Text: Burton R. Pollin, “Forward and Acknowledgments (Introduction),” The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe — Vol. IV: Broadway Journal (Annotations) (1986), pp. v-vi (This material is protected by copyright)


[page v:]


Some word of explanation must be given to the wide circle of students of Poe for my issuing Poe’s works in the Broadway Journal as the next two volumes of his Collected Writings. The first volume, consisting of his three longest narratives, (the Imaginary Voyages), methodically completed the Tales and Sketches of [[edited by]] the late Professor Mabbott, which made frequent reference to the numerous periodical articles by Poe that I collected into The Brevities, issued in 1985. Now, the texts were for the first time objectively determined, edited, and numbered for scholarly purposes (291 of the “Marginalia” and over 600 items, all told). What then should follow this volume, in the sequence? The answer was readily determined: the largest body of uncollected, undetermined and unedited material lay in the Broadway Journal, the weekly magazine of one year’s extent, which involved Poe from the first to the last number. The history of his relations with the varying staff of the magazine is complicated and has long needed a presentation of the authenticated material by Poe. It ranged from many of his reprinted tales and poems and long signed articles and reviews to hundreds of short single-paragraph notices, comments on cultural and social events, surveys of other magazines, drama criticisms and occasional art critiques, editorial dicta, often with autobiographical touches, special notices and headnotes for translations and other features, and responses to contributors and general inquiries. The journal essayed to play the cultural role of an 1845 New Yorker, with its varied articles, satirical woodcuts, and contributions from celebrities like Margaret Fuller, W. G. Simms, and Caroline Kirkland. It packed much material into its two-column fine-print sixteen pages each week, and it was noticed by the exchange papers throughout the country. A few Poe scholars have delved into this wealth of material, but never for a comprehensive presentation (Margaret Alterton, Perry Miller, Sidney Moss, and Killis Campbell; see Bibliography for specifics).

As early as 1968 I had devoted a sabbatical leave to exploring this rich lode of Poe writing, examining everything that had been written about the journal and the ascertainable canon of his BJ writings, including materials in the Huntington Library and Duke University, but there was insufficient time to organize my findings, inadequate means of authenticating some “knotty” texts (three of my later works on Poe aimed to serve this purpose), and no ostensible means of publishing such bulky materials. The invitation in 1972 to continue Mr. Mabbott’s edition, begun at Harvard and now being continued through the Gordian Press as The Collected Writings of . . . Poe, provided the opportunity to pull together the many “determined” texts and the vast panoply of notes of every type, to fill in the numerous gaps still left for research, and to shape all this into one of [page vi:] the publishable portions of the “edition.” Two volumes, one much oversized, would be necessary; and Mr. John Corta, the publisher, proved graciously amenable. The ensuing complications and problems are described in the separate sections of the Introduction, largely to help others with similar projects to see the possibilities in adapting perhaps unconventional responses to most demanding needs.


As in the preceding volume of The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe, namely, The Brevities, I wish to express my gratitude for the sole use of materials and books collected by the late Professor Thomas Ollive Mabbott and generously put at my disposal by Maureen C. Mabbott and the legatee of the Mabbott papers, the Libraries of the University of Iowa, under the charge of Dale M. Bentz (now emeritus) and, for its Special Collections, of Frank Paluka (now emeritus). For financial aid given for travel for pertinent materials, for clerical and research assistance, for lay-out help with the facsimile text, for xeroxing and purchase of needed materials, I owe thanks to the Research Foundation of the City University of New York. The preparation of these volumes was made possible in part by a grant from the Texts Program of the National Endowment for the Humanities, an independent federal agency.

I have been indebted for research aid and splendid facilities to particular libraries in this country: The City University Graduate Center Library, The Columbia University Libraries, The New York Public Library, and for permission to use and cite Poe’s markings throughout the “Whitman” copy of the BJ to the Huntington Library in San Marino, to Heyward Ehrlich (see p. xi below), and to D. K. Jackson and Dwight Thomas for being able to read and cite the 1845 section of their Poe Log in its prepublication form and to Richard Drechsler and Judith Rubin-Spitz of the CUNY Graduate Center Computer Facility for inordinate help and the use of their center in the laser-jet printing of this volume.

My gratitude is owed for varied and indispensable aid and advice, given in person and through correspondence, to the following, listed merely by name: John Corta, Moshe Carmilly, William Dunmore, Milton Hindus, Miriam Korman, Mary Mitchell, Michael Deas, Brenda Newman, and for direct and skilled help to Ira Lukens (the lay-out artist), Margaret Terry (research and clerical assistant), and, chiefly, Dorothy Novak (self-trained expert in “Nota Bene” and every type of complex task involved in the word processing and laser jet printing).

Above all, my profound gratitude is expressed to Alice M. Pollin, so often called upon for counsel, linguistic and literary insights and knowledge, discriminating judgments, most demanding and varied proof reading, and extraordinary patience.






[S:0 - BRP4J, 1986] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions - The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe (B. R. Pollin) (Forward and Acknowledgments)