Text: James E. Heath, “E. A. Poe's New Work,” Southern Literary Messenger (Richmond, VA), January 1840, 6:126, col. 1


[page 126, continued:]


Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque. By Edgar A. Poe: 2vols. — Philadelphia: Lea & Blanchard.

To say that we admire Mr. Poe's style, abstractly considered, is more than we can say and speak truly; neither can we perceive any particular beneficial tendency that is likely to flow from his writings. This, of course, is a mere matter of opinion, and we may differ, in saying so, from many. At the same time, the possession of high powers of invention and imagination — of genius — is undoubtedly his. His productions are, many of them, in Literature, somewhat like Martin's in the Fine Arts. His serious sketches all bear the marks of bold, fertile genius. There is the dark cloud hanging over all — there are the dim, misty, undefined shapes in the back-ground. But amid all these arise huge and magnificent columns, flashing lamps, rich banquetting vessels, gleaming tiaras, and sweet, expressive faces. But the writings of Mr. P. are well known to the readers of the Messenger.

The volumes before us, with a rather singular title, are composed of tales and sketches, which have appeared at different times before the public: many of them, in this journal. We have read but a portion of them. Of these, we like, us a specimen of the author's powers of humor, “The Man that was used Up,” and “Why the Little Frenchman wears his hand in a Sling.” “Siope,” and “The MS. found in a Bottle,” afford good specimens of the author's stronger and more graphic powers.

We recommend Hans Phaal to every one who has not already read it — although our remembrance of it remains from a perusal some time since. The “opinions” prefixed to the second volume, are in bad taste. We do not intend to write a critique, but merely to bring to the notice of the public, the productions of a talented and powerful writer.



Although unsigned, the review is presumed to be the work of James E. Heath.


[S:0 - SLM, 1840] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Bookshelf - E. A. Poe's New Work (James E. Heath, 1840)