Text: Burton R. Pollin, “The Broadway Journal: Advertisements and Publicity Notes (Introduction),” The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe — Vol. IV: Broadway Journal (Annotations) (1986), pp. xl-xliii (This material is protected by copyright)


[page xl, continued:]


Poe’s prose writings in the Broadway Journal, save for his fiction, was to comprise the basic text of this part of the edition of his Collected Writings. The great quantity and variety of this material posed a problem. It was issued chronologically and was often tied to a succession of events, both personal and public, such as [page xli:] his relations with Briggs and Bisco, editor and proprietor, or his quarrel with Longfellow or his Lyceum lecture-reading in Boston. Internally he sometimes made cross references to a book reviewed earlier in a later review or promised to talk about a topic or a book in a later issue of the magazine. Hence, it seemed imperative to offer all the material chronologically, in the order of its original presentation, and in a form as close as possible to the original. Since all the authenticated Poe material would require at least two volumes of the print used for the previous volumes of the series, with no room left for the copious notes required for this edition, a separate volume would have to be added, making three in all. From any realistic publishing point of view this would be unfeasible. A composite facsimile edition for Poe’s text, in one oversized volume, seemed to be the solution. The difficulties about textual inaccuracies in a hastily produced weekly magazine could be solved, as I shall indicate. There are great advantages to having a separate volume of pages of annotations and comments, keyed to the text itself, that can be held next to the first volume; no awkward thumbing through separately for the notes and flipping of pages back and forth!

This having been determined, the first task was the authentication of all the material by Poe that must be included — a lengthy process outlined below. After the “true” Poe text was checked off in the two volume set of a facsimile reprint of the BJ, I made excellent copies of all the pages of the journal with this material. One set was for my “dummy,” pasted up on large notebook sheets into which all my notes of explication, cross references, comment, etc. would be kept after determining the “shaping-up” of each page of the text-volume. As far as possible, I tried to keep the columns separately on each page, but this was scarcely possible for many of them, and composites of several different part columns, shorter than the full ones, often had to be added together. The full column length of the BJ page is nine and one-quarter inches, the outside book page size of my own volume being eleven inches. Since a double column page, as in the magazine, would leave too little room for margins, especially with line numbers added, the columns had to be made single in all cases. Moreover, space was required for adding Poe’s markings in the Whitman copy (see below for “Poe’s Markings”). Not all columns approximate nine inches, of course, and frequently they had to be “joined” with added headings always prepared (in bold face type print). These showed the exact source of the article in the magazine itself: the date, page of location (volume included), and whether in the left or right hand column (designated by “L” or “R”). The original heading of the column, if any, was also transferred with the column to indicate the nature of the material (review or “editorial miscellany” or “drama criticism”). Once the page [page xlii:] had been “composed” a folio number was assigned to it, which was always used henceforth for cross references and discussions. In the left hand margin printed numbers (in ascending fives) were affixed to designate the exact line being sought or being explained. A full column, in the tiny print of quoted material, might extend from lines 1 to 95. Each page was regarded as a continuous column, even though spliced together from a few separate pages. In the right hand margin were placed two types o£ material: occasional phrases for items that were less than certain as to Poe’s authorship or included because of Poe’s footnote or headnote comment or later reference so that the reader could follow his “argument.” Also, that margin was reserved for Poe’s markings in the Whitman copy, reproduced here in my facsimile.

After the working copy of the composite text had been made up, a very careful duplicate was prepared, using a clean set of xerox copies. A set of special mats had been ordered with guide lines for laying out the columns and various heads very exactly. A lay-out artist worked under my direct and constant supervision, employing a special wax process that allowed items to be moved long after the page was completed. More recently I found it necessary to shift items on occasion and used rubber cement to the same purpose. Aside from the preparation of the annotations and commentaries for the second volume of the set, the major task was correcting Poe’s text for typographical or other errors, all of which editorial alterations, of course, had to be recorded and listed in the Introductory special section. I shall leave a full description of this lengthy process for later. The text itself also had to be analyzed for the Index at the end. A working index, of course, had to be developed, especially since cross-references to all sections of the Poe columns were being made in the notes. There were also the “buried” items, such as books implied in the text, the authors of titles mentioned, the filling out of initials, especially in the responses to contributors and correspondents. Major subjects not stated in the text but needed for index purposes also had to be inserted into the cards being filed for the final index.

About a year before the final form of the books was in hand, a new element for this editor arrived with the use of a word processor and a laser jet printer. Although all my notes and index cards had been hand written or typed, and filed and alphabetized manually, I decided that for many good reasons, I would use the aid of a personal computer for putting my notes together and in the format for printing. A major reason was to escape the “dominance” of the printer over the text in the sense that one is always apprehensive about a long text with complicated subject matter, many foreign phrases, and differentiated type. Experiences with [page xliii:] many books in the past had taught me about the unexpected intrusions into a nearly perfect text that can be introduced by ingenious or careless typesetters. To free myself from seemingly endless proof-readings of galleys and page proofs, I decided to word process the entire text, especially after realizing that the printer of The Brevities had sent me word processed galleys. I was fortunate to be able to devote part of a small grant from the City University of New York, Research Foundation, to the acquisition of an IBM personal computer (XT, two diskette-drive model). My part-time helper was enabled to input the entire text through a soft ware program entitled Nota Bene, which is published by Dragonfly of Brooklyn, and promoted by the Modern Language Association. It did everything needful for my rather simple text (of volume 2).

My final decision to simplify the process of seeing the book though the end of the text and printing stage was to take advantage of the kind offer of the Computer Facility of the Graduate Center of the City University to allow me to print it out on the Hewlett Packard Laser Jet Printer. One of the cartridges for printing gave me a type font fully compatible with the Baskerville type of the previous volumes of the series of the Collected Writings. My secretarial helper and I were able to format each of the pages with the heading in differentiated type, with the right dimensions and, fortunately, with proportionate spacing for the letters and microspacing between the words and, of course, with right margin justification. The clever spacing capacity of the printer made hyphenations at the end of a line unnecessary. It is true that the Nota Bene program did not access the proportionate spacing (the new version will have that capacity, I am told), but the Facility made XY Write available as an intermediary soft ware program between the diskettes, prepared with Nota Bene, and the Laser Jet cartridge F. Hence, I was able to run off the entire book in about two hours of actual printing time. Only the accents could not yet be managed (the new Nota Bene, version 2, will access that present feature of Cartridge F on the printer). An artist-friend was willing to follow my model and inserted about 150 foreign accents and diacritical marks, such as the dieresis. The present text is the result. The pages were used for the “repros” or plates needed for the printing press, and the final print is without printers’ errors and is quite presentable in appearance.






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