Text: Anonymous, “[Review of The Literati],” Oneida Morning Herald (Utica, NY), vol. III, no. 270, September 16, 1850, p. 2, col. 4


[page 2, column 4:]


THE LITERATI: by Edgar A. Poe. J. S. Redfield. New York. For sale by Beesley, Utica.

Our literary circles have been looking, with interest, for a posthumous work of the unfortunate Edgar A. Poe, which was announced some time since. It was intimated that the work would contain notices of literary characters, and ideas and observations on literary topics, from the pen of Mr. Poe, which were never before published.

The volume before us seems to be the object of the prophecies that have excited so much interest. It is not, however, strictly posthumous. It contains an Essay on “The Poetic Principle,” another “Of Criticism — Public and Private,” and a series of critical articles in reference to — we had almost said, against — the most prominent American writers, as well as notices of several of the first modern English authors; and at the close we have a collection of “Marginalia” and “Suggestions.” Most of the contents have been before given to the public, in the Lady's Book, and in various journals.

The work is eminently readable; but one must be especially careful not to rely too much upon Mr. Poe's critical fairness. He had ability of a high order; but a moral character more than questionable, and violent and unyielding prejudices. His ability is abundantly exhibited in the volume just issued; and his prejudices and unfairness are equally clearly shown. When unbiassed by his ill-will, and when speaking of persons who were supposed not to stand in his own way, he writes ably and fairly, showing an unusual degree of acumen and metaphysical and analytical power. Witness his notices of “Orion” by Richard H. Horne; a poem published in London, and not yet issued in this country, although it is one of the most valuable and durable poetical productions this age has given to literature.

Of the opposite character are his attacks upon Longfellow.

It is interesting, however to know how one literary man speaks of another; and Mr. Poe's unfortunate end has given an additional interest to what he has written. As compared with Mr. Poe's tales, this volume is vastly superior in those qualities which secure the popular approbation.

Rufus W. Griswold is the editor of the work, and furnishes a Memoir of Mr. Poe, quite impartial, but not otherwise remarkable.




This review is in regard to volume 3 of The Works of the Late Edgar Allan Poe.



[S:0 - OMH, 1850] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Bookshelf - Review of The Literati (Anonymous, 1850)