Rejected — “The Capitol at Washington”


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In his edition of Poe’s Tales & Sketches (1978), Thomas Ollive Mabbott attributes this article to Poe, saying, in a footnote, “The Capitol at Washington is minutely described in a plate article, unsigned, in Burton’s, November 1839, which I now (December 12, 1958) assign to Poe on the strength of the letter to Burton, June 1, 1840, and this passage in “Some Words with a Mummy” (3:1200n34).” The passage to which Mabbott refers is in the tale noted, in the paragraph beginning, “ ‘Look,’ he cried with enthusiam, ‘at the Bowling-Green Fountain in New York! or if this be too vast a contemplation, regard for a moment the Capitol at Washington, D. C.!” and ending “He explained that the portico alone was adorned with no less than four and twenty columns, five feet in diameter, and ten feet apart” (3:1192). The letter does not specifically mention this item, but in accounting for the amount of work for which Poe is claiming credit, he mentions “compilation of various articles, such as Plate articles,” for which the present item would apply.

In an e-mail sent to the Poe Society on May 28, 2014, Ton Fafianie reported having identified the text as directly lifted from The Washington Guide, by William Elliot, Washington City: Franck Taylor, 1837. The material adapted for the magazine comes from pp. 55-102. A few sentences about the capitol’s library may be the only original contribution by the person who prepared the material for the magazine, probably Poe.


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Historical Texts:

Manuscripts and Authorized Printings:

  • Text-01 — “The Capitol at Washington” (?) — 1839, no original manuscript or fragments are known to exist (but this version is presumably recorded in Text-02)
  • Text-02 — “The Capitol at Washington” (?) — November 1839 — Burton’s — (Attributed by T. O. Mabbott)

 

Reprints:

  • None

 

Scholarly and Noteworthy Reprints:

  • None

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Comparative and Study Texts:

Instream Comparative and Study Texts:

  • None

 

Plain Text Files for Juxta:

  • None

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Associated Material and Special Versions:

Miscellaneous Texts and Related Items:

  • “The Capital at Washington” — 2009 — Audio book (unabridged), read by Chris Aruffo (part of a 6-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 - The Capitol at Washington