Text: Anonymous, “Review of Eureka, A Prose Poem,” Albion (Albion, NY), July 15, 1848, p. 345, col. 1


[page 345, column 1, continued:]

EUREKA, A PROSE POEM. By Edgar A. Poe. New York. 1848. G. P. Putnam. The reader shall have, chapter and verse, the short preface with which the author introduces this book, and commends it to immortality.

“To the few who love me and whom I love — to those who feel rather than to those who think — to the dreamers and those who put faith in dreams as in the only realities — I offer this Book of Truths, not in its character of Truth-Teller, but for the Beauty that abounds in its Truth; constituting it true. To these I present the composition as an Art-Product alone: — let us say as a Romance; or, if I be not urging too lofty a claim, as a Poem.

“What I here propound is true: — therefore it cannot die: — or if by any means it be now trodden down so that it die, it will “rise again to the Life Everlasting! Nevertheless it is as a Poem only that I wish this work to be judged after I am dead.” — E. A. P.

Passing over the manifest tone of self-complacency that runs through this introduction, deeming it very venial in a dreamy poet, we turned over a few pages, but found to our surprise that all the poetry was in the preface. Eureka, in point of fact, is an “Essay on the Material and Spiritual Universe,” and truly does Mr. Poe call it “the most solemn — the most comprehensive — the most difficult — the most august, of all conceivable subjects.” This is at the very outset, and on the first page he says, “I design to speak of the Physical, Metaphysical, and Mathematical — of he Material and Spiritual Universe: — of its Essence, its Origin, its Creation, its Present Condition, and its Destiny.” Of the serious nature of the matter treated, page 2 thus further informs us. “My general proposition is this: — In the original Unity of the First Thing lies the Secondary Cause of all Things, with the Germ of their Inevitable Annihilation.” It is obvious, therefore, that there is a singular discrepancy between the preface and the essay. The former we have given: the latter is deep, abstruse, and metaphysical, as far as a hasty glance enables one to judge, for we confess that this is all we have given to it. We do not profess ourselves competent to pass judgement on its truth; but shall gladly give our readers any critical remarks that it may elicit from pens habitually devoted to philosophical investigation of abstruse and hidden mysteries. We doubt not that with Mr. Poe’s keen research and undoubted talents, he has written what will draw upon him criticism the most thorough and acute, and we trust for his own sake that there will prove to be no romance at all “Eureka.” The little volume is portable and elegantly printed, much pains having been bestowed upon its external attractions.



The present short review appears under a column bearning the title “Notices of New Works.”


[S:0 - ALBN, 1848] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Bookshelf - Review of Eureka, A Prose Poem (Anonymous, 1848)