Text: Anonymous, “[Review of Poe's Eureka],” Cheltenham Chronicle and Gloucestershire Graphic (Cheltenham, UK), vol. 39, whole no. 2040, October 5, 1848, p. 4, col. 2


[page 4, column 2, continued:]


NEW DOCTRINES. — Mr. Edgar A. Poe, the well-known American writer, has published a new poetical work called Eureka, in which he has indeed found sundry mares’ nests, and out-Heroded the greatest Herod of his school. We gather from the New York Literary World that he thus explains the Newtonian law of gravity. “The attraction or gravitation which acts with a force inversely proportional to the squares of the distances, is but the reaction of the original act of creation, which was effected by irradiating the atoms of which the universe is composed from one centre of unity, with a force directly proportional to the squares of the distances, (re-action being action conversed,) and that this was the mode of distributing the original matter is shown on geometrical principles. The development or electricity, and the formation of stars and suns, luminous and non-lumionous, moons and planets with their rings, &c. is deduced very much according to the nebular theory of La Place, from the same principle.” His Pantheistic inconsistencies are still more nonsensical. At pages 28 and 29, he speaks of God or the Godhead as unity; but at page 103 asserts, “that we have a right to infer that there are an infinity of universes (?) such as ours, of which ‘each exists, apart and independently, in the bosom of its proper and particular god.’ This makes Mr. Poe a polytheist — a believer in an infinite number of proper and particular gods existing apart and independently. At page 141, it appears that this infinity of gods is forgotten, and Mr. Poe cannot conceive ‘that anything exists greater than his own soul;’ he feels ‘intense overwhelming dissatisfaction and rebellion at the thought;’ he asserts ‘that this feeling is superior to any demonstration;’ and that each soul is therefore, ‘its own god, its own creator.’ All this is extraordinary nonsense, if not blasphemy; and it may very possible [[possibly]] be both. Nay, we have Mr. Poe's own authority for saying so — authority which seems to be ‘divine’ with him. After all these contradictory propoundings concerning ‘God,’ we would remind him of what he lays down on page 28. ‘Of this Godhead, in itself, he alone is not imbecile — he alone is not impious, who propounds — nothing.’ A man who thus conclusively convicts himself of imbecility and impiety needs no further refutation.”



The phrase “a mare's nest” is here used in the original sense as a thing that is claimed but does not really exist.

This notice was repeated in the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent (Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England) for October 7, 1848, p. 8.


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