Edgar Allan Poe — “To Helen (Helen, thy beauty is to me . . .)”


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Reading and Reference Texts:

Reading copy:

  • “To Helen (Helen, thy beauty is to me ...)” — reading copy

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Historical Texts:

Manuscripts and Authorized Printings:

  • Text-01 — “To Helen” — 1831, no original manuscript or fragments are known to exist (but this version is presumably recorded in Text-02)
  • Text-02 — “To Helen” — 1831 — POEMS — (Mabbott text A)
  • Text-03 — “To Helen” — March 1836 — Southern Literary Messenger — (Mabbott text B) (This text is essentially a reprint of Text-02, with only two minor changes. These changes include one verbal change and one word with hyphenation eliminated. The slight nature of these changes suggest that they were made during the typesetting process or in proof, without requiring an intermediary form.)
  • Text-04 — “To Helen” — before September 1841 (speculated copy of SLM with manuscript revisions made by Poe in preparation for reprinting in Graham’s Magaine. THe changes are sufficiently significant that they were probably not merely made during the typesetting process, or in proof, although futher refinements may have been made in those stages. Although this revised copy has not survived, the text is presumably recorded in Text-05.)
  • Text-05 — “To Helen” — September 1841 — Graham’s — (Mabbott text C)
  • Text-06 — “To Helen” — February 25 and March 4, 1843 — Saturday Museum — (Mabbott text D) (Poe sent two copies of this article to J. R. Lowell, one on October 19, 1843 and a second on May 28, 1844. In both cases, he appears to have done so for the purpose of providing Lowell with some biographical material to use for his article on Poe for Graham’s Magazine. There is no indication that any of the poems in these copies had modifications made by Poe. Lowell prints the poem using the indentation and punctuation of the Febraruy 25, 1843 text.)
    • Text-06a — “To Helen” — February 25, 1843 
    • Text-06b — “To Helen” — March 4, 1843  (reprinted from February 25, 1843, with one minor change in punctuation and another in indentation)
  • Text-07 — “To Helen” — February 1845 — Graham’s (printed as part of Lowell’s article on Poe) — (Mabbott text E) (For Griswold’s 1850 reprint of this item, see the entry below, under reprints)
  • Text-08 — “To Helen” — 1845 — RAOP — (Mabbott text F)  (This is Mabbott’s copy-text)
  • Text-09 — “To Helen” — 1848 — The Lover’s Gift; or, Tributes to the Beautiful — (The copyright is 1847, and the preface is dated as September 1847, so this item was probably available in the fall of 1847) (Mabbott text G)
  • Text-10 — “To Helen Stannard” — 1848 — RAOP-SHW, with a manuscript change in the title — (Mabbott text H)  (This is the copy of RAOP that Poe gave to Mrs. S. H. Whitman)

 

Excerpts:

  • [To Helen]” — about 1831-1835 (Poe wrote the first stanza of the poem, with a title, in the album of Amelia Poe. He apparently did so from memory, making two small changes, probably unintentionally.)

 

Reprints:

  • To Helen” — May 21, 1831 —Saturday Evening Post  (This poem is quoted from Poe’s 1831 volume of Poems. According to Mabbott, Poems, 1:542, the brief comments are presumably by Poe’s friend Lambert A. Wilmer, and the item in the Casket, below, is reprinted from this article, the Casket having been issued at the end of the month. The Casket, however, includes two other poems in addition to “To Helen.”)
  • To Helen” — May 1831 — Casket  (This poem is quoted, along with two others, from Poe’s 1831 volume of Poems)
  • “To Helen” — July 8, 1831 —Morning Courier and New-York Enquirer  (This poem is quoted, along with two others, from Poe’s 1831 volume of Poems. It is interesting that these are the same three poems as reprinted by the Casket for May 1831.)
  • “[To Helen]” — about March 1836 — Norfolk Herald (Norfolk, VA) (This poem is quoted from Text-03, in a notice of the magazine, and is repeated in the “Supplement” of the SLM for April 1836, p. 343, col. 1.)
  • “[To Helen]” — about March 1836 — Baltimore Patriot (Baltimore, MD) (This poem is noted in a review of the March 1836 issue of the SLM, specifically praising the poem and implying that a reprint is imminent: “ ‘To Helen’ is a prety little gem, and from the same mine [[as ‘Epimanies,’ just commented upon favorably in prior sentences]]. It shall glisten in the Patriot ere long.” The notice is repeated in the “Supplement” of the SLM for April 1836, p. 342, col. 1.)
  • “To Helen” — April 11, 1836 — Metropolitan (Georgetown, DC) (This poem is noted in a review of the March 1836 issue of the SLM, specifically praising the poem and promising that “we will give it in our our next [[issue]].” The notice is repeated in the “Supplement” of the SLM for April 1836, p. 347, col. 1.)
  • “To Helen” — May 21, 1841 — Saturday Evening Post  (Philadelphia, PA)
  • “To Helen” — January 24, 1845 — New-York Daily Tribune
  • “To Helen” — February 1, 1845 — New-York Weekly Tribune
  • “To Helen” — 1850 — Thomas Powell, The Living Writers of America, New York: Stringer and Townsend, 1850 (pp. 114-115)
  • “[To Helen]” — March 1850 — (the poem is quoted as part of an article) in “Edgar Allan Poe” by John M. Daniel, Southern Literary Messenger, vol. XVI, no. 3, p. 176
  • “To Helen” — 1852 — The Poetic Gift; or, Tributes to the Beautiful, edited by Mrs. E. O. Smith (Hartford: Wm. Jas. Hamersley), p. 108
  • “To Helen” — 1864 — The Wreath of Beauty
  • To Helen” — 1850 — WORKS  (reprinted along with Lowell’s article on Poe) — (Mabbott text J)
  • To Helen” — 1875 — The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol 3: Poems  and Essays, ed. J. H. Ingram, Edinburgh, Adam and Charles Black (3:54) (Griswold had printed the poem only as part of J. R. Lowell’s article on Poe, used as the frontmatter of volume 1)
  • “To Helen” — 1876 — Works (Ingram) (This is the American edition, published by W. J. Widdleton. In this edition, the poem has been added as one of three immediately following the original material collected by Griswold, appearing on p. 114. In the earlier printing of this edition, dated as 1876 but probably issued late in 1875, the title in the table of contents is given as “Helen, Thy Beauty is to Me,” although the title “To Helen” appears on the poem itself.)
  • “[To Helen]” — January 3, 1883 — Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), (no volume number given), whole no. 13,967, p. 5, col. 4 (printed as part of a long review of Ingram’s edition)
  • “To Helen” — May 13, 1897 — Indianapolis News (Indianapolis, IN), vol. XXVIII, no. 131, p. 4, col 4
  • “To Helen” — May 14, 1897 — Buffalo Enquirer (Buffalo, NY), vol. 52, no. 323, p. 4, col 7
  • “To Helen” — July 15, 1897 — Kansas City Journal (Kansas City, Missouri), vol. XL, no. 35, p. 4, col 6
  • “To Helen” — September 4, 1897 — Evening News (Lincoln, NE), vol. 17, p. 7, col 4
  • “To Helen” — October 4, 1897 — Santa Fe Daily New Mexican (p. 3) (this item is noted by George Monteiro, “Fugitive Reprints,” E. A. Poe Review, Fall 2010, p. 161.)
  • “To Helen” — December 26, 1897 — St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, Missouri), vol. 49, no. 139, p. 14, centered near the top of the page (included with an article about Poe and Mrs. Whitman, with the headline “Two Poets Found that Name Fatal to Their Peace.” The second is Ferdinand Lassalle, who pined for Helen von Doenniges.)
  • “To Helen” — July 9, 1898 — Reading Times (Reading, PA), vol. 82, no. 84, p. 2, col 3
  • “To Helen” — March 30, 1901 — Greenville News (Greenville, SC), p. 6, col 1 (printed as part of an article on “Singers of the South,” about Poe, Sidney Lanier, and John Ruse Larus as “poets of the South.”)
  • “To Helen” — October 7, 1901 — Orleans County Monitor (Barton, VE), vol. 30, no. 40, p. 7, col 1
  • “To Helen” — October 10, 1901 — Atchison Daily Champion (Atchison, KS), vol. 47, no. 41, p. 9, col 2
  • “To Helen” — November 1902 — Current Literature (vol. 34, p. 585) (this item is noted by George Monteiro, “Fugitive Reprints,” E. A. Poe Review, Fall 2010, p. 161.)
  • “To Helen” — November 9, 1902 — Columbia Enquirer-Sun (p. 12) (this item is noted by George Monteiro, “Fugitive Reprints,” E. A. Poe Review, Fall 2010, p. 161.)
  • “To Helen” — September 19, 1906 — Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, MD), vol. CXXXIX, no. 126, p. 7, bottom of cols. 4-5 (printed as part of a running series “Gems from the Poets.”)
  • “To Helen” — January 17, 1909 — New York Times (New York, NY), vol. LVIII, whole no. 18,621, p. 43, col. 4.)
  • “To Helen” — January 19, 1909 — Pawtucket Times (p. 1) (this item is noted by George Monteiro, “Fugitive Reprints,” E. A. Poe Review, Fall 2010, p. 161, although it is listed there incorrectly as Morning Oregonian, p.8. It was corrected in an e-mail sent by Dr. Monteiro to the Poe Society on March 10, 2011.)
  • “To Helen” — January 24, 1909 — The State (Columbia, SC) (p. 20) (this item is noted by George Monteiro, “Fugitive Reprints,” E. A. Poe Review, Fall 2010, p. 161.)
  • “To Helen” — April 24, 1909 — Outlook (p. 955) (this item is noted by George Monteiro, “Fugitive Reprints,” E. A. Poe Review, Fall 2010, p. 161.)
  • “To Helen” — December 19, 1920 — Macon Daily Telegraph (p. 6) (this item is noted by George Monteiro, “Fugitive Reprints,” E. A. Poe Review, Fall 2010, p. 161.)
  • “To Helen” — September 28, 1922 — Philadelphia Inquirer (p. 16) (this item is noted by George Monteiro, “Fugitive Reprints,” E. A. Poe Review, Fall 2010, p. 161.)
  • “To Helen” — January 26, 1926 — McClure’s Magazine (vol. 2, p. 370) (this item is noted by George Monteiro, “Fugitive Reprints,” E. A. Poe Review, Fall 2010, p. 161.)
  • “To Helen” — January 12, 1926 — Times Recorder (Zanesville, OH), vol. ??, no. ??, p. 6, col 2 (under the heading “Poems that Live.”)

 

Scholarly and Noteworthy Reprints:

  • To Helen” — 1894-1895 — The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 10: Poems, ed. G. E. Woodberry and E. C. Stedman (Chicago: Stone and Kimball), 10:77 and 10:188-189
  • To Helen” — 1902 — The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 7: Poems, ed. J. A. Harrison (New York: T. Y. Crowell), 10:46 and 10:171-172
  • To Helen” — 1911 — The Complete Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. J. H. Whitty (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Co.) p. 134 and p. 282
  • To Helen” — 1917 — The Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. Killis Campbell (Boston: Ginn and Company), p. 56 and pp. 199-203
  • “To Helen” — 1965 — The Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. Floyd Stovall (Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia), p. 47 and pp. 211-212
  • To Helen” — 1969 — The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 1: Poems, ed. T. O. Mabbott (Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press), 1:163-171
  • “To Helen” — 1984 — Edgar Allan Poe: Poetry and Tales, ed. Patrick F. Quinn (New York: Library of America), p. 62 (reprints Text-07)
  • “To Helen” — 2004 — The Selected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. G. R. Thompson (New York: W. W. Norton & Co.), p. 47
  • “To Helen” — 2015 — The Annotated Poe, ed. Kevin J. Hayes (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press), pp. 370-372

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Comparative and Study Texts:

Instream Comparative and Study Texts:

  • To Helen” — Comparative Text (POEMS and SLM)

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Associated Material and Special Versions:

Miscellaneous Texts and Related Items:

  • “To Helen” — 1960 — a reading by Nelson Olmsted on The Raven: Poems and Tales of Edgar Allan Poe, issued on the Vanguard label (VRS-9046, rereleased as VSD-32)
  • “To Helen” — 1964 — a reading by Robert Beloof on An Anthology of American Poetry: Volume One, issued by Argo Record Company (London, UK) (RG 245) (This is the only poem by Poe included in the anthology, which is comprised of only two volumes) (33 1/3 record, in a cardboard jacket)
  • “For Helen” — October 1949 — De Tsjerne, vol. 4, no. 10, pp. 315-320 (Dokkum, Netherlands, published by J. Kamminga) (Frisian translation by Klaes Dykstra)  (This title provided by René van Slooten)
  • “A Hélène” — dated 2009, but available in late 2008 — Poèmes d‘Edgar Allan Poe, Paris: Publibook (translation by Jean Hautepierre)

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Bibliography:

  • Baum, Paull F., “Poe’s ‘Tp Helen’,” Modern Language Notes, May 1949, 64:289-297
  • Beach, John, “A Perfumed Sea,’ Classical Journal, March 1934, 29:454-456
  • Claudel, Alice Moser, “Poe as Voyager in ‘To Helen’,” Emerson Society Quarterly, Fall 1970, 60:33-38
  • Colby, Robert A., “Poe’s ‘Philosophy of Composition’,” University of Kansas City Review, 1954, 20:211-214
  • D‘Avanzo, Mario L., “ ‘Like Those Nicean Barks,‘: Helen’s Beauty,” Poe Studies, June 1973, 6:26-27
  • Durham, F. M., “A Possible Relation between Poe’s ‘To Helen’ and Milton’s Paradise Lost, Bk IV,” American Literature, January 1945, 16:340-343
  • Gargano, James, “Poe’s ‘To Helen’,” Modern Language Notes, December 1960, 79:652-653
  • Havelock, E. A., “Homer, Catullus and Poe,” Classical Weekly, April 12, 1943, 36:248-249
  • 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.
  • Holt, Palmer, “Notes on Poe’s ‘To Science,’ ‘To Helen,’ and ‘Ulalume’,” Bulletin of the New York Public Library, November 1959, 63:568-570
  • Jones, Joe J., “Poe’s ‘Nicean Barks’,” American Literature, January 1931, 2:433-438
  • Kummer, George, “Another Poe-Coleridge Parallel?,” American Literature, March 1936, 8:72
  • Lipscomb, Herbert, “Poe’s ‘Nicean Barks’ Again,” Classical Journal, March 1934, 29:454
  • Lord, John B., “Two Phonological Analyses of Poe’s ‘To Helen’,” Language and Style, 1970, 3:147-158
  • Mabbott, Thomas Ollive, “Poe’s ‘To Helen’,” Explicator, June 1943, 1:60
  • Mabbott, Thomas Ollive, ed., The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe (Vol 1 Poems), Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1969.
  • Mabie, Hamilton Wright, “ ‘To Helen’ and ‘Israfel,” Outlook, April 24, 1907, 91:955-957
  • Mierow, H. E., “A Classical Allusion in Poe,” Modern Language Notes, March 1916, 31:184-185
  • Pemberton, J. M., “Poe’s ‘To Helen‘” Functional Wordplay and a Possible Source,” Poe Newsletter, June 1970, 3:6-7
  • Pittman, Diana, “Key to the Mystery of Edgar Allan Poe: ‘To Helen’,” Southern Literary Messenger, November 1941, 3:499-501 (this is the renewed form of the SLM)
  • Rendell, V., “Poe: A Classical Reference,” Notes & Queries, May 30, 1914, 9:427
  • Ruden, John P., “Rossetti and a Poe Image,” Notes & Queries, June 1958, 203:257-258
  • Schwartz, Arthur, “The Transport: A Matter of Time and Space,” College English Association Critic, December 1968, 31:14-15
  • Snyder, Edward D., “Poe’s Nicean Barks,” Classical Journal, Feburary 1953, 48:159-169
  • Stronks, James, “A Poe Source for Faulkner? ‘To Helen’ and ‘A Rose for Emily,” Poe Newsletter, April 1968, 1:11
  • Tannenbaum, Earl, “Poe’s ‘Nicean Barks’: ‘Small Latin, and Less Greek,” Notes & Queries, August 1958, 203:353-355
  • Walker, R. J., “Poe: A Classical Reference,” Notes & Queries, June 13, 1914, 9:472
  • Walker, Warren, “Poe’s ‘To Helen’,” Modern Language Notes, November 1957, 72:491-492
  • Weston, Arthur Harold, “The ‘Nicean Barks’ of Edgar Allan Poe,” Classical Journal, December 1933, 29:213-215

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[S:0 - JAS] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Poems - To Helen (Helen, thy beauty is to me . . .)