Text: Mrs. Maria P. Clemm, “To the Reader,” ­The Works of the Late Edgar Allan Poe­ (1850), 1:iii


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­ [page iii:]

TO THE READER.

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THE late EDGAR ALLAN POE, who was the husband of my only daughter, the son of my eldest brother, and more than a son to myself, in his long-continued and affectionate observance of every duty to me, — under an impression that he might be called suddenly from the world, wrote (just before he left his home in Fordham, for the last time, on the 29th of June, 1849) requests that the Rev. Rufus W. Griswold should act as his literary Executor, and superintend the publication of his works; — and that N. P. Willis, Esq., should write such observations upon his life and character, as he might deem suitable to address to thinking men, in vindication of his memory.

These requests he made with less hesitation, and with confidence that they would be fulfilled, from his knowledge of these gentlemen;  and he may times expressed a gratification of such an opportunity of decidedly and unequivocally certifying his respect for the literary judgment and integrity of Mr. Griswold, with whom his personal relations, on account of some unhappy misunderstanding, had for years been interrupted.

In this edition of my son’s works, which is published for my benefit, it is a great pleasure for me to thank Mr. Griswold and Mr. Willis for their prompt fulfillment of the wishes of the dying poet, in labors, which demanded much time and attention, and which they have performed without any other recompense than the happiness which rewards acts of duty and kindness. I add to these expressions of gratitude to them, my acknowledgments to J. R. Lowell, Esquire, for his notices of Mr. Poe’s genius and writings which are here published.

MARIA CLEMM.


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Notes:

Aside from this note, there is no real evidence that Poe wished Griswold to be his literary executor. It is certainly possible that the idea was actually Griswold’s, or purely Maria Clemm’s own, unaware of the depth of Griswold’s hostility towards her son-in-law. In any case, Mrs. Clemm was to regret her involvement immediately upon the publication of volume III, later in 1850 than volumes I and II, which included Griswold’s notorious memoir of Poe. Although Mrs. Clemm here states that this edition was “published for my benefit,” in reality she appears to have received only a number of the sets to sell as best she could.


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[S:1 - Works, 1850] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions - Griswold - To the Reader (M. Clemm, 1850)