Text: Anonymous, “[Review of Poe's Tales], Graham's Magazine, September 1845, p. 143


[page 143, column 1, continued:]

Tales. By Edgar A. Poe. New York. Wiley & Putnam. 1 vol. 16mo.

These tales are among the most original and characteristic [column 2:] compositions in American letters. In their collected form, they cannot fail to make a forcible impression on the reading public. We are glad to see them in a “Library of American Books.” “The Gold Bug” attracted great attention at the time it appeared, and is quite remarkable as an instance of intellectual acuteness and subtlety of reasoning. “The Fall of the House of Usher” is a story of horror and gloom, in which the feeling of supernatural fear is represented with great power. The pertinacity with which Mr. Poe probes a terror to its depths, and spreads it out to the reader, so that it can be seen as well as felt, is a peculiarity of his tales. He is an anatomist of the horrible and ghastly, and trusts for effect, not so much in exciting a vague feeling of fear and terror, as in leading the mind through the whole framework of crime and perversity, and enabling the intellect to comprehend their laws and relations. Metaphysical acuteness characterizes the whole book. “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” and “The Mystery of Marie Roget,” are fine instances of the interest which may be given to subtle speculations and reasonings, when they are exercised to penetrate mysteries which the mind aches to know. “A Descent into Maelstrom,” “Mesmeric Revelation,” “The Purloined Letter,” “The Man of the Crowd,” “The Black Cat,” are all characterized by force and refinement of intellect, and are all effective as tales. The volume is a great stimulant to reflection. It demands intellectual activity in the reader. There are some hardy paradoxes in it, uttered with unhesitating confidence, and supported with great ingenuity. These “stir and sting” the mind to such a degree, that examination and reasoning become necessary to the reader's peace.





[S:0 - GM, 1845] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Bookshelf - Edgar A. Poe (Anonymous, 1845)