Text: Burton R. Pollin, “The Broadway Journal: Notes (January 1846),” The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe — Vol. IV: Broadway Journal (Annotations) (1986), pp. 264-265 (This material is protected by copyright)


[page 264, continued:]

358/12-29 & 359/1-15} The two vols. number 560 and 412 p., with the first 3-80 comprising Carlyle’s Introductory chapters. Poe uses a double plural in “Anakims.” Poe’s dislike of Carlyle (see loci in index of Br.) is tempered in this rev. by the need for tact about two Wiley and Putnam volumes.

359/16-24} The vol. has vii-x + 214 p. For notes on Cheever and Poe see 282 and 310. A fair amount of the book consists of excerpts from poets such as Dante, Wordsworth, and Dana, one of Poe’s least favorite writers. Poe was correct about his coining the word “Cheeverish“ — in his typical style.

359/25-34} Katharine Thomson, nee Byerley, (1797-1862) wrote books of anecdotal biography and historical fiction. It is very doubtful that she is the author of the book that Poe ascribes to her, but it helps to establish the catholicity of Poe’s reading.

359/35-45} The pages run, seriatim, thus: 649-72, 673-87, 688-703, 704-10, 711-12, 713-34, 735-51, four poems (signed “J. D.”): 752, do., 753, do., 754-68, and 769-84.

359/51-59 & 360/1-9} It was almost natural that there should be a survey-rev. of two issues of the Aristidean in the last pages of the BJ, since Thomas Dunn English was helping to put it out, including whatever material Poe had prepared, plus some of his own (excluded of course from the facsimile text). These were also the final numbers of the dying Aristidean, which had some Poe material. The “Ferrando” story is on pp. 354-61. The [page 265:] “Dearborn Poems” are on 335-37. The long article, “American Poetry,” pp. 373-82, is a recasting of previous essay material by Poe. Most of the so-called “Exordium,” beginning the 5/1/42 Graham’s Magazine (H 11.1-8) has been adapted for this essay, and likewise a great deal of Poe’s rev. of the third ed. of Griswold’s Poets and Poetry of America, which Poe inserted into the Boston Miscellany of 11/42 (H 11.147-56). Poe deals with the lack of true critical principles in American criticism and the narrow, venal bases for selections in poetry anthologies. The essay on “Death” is on pp. 390-93, and Herman S. Saroni’s fantasy about a “self-performance” of a symphony by the instruments, still warm from the actual concert, is on pp. 362-65 (see 2.405).

360/17-24} Poe is making the best of things in this farewell statement. It was lack of funds and of subscribers that caused the termination of the magazine, instead of permitting the start of a new volume, announced on 355/6, the preceding week. Surely, Poe had had a small role in the “objects” (objectives) for which the journal “was established” and, with proper funding and sufficient departments, the BJ could have become equivalent to his long-projected “Stylus.” Ironically, the next year he was to issue a legal challenge to those very “foes,” such as Hiram Fuller of the Mirror. See Moss, PLB, p. 206 for Walter’s doggerel in the Boston Transcript on the demise of Poe’s BJ.

This “valedictory” is a good place with which to conclude Poe’s writings in the journal, but it is possible that he was at least responsible for two more half columns of “filler” on pp. 407-408, below the “Valedictory.” On the other hand the items might equally well have come from the scissors plus editorial pen of English. The first is a long account of “Herr Faber’s . . . speaking automaton,” now being shown in Philadelphia. It is presented with the same delight in human ingenuity that Poe voiced in “Maelzel’s Chess-Player” (H 14.6-37), and the last para. begins with Poeian sardonicism: “There remains only one achievement — a machine to think. We should say, perhaps, there has remained; for certain books lately printed induce us to believe that some people think by a machine.” The next item is about “N. C. Brooks, A. M., of Baltimore, well known as a terse and vigorous writer, as well as a poet of much absolute power and refined taste . . . [now] preparing a series of works for the use of schools and colleges.” The next article concerns the retirement of Willis and Morris from the Mirror, but its praise of Fuller as the continuing editor makes me ascribe it to English, rather than to Poe. The last item discusses the purchase of one of Leutze’s pictures by the art patron, Mr. Towne of Philadelphia — a bland clipping of no definite provenance.






[S:0 - BRP4J, 1986] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions - The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe (B. R. Pollin) (January 1846)