Text: Edgar Allan Poe to Harrison Hall — September 2, 1836 (LTR-074)


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Richmond Sep: 2. 1836

Dr Sir,

Mr White duly received your letter of the 12th August, and I take the liberty of replying for him. The Latin Grammar and Mr Hall’s Sketches have come to hand. The latter I have perused, some time ago, with great interest — I have also read the objectionable article in the N. A. Review, and agree with you that some personal pique is at the bottom of it. I cannot republish the reply in the Am. D. Advertiser, but, with your leave, I will make it the basis of another notice for the Sep: Messenger. It is against our rules to republish any thing — otherwise the reply is so good it would save me the trouble of saying more.

Will you now permit me to trouble you with a little business of my own? At different times there has appeared in the Messenger a series of Tales, by myself — in all seventeen. They are of a bizarre and generally whimsical character, and were originally written to illustrate a large work “On the Imaginative Faculties.” I have prepared them for republication, in book form, in the [page 2:] following manner. I imagine a company of 17 persons who call themselves the Folio Club. They meet once a month at the house of one of the members, and, at a late dinner, each member reads aloud a short prose tale of his own composition. The votes are taken in regard to the merits of each tale. The author of the worst tale, for the month, forfeits the dinner & wine at the next meeting. The author of the best, is President at the next meeting. The seventeen tales which appeared in the Messr are supposed to be narrated by the seventeen members at one of these monthly meetings. As soon as >>one<< each tale is read — the other 16 members criticise it in turn — and these criticisms are intended as a burlesque upon criticism generally. The author of the tale adjudged to be the worst demurs from the general judgment, seizes the seventeen M.S.S. upon the table, and, rushing from the house, determines to appeal, by printing the whole, from the decision of the Club, to that of the public. The critical remarks, which have never been published, will make about 1/4 of the whole — the whole will form a volume of about 300 close pages. oct. [[octavo.]]

I refer you for the reputation of these tales to the covers of the 1rst & 2d vols. Lit. Messr — A mass of eulogy, in the way of extracts from papers, might be appended if necessary, such as have never appeared to any volume in the country. I mention this merely as a matter of business.

My object in stating the nature of these tales &c is to ascertain if you, or any bookseller of your acquaintance, would feel willing to undertake [page 3:] the publication. I make you the first offer. In regard to remuneration, as 3/4 of the book will have been published before, I shall expect none beyond a few copies of the work. My interest with the press throughout the U.S. is perhaps as extensive as that of any man in the country, and would aid the sale, no doubt. Please write me, as soon as possible, on this head. I shall be happy to review, fully, any books you may be pleased to forward.

Very respy
Yr Ob. St
Edgar A Poe

Herewith I forward the published Nos of Vol 2 of the Mess.


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Notes:

None.


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[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Letters - Poe to H. Hall (LTR074/RCL160)