Text: Robert Carter to Edgar Allan Poe — June 19, 1843


Cambridge, Mass.,
June 19, 1843.

My Dear Sir, — I send you with this letter a copy of the Boston Notion, April 29, containing an abridgment which I made of the sketch of your life and writings which appeared in the Phila. Sat. Museum. I was absent from the city when it was printed and did not see the proof; consequently it is full of atrocious errors. What has become of the Stylus ? I trust that it has not been found prudent to relinquish the enterprise though I fear that such is the case. It would give the friends of pure and elevated literature in this region great pleasure to learn that it is only temporarily delayed.

Mr. Lowell is in excellent health and his eyes have nearly recovered their usual strength. He has entirely abandoned his profession and is living at his father’s house in the vicinity of this village. About a fortnight since he began to scribble vigorously and has within that period written about a thousand lines. You will see in the next Democratic Review, or at least in the August no., his longest and . . . blank verse and is entitled Prometheus. It contains nearly four hundred lines I think, and was written in seven or eight hours. At least, I left him one day at 11 A. M. and he had concluded to begin it immediately and when I saw him again at about 8 ½ P. M. the same day he read to me upwards of two hundred and fifty lines and he had written besides before he began some stanzas of a long poem in ottava rima which has occupied him chiefly for the last two weeks. Graham has also a poem from him and there will be one in the next New Mirror.

Within a week I have read for the first time, Pym’s Narrative. I lent it to a friend who lives in the house with me, and who is a lawyer, a graduate of Harvard, and a brother of Dr. O. W. Holmes, yet he is so completely deceived by the minute accuracy of some of the details, the remarks about the statements of the press, the names of people at New Bedford, &c. that, though an intelligent and shrewd man he will not be persuaded that it is a fictitious work, by any arguments drawn from the book itself, though . . . the latter part of the narrative. I dislike to tell him that I knew it to be fictitious, for to test its truthfulness I gave it to him without remark and he has so committed himself by grave criticisms on its details that I dread to undeceive him. He has crossed the Atlantic twice and commented on an inaccuracy in the description of Pym’s midnight voyage with his drunken friend. I have not the book in the house and knowing nothing of the sea, did not clearly comprehend the objection, but I think it was upon setting a “jib” or some such thing upon a dismasted snoop — I know that the words “jib,” “sloop” & “only one mast” occurred in his remarks.

To return to a safer subject — I am extremely desirous of knowing the name of your novel in two volumes alluded to in the “Museum” . . . and if it be not a secret, or one that can be confided to a stranger would be obliged by its communication. And while I am in an inquisitive mood, let me beg of you to tell me whether the name of the author of Stanley is Walteror Wm Landor and whether he has recently or will soon publish anything. Also who is the author of “Zoe” and the “Aristocrat?”

My address is still “Boston, care of Rev. Dr. Lowell.”

Truly & respectfully
Your friend
[[Robert Carter]]





[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Misc - Letters - R. Carter to Poe (RCL440)