Text: Freeman Hunt, [Review of The Literati], Hunt's Merchants’ Magazine and Commercial Review (New York, NY), vol. 23, no. 3, September 1850, p. 363


[page 363:]

1. — The Literati: some Honest Opinions about Authorial Merits and Demerits, with Occasional Words of Personality; including Marginalia, Suggestions, and Critical Essays. By the late EDGAR A. POE. 1 vol. 12mo. New York: J. S. Redfield.

This volume comprises the most characteristic and remarkable writings of a man of genius, who will probably continue to be ranked among the most genuine and creative authors of this country. The tales and poems of Mr. Poe, previously published by Mr. Redfield, are already, by the common consent, for the creative energy displayed in them, and for the exquisite finish of their style, admitted to be classical. They form a portion of the prominent literature of the English language. These “opinions,” critical and personal, are likely to provoke controversy Mr. Poe had astonishing acuteness, and he delighted in a caustic severity. The faults of our authors he seemed to have deemed it his mission to detect and explore. But he was not altogether ungenial. This work embraces much of the most delicate appreciative criticism, and it evinces on almost every page a large knowledge in literature, and unsurpassed skill in literary art. The series of papers entitled “Marginalia,” and that called “suggestions,” are full of curious learning. Principle is one of curious learning. Principle is one of the finest pieces of aesthetic writing produced in our time. The memoir prefixed to the work has a melancholy interest. It furnishes a key to the author's temper, his misfortunes, and the direction of his genius. The book will probably have an immense sale.



This review, as well as three others, was first resurrected by Burton R. Pollin in “Poe, Freeman Hunt, and Four Unrecorded Reviews of Poe's Works,” Texas Studies in Literature and Language, vol. XVI, no. 2, Summer 1974, pp. 305-313. In that article, he also identifies the likely author as Freeman Hunt. Hunt, the editor whose name was borne in the name of the magazine, appears to have been favorably disposed toward Poe. In his Literati entry on Hunt, Poe said of him that “He is a true friend, and the enemy of no man. ... His heart is full of the warmest sympathies and charities. No one in New York is more universally popular.”


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