Edgar Allan Poe — “The Black Cat”





  • (narrator) - Under development.


Location - Under development.

Date - Under development.


Under development.


Reading and Reference Texts:

Reading copy:

  • “The Black Cat” — reading copy


Historical Texts:

Manuscripts and Authorized Printings:

  • Text-01 — “The Black Cat” — late 1842 or early 1843 — roll MS, not seen since 1843, and almost surely lost after the printing, although this version is presumably recorded in Text-02. F. O. C. Darley wrote to G. E. Woodberry on February 26, 1884 that he could still “remember his reading his ‘Gold Bug’ and ‘Black Cat’ to me before they were published. The form of his manuscript was peculiar: he wrote on half sheets of note paper, which he pasted together at the ends, making one continuous piece, which he rolled up tightly. As he read he dropped it upon the floor. It was very neatly written, and without corrections, apparently” (Woodberry, 1885, p. 181, and repeated, 1909, 2:2-3) In a letter to Ezra Holden of August 26, 1843, Poe comments that “Patterson, of the ‘Post,’ gave me, some weeks ago, for ‘The Black Cat,’ 20$.”
  • Text-02 — “The Black Cat” — August 19, 1843 — United States Saturday Post  — (Mabbott text A)
  • Text-03 — “The Black Cat” — 1843-1845 — (speculated copy of United States Saturday Post with manuscript changes made by Poe. This copy has not survived, but is presumably recorded in Text-04)
  • Text-04 — “The Black Cat” — 1845 — TALES — (Mabbott text B)  (This is Mabbott's copy-text) (Poe made no changes to this tale in his personal copy of the book, the J. L. Graham copy) (For Griswold's 1850 reprinting of this text, see the entry below, under reprints.)
  • Text-05 — “The Black Cat” — 1845-1848 — (speculated copy of the 1845 TALES with minor manuscript changes made by Poe. This copy has not survived, but is presumably recorded in Text-06. The existence of such a copy presumes that Poe authorized the reprint of the three year old tale, which had not been widely copied.)
  • Text-06 — “The Black Cat” — November 1848 — Pictorial National Library — (Mabbott text C)  (Mabbott suggests that the changes in this version are “unauthorized,” but “just short of absolute certainty” and thus he records the variants)



  • “The Black Cat” — August 25, 1843 — Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, MD), vol. XIII, no. 76, p. 1, cols. 3-5 (acknowledged as reprinted from Text-02)
  • “The Black Cat” — September 16, 1843 — Pensacola Gazette (Pensacola, FL), p. 1 (acknowledged as by Edgar A. Poe) (Information for this entry was provided to the Poe Society by Ton Fafianie in an e-mail dated May 5, 2019)
  • The Black Cat” — 1850 — WORKS — Griswold reprints Text-04 (from stereotype plates, and thus with no opportunity for revisions)  — (Mabbott text D)
  • “The Black Cat” — 1852 — Tales of Mystery and Imagination and Humour; and Poems, London: Henry Vizetelly (An undated edition appears about the same time, published by Charles H. Clark and Samuel Orchart Beeton, and their name appears as publisher for the second series), second series pp. 94-105. (with 1 woodcut illustration)
  • “The Black Cat” — August 2, 1866 — the Stirling Observer (Stirling, Scotland, UK), p. 6, possibly cols. 3-6
  • “The Black Cat” — 1867 — Prose Tales of Edgar Allan Poe, first series (New York: W. J. Widdleton), pp. 281-290 (This collection is extracted from the 1850-1856 edition of Poe's Works. It was reprinted several times.)
  • “The Black Cat” — June 3, 1870 — Columbian (Bloomsburg, PA), vol. 34, no. 15, cols. 4-8, front page (Poe is not mentioned as the author)
  • The Black Cat” — 1874 — Works of Edgar A. Poe, edited by J. H. Ingram, vol. 1, pp. 168-178 (This collection was subsequently reprinted in various forms)
  • “The Black Cat” — December 4, 1875 — Albany Evening Times (Albany, NY), vol. XIX (no issue number), p. 1, cols. 3-5
  • “The Black Cat” — December 7, 1875 — Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY), vol. 5 No. 42, whole no. 1279, front page, col. 7, continued on p. 4
  • “The Black Cat” — January 7, 1876 — Cortland County Democrat (Cortland, NY), vol. 12 No. 39, front page, cols. 4-7
  • “The Black Cat” — November 6, 1883 — Staunton Spectator (Staunton, VA), vol. 61 No. 8, cols. 4-6, front page
  • “The Black Cat” — June 20, 1891 — Democratic Advocate (Westminster, MD), vol. 26, No. 33, cols. 5-8, front page
  • “The Black Cat” — August 17, 1892 — Elmira Star and Free Press (Elmira, NY), vol. LXVIII, no. 194, p. 3, cols. 3-4 (acknowledged as from “Edgar Allan Poe's Short Stories”)
  • “The Black Cat” — August 20, 1892 — Sunny South (Atlanta, GA), vol. XIX, no. 865, p. 4, cols. 1-2 (acknowledged as by “Edgar A. Poe”)
  • “The Black Cat” — April 19, 1893 — North Platte Tribune (North Platte, NE), vol. 9, No. 15, p. 1, cols. 5-8 and p. 4, col. 4 (with three woodcut illustrations) (reprinted in the same issue is Poe's “The Purloined Letter,” both acknowledged as by “Edgar Allan Poe.”)
  • “The Black Cat” — April 25-26, 1893 — Cortland Evening Standard (Cortland, NY),
    • “The Black Cat” — April 25, 1893 — Cortland Evening Standard (Cortland, NY), whole no. 350, p. 6, cols. 2-4 (acknowledged as by “Edgar Allan Poe” and with two woodcut illustrations)
    • “The Black Cat” — April 26, 1893 — Cortland Evening Standard (Cortland, NY), whole no. 351, p. 6, cols. 2-3 (acknowledged as by “Edgar Allan Poe” and with one woodcut illustration)
  • “The Black Cat” — May 6, 1893 — True Citizen (Waynesboro, GA), vol. 12, No. 2, p. 2, cols. 1-4 (with three woodcut illustrations, and acknowledged as by “Edgar Allan Poe.”)
  • “The Black Cat” — June 3, 1893 — Cayuga Chief (Weedsport, NY), vol. XVII, No. 1, p. 1, cols. 3-7 (acknowledged as by “Edgar Allan Poe,” and with three woodcut illustrations)
  • “The Black Cat” — June 13, 1893 — Redwood Gazette (Redwood Falls, MN), vol. 24, No. 47, p. 1, cols. 2-3 and p. 8, cols. 2-4 (with three woodcut illustrations, and acknowledged as by “Edgar Allan Poe.”)
  • “The Black Cat” — July 6, 1893 — Ontario Repository-Messenger (Canadaigua, NY), vol. 92, No. 27, p. 2, cols. 1-4 (acknowledged as by “Edgar Allan Poe”)
  • “The Black Cat” — December 16, 1893 — Racine Journal-Times (Racine, WI), vol. XXVI, no. 296, p. 2, cols. 3-4 (acknowledged as by “Edgar Allan Poe,” and printed along side “The Cask of Amontillado.”)
  • “The Black Cat” — 1893 — The Encore Reciter; Humorous, Serious and Dramatic Selections, compiled and edited by F. E. Marshall Steele (London and New York: Frederick Warne and Co.), pp. 232-235 (noted at the end as abridged, and by Edgar Allan Poe. Also includes four other tales by Poe.)
  • “The Black Cat” — 1911 — Sunday American's Summer Library of Gems of Short Fiction, No. 3 — (printed by and distributed free to subscribers of the New York American Journal Examiner, this thin pamphlet is printed on very bad, pulp paper. It features an illustration by Aubrey Beardsley. This number also includes “Mliss” by Bret Harte.)
  • “The Black Cat” — October 19, 1914 — New York: Winthrop Press (edited by John H. Eggers) (miniature edition, illustrated, in black and white, and color) (copyrighted October 8, 1914)
  • “The Black Cat” — Spring 1972 — Saturday Evening Post (magazine format)


Scholarly and Noteworthy Reprints:

  • The Black Cat” — 1894-1895 — The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 2: Tales, ed. G. E. Woodberry and E. C. Stedman, Chicago: Stone and Kimball (2:42-54)
  • The Black Cat” — 1902 — The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 5: Tales IV, ed. J. A. Harrison, New York: T. Y. Crowell (5:143-155, and 5:322)
  • The Black Cat” — 1978 — The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 3: Tales & Sketches II, ed. T. O. Mabbott, Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (3:847-860)
  • “The Black Cat” — 1984 — Edgar Allan Poe: Poetry and Tales, ed. Patrick F. Quinn (New York: Library of America), pp. 597-606


Comparative and Study Texts:

Instream Comparative and Study Texts:


Associated Material and Special Versions:

Miscellaneous Texts and Related Items:

  • “Le Chat Noir” — January 27, 1847 — La Démocratie Pacifique  (French translation signed “Isabelle Meunier”)
  • “[The Black Cat]” — 1855 — Fortaellinger [Tales] (Copenhagen)  (Danish translation, noted by Anderson, p. 14)
  • “Le chat noir” — November 16, 1853 — Chronique de France  (French translation by Paul Roger)
  • “Le chat noir” — (French translation by Charles Baudelaire)
    • “Le chat noir” — November 13-14, 1853 — Paris
      • “Le chat noir” — Part I — November 13, 1853
      • “Le chat noir” — Part II — November 14, 1853
    • “Le chat noir” — July 31 - August 1, 1854 — Le Pays
      • “Le chat noir” — Part I — July 31, 1854
      • “Le chat noir” — Part II — August 1, 1854
  • “Le chat noir” — 1857 — Nouvelles histoires par Edgar Poe, Paris: Michel Lévy frères
  • “[The Black Cat]” — 1868 — Phantastiske Fortaellinger [Fantastic Tales] (Copenhagen)  (Danish translation by Robert Watt, noted by Anderson, p. 14)
  • “[The Black Cat]” — 1881 — Underliga historier  (Stockholm)  (Swedish translation, noted by Anderson, p. 54)
  • “[The Black Cat]” — 1882 — Valda noveller  (Stockholm)  (Swedish translation, noted by Anderson, p. 54)
  • “The Black Cat” — November 3 and 9, 1888 — Yomiuri Shimbun  (Japanese translation by Aeba Koson)
  • “De Zwarte Kat” — about 1930 — Fantastische Vertellingen van Edgar Allan Poe, Haarlem: H. D. Tjeenk Willink & Zoon (Dutch translation by Machiel Elias Barentz, with elaborate illustrations by Albert Hahn, somewhat reminiscent of those by Harry Clarke)
  • “The Wailing Wall” — November 6, 1945 — a radio show broadcast on The Inner Sanctum Mysteries show (Starring Boris Karloff. Clearly a very loose adaptation of “The Black Cat,” with a few touches from “The Tell-Tale Heart,” except that the wailing goes on for years, with the twist that the killer is forced to remain in the house for fear of discovery.)
  • “The Black Cat” — September 18, 1947 — a radio show broadcast on the Mystery in the Air show, starring Peter Lorre. (This episode is available on CD as part of a 6-CD set of “Smithsonian Legendary Performers,” issued in 2004. As was often the case with dramatic presentations of Poe's works, the story has been modified.)
  • “De Swarte Kat” — October 1949 — De Tsjerne, vol. 4, no. 10, pp. 294-303 (Dokkum, Netherlands, published by J. Kamminga) (Frisian translation by Inne de Jong)  (This title provided by René van Slooten)
  • “The Black Cat” — February 11, 1950 — a radio show broadcast on The Hall of Fantasy show, introduced as “dedicated to the supernatural, the unusual and the unknown.” (As was often the case with dramatic presentations of Poe's works, the story has been modified.)
  • “The Black Cat” — April 1954 — Nightmare (number 12)  (a comic-book)
  • “Kara Kedi” — 1955 — Altin Böcek [Golden Beetle], Varlik edition, Istanbul (Turkish translation) (the small softbound book has 109 pages. It features “The Gold-Bug” but includes seven other tales.)
  • “The Black Cat” — 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)
  • “The Black Cat” — 1960-1965 — a radio show broadcast on the Black Mass show. (This was apparently a local broadcast in California. As was often the case with dramatic presentations of Poe's works, the story has been modified.)
  • “The Black Cat” — 1962 — a reading by Richard Taylor on Horror: Edgar Allan Poe, issued on the Random Records label (M-37) (running time, around 13:37 and 15:37) (This is a very cheaply produced 33 1/3 LP, with a single narrator speaking over a very reverberant and somewhat off-key electric organ played for atmosphere. The jacket features simple black and white graphics. The narrator, who has a surprisingly high voice and a detectable Brooklyn accent, is noted as being 21 at the time of the recording. This album was initially advertised for $2.98, and 25¢ for shipping and handling. This was part of a series of 4 albums.)
  • “The Black Cat” — 1968 — a reading by Martin Donegan as part of volume I of Short Stories of Edgar Allan Poe, issued on the CMS Records label (CMS-555)
  • “The Black Cat” — 2006 — an episode from the “Masters of Horror” series on the Showtime cable network. (The episode first aired on January 19, the anniversary of Poe's birthday.) It was directed by Stuart Gordon, with Jeffrey Combs as Poe. Although the director makes a great deal about how “authentic” the film is to Poe's story, his notion of authenticity appears to be limited to the graphic nature of the goriest special effects. By attempting the tired (and erroneous) cliche of mixing Poe's life with his works, the screenplay ends up serving neither well. The production values are generally quite high, but the biographical material, particularly that offered in the commentary, has a few genuine details mixed with much falsehood, and is best ignored. George Graham, who in real life helped Poe a great deal, is also portrayed very unfairly.
  • ”The Black Cat” — 2006 — a moody, disjointed and mostly incomprehensible modern adaptation, directed by Serge Rodnunsky. It is presumably a direct-to-DVD release. The real victim here is Poe's story.
  • “The Black Cat” — 2007 — Audio book (unabridged), read by Chris Aruffo


  • “The Black Cat” — (Fragment, 1 leaf, 4 x 6 5/6 inches, comprising the following text: “[. . .] attempt to expound them . . . as to make me the jest of my [. . .]” The text is written in what appears to be dark brown ink, running from left to right edges, on only one side of the page, apparently in an attempt to imitate Poe's use of roll manuscripts. The writing is somewhat clumsy, with some words or parts of words being much darker than the general text. A mark of ‘II,’ for a Roman numeral of ‘2’, appears at the top of the page. The fragment was offered as a genuine Poe manuscript by New England Book Auctions, Sale Number 366, October 21, 2008, as item 204, with an estimate of $15,000-$25,000, but was promptly retracted from sale over doubts about its authenticity. It was in the collection of Richard Oinonen, who died in 2001, and is probably the work of Joseph Cosey. It may have been kept by Mr. Oinonen as an example of a forgery by someone who was notably notorious in the field, especially for his Poe forgeries. It bears a strong resemblance to a forgery of “To Helen,” offered in the same sale as item 208.)



  • Anderson, Carl L., Poe in Northlight: The Scandanavian Response to His Life and Work, Durham, NC: Duke Unversity Press, 1973.
  • Anderson, Gayle Dennington, “Demonology in ‘The Black Cat’,” Poe Studies (1977), 10:43-44
  • Badenhausen, Richard, “Fear and Trembling in the Literature of the Fantastic: Edgar Allan Poe's ‘The Black Cat’,” Studies in Short Fiction (1992), 29:487-498
  • Benfy, Christopher, “Poe and the Unreadable ‘Black Cat’ and ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’,” in New Essays on Poe's Major Tales, ed. Kenneth Silverman, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993, pp. 27-44
  • Bonaparte, Marie (translated by John Rodker), “ ‘The Black Cat‘, “ Partisan Review (Nov. 1950), 17:834-860
  • Cavell, Stanley, “Being Odd, Getting Even (Descarte, Emerson, Poe),” in The American Face of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. Shawn Rosenheim and Stephen Rachman, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1995, pp. 3-36
  • Clark, Richard, “The ‘Homely,’ the ‘Wild’ and the Horror of ‘Mere Household Events‘: The Aristotelian Poe-etics of ‘The Black Cat’,” Short Story, Spring 1996, 4:57-68
  • Cleman, John, “Irresistible Impulses: Edgar Allan Poe and the Insanity Defense,” American Literature (1991), 63:623-640
  • Crismal, William, “ ‘Mere Household Events’ in Poe's ‘The Black Cat’,” Studies in American Fiction (1984), 12:87-90
  • Del Vecchio, Rosa Maria, “Into that Material Nihility”: Poe's Criminal Persona as God-Peer, PhD disseration, Case Western University, 1994
  • Frushell, Richard C., “ ‘An Incarnate Night-Mare‘: Moral Grotesquerie in ‘The Black Cat’,” Poe Newsletter (Dec. 1972), 5:43-44
  • Gargano, James W., “ ‘The Black Cat‘: Perversness Reconsidered,” Texas Studies in Literature and Language (Summer 1960), 2:172-178
  • Hanrahan, Heidi, “ ‘A series of mere household events’: Poe's ‘The Black Cat,’ Domesticity, and Pet-Keeping in Nineteenth-Century America,” Poe Studies: History, Theory, Interpretation, vol. 45, 2012, pp. 40-56
  • 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.
  • Heller, Terry, “The Pure Fantastic Tale of Terror,” in The Delights of Terror: An Asthetics of the Tale of Terror, Urbana: Illinois University Press, 1987, pp. 100-107
  • Hester, Vicki and Emily Segir, “Edgar Allan Poe: ‘The Black Cat’ and Current Forensic Psychology,” E. A. Poe Review, Vol. 15, no. 2, Autumn 2014, pp. 175-193.
  • Krappe, E. S., “A Possible Source for Poe's ‘Tell-Tale Heart’ and ‘The Black Cat’,” American Literature (March 1940), 12:84-88
  • Mabbott, Thomas Ollive, “[introductory note, annotations and variants to ‘The Black Cat’]”, The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe (Vols 2-3 Tales and Sketches), Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1978.
  • Madden, Fred, “Poe's ‘The Black Cat’ and Freud's ‘The Uncanny’,” Literature & Psychology (1993), 39:52-62
  • Weaver, Aubrey Maurice, “And Then My Hert with Pleasure Fills . . .,” Journal of Evolutionary Psychology (1988), 9:317-320
  • Wyllie, John Cooke, “A List of the Texts of Poe's Tales,” Humanistic Studies in Honor of John Calvin Metcalf, Charlottesville: University of Virginia, 1941, pp. 322-338.


[S:0 - JAS] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Tales - The Black Cat