Text: Anonymous, “Poe's Prose Romances,” Pennsylvania Inquirer and National Gazette (Philadelphia, PA), July 26, 1843, p. 2


Poe's Prose Romances.

We learn that the first number of the Prose Romances of Edgar A. Poe, Esq., has met with a ready sale. This was to be expected. Mr. Poe has distinguished himself in every walk of literature; and it may be doubted whether the country boasts a writer of greater favor and more varied and finished accomplishments. As an editor of the Southern Literary Messenger he acquired and deserved a reputation, which any living writer might be proud. In the field of romance, he has the rare merit of originality. Most of the tales of the day are copies of copies , — a reiteration of incidents a hundred times recited, and a repetition of sentiments, which, however commendable, are as well known as the Lord's Prayer. Mr. Poe's Romances are of a character entirely dissimilar. There is no apparent effort; no straining after sentiment; no daubing of red and white antithesis; no copied descriptions, a thousand times repeated, and weakened like circles in the water, with every repetition. In the present number, The Murders in the Rue Morgue is the better of the two tales. Of itself it proves Mr. Poe to be a man of genius. The inventive power exhibited is truly wonderful. At every step it whets the curiosity of the reader, until the interest is heightened to a point from which the mind shrinks with something like incredulity; when with an inventive power and skill, of which we know no parallel, he reconciles every difficulty, and, with the most winning vraisemblance brings the mind to admit the truth of every marvel related. The reader is disposed to believe that this must be the actual observation of some experienced criminal lawyer, the chain of evidence is so wonderfully maintained through so many intricacies, and the connexion of cause and effect so irresistibly demonstrated. The story told by any ordinary man would seem improbable; as given by Mr. Poe, the reader arises with a sense of mortification at having, for the time, so confidently believed that which is avowed to be fiction. The Murders in the Rue Morgue is one of the most enchaining, finished, and powerful fictions that we have for a long time read. The second tale, The Man that was used up, is an excellent sketch, full of point and humour, but does not equal its predecessor. We may anticipate a rich treat in this series of tales. We trust that the publisher will so enlarge the edition as to meet the increasing demand.



Note: In the issue for July 19, 1843, the same periodical contained the following announcement.

The Romances of Edgar A. Poe, Esq.

Mr. W. H. Graham, No. 98 Chesnut street, has just commenced the publication in a series of numbers, of the Prose Romances of Edgar A. Poe, Esq. We bespeak for this work more than ordinary attention. Mr. Poe is an able and a popular writer, and we notice with sincere pleasure, an undertaking which will collect his admirable stories together, and afford the public an opportunity of possessing them in a convenient form. The first number, which is sold at 12 1/2 cents, contains two articles entitled “Murders in the Rue Morgue,” and the “Man that was used up” — both of them excellent.


[S:0 - PING, 1843] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Bookshelf - Review of Poe's Prose Romances (Anonymous, 1843)