Text: Edgar Allan Poe (?), [Additional] Review of New Books, from Graham’s Magazine, November 1841, inside rear paper wrapper


[inside rear wrapper, column 1:]

The Book of The Seasons; Or, The Calendar of Nature. By WILLIAM HOWITT. From the Sixth London Edition. Carey and Hart: Philadelphia.

FEW books have attained greater popularity popularity of the best sort than Howitt’s “Book of the Seasons.” Its design is the most happily conveyed in the author’s advertisement to the First Edition. “Many works there are,” he says, “which lead us incidentally into the country, or which, treating on the aspects and progress of the Seasons, mix up with them a variety of other matters; but a work has long been wanting to realise the beau ideal of a Book of the Seasons, presenting us with all their poetic and picturesque features; which, as a Calendar of Nature, should be comprehensive and complete in itself; which, on being taken up by the lover of Nature at the opening of each month, should lay before him in prospect all the objects and appearances which the month would present in the garden, the fields, and the waters; yet confining itself solely to those objects. Such a work I have endeavored to supply.” We have, in addition, a complete table of the migrations of Birds; a copious list of garden plants flowering each month; a Botanical Calendar; an Entomological Catalogue; also a chapter on Rural Occupations, and one on Angling.

The work is very beautifully printed on paper of unusual excellence.


A Token of Friendship. A New Edition. Edited by the Author of “Affection’s Keepsake.” D. Appleton & Co.: New York.

A Token of Affection. Poetry of the Heart. A new Edition. Edited by the Author of “Affection’s Keepsake.” D. Appleton & Co.: New York.

A Token of Remembrance. A new Edition. Edited by the Author of “Affection’s Keepsake.” D. Appleton & Co.: New York.

These are three very pretty little books, well bound, exquisitely printed, and ornamented each with a fine steel engraving from a truly beautiful design. The literary contents consist of poetical selections from standard authors. These minute volumes are very well adapted for presents.


The Life of Gilbert Motier de Lafayette, &c. From Numerous and Authentic Sources. By EBENEZER MACK.Mack, Andrus and Woodruff: Ithaca.

The author of this work observes very justly that “there seems at this time to be wanted a connected narrative of the events of Lafayette’s whole life in such a plain form as will bring it within the means of all classes of readers.” He says also “I have no pride or ambition of authorship. I claim no merit for this volume except that of a faithful compilation.” To this merit at least if not to far higher Mr. Mack is, in our opinion, (founded upon cursory perusal) fully entitled.

[column 2:]


De Clifford, or The Constant Man. By the Author of “Tremaine,” “De Vere.” &c. Three Volumes. Lea and Blanchard: Philadelphia.

Mr. Ward (who, to our astonishment, we now learn for the first time, is seventy-six years of age) is well known as the author of a series of the very best didactic fictions in the language. His books, to contemplative readers, have a charm which no other works possess. They evince a profound knowledge, if not of the human heart in general, yet certainly of the human heart of the British beau monde. In spirit in movement they are somewhat deficient; but this is almost the only weak point. “De Clifford” is fully equal to “De Vere,” of which it has all the peculiarities.


Incidents of a Whaling Voyage. To which are added Observations on the Scenery, Manners and Customs, and Missionary Stations of the Sandwich and Society Islands. Accompanied by Numerous Lithographic Prints. By FRANCIS ALLYN OLMSTED. D. Appleton & Co.: New York.

There is much about this volume which will remind the reader of Mr. Dana’s late popular work. The author says that, during the latter part of his Collegiate course, his health became impaired, rendering it necessary to seek a milder clime, when accident directed his attention to the whale-ship “North America,” fitting out at New London for a voyage to the Pacific. He went in this ship as passenger, and in the pages before us details the adventures of his voyage. Every line indicates the strict veracity, as well as the careful observation of the writer. Altogether, the book is the best of its kind. Indeed, we know of no other representation of whaling life which can compare with this in accuracy and interest. It would be an excellent model for any novelist of the Crusoe school, in search of the air vraisemblable.


The History of the Church. A Poem. By N. C. BROOKS, A. M.Read before the Diagnothian Society of Marshall College, on the Anniversary, July 5, 1841. Published by the Society.

We have had frequent occasion to express our sense of Mr. Brooks’ merit as a poet. His longer productions, to be sure, have always seemed to us essentially defective wanting in adaptation, and force, and destitute of that originality which can be dispensed with in brief, but never in elaborate compositions. But, perhaps, after all, we are judging the poet by the works of his earlier youth. His occasional stanzas are often very excellent. More than once we have spoken of “Shelly’s Obsequies” as an unusually fine poem, and we have seen several others, equally good, from his pen. Some passages in “The History of the Church” belong to a high order of poetry but we will not attempt a criticism upon what we have not yet had an opportunity of reading with deliberation. Hereafter we may possibly speak more fully upon this head.



The six notices given here may be attributed to Poe as highly probable, although not certain. Since they appear only inside the rear of the external paper wrappers, they were apparently unknown to Heartman and Canny, and are not mentioned by T. O. Mabbott or W. D. Hull. All of the reviews in the standard portion of “Review of New Books” from the same issue are attributed to Poe by Heartman and Canny, T. O. Mabbott and W. D. Hull, and there seems no reason to question these additional reviews. For the review of Olmsted, it should be noted that Poe was interested in vraisemblance and was fond of Robinson Crusoe, favorably reviewing a new edition of Defoe’s book in the Southern Literary Messenger for January 1836.. Especially evocative of Poe is the final review, of N. C. Brooks’ “The History of the Church.” In the December 1841 issue of Graham’s Magazine, in the entry about Brooks from “A Chapter on Autography,” Poe says, “In a work which he entitled ‘Scriptural Anthology’ among many inferior compositions of length, there were several shorter pieces of great merit; for example ‘Shelley’s Obsequies’ and ‘The Nicthanthes’.” Poe had already praised “Shelley’s Obsequies” in Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine for May 1840, in a review of Brooks’ The Utility of Classical Studies. There, Poe says, “its best poems have been surpassed by some alter ones of its author, and, among the many American effusions to which we might point with pride, we really know of nothing superior to the “Obsequies of Shelly” first published in ‘The Gift’ for 1839. These stanzas evince powers of a noble order, and in all that regards the minor morals of literature, may be cited as a model.”]

The Poe Society is especially grateful to Mrs. Susan Jaffe Tane, who was kind enough to provide a copy of the text from the rare original in her collection.


[S:0 - GM, 1841] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Criticism - Review of New Books [Text-02]