Rejected — “English Notes for Extensive Circulation”


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This pamphlet was published only with the obvious pseudonym of Quarles Quickens, a play on the name of Charles Dickens, whose American Notes for General Circulation is the target of this minor satire. (By replacing the first letter of each part of Dickens’s name with “Qu,” the author of the satire has created an alliterative name and an allusion to quarelling, that is, arguing in an angry fashion.)

The author was not Edgar Allan Poe. Instead, it was Nathaniel Wheeler Coffin (1815-1869), a minor poet who was associated with the Boston Daily Mail, which published the English Notes. As was noted by Mary E. Phillips and W. N. C. Carlton, both in 1926, there appeared in the Boston Daily Mail of January 11, 1843 a poem called “The Times,” with the byline that it was by “The Author of English Notes.” What was not noted, until it was discovered by Ton Fafianie and mentioned to the Poe Society in an e-mail dated December 15, 2017, is that the poem “The Times” was collected in a volume of poetry by N. W. Coffin: America, an Ode and Other Poems, Boston: Samuel G. Simpkins, 1843, pp. 109-117.


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Historical Texts:

Manuscripts and Authorized Printings:

  • Text-01 — “English Notes for Extensive Circulation” — 1842, no original manuscript or fragments are known to exist (but this version is presumably recorded in Text-02)
  • Text-02 — “English Notes for Extensive Circulation” — December 6, 1842 — Boston: Published by the Daily Mail Office

 

Reprints:

  • None

 

Scholarly and Noteworthy Reprints:

  • English Notes — 1920 — New York: Lewis M. Thompson

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Comparative and Study Texts:

Instream Comparative and Study Texts:

  • None

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Associated Material and Special Versions:

Miscellaneous Texts and Related Items:

  • None

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Bibliography:

  • Anonymous, “Did Poe Parody Dickens’s ‘American Notes’?,” New York Times Book Review and Magazine (New York, NY), August 1, 1920, p. 55 (a fairly substantial review of Jackson’s argument claiming Poe as the author of English Notes. One quote may be sufficient to suggest the tone and conclusions of the review “There is certainly nothing that can be called proof here.”) (The book was also reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement of the London Times, September 16, 1920, p. 595)
  • Campbell, Killis, “The Poe Canon,” The Mind of Poe and Other Studies, 1933, p. 225-226, item 20 (Campbell, citing the Carlton article, dismisses Jackson's argument that the pamphlet was written by Poe)
  • Carlton, William Newnham Chattin, “The Authorship of English Notes by Quarles Quickens reviewed,” Americana Collector (Metuchen, NJ), vol. I, no. 5, February 1926, pp. 186-192
  • Grubb, Gerald Giles, “The Personal and Literary Relationships of Dickens and Poe. Part Two: ‘English Notes’ and “The Poets of America’,” Nineteenth Century Fiction, vol. 5 No. 2, September 1950, pp. 101-120 (Dr. Grubb (1899-1957 was a Dickens specialist who taught at Wake Forest College.)
  • 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, pp. 65-68
  • Heartman, Charles F. and Kenneth Rede, A Census of First Editions and Source Materials by Edgar Allan Poe in American Collections, Metuchen, NJ: Charles F. Heartman, 1932, pp. 64-66 (This particular item is essentially dismissed in the section of “Spurious Volumes Occassionally Attributed to Edgar Allan Poe,”)
  • Jackson, Joseph, “Dickens in American Fifty Years Ago,” World’s Work, vol. XXIII, no. 3, January 1912, pp. 283-294 (“English Notes” is mentioned on pp. 292-293, with the statement that “there can be very little doubt that the author of it was Edgar Allan Poe.”)
  • Jackson, Joseph, “Poe’s Signature to ‘The Raven’,” Sewanee Review, vol. XXVI, no. 3, July 1918, pp. 272-275
  • Jackson, Joseph, “Forward,” English Notes, New York: Lewis M. Thompson, 1920
  • Lloyd, John Arthur Thomas, “Who Wrote ‘English Notes’?,” Colophon, ns. vol. I, Summer 1935, pp. 107-118
  • Mabbott, Thomas Ollive, “Further Comments on English Notes,” Americana Collector (Metuchen, N J), vol. I, no. 6, March 1926, pp. 236-237
  • Mabbott, Thomas Ollive, ed., The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe (Vol 1 Poems), Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1969, p. 508 (mentioned in rejected items 61-62 and 63)
  • Philips, Mary Elizabeth, Poe The Man, Chicago, IL: John C. Winston, 1926, 2 vols.
  • Rosenbach, Abraham Simon Wolfe, Books, Broadsides and Autograph Letters Relating to America, Philadelphia: Rosenbach Co., 1917, p. 189 (item 1004)
  • Robertson, John Wooster, Poe: A Study, San Francisco: privately printed, pp. 421-422
  • Sargent, George Henry, “Dickensiana,” Bookman’s Journal and Print Collector, (London and New York), vol. VI, no. 7, April 1922, pp. 23-24 (On p. 34, Mr. Sargent comments about the auction of the famous Dickens collection of William Glyde Wilkins, of which he states that the English Notes was the highlight. He also states “At the time I wrote the criticism of this work for the reprint, I confessed to having doubts as to the sufficiency of the evidence, but later confirmatory evidence has led me to believe that this was really written by Poe and at once suppressed. This opinion seemed to prevail in the auction room, for the rejoinder brought $800, and goes into the Huntington library.”)

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[S:0 - JAS] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Essays - English Notes for Extensive Circulation