Text: Edgar Allan Poe (ed. J. A. Harrison), “Review of Confessions of a Poet,” The Complete Works of Edgar Allan PoeVol. VIII: Literary Criticism - part 01 (1902), pp. 2-3


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[page 2, continued:]

CONFESSIONS OF A POET, 2 VOLS. CAREY, LEA AND BLANCHARD.

[Southern Literary Messenger, April 1835.]

THE most remarkable feature in this production is the bad paper on which it is printed, and the typographical ingenuity with which matter barely enough for one volume has been spread over the pages of two. The author has very few claims to the sacred name he has thought proper to assume. And indeed his own idea on this subject seem not to satisfy himself. He is in doubt, poor man, of his own qualifications, and having proclaimed himself a poet in the title page, commences his book by disavowing all pretensions to the character. We can enlighten him on this head. There is nothing of the vates about him. He is no [page 3:] poet — and most positively he is no prophet. He is a writer of notes. He is fond of annotations; and composes one upon another, putting Pelion upon Ossa. Here is an example: “Ce n’est pas par affectation que j’aie mis en Français ces remarques, mais pour les détourner de la connoissance du vulgaire.” Now we are very sure that none but le vulgaire, to speak poetically, will ever think of getting through with the confessions: thus there the matter stands. Lest his book should not be understood he illustrates it by notes, and then lest the notes should be understood, why he writes them in French. All this is very clear, and very clever to say no more. There is however some merit in this book, and not a little satisfaction. The author avers upon his word of honor that in commencing this work he loads a pistol, and places it upon the table. He farther states that, upon coming to a conclusion, it is his intention to blow out what he supposes to be his brains. Now this is excellent. But, even with so rapid a writer as the poet must undoubtedly be, there would be some little difficulty in completing the book under thirty days or thereabouts. The best of powder is apt to sustain injury by lying so long “in the load.” We sincerely hope the gentleman took the precaution to examine his priming before attempting the rash act. A flash in the pan — and in such a case — were a thing to be lamented. Indeed there would be no answering for the consequences. We might even have a second series of the Confessions.

 


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Notes:

None.


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[S:1 - JAHCW, 1902] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions - The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe (J. A. Harrison) (Review of Confessions of a Poet)