Text: James W. Christie, “Poe’s ‘Diabolical’ Humor: Revisions in ‘Bon-Bon’,” Poe at Work: Seven Textual Studies (1978), pp. 44-53 (This material is protected by copyright)


[page 44:]

Poe’s “Diabolical” Humor: Revisions in “Bon-Bon”


POE learned to write a short story by burlesquing popular magazine fiction, but critics pay too little attention to his own early potboilers. Most discussions of the apprentice fiction deal with those pieces that foreshadow the mature tales of terror and ignore the clearly comic ones, although these slighter works were the first printed and the most frequently revised.(1) A careful examination of each published form of one such effort, “Bon-Bon” (originally “The Bargain Lost”), reveals Poe’s success with comedy and his transformation into a competent craftsman in short fiction.(2) Always attentive to the extravagancies of contemporary magazinists, Poe casually poked fun at Faustian tales of diablerie and the Gothic thriller in “The Bargain Lost.” In the later versions he manipulated playful observations with what proves to be his characteristic narrative persona: a literary and intellectual poseur. This linguistic narcissist enabled him to transform “Bon-Bon” from a random display of puns and witty remarks to a unified farce.(3) Poe relates a devil tale in an affected manner, but with enough hints of a sinister power behind the fun to remind us of the diabolical nightmares he often invokes.

“The Bargain Lost” first appeared in the December 1, 1832, Philadelphia Saturday Courier, the last of five stories Poe had presumably written during the fall of 1831 for that newspaper’s literary contest. Changing the title, he reprinted a markedly revised form in SLM (August 1835), possibly submitting the version from the “Tales of the Folio Club” collection offered to the New-England Magazine in May 1833. Making minor changes for the next appearances, he included it in TGA, and as the third of his tales published in BJ (April 19,1845)that version reappearing a final time in the Philadelphia daily morning paper, Spirit of the Times (July 22 and 23,1845).(4)

“Bon-Bon” and the other Courier satires were written and revised over a fourteen-year period, but critics regard them as no more than a “comic interlude in Poe’s work between the poetic creativity of his [page 45:] youth and the more professional writing of his maturity,” or overwritten comic exercises that fail without “footnoting.”(5) True, Poe turned from poetry to fiction as a stopgap financial measure, and, drawing from his extensive reading, filled his tales with esoteric references and topical “quizzes.”(6) Even his knowledgeable literary friend James Kirke Paulding found he could not market the early works because “there is a degree of obscurity in their application, which will prevent ordinary readers from comprehending their drift, and consequently from enjoying the fine satire they convey.” As for the endless revisions, a modern critic like Stuart Levine dismisses them in his otherwise helpful study of Poe’s magazine environment: “When pressed for copy, he would re-run material previously published elsewhere, generally editing it in the process.”(7)

The revisionary evolution of “Bon-Bon” demonstrates that Poe very early worked to create that “vital requirement in all works of Art, Unity.”(8) The result is a comic version of the mature fantasies such as “The Fall of the House of Usher” and “The Masque of the Red Death” where “the immediate goal of reverie’s winding passages is that magnificent chamber in which we find the visionary hero slumped in a chair or lolling on an ottoman, occupied in purging his consciousness of everything that is earthly.”(9) In this early farce with a “lolling” hero, Poe mocked the radical split between spirit and matter that later became such a compelling concern. The greatest changes occurred between 1832 and 1835, when he made extensive additions to establish character and narrative authority and omitted details that might have been considered inappropriate. Thereafter, he deleted more than he added, making changes but not structurally extraordinary ones.

Our tale, like “The Duc de L’Omelette,” which was also first published in the Courier in 1832, is Poe’s satiric response to the rage during the 1820’s and 30’s for tales in which a gentlemanly Satan appears to bargain for men’s souls. “Bon-Bon” also glances at the idealistic thinking of German philosophers much read at the time.(10) The protagonist of “The Bargain Lost” is a Venetian metaphysician named Pedro Garcia, a man of enormous intellectual stature (we learn that he influenced Kant) though only four feet, five inches tall. Pierre Bon-Bon, the later hero, is French and a restaurateur, as well as a philosopher. He is only three feet tall, and his height is surpassed [page 46:] by the girth of his “immense stomach,” a by-product, no doubt, of his dual profession. In all versions, the hero begins in the fold of a Gothic thriller, visited by the devil on a “dark and stormy night.”(11) The two drink, and the devil, a real gourmet of souls, discourses on their nature. He himself wants only the best, and prefers them “vivente corpore” rather than “pickled.” Both heroes seek to sell their souls to the devil, but Bon-Bon possesses a characteristic that Garcia does notthe “foible,” the inordinate desire to “never let slip an opportunity of making a bargain . . . a trade of any kind, upon any terms, or under any circumstances.”(12) Always the gentleman, particularly in the joke conclusion that ends all versions, the devil has less interest in a bargain than does his victim. He refuses the soul of a man who, being a philosopher, knows nothing about souls, and who is also so drunk that he cannot be considered capable of entering into a binding contract.(13)

The plot sequence remains the same, but the tone changes in “Bon-Bon,” as does the treatment of the central joke upon which both stories turn. The narrative styles are as different as the introductory sentences. “The Bargain Lost” opens directly: “At Venice, in the year ——— , in the street ——— , lived Pedro Garcia, a metaphysician.” Then follow a hurried picture of Pedro and a description of his inclusive, “Pedronist” philosophy. With this introduction his only excuse, Poe puns and plays with language in a manner that has little to do with the situation or the story. For example, he employs revolutionary times so that he can comment in a witty conversational aside about the manner in which Pedro carries on: “. . . it was with little concern that, in certain boilings of the pot revolutionary, (during which, saith Machiavelli, the scum always comes uppermost) he beheld his large estates silently slipping through his fingers.” Equally offhand and colloquial is the narrator’s disclaimer of his intention to describe Pedro’s dress of comic motley immediately after he has done just that: “All this and morehad I been a novelist — might I have detailed. But, thanks to St. Urbino, whatever I am, that am I not. Therefore upon all these subjects I say ‘mum’.” The narrator continues to debunk both Pedro and the devil in order to crack any joke; he describes Pedro’s calm state of mind upon learning of the devil’s visit as quite different from his feelings at “the visitation of a spider, a rat, or a physician.” [page 47:]

In contrast to this vigorous style by the narrator is the sophisticated and convoluted opening of “Bon-Bon”: “That Pierre Bon-Bon was a restaurateur of uncommon qualifications, no man who, during the reign of ——— , frequented the little Cafe in the cul-de-sac Le Febvre at Rouen, will, I imagine, feel himself at liberty to dispute.” Our attention is immediately drawn to the narrator’s rarefied style and interests. He speaks as if in an ongoing conversation with a reader appreciative of a hero who is the best product of a highly developed civilization: “At any epoch it would not be very wonderful if a humor so peculiar as the one I have just mentioned [Bon-Bon’s “foible”] should elicit attention and remark. At the epoch of our narrative, had this peculiarity not attracted observation, there would have been room for wonder indeed.” Justified by the shift from Venice to Rouen and by Bon-Bon’s additional expertise as restaurateur, Poe adds a profusion of foreign phrases, a catalogue of culinary delights, and an impressive list of philosophical essays sur la Nature, sur l’Ame, and sur l’Esprit. As do the narrators of much of Poe’s mature fiction, this one assumes a coterie of readers at ease with all his allusions. Poe always looks to a reader “sufficiently learned to comprehend or to laugh at the presumptuous erudition which the tales affect with such mock seriousness.” The topics mentioned would greatly interest that “diabolical association” of Folio Club members who meet over wine and dinner to hear and criticize “Bon-Bon.”(14)

What Poe refines as he rewrites the story is his parody of the elitist Blackwood’s formula, particularly “the air of exclusiveness and authority which had characterised the Reviews; it incorporated the curious and esoteric learning which was a feature of the more respectable older miscellanies . . . but it fused these elements into a more relaxed, personal, and intimate ethos which permitted the inclusion of more blatant sensationalism, literary gossip, and fiction for the less erudite reader.”(15) Much of the narrator’s pretension results from his philosophical interests and scholarly style, characteristics essential for instruction in “How to Write a Blackwood Article” (1838). A master of the inside-dopester tone, and fluent in French, the narrator in “Bon-Bon” does more elegant extemporizing and less crackerbarrel jesting than the pundit in “The Bargain Lost.” Although no less ridiculous, the revised story aims at playing endless variations on [page 48:] one theme, the good “taste” of Bon-Bon and the devil, and consequently exploits more fully the meeting with the devil that follows. The narrator’s refined sensibility is crucial for developing this punning joinder of philosophical and culinary expertise.

Poe considerably alters the appearance and “taste” of both the philosopher-hero and Satan himself. Pedro Garcia is, after all, a captive of the exotic tastes of Disraeli and others for whom elegance is something like the interior of Pedro’s room: “All around from the ceiling fell tapestry-hangings of the richest crimson velvet. The ceiling, itself, was of brown and highly polished oak, vaulted, carved, and fretted, until all its innumerable angles were rounded into a dense mass of shadow, from whose gloomy depth, by a slender golden chain with very long links, swung a fantastic Arabesque lamp of solid silver.”(16) His elegantly bound and illuminated books scattered on luxurious settees, “having every appearance of the ottomans of Mahomet,” add to the bizarre refinement.

By contrast, the scrupulous “Bon-Bon” narrator describes a hero and his room where knowledge and food are one’s only concern, and in fact are identical.(17) For a great philosopher, who is all stomach, the restaurant is only a low interior space where everything attests to its dual functions as “kitchen and bibliothèque”: “A dish of polemics stood peacefully upon the dresser. Here lay an oven-full of the latest ethicsthere a kettle of duodecimo mélanges. Volumes of German morality were hand and glove with the gridirona toasting fork might be discovered by the side of EusebiusPlato reclined at his ease in the frying panand contemporary manuscripts were filed away upon the spit.” Everything is absurdly balanced. BonBon’s discriminating taste characterizes, “at one and the same time, his essais and his omelettes.” As his doubled last name indicates, our hero offers a sweet solution for the coexistence of body and soul, and a great temptation for the devil.(18)

Although Poe’s characterization of the devil always identifies some comic grotesquerie,(19) “The Bargain Lost” presents Satan as a lusty eccentric, wearing a Roman toga over a shirt and tie of contemporary fashion. He carries with him a crimson, luminescent bag that contains his ledger of condemned souls. During his discussion of the quality of souls he has eaten, he licks his lips and wags his tail, but Pedro overlooks these manners not befitting a gentleman. All the [page 49:] subsequent versions depict the devil as resembling an impoverished clergyman, both scholarly and sinister. He is very tall and thin, and wears an old and faded suit, in a style current in the early eighteenth century. In his breast pocket, he carries a small black volume entitled Rituel Catholique, which later turns out to be the RegĂ®tre des Condamnés. Poe also hints at the devilish parts that are barely concealed by the ecclesiastical disguise: the fang-like teeth, the misshapen feet, “the tremulous swelling about the hinder part of his breeches,” and the swishing coattail. The 1845 version adds a top hat “maintained lightly upon his head,” presumably to cover the horns, although it retains the 1835 phrase describing the devil’s head as bald with a long oriental-style queue in back. These leisurely circumlocutions of the revised versions emphasize a venerable and courteous stranger with traces of diabolical nature, not the rogue of “The Bargain Lost.” By 1835, Poe appears to have had a greater familiarity with contemporary devil tales, particularly those by Robert Macnish in Blackwood’s and J. F. Dalton (author of “Peter Snook”) in various magazines.(20)

One important detail not found in this fiction and added to the 1835 version is that the devil has no eyes and wears “green spectacles.”(21) As Mabbott first noted, these spectacles seem to be a link between the tale as it was revised for inclusion in the 1833 “Tales of the Folio Club” and the probable teller, De Rerum Naturi, Esqr. In his study of the relations between the Folio Club members and their tales, Alexander Hammond argues that the devil is the narrator, writing about himself in the third person in very complimentary terms. The presence of that consummate gourmet in such company is ironic; he could make some telling points in the drunken disputes with other members about their uses of the devil. Whether or not Poe intended the irony of having Satan comment on himself when he published the story without the critical disputes and elaborate framework of the Folio Club, he did lavish much attention upon the devil’s character and thus tightened the tale. The Satanic Majesty is a far more varied and interesting character than the dandified figure in “The Duc de L’Omelette” or the Biblical demon in “Siope — A Fable,” two more candidates for the “Tales of the Folio Club.” During the discussion of philosophers, the devil maintains that he is Epicurus and, as a seeker of fine pleasures, he rejects Bon-Bon’s [page 50:] tasteless bargain-hunting. That he is the Greek philosopher adds irony, for his philosophy that the soul may be eaten is “a comic embodiment of the argument of De rerum natura that the soul is composed of atoms and is therefore material.”(22)

Once the descriptions of the philosopher, his surroundings, and the devil have been established, “Bon-Bon” evidences a fairly high degree of correspondence to “The Bargain Lost.” The chief difference is that the original conversation between the antagonists, though it remains ludicrous, makes wonderful farce when we know that the hero is a chef:

“Yes, sir, my soul is particularly calculated for for — a stew, damme!”


“A ragout“ ”Eh?”

“A fricasee

”Ah!” (1832)

Satan’s description of the philosophers eaten, how each tasted, and the superlative merits of the Greeks is also clearer with the presence of such a delectable listener as Bon-Bon.

Ultimately he is in the same tongue-tied and increasingly drunken state at the end of the story as was Pedro. Bon-Bon’s contribution to dialogue consists of a series of incomplete and failed expressions punctuated by a distressing case of “hiccups.” Satan becomes, however, more threatening and also magnificent as he talks to the philosopher in a Faustian scene of demonic glee that continues the burlesquing of Gothic conventions within this tale for gentlemen:

. . . the devil, dropping at once the sanctity of his demeanour, opened to its fullest extent a mouth from ear to ear, so as to display a set of jagged and fang-like teeth, and throwing back his head, laughed long, loudly, wickedly, and uproariously, while the black dog, crouching down upon his haunches, joined lustily in the chorus, and the tabby cat, flying off at a tangent, stood up on end and shrieked in the farthest corner of the apartment.

Later this “sightless” devil demonstrates his power by convincing Bon-Bon that the cat instinctively knows of his presence (as animals traditionally do) and that he can read its mind: “She has just concluded [page 51:] that I am the most distinguished of ecclesiastics, and that you are the most superfluous of metaphysicians.”

More conventionally diabolical in 1835, the devil is also more convincing as a philosophical gentleman who spurns Bon-Bon’s offer. During his extended discussion of philosophers, he declares that he gave Aristotle his “one divine mortal truth . . . that by sneezing men expelled superfluous ideas through the proboscis,” that he had to correct Plato, and that, as we have seen, he was Epicurus. Although using this dialogue to mock all philosophy, at least that spoken where in vino veritas prevails, Poe does make one significant deletion to avoid offending good taste and disrupting the lighthearted diablerie of this piece. In recounting purchases of the souls of living people, the devil notes that “There was Cain, and Nimrod, and Nero, and Caligula, and Dionysius, and Pisistratus, and and the Jewandand a thousand others, all very good men in their way.” In 1835, he deleted “the Jew” from the list of those who had sold their souls to him.(23) If “the Jew” is meant to be Christ, Poe probably felt it was going too far to include Him in that company.

By 1835, Poe was nearly satisfied with the form of the tale, as he was with the other Courier satires that he revised for SLM. In the last two appearances of the story he attempted to eliminate redundant expressions, modify those phrases badly overwritten, and generally alter details that exaggerated the wrong kind of comic playfulness. Textual changes in 1840 involve a few verbal revisions, some corrections of the French, and a transliteration of a Greek phrase from English back into Greek.

In BJ (1845), Poe made significant verbal revisions, in addition to correcting mechanical errors of spelling and punctuation. On occasion, he added a phrase or sentence to expand a piece of comic erudition. For example, after the statement, “In his opinion the powers of the intellect [“mind” in 1835 and 1840] held intimate connection with the capabilities of the stomach,” he added: “I am not sure, indeed, that he greatly disagreed with the Chinese, who hold that the soul lies in the abdomen. The Greeks at all events were right, he thought, who employed the same word for the mind and the diaphragm.” One other interesting addition occurs at the very end where the devil rebuffs Bon-Bon for what he suggestively calls “your present situation.” Poe substituted “your present disgusting [page 52:] and ungentlemanly situation” to make more forceful Satan’s own gentlemanly outrage at having been tempted and then forced to leave empty-handed.(24)

Chiefly, however, the later revisions tightened the form of the story. As with other tales reprinted in the journal where Poe gained his greatest editorial independence, he frequently cut or shortened words and phrases. He changed “found himself entirely nonplussed” to “found himself nonplussed,” and, describing the devil, changed “tinctured with grotesque diablerie” to “tinctured with diablerie” and the “dead level of cadaverous flesh” to “dead level of flesh.” He also deleted a long list that first appeared in 1835 of wines standing on the philosopher’s cupboard, but retained other references in that version not found in “The Bargain Lost” alluding to Bon-Bon’s love of wine.(25) Dropping this list eliminates the only major detail that does not share in the punning conjunction of wisdom and wine.

Although not striking, these later changes are evidence of Poe’s great admiration for a tale begun in his apprentice years and reshaped until 1845, the last extensive revision.(26) “Bon-Bon” was not one of the “articles” mentioned in the Preface to TGA for which Poe sought to “claim indulgence on the score of hasty effort” (p. 8), but one on which he probably relied to market those tales that each member of the Folio Club was required to read “to the company assembled over a glass of wine.”(27)

Studying the textual revisions, we see how Poe early in his career learned to subordinate many humorous elements to a single design, if not a single effect, by establishing the authority of a narrator. Using a pedantic, slightly pompous speaker with a “quick sense of propriety,” he develops at some length the absurdities he compressed and mixed randomly in “The Bargain Lost.” He builds a farce, lightly satirizing the excrescences in magazine fiction, but more interested in playing with the conventions of popular writing than in condemning them. The Faustian compact, normally the occasion for a Gothic plunge into unconsciousness and a dream of infinite freedom, becomes a joke that joins the dreaming psyche to the bodily senses. By attending to the evolution of this tale, we can appreciate Poe’s creation of a refined, jocular manner for treating the absurd. He widened the focus of his lighthearted tale of diablerie to [page 53:] include those ingredients of Gothic terror he himself was later to manipulate so well in his horrific fantasies.


1.  Poe’s purely comic tales are relegated to a low place in the canon of his works because of the steady attack by critics who write about “Poe’s always-deplorable humor,” to quote Robert Martin Adams, Nil: Episodes in the Literary Conquest of Void During the Nineteenth Century (New York, 1966), p. 41. As Stephen L. Mooney observes in “The Comic in Poe’s Fiction,” AL, 33 (1962), 433: “Few critics . . . have found in Poe an unusually comic vein. The pathological, the hysterical, the phantasmagorial, the unspeakable have all been meticulously explored and over-exposed, but the comic has been largely ignored.

2.  Most of the attention paid to “Bon-Bon” and the other early satires focuses on Poe’s sources or the framework and contents of the “Tales of the Folio Club.” Ruth Hudson’s unpublished dissertation, “Poe’s Craftsmanship in the Short Story,” University of Virginia, 1935, contains a study of the sources for “BonBon” and a very helpful descriptive bibliography of the revisions. Alexander Hammond deals with “Bon-Bon” at some length in what is the most thorough account of the “Tales of the Folio Club” to date in his unpublished dissertation and an article summarizing that work: “Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘Tales of the Folio Club’,” Northwestern University, 1971, and “A Reconstruction of Poe’s 1833 Tales of the Folio Club,” PoeS, 5 (1972), 25-32. Among other works that discuss “Bon-Bon,” see Thomas O. Mabbott, “On Poe’s ‘Tales of the Folio Club’,” SR, 26 (1928), 171-176; James S. Wilson, “The Devil Was in It,” American Mercury, 24 (1931), 215-220; Q:194; and G. R. Thompson, Poe’s Fiction: Romantic Irony in the Gothic Tales (Madison, Wis., 1973), p. 47.

3.  I have received the greatest help in dealing with the early tales from the suggestions of Professor Fisher and “The Short Story as Grotesque,” in D, which reminds us that “These tales are indeed ‘poems,’ and Poe always remained a poet even when he was contributing some of his most uninspired narratives to the periodicals. . .” (P. 154).

4.  My text of “A Bargain Lost” is the facsimile reprint in V:50-63. The 1845 BJ appearance of “Bon-Bon” and collations of the 1835 and 1840 versions are in H.II:125-146 and 348-353. I compare Harrison’s details of revisions of the 1840 text with the Dolphin Master edition of TGA (Gloucester, Mass., 1965), pp. 92-108, and the 1845 BJ text with the AMS Press reprint (New York, 1965),1:243-247.

5.  Floyd Stovall, Edgar Poe the Poet (Charlottesville, Va.,1969), p. 57; Thompson, p. 53

6.  On Poe’s financial problems, see Q:307ff, and D:136. For a good discussion of the sources for and “quizzes” in the Courier tales, see Thompson’s chapter, “Flawed Gothic.” [page 54:]

7.  These quotations are respectively from Letter of Paulding to White (March 3, 1836), H.19:377, and Stuart Levine, Edgar Poe: Seer and Craftsman (De Land, Fla., 1972), p. 120.

8.  “The Poetic Principle,” H.XVI:269. As Robert D. Jacobs remarks, “The rule of unified effect was in Poe’s system applicable to all purely literary genres except the novel. . . . . . in Poe: Journalist and Critic (Baton Rouge, La., 1969), p. 319.

9.  Richard Wilbur, “The House of Poe” (The Library of Congress Anniversary Lecture, May 4, 1959), rpt. The Recognition of Edgar Allan Poe: Selected Criticism since 1829, ed. Eric W. Carlson (Ann Arbor, Mich., 1966), p. 268.

10.  Hudson describes a number of French tales that set the fashion and imitative English tales that might have influenced Poe, pp. 366-412. See also Maximilian J. Rudwin, The Devil in Legend and Literature (Chicago, 1931; rpt. New York, 1970), pp. 217-219, and Thompson, p. 47.

11.  “The Bargain Lost,” p. 53. Poe’s “It was a dark and stormy night” is identical to the opening sentence of a latter-day Gothic novel, Bulwer’s Paul Clifford (1828). He kept the Gothic note, but changed the phrasing in later versions.

12.  We learn of this weakness, along with Bon-Bon’s “propensity” for wine early in the story; whereas in “The Bargain Lost” we do not learn of Pedro’s love of bargains and strong drink until the devil is actually present, telling Pedro about past bargains.

13.  In his chapter “The Devil-Compact in Tradition and Belief” (pp. 176-178), Rudwin finds that the devil insists upon meeting all formal requirements before entering into a contract, and always fulfills his legal obligations.

14.  These quotations are respectively from D:143, and introduction to “The Tales of the Folio Club,” H.II:36.

15.  Michael Allen, Poe and the British Magazine Tradition (New York, 1969), p. 23.

16.  In “Poe and Disraeli,” AL, 8 (1937), 413, Ruth Hudson shows how these extravagant details burlesque the sumptuous interiors in Disraeli’s The Young Duke. Thompson cites the similarity between the interiors and those of the hero in Disraeli’s Vivian Grey, p. 220, n. 31.

17.  Poe uses the knowledge-food equation once more, in an 1835 review for SLM: “Men can no more read everything than they can eat everything; and the petit plats that are handed round hot-and-hot, leave us no room to do honor to the roast beef of old England, nor to the savory Virginia ham. But these are the food by which the Chews and sinews of manhood are best nourished, they at once exercise and help digestion. Dyspepsia was not of their day. It came in with French Gastronomy. Are we mistaken in thinking that we see symptoms of a sort of intellectual dyspepsia arising from the incessant exhibition of the bon bons and kickshaws of the press? Well, here is something that will stick by the ribs” (H.VIII:15).

18.  Poe does continue his antitheistic mockery by once again naming his hero “Peter” after St. Peter, that divine magistrate who determines the destination of souls, and by having him offer the devil wine in an ironic twist on the Communion service.

19.  In addition to the two Courier tales, the devil appears in person in two other [page 55:] comic tales, “The Devil in the Belfry” (1839) and “Never Bet the Devil Your Head” (1841). Stephen L. Mooney, “Comic Intent in Poe’s Tales: Five Criteria,” MLN, 76 (1961), 432-434, uses the appearance of the devil as one of the signals helpful for distinguishing Poe’s comic from his serious work. See also James J. Lynch, “The Devil in the Writings of Irving, Hawthorne, and Poe,” NYFQ, 8 (1952), 111-113; and William Goldhurst, “Poe-esque Themes,” Papers on Poe: Essays in Honor of John Ward Ostrom, ed. Richard P. Veler (Springfield, Ohio, 1972), pp. 126-127.

20.  See Hudson, “Poe’s Craftsmanship,” pp. 384-397. In Macnish’s “The Metempsychosis” (1826), the devil is addicted to bargaining.

21.  Rudwin makes this point in his notes to “Bon-Bon,” Devil Stories: An Anthology (New York, 1921), p. 296.

22.  Hammond, “A Reconstruction,” p. 28.

23.  For one other obnoxious reference to a “Jew” that Poe deleted in the 1841 revision of a comic article first printed in SLM (February 1836), see Alexander Hammond, “The Hidden Jew in Poe’s ‘Autography’,” PN, 2 (1969), 55-56.

24.  This change, and many others that were incorporated into the BJ version, Poe first made by marking his copy of TGA, a volume available in the Rare Book Room of the University of Pennsylvania.

25.  This list appears later in the 1835 version of “Lionizing.” See L. Moffitt Cecil, “Poe’s Wine List,” PoeS, 5 (1972), 41-42.

26.  He even twice altered the epigraph. In 1832, he chose a comic thrust at philosophers from As You Like It; in 1835, he replaced it with a short quotation from Voltaire, the mysterious “A” (Arouet was Voltaire’s real name) whose signature is on the agreement the devil produces; and, in BJ, settled on a French vaudeville, a fitting introduction for a French tale of philosophers, devils, and wine.

27.  Introduction to “The Tales of the Folio Club,” H.II:37.






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