Text: Anonymous, “Review of The Works of the late Edgar Allan Poe,” New-York Spectator, vol. LIII, January 17, 1850, p. 1, col. 2


[page 1, middle of column 2:]

THE WORKS OF EDGAR A. POE: with notices of his Life and Genius. By Willis, Lowell and Griswold. New York. — J. S. Redfield.

But for the prefatory notices to these volumes should have been disposed to congratulate readers on their publication, for all that Mr. Poe wrote was worth reading and preserving. The prefatory notices, however, partake of the character of biography, which to be of value should be honest and impartial. The object of biography is two-fold — to warn against errors, radical or accidental, as well as to lead to emulation. An injustice is done by any biographer who neglects either of these objects, and the reviewer who endorses wholesale laudation where essential defects ought to have been pointed out, is a partaker of the fraud. This subject, however, under the circumstances connected with the issue of these volumes, is ungracious, and we pass it over, simply expressing our surprise as well as regret that Mr. Lowell should think it necessary to announce, in a note, that his highly commendatory criticism upon Mr. Poe was written and published at the deceased’s own request some years ago. That surely might have been spared.

To return to the volumes, which are embellished with a flattering portrait of Mr. Poe, we repeat that they are more than worth possession. We should have much regretted had no complete edition of his writings been obtainable. Although we have read most of what appears in these elegant volumes, we can return to the perusal with unabated interest. Mr. Poe’s intellectual character — his genius — is stamped upon all his productions, and we shall place these his works in the library among those books not to be parted with.




The proprietors of the New-York Spectator were John B. Hall and Francis Hall. It appears that Francis served as the primary editor, and he might well be the author of this short notice. The newspaper was published every Monday and Thursday. In 1850, January 17 was a Thursday.



[S:1 - NYSP, 1850] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Bookshelf - Edgar Allan Poe (Anonymous, 1850)