Crowd” represented Poe in another phase, that of poetic invention, though he neglected to treat “The Fall of the House of Usher,” the greatest of all the stories in that category.

Forgues called attention to Poe’s relation to Brockden Brown as a painter of obsessions of the soul and maladies of the spirit, and concluded by a comparison of the short story, with the novel, to the advantage of the former. “La victoire,” he said, “était hier aux gros bataillons. Elle appartiendra demain aux troupes d’élite.”(41)

The Tales of 1845 continued to be the source of French translations. “The Black Cat,” “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” “Eiros and Charmion” and “A Descent into the Maelström” were translated by Madame Isabelle Meunier in La Democratie Pacifique in 1847 and “The Gold Bug” in 1848. Baudelaire, whose relation to Poe would call for a separate volume, chose for his first translation “Mesmeric Revelation,” which appeared as “Révélation Magnétique” in La Liberté de Penser in July, 1848. The first volume of Poe’s stories to appear in France was the Nouvelles Choisies d’Edgar Poe, translated by Alphonse Borghers, Paris, 1853. Borghers reprinted his translation of the “Gold Bug” and added “Hans Pfaall” as “l’Aeronaute Hollandais.” The great vogue of Poe in France belongs to the period after his death, but his foreign recognition was a source of unusual satisfaction [page 520:] to him, even if he was not always exact in his knowledge or his statements regarding it.

Poe found intellectual and spiritual companionship during his life at Fordham with members of the Faculty of St. John’s College. The College, opened formally in June, 1841, passed under the control of the Jesuit Order in the summer of 1846, just about the time Poe moved to Fordham. His cottage was not far from the grounds of the University, as it had just become, and Poe was a constant visitor, with the freedom of the College grounds. The Reverend Edward Doucet, S. J., afterwards President of the University and a young Scholastic in 1846, was a close friend of Poe and has left testimony concerning his habits at that time:

“I knew him well,” said Father Doucet, on one occasion. “In bearing and countenance, he was extremely refined. His features were somewhat sharp and very thoughtful. He was well informed on all matters. I always thought he was a gentleman by nature and instinct.”

Father Doucet always indignantly denied the statement so freely made that Poe looked like one worn out by dissipation and excess. The unfortunate poet had one weakness, a weakness that amounted almost to a malady, but against which he fought manfully and well. Poor Poe. His enemies, for he had many, made capital out of his weakness, and hounded him with an animosity and a persistency that would have broken a less sturdy spirit.(42)

Father Doucet was an accomplished musician, and no doubt Poe discussed with him the relations of music and poetry, and found pleasure in listening to his friend’s playing on the College organ.

In the midst of his anxieties Poe found time to continue a correspondence with a young admirer, George W. Eveleth, of Phillips, Maine, to which we owe much first-hand information concerning his later years.(43) [page 521:]

The letters represent Poe in one of his most attractive phases, that of a man taking the trouble to answer many questions of a young student of Medicine, who had no claim on Poe except his admiration of a great writer whom he never met. Sometimes Eveleth’s criticisms are penetrating, but his main service lay in eliciting replies from Poe concerning points of importance.

Eveleth wrote Poe three letters, beginning December 21, 1845, before he received a reply, finally demanding the return of three dollars which he had sent for a subscription to the Broadway Journal. Poe replied:

New-York — April 16. 46.

My Dear Sir,

You seem to take matters very easily and I really wonder at your patience under the circumstances. But the truth is I am in no degree to blame. Your letters, one and all, reached me in due course of mail — and I attended to them as far as I could. The business, in fact, was none of mine but of the person to whom I transferred the Journal and in whose hands it perished.

Of course, I feel no less in honor bound to refund you your money, and now do so, with many thanks for your promptness & courtesy.

Very cordially yours

EDGAR A. POE(44)

G. W. Eveleth, Esqe.

After a long silence, Poe replied to a number of his queries:

New-York: Dec. 15/46.

My Dear Sir,

By way of beginning this letter let me say a word or two of apology for not having sooner replied to your letters of [page 522:] June 9th and Octo. 13th. For more than six months I have been ill — for the greater part of that time dangerously so, and quite unable to write even an ordinary letter. My Magazine papers appearing in this interval were all in the publishers’ hands before I was taken sick. Since getting better, I have been, as a matter of course, overwhelmed with the business accumulating during my illness.

It always gives me true pleasure to hear from you, and I wish you could spare time to write me more frequently. I am gratified by your good opinion of my writings, because what you say evinces the keenest discrimination. Ten times the praise you bestow on me would not please me half so much, were it not for the intermingled scraps of censure, or of objection, which show me that you well know what you are talking about.

Let me now advert to the points of your two last letters:

What you say about the blundering criticism of “the Hartford Review man” is just. [For the next two paragraphs, see Chapter XIV, p. 443. They deal with “The Raven” and are therefore printed in the appropriate place.]

Your appreciation of “The Sleeper” delights me. In the higher qualities of poetry, it is better than “The Raven” — but there is not one man in a million who could be brought to agree with me in this opinion. “The Raven,” of course, is far the better as a work of art — but in the true basis of all art, The Sleeper is the superior. I wrote the latter when quite a boy.

You quote, I think, the 2 best lines in “The Valley of Unrest” — those about the palpitating trees. There is no more of “Politian.” It may be some years before I publish the rest of my Tales, essays, &c. The publishers cheat — and I must wait till I can be my own publisher. The collection of tales issued by W. & P. [Wiley and Putnam] were selected by a gentleman whose taste does not coincide with my own, from 72, written by me at various times — and those chosen are not my best — nor do they fairly represent me — in any respect.

The critique on Rogers is not mine — although, when it appeared, I observed a similarity to my ordinary manner. The notice of Lowell’s “Brittany” is mine.(45) You will see that it was merely a preparatory notice — I had designed speaking in full, but something prevented me. The criticism on Shelley is not mine; it is [page 523:] the work of Parke Godwin. I never saw it. The critic alluded to by Willis as connected with the Mirror, and as having found a parallel between Hood & Aldrich is myself. See my reply to “Outis” in the early numbers of The Broadway Journal. My reference to L. G. Clark, in spirit but not in letter, is what you suppose. He abused me in his criticism — but so feebly — with such a parade of intention & effort, but with so little effect or power, that I — forgave him: — that is to say, I had little difficulty in pardoning him. His strong point was that I ought to write well, because I had asserted that others wrote ill — and that I didn’t write well because, although there had been a great deal of fuss made about me, I had written so little — only a small volume of 100 pages. Why, he had written more himself!

You will see that I have discontinued “The Literati” in Godey’s Mag. I was forced to do so, because I found that people insisted on considering them elaborate criticisms when I had no other design than critical gossip. The unexpected circulation of the series, also, suggested to me that I might make a hit and some profit, as well as proper fame, by extending the plan into that of a book­(46) on American Letters generally, and keeping the publication in my own hands. I am now at this — body & soul. I intend to be thorough — as far as I can — to examine analytically, without reference to previous opinions by anybody — all the salient points of Literature in general — e. g. Poetry, The Drama, Criticism, Historical Writing, Versification, etc., etc. You may get an idea of the manner in which I propose to write the whole book, by reading the notice of Hawthorne which will appear in the January “Godey,” as well as the article on “The Rationale of Verse” which will be out in the March or April no: of Colton’s Am. Magazine, or Review.

Do not trust, in making up your library, to the “opinions” in the Godey series. I meant “honest” — but my meaning is not as fully made out as I could wish. I thought too little of the series myself to guard sufficiently against haste, inaccuracy, or prejudice. The book will be true — according to the best of my abilities. As regards Dana — it is more than possible that I may be doing him wrong. I have not read him since I was a boy, & must read him carefully again. The Frogpondians (Bostonians) have badgered me so much that I fear I am apt to fall into prejudices about [page 524:] them. I have used some of their Pundits up, at all events, in “The Rationale of Verse.” I will mail you the number as soon as it appears — for I really wish you to tell me what you think of it.

As regards the Stylus — that is the grand purpose of my life, from which I have never swerved for a moment. But I cannot afford to risk anything by precipitancy — and I can afford to wait — at least, until I finish the book. When that is out, I will start the Mag. — and then I will pay you a visit at Phillips. In the meantime let me thank you, heartily, for your name as a subscriber.

Please write — and do not pay the postage.

Truly your Friend,

EDGAR A POE(47)

As the winter of 1846 drew on, Poe faced the realization of the sorrow that had threatened him so long. Virginia was dying, and to his natural grief was added the bitterness of knowing that his poverty forbade him even to bring the great love of his life to an end in dignity and peace.

Once more Mrs. Gove’s story draws a picture etched with sympathy:

The autumn came, and Mrs. Poe sank rapidly in consumption, and I saw her in her bed chamber. Everything here was so neat, so purely clean, so scant and poverty-stricken, that I saw the sufferer with such a heartache as the poor feel for the poor. There was no clothing on the bed, which was only straw, but a snow white spread and sheets. The weather was cold, and the sick lady had the dreadful chills that accompany the hectic fever of consumption. She lay on the straw bed, wrapped in her husband’s great-coat, with a large tortoise-shell cat on her bosom. The wonderful cat seemed conscious of her great usefulness. The coat and the cat were the sufferer’s only means of warmth, except as her husband held her hands, and her mother her feet.

Mrs. Clemm was passionately fond of her daughter, and her distress on account of her illness and poverty and misery, was dreadful to see.

­

Virginia Clemm Poe [thumbnail]

[Illustration facing page 524]
 
Virginia

As soon as I was made aware of these painful facts, I came to New York, and enlisted the sympathies and services of a lady, whose heart and hand were ever open to the poor and miserable. A featherbed and abundance of bed-clothing and other comforts were the first fruits of my labour of love. The lady headed a subscription, and carried them sixty dollars the next week. From the day this kind lady first saw the suffering family of the poet, she [page 525:] watched over them as a mother watches over her babe. She saw them often and ministered to the comfort of the dying and the living.

Mrs. Marie Louise Shew, afterwards Mrs. Roland Houghton, was the new friend who came to the rescue of the family. She had some medical training, and was distinctly different from the “literary women” who plagued Poe. Her help was practical and timely.

Poe’s necessities became public through a paragraph in the New York Express on December 15, 1846, which asked his friends and admirers to come to his assistance. Another, less cordial, in the Saturday Evening Post of Philadelphia began, “It is said that Edgar A. Poe is lying dangerously ill with the brain fever, and that his wife is in the last stages of consumption — they are without money and without friends, etc.”(48) It was this last sentence which stung Poe and hurt Virginia.

These notices prompted Willis to write an Editorial in the Home Journal, in which he raised the very proper question why illness of those whose pride forbade them to ask for help must remain uncared for. He then continued:

Mr. Poe lives out of the city, and we cannot ascertain before this goes to press, how far this report of his extreme necessity is true. We received yesterday a letter from an anonymous hand, mentioning the paragraph in question, expressing high admiration for Mr. Poe’s genius, and enclosing a sum of money, with a request that we would forward it to him. We think it very possible that this, and other aid, may be timely and welcome, though we know, that, on Mr. Poe’s recovery from former illnesses, he has been deeply mortified and distressed by the discovery that his friends had been called upon for assistance. The highly cultivated women who share his lot, his wife and mother, are, we also know, the prey of constant anxiety for him; and though he vigorously resumes the labours of his poorly paid profession with the first symptoms of returning strength, we have little doubt that a generous gift could hardly be better applied than to him, however unwilling he may be to have received it. We venture, therefore, while we acknowledge the delicate generosity of the letter of yesterday, to offer to forward any other similar tribute of sympathy with genius.

In connection with this public mention of Mr. Poe’s personal matters, perhaps it will not be thought inopportune, if we put on its proper footing, a public expression, which does him some injustice. [page 526:] We have not seen nor corresponded with Mr. Poe for two years, and we hazard this delicate service without his leave, of course, and simply because we have seen him suffer for the lack of such vindication, when his name has been brought injuriously before the public, and have then wished for some such occasion to speak for him. We refer to conduct and language charged against him, which, were he, at the time, in sane mind, were an undeniable forfeiture of character and good feeling. To blame, in some degree, still, perhaps he is. But let charity for the failings of human nature judge of the degree. Mr. Poe was engaged with us in the editorship of a daily paper, we think, for about six months. A more considerate, quiet, talented, and gentlemanlike associate than he was for the whole of that time, we could not have wished. Not liking the unstudent-like necessity of coming every day into the city, however, he left us, by his own wish alone, and it was one day soon after, that we first saw him in the state to which we refer. He came into our office with his usual gait and manner, and with no symptom of ordinary intoxication, he talked like a man insane. Perfectly self-possessed in all other respects, his brain and tongue were evidently beyond his control. We learned afterwards that the least stimulus — a single glass of wine — would produce this effect upon Mr. Poe, and that, rarely as these instances of easy aberration of caution and mind occurred, he was liable to them, and while under the influence, voluble and personally self-possessed, but neither sane nor responsible. Now, very possibly, Mr. Poe may not be willing to consent to even this admission of any infirmity. He has little or no memory of them afterwards, we understand. But public opinion unqualifiedly holds him blameable for what he has said and done under such excitements; and while a call is made in a public paper for aid, it looks like doing him a timely service, to [at?] least partially to exonerate him. We run the risk of being deemed officious.

The subject of a Retreat for disabled labourers with the brain, we shall resume hereafter.(49)

Poe wrote to Willis denying his extreme privation and that he was without friends.(50)

How widely Poe had become known is proved by the republication of the appeal in Philadelphia papers and through them in Easton and [page 527:] other Pennsylvania towns. Their tone is friendly, as indicated by a sentence like, “Mr. Poe has many friends in this city, and we have no doubt that they would willingly aid in so benevolent a design.”(51)

The day before Virginia’s death Poe wrote to Mrs. Shew, who, after many visits of friendship, had gone into the city to make some arrangements for her comfort:

Kindest — dearest friend — My poor Virginia still lives, although failing fast and now suffering much pain. May God grant her life until she sees you and thanks you once again! Her bosom is full to overflowing — like my own — with a boundless — inexpressible gratitude to you. Lest she may never see you more — she bids me say that she sends you her sweetest kiss of love and will die blessing you. But come — oh come to-morrow! Yes, I will be calm — everything you so nobly wish to see me. My mother sends you, also, her “warmest love and thanks.” She begs me to ask you, if possible, to make arrangements at home so that you may stay with us tomorrow night. I enclose the order to the Postmaster.

Heaven bless you and farewell.

EDGAR A. POE.

Fordham.
  Jan. 29. 47.(52)

Before she left the cottage, Virginia gave Mrs. Shew a picture of her husband, and a little jewel case. She also took a worn letter and a fragment of one from a portfolio, which Mrs. Shew read at her request. They relieved Poe of blame for the break with John Allan. So far Mrs. Shew’s memory, when she sent these reminiscences to Ingram in 1875 may be relied on. But as always, romance and rumor, twin sources of inaccuracy, surround the contents of these letters, which have disappeared. That they were written by the second Mrs. Allan, as Mrs. Shew stated, is hardly possible, as we know that lady’s nature. Perhaps they were from Frances Allan, written after Poe’s flight from Richmond. The story of “Poe’s Mary” who says that on this day, Virginia joined her hand to Poe’s may also be sent to join the other vagaries of that lady.

Virginia died on January 30, 1847, in the tiny bedroom on the first [page 528:] floor. She was clad in the “fine linen sheets” which gave Mrs. Clemm such comfort, and buried in the vault belonging to the Valentines, the owners of the cottage. Years later Virginia’s body was taken to Baltimore and rests now beside the husband she adored. But as “Ulalume” tells us, her love, entrenched in his memory, guarded him even against himself.

Poe collapsed, as was natural, after the prolonged effort to meet his daily anxiety. Mrs. Clemm and Mrs. Shew took care of him, and the latter, whose medical knowledge was more reliable than her acquaintance with the Allan family, gave this explanation of their difficulties:

I made my diagnosis, and went to the great Dr. Mott with it; I told him that at best, when Mr. Poe was well, his pulse beat only ten regular beats, after which it suspended, or intermitted (as doctors say). I decided that in his best health he had lesion of one side of the brain, and as he could not bear stimulants or tonics, without producing insanity, I did not feel much hope that he could be raised up from brain fever brought on by extreme suffering of mind and body — actual want and hunger, and cold having been borne by this heroic husband in order to supply food, medicine, and comforts to his dying wife — until exhaustion and lifelessness were so near at every reaction of the fever, that even sedatives had to be administered with extreme caution. . . . From the time the fever came on until I could reduce his pulse to eighty beats, he talked to me incessantly of the past, which was all new to me, and often begged me to write his fancies for him, for he said he had promised to many greedy publishers his next efforts, that they would not only say that he did not keep his word, but would also revenge themselves by saying all sorts of evil of him if he should die.(53)

Poe, like any nervous patient, had his ups and downs. He received a long letter from Eveleth in January, 1847, who unfortunately sent him word of the charge of plagiarism made in the Saturday Evening Post concerning The Conchologist’s First Book. Poe replied on February 16, 1847, demanding more facts and evidently being wrought up about the matter.(54) Eveleth sent him, on February 21st, the date [page 529:] of the publication of the charge, March 14, 1846. But Poe decided that the slander was not actionable.(55)  He added:

My suit against “The Mirror” has terminated by a verdict of $225 in my favor. — The costs and all will make them a bill of $492. Pretty well — considering that there was no actual “damage” done to me.

I enclose you my reply to English, which will enable you to comprehend his accusations. The vagabond, at the period of the suit’s coming on, ran off to Washington, — for fear of being criminally prosecuted. The “acknowledgment” referred to was not forthcoming, and “The Mirror” could not get a single witness to testify one word against my character.

Thank you for your promise about “The Stylus.” I depend upon you implicitly.

You were perfectly right in what you said to Godey.

I can not tell you why the review of Hawthorne(56) does not appear — but I presume we shall have it by and by. He paid me for it, when I sent it — so I have no business to ask about it.

Most truly your friend

EDGAR A. POE

P. S. The “Valdemar Case” was a hoax, of course.

That Poe was still capable of writing vigorous English is revealed in a letter to Horace Greeley on February 21, 1847. On February 19th, The Tribune had contained an unfavorable editorial concerning the suit against The Mirror, and after stating the facts Poe continued:

You are a man, Mr. Greeley — an honest and a generous man — or I should not venture to tell you so, and to your face; and as a man you must imagine what I feel at finding these paragraphs to my discredit going the rounds of the country, as the opinions of Horace Greeley. Everybody supposes that you have said these things. The weight of your character, — the general sense of your truth and love of justice — cause these few sentences (which in almost any other paper in America I would treat with contempt) to do me a vital injury — to wound and oppress me beyond measure. — [page 530:]

In the printed matter I have underscored two passages. As regards the first: — it alone would have sufficed to assure me that you did not write the article. I owe you money — I have been ill, unfortunate, no doubt weak, and as yet unable to refund the money — but on this ground you, Mr. Greeley, would never have accused me of being habitually “unscrupulous in the fulfillment of my pecuniary engagements.” The charge is horribly false — I have a hundred times left myself destitute of bread for myself and family that I might discharge debts which the very writer of this infamous accusation (Fuller) would have left undischarged to the day of his death.

The end passage underscored embodies a falsehood — and therefore you did not write it. I did not “throw away the quill.” I arose from a sick bed (although scarcely able to stand or see) and wrote the reply which was published in the Phil. “Sp.[irit] of the Times,” and a copy of which reply I enclose you. The “Columns of the Mirror” were tendered to me — with a proviso that I should forego a suit and omit this passage and that passage, to suit the purposes of Mr. Fuller.

[remainder unimportant]

With high respect,

Yours etc.

EDGAR A. POE.(57)

Among those who had helped the family in their distress was Mrs. Jane Ermina Locke, a poetess of Lowell, Massachusetts, who sent Poe verses and some financial assistance. His letter to her, dated March 10, 1847, is so evidently a draft, corrected and recorrected,(58) that it has been made by some an argument for Poe’s nervous instability at this time. But a reference to a similar draft of the letter to Anthon in 1844, will show that Poe was simply taking pains to write a tactful but courteous letter of appreciation. It would have been better for his peace of mind if he had dropped the letter in the waste basket. Mrs. Locke was to plague him later.

Poe attempted to repay Mrs. Shew by his verses, “To M. L. S—,” in the Home Journal, March 13, 1847. They bear evidence of the deepest sincerity, which the free medium of blank verse emphasizes. Poe thanked her [page 531:]

“For the resurrection of deep buried faith

In Truth, in Virtue, in Humanity.

The closing lines written

“By him, who, as he pens them, thrills to think

His spirit is communing with an angel’s,”

show that the poem was written after Virginia’s death.

In the same month “The Domain of Arnheim” appeared in the Columbian Magazine. Poe revised and continued “The Landscape Garden,” of 1842, by describing the voyages of Ellison in search of the most suitable spot on which to build his paradise of natural beauty. Poe’s own habit of canoeing is reflected in the approach to Arnheim by the river, and the luxuriant dream, Oriental in its coloring, is a visual echo of his own imagining as he drifted on the Wissahickon or the Hudson, or looked down from the High Bridge over the Harlem valley.

Poe went to Philadelphia in August, 1847, to reestablish his magazine contacts. An unaddressed letter, probably to Judge Robert T. Conrad, who was one of the editors of the North American and who was assisting George Graham with his magazine, tells a story that was often to be repeated:

New-York  
August 10. 1847.

Dear Sir,

Permit me to thank you, in the first place, very sincerely, for your considerate kindness to me while in Philadelphia. Without your aid, at the precise moment and in the precise manner in which you rendered it, it is more than probable that I should not now be alive to write you this letter. Finding myself exceedingly ill — so much so that I had no hope except in getting home immediately — I made several attempts to see Mr. Graham and at last saw him for a few minutes just as he was about returning to Cape May. He was very friendly — more so than I have ever known him, and requested me to write continuously for the Mag. As you were not present, however, and it was uncertain when I could see you, I obtained an advance of $10 from Mr. G. in order that I might return home at once — and thinking it, also, more proper to leave you time in which to look over the articles.

I would be deeply obliged if you could now give me an answer [page 532:] respecting them. Should you take both, it will render me, just now, the most important service. I owe Mr. G. about $50. The articles, at the old price ($4 per page) will come to $90 — so that, if you write me that they are accepted, I propose to draw on Mr. G. for $40 — thus squaring our account.

P. S. I settled my bill with Arbuckle before leaving Phil. but am not sure how much I owe yourself for the previous bill etc. Please let me know.

Very gratefully your friend

EDGAR A. POE.(59)

Poe’s most important publication of 1847 was “Ulalume,” one of his original and powerful poems. It was published anonymously in the American Review for December, 1847, as “To ——. Ulalume, A Ballad.” According to Mrs. Whitman, it was written after Virginia’s death,(60) although the description of the poem Mrs. Gove made Colton buy in 1846 tallies with “Ulalume.” It may have been begun in 1846, sold to Colton and revised in 1847. Poe never considered the form of any of his poems as final, and he told Eveleth that he gave Colton “Ulalume” in return for “The Poetic Principle,” which Colton could not print.

In “Ulalume” Poe depicts a struggle in the mind of a man between the human passion for one woman and the spiritual love he still cherishes for the memory of his “lost Ulalume.” They are symbols of the tragic conflict in a human soul which has lost without knowing it, its spiritual integrity. The same conflict had been expressed in prose in “William Wilson,” and in “The Fall of the House of Usher,” and in poetry it had been suggested in “Silence,” “The Haunted Palace” and “Eulalie,” but it received its supreme expression in “Ulalume.” Nothing is so terrible to the living soul as this loss of identity. “Psyche,” who accompanies the poet is, of course, the spiritual aspect of this soul. She sees the danger which the poet does not wish to see. He tries to lull her terrors, to conquer “her scruples and gloom” and he has almost succeeded, but she points to the tomb of Ulalume, who preserves through her love for the poet that integrity, and he is saved.

It is dangerous always to read much of a poet’s personal life into [page 533:] his verse. But if “Ulalume” is to have a meaning in terms of Poe’s emotional conflicts, that meaning is clear. Virginia had fulfilled both sides of his nature, the spiritual and the physical. She died and he was adrift. He turned to others for that support he needed in the endless struggle and was about to delude himself with the love that is merely passion, when the memory of Virginia came to his rescue. If there were any need to refute the theories which deny to Poe the normal experiences of a man, and to Virginia, those of a woman, “Ulalume” would be an answer. Perhaps in advance Poe foresaw what psychoanalysis, the naïveté of science, would suggest. Fortunately this struggle for identity is essentially a universal theme, and the symbolism makes it unnecessary to search too minutely for the living or dead women whom Poe meant to represent. One side of his nature is drawn by Astarté, the Phœnician form for the Babylonian Ishtar, the goddess of fertility. She is associated in Babylonian astrology with the planet Venus, later with the moon goddess Selene. In “Eulalie,” Astarté clearly meant Venus, and the star in “Ulalume” represents passion of the flesh. She is contrasted with “Dian” who usually is represented by the moon — and chastity. In the endeavor to solve the perennial dispute as to whether Venus or the moon is meant, I asked many years ago my colleague in Astronomy, Eric Doolittle, which of these planets would have been crescent in the month of October, early in the morning and would have come up through the constellation of “the Lion.” “Both,” he replied. That Poe knew enough astronomy to place the pallid star in the right spot is not surprising, since he walked on the promenade at High Bridge, at all times of the day or night. It is also not surprising that he forgot the fact that a planet does not “flicker” like a fixed star, but shines with a steady light. Dr. Doolittle suggested that Venus could not be seen crescent with the naked eye, but that would not have worried Poe.

The form of “Ulalume” in general is peculiarly fitting to the thought. The repetition of verses is organic, for it represents the conflict in the poet’s soul as he comes step by step to the tomb. How perfectly the measure glides along is seen when the last stanza suddenly goes to pieces. This was published, however, in the American Review, and is in the copy he sent to Miss Susan V. C. Ingram in 1849,(61) so that while Poe omitted it in other versions at Mrs. Whitman’s suggestion, he evidently thought it necessary.

In this connection Poe’s letter to Miss Ingram reveals his unwillingness to make any clearer the meaning of “Ulalume”: [page 534:]

Monday Evening
[Prob. Sept. 10, 1849]

I have transcribed “Ulalume” with much pleasure, dear Miss Ingram, — as I am sure I would do anything else, at your bidding — but I fear that you will find the verses scarcely more intelligible today in my manuscript than last night in my recitation. I would endeavor to explain to you what I really meant — or what I really fancied I meant by the poem, if it were not that I remembered Dr. Johnson’s bitter and rather just remark about the folly of explaining what, if worth explanation, should explain itself. He has a happy witticism, too, about some book which he calls “as obscure as an explanatory note.” Leaving “Ulalume” to its fate, therefore, & in good hands, I am,

Yours truly,

EDGAR A. POE.(62)

Poe has been criticized for using words like “Auber” and “Weir,” simply to provide easy rimes for “October” and “year.” But “Auber” he knew as a French composer(63) and “Weir” is a well known family name in Philadelphia — Dr. S. Weir Mitchell being named after a member of it. The words fit into the tone of the poem; that is the important matter.

If Poe had temporarily lost his grip on life, he had not lost his power to express a great theme in verse of haunting and inevitable phrases.


[[Footnotes]]

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 496:]

(1)  Original Autograph Ms., Duyckinck Collection, New York Public Library.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 497:]

(2)  Original Autograph Ms., Huntington Library.

(3)  Facsimile published by Josephine Poe January, “Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘Child Wife’,” Century Magazine, LXXVIII (October, 1909), 894-896.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 498:]

(4)  There is a question about the second woman. Gill states that Miss Lynch told him she never heard of the episode.

(5)  Original Autograph Ms. Letter, Friday, November 24 [1848], J. K. Lilly, Jr. Collection. In this connection Mrs. Osgood’s poem “Slander” in the Broadway Journal, II (August 30, 1845), 113, may refer to the rumors which hurt Virginia.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 499:]

(6)  Passages from the Correspondence of Rufus W. Griswold (Cambridge, 1898), pp. 256-257.

(7)  Poe to Duyckinck, April 28, 1846. Original Autograph Ms., New York Public Library.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 501:]

(8)  American Review, II (August, 1845), 117-131.

(9)  The six installments were published in: XXXII (May, 1846), 194-201; (June, 1846), 266-272, also reprint of May installment, 289-296; XXXIII (July), 13-19; (August), 72-78; (September), 126-133; (October), 157-162.

(10)  For Poe’s own opinion of “The Literati,” see p. 523.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 502:]

(11)  Godey’s Lady’s Book, XXXIII (September, 1846), 132.

(12)  Godey’s Lady’s Book, XXXII (May, 1845), 295.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 503:]

(13)  Then follow quotations from Miss Barrett’s letter, see Chapter XV, and minor details.

(14)  Original Autograph Ms., Huntington Library.

(15)  Vol. XXXIII (July, 1846), pp. 17-18.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 504:]

(16)  Original Autograph Ms., Huntington Library.

(17)  The entire controversy may be read in the Virginia Edition, XVII, 233-258.

(18)  See Chapter I, in connection with his father’s habits.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 505:]

(19)  The curious may find this in “A Close-Up of Poe,” by Carl Schreiber, Saturday Review of Literature, III (October 9, 1926), 165-167.

(20)  See Letter to Eveleth, January 4, 1848.

(21)  Original Autograph Ms., Griswold Collection, Boston Public Library.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 506:]

(22)  Original Autograph Ms., Mary E. Hewitt to Poe, April 15, 1846. Griswold Collection, Boston Public Library.

(23)  Published by J. A. Harrison in the Independent, LXI (November 1, 1906), 1049-1050.

(24)  Poe to Chivers, July 22, 1846.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 507:]

(25)  Owing to the encroachments of building operations, the cottage was moved in June, 1913, to its present location, about four hundred and fifty feet north, opposite Poe Park, the property of the city. The cottage is under the charge of the Bronx Society of Arts and Sciences. The old kitchen which had been destroyed was replaced in facsimile in 1917, and the cottage is well cared for. The history of the cottage, based on original search among the real-estate records is given in Henry N. MacCracken’s “Poe at Fordham,” read at the Poe Centenary Exercises, January 19, 1909, published in Transactions of the Bronx Society of Arts and Sciences, I (May, 1910), 21-36. This account is to be supplemented by The Poe Cottage at Fordham by Reginald P. Bolton (New York, 1927).

(26)  Six Penny Magazine, February, 1863. Reprinted in full by the Union Square Book Shop, with an introductory letter by Thomas O. Mabbott (New York, 1931).

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 508:]

(27)  Godey’s Lady’s Book, XXXIII (July, 1846), 16. She was best known as an advocate of health reform, marrying in 1848 Thomas Low Nichols, a pioneer in that field. See D. A. B., for interesting accounts of both.

(28)  The house originally had two rooms on the first floor, but the third room must by all accounts have been added before Mrs. Gove’s visit.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 509:]

(29)  Poe to Chivers, July 22, 1846.

(30)  Mrs. Clemm to Neilson Poe, Ingram, II, 89.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 510:]

(31)  Ingram, II, 88-89. Mrs. Shew’s copy of the letter, which she sent to Ingram, is now at the University of Virginia.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 511:]

(32)  Philadelphia Saturday Courier, July 25, 1846.

(33)  Original Autograph Ms., H. B. Martin Collection.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 513:]

(34)  Original Autograph Ms., Huntington Library. A notation, presumably by Chivers, probably refers to the English magazines noted by Poe in his letter to Field of June 15, 1846. There is also the title of an article from the Reveillé, copied from the Home Journal, dealing with Poe’s fame “in Europe and America.” This was probably the article “Edgar A. Poe” printed in the Reveillé, July 6, 1846. Dr. Mabbott has a copy of the original, now in the Jefferson Memorial, St. Louis.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 514:]

(35)  This analysis of the ratiocinative stories is repeated almost verbatim, in Griswold’s “Memoir,” as Griswold’s own criticism.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 515:]

(36)  Original Autograph Ms., Young Collection, New York Public Library. The letter is not addressed, but several references make it clear that it is written to Cooke. I have omitted four paragraphs which repeat matters already treated in other letters such as Mrs. Browning’s opinion of his work.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 516:]

(37)  Original Autograph Ms., Duyckinck Collection, New York Public Library.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 516, continuing to the bottom of page 517:]

(38)  Revue Brittannique, 5th Series, Vol. 30, pp. 168-212. Biographers have usually depended on the letter just quoted, or on Poe’s statement in Marginalia [page 517:] in Graham’s, November, 1846, “Some years ago, ‘The Paris Charivari’ copied my story with complimentary comments,” and his remark, “We have written paper after paper which attracted no notice at all until it appeared as original in ‘Bentley’s Miscellany’ or the ‘Paris Charivari.’” Broadway Journal, II (August 30, 1845), 125. A thorough search of the Charivari reveals no copy of the story or mention of Poe. The details of the law suit, incorrectly given by Griswold, have also been copied extensively, and the mythical “first volume of translations of Poe in French” by Madame Meunier in 1846, appears in a number of bibliographies. The correct facts were given by Louis Seylaz, Edgar Poe et les Premiers Symbolistes Français (Lausanne, 1923), pp. 37-45; more fully by Léon Lemonnier, Les Traducteurs d’Edgar Poe en France de 1845 à 1875 (Paris, 1928), pp. 11-67, who gives interesting parallel passages of Poe’s stories with the translations. C. L. Cambiaire, in The Influence of Edgar Allan Poe in France (New York, 1927), pp. 1-41, has also given the correct facts. All three seem to have worked independently, with the original sources.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 517:]

(39)  The searchers found the women’s clothes in the bureau “tachés de sang.” The bloody tracks led them to the chimney, where the body of the daughter had been thrust. Poe spared his readers such details.

(40)  “Les Contes D’Edgar A. Poe” in “Études sur le Roman Anglais et Américain,” XVI, new series (1846), 341-366.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 519:]

(41)  Revue des Deux Mondes, p. 366. Forgues seems to have been unaware of the poetry or the critical work of Poe.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 520:]

(42)  Thomas Gaffney Taaffe, A History of St. John’s College, Fordham, N. Y. (New York, 1891), pp. 100-101. Mr. Taaffe, in speaking of Poe’s cottage, then in its first location, made an earnest plea for its preservation, pp. 7-8.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 520, continuing to the bottom of page 521:]

(43)  Eveleth’s letters to Poe were printed for the first time by Thomas Ollive Mabbott, from the Mss. in the New York Public Library, in the Bulletin of the New York Public Library, March, 1922, pp. 3-27. A reprint was published separately in April, 1922, under the title of The Letters From George W. Eveleth to Edgar Allan Poe. I am indebted to Dr. Mabbott for the privilege of quoting them. [page 521:]

Poe’s letters to Eveleth were published by Ingram in his Life of Poe, “as letters from a young friend.” These were printed in part from copies sent by Eveleth to Ingram. These copies are now at the University of Virginia. They were published by James Southall Wilson in the Alumni Bulletin of the University of Virginia, January, 1924, and a reprint was published, under title of The Letters of Edgar A. Poe to George W. Eveleth. Dr. Wilson printed the letters complete for the first time. I am indebted to his courtesy for permission to quote from his copyrighted edition. The original autograph letters, in certain cases, have come to light, and I have printed from these when possible. When not otherwise indicated, the letters are quoted from Dr. Wilson’s article.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 521:]

(44)  Original Autograph Ms., W. H. Koester Collection.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 522:]

(45)  In Graham’s, XXIV (March, 1844), 142-143.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 523:]

(46)  This refers to his “Literary America,” see pp. 560-561.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 524:]

(47)  Original Autograph Ms., Berg Collection, New York Public Library.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 525:]

(48)  Quoted by Eveleth without date in his letter to Poe, January 19, 1847.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 526:]

(49)  Home Journal, Editorial Page, Saturday, December 26, 1846. Photostat from Library of Congress.

(50)  Poe’s letter is quoted by several biographers from Griswold’s “Memoir,” under date of December 30, 1846. I cannot locate the issue of the Home Journal in which it is supposed to have appeared, and to quote from Griswold unsupported is, of course, dangerous.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 527:]

(51)  Easton Star, January 5, 1847, from “a Philadelphia paper.” I have not been able to identify this paper.

(52)  Original Autograph Ms., Huntington Library.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 528:]

(53)  Ingram, Life, II, 115-116; Rev. Ed., 330. Dr. Valentine Mott was then one of the leading members of the School of Medicine of New York University.

(54)  See pp. 275-277, where Poe’s explanation is given in relation to the original publication.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 529:]

(55)  Letter to Eveleth, March 11, 1847, J. S. Wilson’s edition, pp. 13-14.

(56)  The review of Hawthorne’s Twice Told Tales of 1842 and Mosses from an Old Manse, of 1846, appeared in Godey’s Lady’s Book, November, 1847. It is reprinted in Harrison, XIII, 141-155.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 530:]

(57)  Original Autograph Ms., J. P. Morgan Library.

(58)  Original Autograph Ms., Griswold Collection, Boston Public Library.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 532:]

(59)  Original Autograph Ms., University of Virginia Library. There is a letter, addressed to Conrad, on August 31, 1847, in which Poe refers to these details. A facsimile of this letter is in Dr. Mabbott’s Collection.

(60)  Edgar Poe and his Critics, pp. 28-29.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 533:]

(61)  Original Autograph Ms., J. P. Morgan Library.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 534:]

(62)  Original Autograph Ms., Morgan Library.

(63)  See “Foreign Intelligence” in Broadway Journal, II, 356. “Auber has been seriously indisposed — he was unable to preside at the last meeting of the Conservatoire.”


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Notes:

None.


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[S:1 - EAP:ACB, 1941] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Articles - E. A. P.: A Critical Biography (A. H. Quinn) (Chapter 16)