Text: Various, “Marginalia,” Poe Studies, December 1971, vol. IV, no. 2, 4:47-48


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[page 47, column 1:]

MARGINALIA

This column is devoted to brief notes, comments, queries. We wish to provide here an outlet for such items as source notes which do not require the extended argument and proof that customarily attends them, and for items of very special or peculiar interest which otherwise might not appear. Contributions to this column should be one paragraph in form, not to exceed in length a page and a half of typescript, with all bibliographical citations enclosed in brackets. 

The Whereabouts of Poe’s “Fifty Suggestions”

At least two recent books on Poe have repeated the error made by James A. Harrison in the Complete Works (1902) in documenting the first appearance of Poe’s “Fifty Suggestions.” Both in the Bibliography [XVII, 372] and in the heading of the reprinted text [XIV, 170], Harrison dates the first appearance of this work in Graham’s Magazine as May and June 1845. Similarly erroneous is his indication in the Bibliography that Poe’s “A Chapter of Suggestions” was originally printed in two parts. The reference on p. 175 to The Opal for 1845 is correct, but the reference on p. 377 to Graham’s, May and June 1849, is wrong: there is no known second part to Poe’s “A Chapter of Suggestions” beyond what appeared in The Opal and was reprinted by Harrison [XIV, 186-192]. What the perplexed investigator will happily find in the May and June numbers of the year 1849 in Graham’s Magazine are the two installments of the vanished “Fifty Suggestions.” The first part of Harrison’s note to the text, “The title in Graham’s,” suggests that he saw the work there, but the second part, “The suggestions are numbered as above,” is wrong. The discrepancy in numbering is as follows:

  ....... Graham’s ....... Harrison ....... 29. The goddess Laverna . . . . 29. K—, the publisher . . . .  30. Mr. A—is frequently . . . . 30. The ingenuity . . . .  31. H—calls . . . .  31. The goddess Laverna . . . .  32. K—, the publisher . . . . 32. H—calls . . . .  33. The ingenuity . . . .  33. Mr. A—is frequently . . . . 

Furthermore, in Suggestion 46, “Mr. M—” in Graham’s becomes “Mr. Mathews” in Harrison, in all four instances. Since the Harrison text is identical to the Griswold text [Works (1850-56), III, 597-607], it is clear that, notwithstanding his frequent disparagement of Griswold’s editing, Harrison, while creating the impression that he was going back to the original version, was actually basing his text on Griswold’s. Interestingly, George E. Woodberry, too, erred about the “Fifty Suggestions,” stating in his Life of Edgar Allan Poe [1909, II, 2571 that it appeared in Graham’s in May and June 1848. Since in the same paragraph he carefully records the “Marginalia” installments in Graham’s for January and February of that year, but not for March, which is one of the two installments left out by Harrison from his edition, one is led to suspect that Woodberry’s error with reference to the “Fifty Suggestions” is the result of an erroneous copying of Harrison’s error. How the error of the supposed two parts of “A Chapter of Suggestions” came about is also puzzling. I imagine Harrison probably saw the “Fifty Suggestions”—at least in the Table of Contents—in Graham’s and made a note of it, but someone assisting him took “Fifty Suggestions” to be another “Chapter of Suggestions.” The final irony in this chain of errors is that in Arthur H. Quinn’s Edgar Allan Poe (1941), the correct dates for the two installments are duly recorded on p. 671—provided one can find them, since the title, “Fifty Suggestions,” was left out of the Index! Setting this matter right should also serve as a reminder that, notwithstanding Griswold’s [column 2:] accusation to the contrary (in the Preface to his “Memoir”), George R. Graham bought material from Poe as late as the spring of 1849. The pay for these five pages was probably about twenty dollars—at least a drop in the still empty bucket during Poe’s last months.

George Egon Hatvary, St. John’s University  

An Error in Some Reprintings of Poe’s 1847 Critique of Hawthorne

Poe’s May 1842 review of Hawthorne’s Twice-Told Tales has found more favor with recent Poe anthologists and editors of American literature textbooks than his longer 1847 critique of Hawthorne. When the latter article is reprinted, however, an error frequently occurs which may lead to a misunderstanding of Poe on a point of much interest. In the erroneous text Poe’s sentence on the relationship between originality in literature and popularity reads as follows: “With the vague opinion that to be original is to be popular, I could, indeed, agree, were I to adopt an understanding of originality which, to my surprise, I have known adopted by many who have a right to be called critical” [my italics]. However, earlier in the same essay Poe has expressed his disagreement with the view “that very original writers always fail in popularity,” arguing that “it is, in fact, the excitable, undisciplined and childlike popular mind which most keenly feels the original.” Hence, the reader of the essay either feels that he has found Poe in an obvious contradiction, or he suspects that a textual error has intruded. A check of the original printed text of the article in Godey’s for November 1847 confirms that the latter is the case, for here Poe expresses his disagreement “with the vague opinion that to be original is to be unpopular” [my italics]. Clearly, then, Poe believed that originality and popularity are compatible, a view that the erroneous text obscures. The error is made in Harrison’s reprinting of the article The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe (New York, 1902), XIII, 145], and its occurrence there probably accounts for its persistence in such later collections as Thomas O. Mabbott’s The Selected Poetry and Prose of Edgar Allan Poe (New York, 1951), Edward H. Davidson’s Selected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe (Boston, 1956), William M. Gibson and George Arms’ Twelve American Writers (New York, 1962), and Richard Poirier and William L. Vance’s American Literature (Boston, 1970).

James B. Reece, Old Dominion University

The Date of Poe’s Burial

Professor Clark’s publication of “Two Unnoticed Recollections of Poe’s Funeral” [Poe Newsletter, 3, 1-2] brings up once more the question of the date of Poe’s interment, a question on which his biographers are not in general agreement. As early as 1875, in an address that was published in the Poe Memorial Volume [p. 44], Professor Elliott affirmed that Poe was buried on the 9th of October, two days after he died. But, in the same volume [p. 35], John H. Ingram noted that Poe “died on Sunday the 7th of October, 1849,” and that “the following day his remains were buried in the burial-ground of Westminster Church.” Since 1875, a number of writers on Poe have accepted the date given by Professor Elliott, October 9th. Among them one finds E. L. Didier [The Life and Poems, 1882, p. 120], Colonel Joyce [Edgar Allan Poe, 1901, p. 198], Mrs. John C. Wrenshall [in the Centenary Tribute, 1910, p. 101] and, as noted by Professor Clark, A. H. Quinn, in 1941. In his biography of Poe published in the Minerva Library in 1891, Ingram seems to have revised his earlier view and sided with Professor Elliott. Another group of biographers have maintained that the correct date was October 8th, as Ingram had it the first time. Among these we find George Woodberry, who, in his Life of Poe in one volume [1885, p. 345] and in the two-volume biography [1909, 11, 348], declared that the “undistinguished [page 48:] funeral took place on Monday, October 8th” and cited the relevant portion of Neilson Poe’s letter to Mrs. Clemm, which was written only three days after the event. Others who have given the same date include W. F. Gill [in his Life of Poe, 1877, p. 239], J. A. Harrison (in the Virginia edition, 1, 336), E. L. Didier [The Poe Cult, 1909, pp. 74, 185] and the frequently unreliable Miss Phillips [Edgar Allan Poe, The Man, 1926, p. 1510]. It should be obvious, even without the meteorological evidence presented by John C. French and the delayed eye-witness account by Colonel Weston, that the correct date of the funeral is October 8th. Quinn was right in saying that the best evidence available is Neilson Poe’s letter; indeed, it appears almost irrefutable. That one of the most authoritative of Poe’s recent biographers should have featured the incorrect date at the beginning of one of the chapters of his book is most regrettable. However inconsequential the error may be, readers of Poe Studies should be interested in having the matter cleared up, once and for all. One further remark on Professor Clark’s article may be in order. The clipping with Colonel Weston’s letter did, as he suspected, come from the Sun. The Center for Baudelaire Studies owns an undated clipping from an unidentified newspaper headed: “Poe’s Funeral. Col. Weston Describes It in a Letter. From the Baltimore Sun.” The text is the same as that quoted by Professor Clark and includes Arthur Conan Doyle’s reply. Since, as Professor Clark observes, Col. Weston’s name is nor to be found in the standard reference works, it may be useful to reproduce the concluding paragraph of the clipping:

Col. Weston left Baltimore just prior to the Civil War, went to Richmond, and an 1862 ran the blockade for the Confederate Government in its dealings with France and England. After that he went to London and never returned. He is an uncle of Mr. Joseph C. Whitney, president of the Merchants & Miners’ Transportation Company, and of Mr. Sterett McKim, chairman of the Liquor License Board. He is also the uncle of Mrs. C. H. Latrobe and is the seventh in direct descent from John Alden.

W. T. Bandy, Vanderbilt University.


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Associated Article(s) and Related Material:

  • None

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[S:0 - PSDR, 1971]