Text: James A. Harrison, “Appendix B,” Complete Works of E. A. Poe , Vol. 01: Biography (1902), 1:347-348


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[page 347:]

MRS. CLEMM’S PREFACE TO THE GRISWOLD EDITION.(1)

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 [page 348:] with confidence that they would be fulfilled, from his knowledge of these gentlemen; and he many 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 fulfilment 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.

 


[[Footnotes]]

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 347:]

1.  This edition of Poe’s works was copyrighted by J. S. Redfield in 1849, appearing first in two volumes, then with a third volume containing the notorious Memoir, and finally ending with a fourth and last volume in 1856. It will be noticed that Mrs. Clemm’s preface is prefixed gratefully to the volumes that had no Memoir, she apparently never having been cognizant of Griswold’s intention to write her nephew’s life: Mrs. Estelle Anna Lewis had been specially requested by Poe himself, when they parted, to do this, and N. P. Willis had been invited to assist with a biographical Notice. This appeared in “The Home Journal” the Saturday after Poe died, and is incorporated with James Russell Lowell’s sketch in the 1849 edition. See succeeding pages for the Griswold, Willis, and Lowell articles.

What must have been the poor lady’s horror and indignation when she read the Memoir, “a concentration of hatred and malice that had already done duty . . . in the ‘International Magazine’ ”! After reading it, she never ceased to speak of its author as “that villain.” — ED.


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Notes:

None.


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[S:0 - CWEAP, 1902] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Articles - Complete Works of E. A. Poe (Vol. 01 - Biography) (J. A. Harrison) (Appendix B)