[Text: Burton R. Pollin, "Introductory Material for Supplements," Poe,
Creator of Words. © 1980, by Burton R. Pollin; 1998, by
Burton R. Pollin and the Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore, Inc.]
Burton R. Pollin, "Appendix,"
Preliminary work on the projected edition of Poe's complete
writings, including those uncollected by Harrison, has provided many of
the seventy-six additions listed in the first part of the Appendix. The
publication of the first two volumes of Poe's Tales and Sketches (1978),
edited by Thomas Ollive Mabbott, has revealed several variants unknown
to or unnoticed by James A. Harrison. My delving into Poe's sources, particularly
for the forthcoming three longest narratives (Pym, "Hans Pfaall,"
and "Rodman") [published as The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe,
Volume I — The Imaginary Voyages, Boston: Twayne, 1981, reprinted by
Gordian Press], requires that a reservation be made about Poe's priority
for ten words; these are included among those supplied with "Additional
Data" in the Appendix, Part II: battle-lanterns, Charonian, come-at-able,
ferocious-looking, Grogswig, heiress-ship, lee-lurch, lenticular-shaped,
Macaulayism, and old-time. For strict accuracy, they should be subtracted
from the total in the summarizing table, to give Poe the figure of 1,025
coinages, rather than 1,035. This figure will surely need alteration when
all of his uncollected journalistic articles are authenticated and republished
in the comprehensive edition.
Poe, Creator of Words, New York: Nicholas T. Smith, 1980, p. 81.
Burton R. Pollin, "Poe's Word Coinages: A Supplement,"
In the first edition of Poe, Creator of Words (Baltimore: Enoch
Pratt Free Library and Poe Society of Baltimore, 1974; 2nd ed., Bronxville,
N.Y.: Nicholas T. Smith, 1980), 959 of Poe's coinages, with their contexts,
were recorded to serve as a clear demonstration of his lively sense of
humor, his "graphicality" as he termed it, his innovative tendencies in
language, and his unusual capacity to combine varied elements and to "abstractify"
proper names. The need for a second edition of the book offered an opportunity
to modify some items and augment the total with a net addition of 66 more
entries. The present supplement of 24 entries has resulted from the close
scrutiny of texts required by the process of editing the full canon of
Poe's works, including uncollected writings from the Aristidean,
Broadway Journal, Evening Mirror, Burton's Gentleman's
Magazine, Pioneer, and Southern Literary Messenger, as
well as a Poe manuscript. The citation from the last source ("cliquerie")
is the sole exception of the "first published" claim from all of these
Poe coinages, which now total 1,057 (in 1980, 1,035 was the revised total).
The 24 given below include splendid examples of Poe's ingenuity, liveliness,
and whimsicality, such as his hoax coinage ("arrondées"), his probable
adaptation of a Hamlet passage ("batterer") and of a George Washington
expression ("patriot-farmer"), and his own Granville quotation-word ("unsearchableness").
It is curious to note that for two entries ("didacticism" and "Marginalia")
both Carlyle and Coleridge share with Poe credit for penning the "first
coinage" although Poe published his first. In "didacticism" Poe
summed up his aversion to the prevailing moralism of contemporary literature;
in "Marginalia," he provided us with an indispensable term of wide application.
The research underlying this supplement was greatly aided by grants from
the CUNY Research Foundation and NEH.
Poe Studies, XVI, no. 2 (December 1983), p. 39.
Burton R. Pollin, "Poe's Word Coinages: A Supplement II,"
The two editions of Poe, Creator of Words (Baltimore, 1974, and
(augmented) Bronxville, 1980) recorded a total of 1,025 of Poe's word coinages
with their contexts. Subsequently, in Poe Studies of December 1983,
an additional 24 words were added, with their contexts, to comprise a total
of 1,049 (to be revised herein). Since the appearance of the first supplement,
my intensive work with the texts of the Broadway Journal, Eureka,
and the manuscripts of Poe has revealed 17 new coinages (Part A below)
and 19 additional sets of instances for the entries in the previous lists
(Part B below). It has also led me to remove three items previously included
("self-sustained," "space-penetrating," and Sub-entitled"), to produce
a final total now of 1,063. From Eureka come six of the coinages,
further evidence of Poe's efforts in that work to express concepts spanning
disconnected fields of inquiry or to reify difficult abstractions. In both
Parts A and B that follow, the coinage is cited in boldface, followed by
the source(s), context(s) of usage, and any necessary commentary. All references
to "Supplement I" cite "Poe's Word Coinages: A Supplement," Poe Studies
16 (December 1983): 39-40, while references to POW cite Poe,
Creator of Words (1974; rev. ed., Bronxville: Nicholas Smith, 1980,
currently distributed by the Edgar Allan Poe Museum of Richmond, Virginia).
[The 1980 edition is now, in 1998, out-of-print.]
Poe Studies: Dark Romanticism, XXII, no. 2 (December 1989), p. 40.
Burton R. Pollin, "Poe's Word Coinages: A Supplement III,"
The word-making facility and habit of Edgar Allan Poe were my subjects
in two volumes and two articles published between 1974 and 1989: Poe,
Creator of Words (Baltimore: Enoch Pratt Library and Poe Society of
Baltimore, 1974), an augmented edition (Bronxville, NY: Nicholas T. Smith,
1980, available through the Richmond Poe Foundation) [The 1980 edition
is now, in 1998, out-of-print], "Poe's Word Coinages: A Supplement" (Poe
Studies 16 : 39-40) and "Poe's Word Coinages: Supplement II"
(Poe Studies / Dark Romanticism 22 : 40-42. The totals recorded
therein were 1,058, and the diminishing number produced by repeated readings
of the works in the Poe canon induced me to believe that my efforts displayed
in the 1989 article would suffice for at least the next decade. However,
my view was changed in June 1992 by the issuance, from Oxford University
Press, of a new tool for research in this field, a CD-ROM disc indexing
all the contents of the entire Oxford English Dictionary (second
edition, 1989). Thanks to the facilities of the New York Public Library
and the New York office of the Press itself, I was enabled to scroll through
its twenty volumes plus the 1987 supplement for all instances of citation
from the works of Poe. I thus found 120 "new" citations that had partly
slipped through my eye-searches in previous years.
Poe Studies: Dark Romanticism, XXII, nos. 1 and 2 (December 1994),
About a third of these instances had indeed been
found previously, only to be discarded for not being "unique coinages,"
but many Poe coinages had merely been overlooked because of their assumed
long-established "commonness" (see, for example, "normality," "imitativeness,"
"indistinctive," "irreducible," "odorless," "promiscuity," and "unclassifiable"
). There were 47 of these, ready to be added to the "coinage canon" (listed
in the category index below under "New Words"). Because I was able to reexamine
various categories of "new" or "almost new" words that I had previously
omitted in a rather too rigid purism of entrance requirements, I have included
here 29 instances that were either a revival by Poe (unconscious or intended)
of an old form or a "new coinage" that duplicated, unknowingly, a sixteenth-
or seventeenth-century prototype (indexed below under "Revivals"). Some
26 were new uses of an old form, such as "angularly," "booked," "monody,"
and "trialed" (indexed under "New Use of Old Form"). There were 11 instances
of a new form for a known and used word, such as "Maelström" and "Moskoe-ström,"
"stertoriousness," and "unpossibility" (indexed under "Newly Changed Form"
). Finally, there was a category that I had formerly sifted out — instances
of words used by a few of Poe's contemporary fellow-writers but unlikely
to have been copied by him (clear prior coinages by others that would have
been well known to Poe were omitted). To these I added instances from possibly
but not definitively widespread contemporary usage ascribed to Poe (see,
for example, "bee-line," "bethumb," "bugaboo," "busybodyism," "fire-dog,"
and "unoriginality"), resulting in 23 examples (indexed under "Contemporary
Usage"). In the following index, the coinages in each of these five categories
are cited by entry number from the main listing:
A. New Words: 2 4 8 13 15 19 27 29 32 33 35 36 38 43 46 49 51
54 58 61 67 72 73 74 75 76 83 85 90 91 92 93 94 96 97 101103 104 105 106
108 110 111112 113 114 119 [47 total]
B. Revivals: 1 5 6 9 2125 28 3134 35 39 40 4145 53 55 59 62 69
76 77 78 80 88 99 102 109 115 117 [29 total]
C. Contemporary Usage: 7 10 11 17 18 20 22 24 26 30 36 37 42
43 44 49 56 60 63 66 116 118 120 [23 total]
D. Newly Changed Form: 16 18 39 47 56 64 70 81 89 101117 [11
E. New Use of Old Form: 3 7 14 23 24 3142 48 50 52 57 65 68 71
77 79 82 84 86 87 89 95 98 99 100 107 [26 total]
The nonredundant instances among these five categories
produce a new "Supplement" of 120 [page 29:]
entries — probably the last that need to "enter the lists" until the Poe
canon is enlarged again (see "self-puffery" in the 1989 "Supplement" and
item 93 below) because texts unsearched by the committees of the OED
(which relied mainly on the 1850, 1856 Redfield edition) have already
been used for my evolving cumulations. In listing the numbered entries
in the five categories above, I must mention the inevitable need to rely
on a subjective judgment that may miscategorize a few of the words. Some,
of course, fall into two classes, such as those that appear to be both
a revival and a usage (whether original or not) by another author in Poe's
day. "Crossover" words repeated from one group to another number 16; they
are, by specific entry number with category letters given in the parenthesis,
as follows: 7 (C/E), 18 (C/D), 24 (C/E), 31 (B/E), 35 (A/B), 36 (A/C),
39 (B/D), 42 (C/E), 43 (A/C), 56 (C/D), 76 (C/B), 77 (B/E), 89 (D/E), 99
(B/E), 101 (A/D), 117 (B/D). Such crossovers, of course, explain why the
sum of categories A through E above is 16 more than the 120 entries listed
in the following supplement.
As in previous supplements, the various options considered
as final entries have been checked also against Craigie's four-volume Dictionary
of American English and Mitford M. Mathews's Dictionary of Americanisms,
but the basic source has been the OED, in all its editions and
supplements, including the first edition (1884-1928) and the revised, updated
1989 second edition, which included, for Poe citations, a limited number
of entries from my 1974 Poe, Creator of Words, but not from the
revised 1980 edition. In my correspondence with the coeditor of the dictionary
in Oxford is an acknowledgment of three clear errors in all OED texts:
two ghost entries based on a novel called Eustace by a David Pae,
indexed under Poe; and a misprint for "Unexpressively." There is also indicated
an awareness of the poor handling of the basic text used for Poe citations
in the first edition and supplements, a matter somewhat weakly addressed
in the 1989 second edition, probably in response to the copy of the 1974
edition of Poe, Creator of Words (see p. 18) that was sent soon
As I acknowledge above, the expansion of categories
for admitting words into the canon of Poe coinages (compare those discussed
in POW, 1720) has led me to include among the 120 items below such
revivals as "flower-enamelled" in the poem "To Zante" and such new forms
of old words as "stamen" for "strength" by incorrect back derivation from
"stamina" (see POW, 20). Backtracking and revising for all prior
rejections that might fall into these categories would entail repetition
of the years of eye scanning and verifications that entered into my 1974
and 1980 books; I therefore offer my present totals as they stand, with
the hope that subsequent scholars and developments may swell our knowledge
of the verbal treasure trove of Poe's coinages (for example, the preparation
of a complete "Word Index" for all of Poe's nonfictional and nonpoetic
texts, perhaps through the data bank of the cumulative Writings edition).
The 1989 coinage count was 1,058 (incorrectly stated as 1,063 thanks to
my inadvertent duplication from the book of "subentitled" in 1983 and,
in 1989, of "imparticularity," "mass-constitutive," "no-color," and "pseudo-public-opinion").
Adding to 1,058 the 120 entries given below yields a total of 1,178. Purists
may wish to add only the 47 "New Words" (as listed above) to make the total
1,105. Were there space and time enough, a strong argument might be offered
in support of admitting the entire list.
Poe's Word Coinages III
Meanings adapted or adopted from the OED appear in brackets after
the entry word; if a number is included, it refers to the "sense" or "meaning"
number in OED entry. Quotation marks around Poe citations and most
single words under discussion have been omitted for clarity and to avoid
seeming to be "finicky" (Poe's word no. 43 below). A slash in a volume-page
cluster precedes the line number in the text. Short title citations use
abbreviations standard in Poe Studies / Dark Romanticism. N.B.:
Item 78a lists an important "first instance" of the word "pants," discovered
after the completion of the supplement, along with two compound nonce words,
apparently of Poe's creation: "new-touch" and "new-style." The three have
been omitted from all counts and numberings given in the preface above.
[The items mentioned in these supplements have been integrated into
the main lists, rendering somewhat irrelevant such references as "below."
The texts of all of these materials have been included unaltered here mostly
for the sake of completeness.]
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