Rejected — “A Few Words on Etiquette”


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This article was attributed to Poe by T. O. Mabbott in his collection of Poe’s Tales and Sketches, 1978, p. 206 n2. He felt that it bore much the same humorous tone and mixture of genuine and satirical commentary as Poe’s essay “The Philosophy of Furniture” from 6 years earlier. The first attribution to Poe is actually from a contemporary source. An article in the New-York Mirror for July 25, 1846, presumably from the pen of the editor, Hiram Fuller, states, “A NEW CHESTERFIELD. — The August number of Mr. Godey’s Magazine contains a paper on etiquette, by Mr. Poe. It does not bear his signature, but it was written by him, and is almost equal to Agogs and Chesterfield. Some of the maxims in this essay are quite up to Rochefoucauld — for instance: ‘A visit should always be returned; and insult never overlooked,’ . . .” Mabbott’s notes at the University of Iowa go on to say, “There can be no doubt that Hiram Fuller and the Mirror staff were in a position to hear current gossip; and Poe never denied his authorship of the essay, which I accept firmly.” Mabbott also mentions that Poe reviewed the book Canons of Good Breeding for Burton’s of November 1839, and comments, “The late Professor Carl Schreiber told me about the article, but left no record of his discovery.”

Unfortunately, it is now clear that Hiram Fuller was being sarcastic in his statement, and not relating any inside information about the author of the article. On May 28, 2014, Ton Fafianie wrote to the Poe Society and identified the actual source as “The Science of Etiquette” by “Asteios,” as it appeared in the London Athenaeum of Jan 7, 1837, pp. 9-10, where it was excerpted from a pamphlet of the same name issued by John Reid & Co. in Glasgow, 1836. Although the identity of person behind the pseudonum of “Asteios” (meaning the civilized or politie one) has not been discovered, it is safe to assume that it is not Poe.


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Historical Texts:

Manuscripts and Authorized Printings:

  • Text-01 — “A Few Words on Etiquette” — 1846, no original manuscript or fragments are known to exist (but this version is presumably recorded in Text-02)
  • Text-02 — “A Few Words on Etiquette” — August 1846 — Godey’s

 

Reprints:

  • None

 

Scholarly and Noteworthy Reprints:

  • None

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Comparative Texts:

Instream Comparative Texts:

  • None

 

Plain Text Files for Juxta:

  • None

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Associated Material and Special Versions:

Miscellaneous Texts and Related Items:

  • “A Few Words on Etiquette” — 2007 — Audio book (unabridged), read by Chris Aruffo (part of a 5-CD set)

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Bibliography:

  • Heartman, Charles F. and James R. Canny, A Bibliography of First Printings of the Writings of Edgar Allan Poe, Hattiesburg, MS: The Book Farm, 1943.
  • Mabbott, Thomas Ollive, ed., The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe (Vols 2-3 Tales and Sketches), Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1978.

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[S:0 - JAS] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Essays - A Few Words on Etiquette