Phantasy Pieces (1842)


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This is Poe’s own copy of volume I of Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque (1840), renamed and containing manuscript revisions made in 1842 for a proposed new edition. The revisions were presumably made in the period of June through about August of 1842. Two tales (“The Oval Portrait” and “The Mask of the Red Death”) appear in the table of contents, having appeared in Graham’s Magazine for, respectively, April and May 1842. Not present is “The Gold-Bug,” which was apparently written about September - October 1842 (see Savoye). Also present, but crossed out, are “The Pit and the Pendulum” and “The Mystery of Marie Roget,” both of which had been sold for publication about July 1842.

Phantasy Pieces (1842)

This unique and significant book was in the H. Bradley Martin collection until 1990, when it was sold at auction. Mabbott notes that “the title page and preliminary matter have been removed” from this copy (Mabbott, Tales, p. 1398). Mabbott further notes that “Poe made a new title page and table of contents in manuscript and in which he indicated numerous emendations, some of them abortive. Only the first volume survives; it was found in Poe’s trunk after his death. The second volume has disappeared. I suspect that it was broken up and used as copy by Griswold’s printers, and was the source of the Works texts of ‘Metzengerstein’ and ‘Hans Pfall’ ” (Mabbott, Taless, p. xxviii). Slow sales of Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque prevented Poe from convincing a publisher to print the revised edition.

A marvelously faithful facsimile of this book was printed about 1928 by George Blumenthal in an edition of 50 copies. (It should be noted, however, that the overlay of changes apparently shifted on several pages so that Poe’s markings are improperly aligned with the printed text by one or two lines.)

 


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Bibliographic Data:

12mo. (7 5/8 in x 4 3/8 in). Pages [1]-243. Binding: purple muslin, with a printed paper label. Additional pages tipped in, with corrections and changes.


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Census of Copies:

There were 750 copies of the original volume, but this heavily modified copy is unique. The provenance of this entry is established as authoritatively as possible, given the sketchy and often convoluted bits of information available:

  • Private Collection (?) (formerly in the collections of Stephen H. Wakeman and H. Bradley Martin).  1. Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849); 2. Rufus W. Griswold (this book was presumably found in Poe’s trunk and sent to Griswold by Maria Clemm.); 3. Stephen H. Wakeman; 4. Mrs. George Blumenthal; 5. A. S. W. Rosenbach; 6. Gabriel Wells; 7. H. Bradley Martin, New York collector (1906-1988) (the unique copy) sold at auction in 1990 for $130,000.

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Bibliography:

  • American Art Association Auction Catalogue, The Stephen H. Wakeman Collection of Books of Nineteenth Century American Writers, April 1924, item 941. (Includes a small facsimile of the title page.)
  • Southeby Auction Catalogue, The Library of H. Bradley Martin: Highly Important American and Children’s Literature , New York, January 30 and 31, 1990, item 2202.
  • Savoye, Jeffrey A., “Reconstructing Poe’s Gold-Bug: An Examination of the Composition and Printings,” Edgar Allan Poe Review (Fall 2007), 8:34-48

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[S:0 - JAS] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Editions - Phantasy Pieces (1842)