[Text: Anonymous, [Review of The Life and Poems of Edgar A. Poe], Hartford Courant (Hartford, CT), vol. XLIII, no. 331, December 22, 1879, p. 1, cols. 2-3


[page 1, column 2, continued:]

The publishers have issued a revised edition of The Life and Poems of Edgar A. Poe. This contains a complete collection of his poems with the addition of his lectures on the Poetic Principle, and on the Philosophy of Composition. It also has an introductory letter by Sarah Helen Whitman, the poet and friend to whom Poe was engaged to be married, and who has been one of the most earnest defenders of his memory against the gross slanders of Griswold. The new memoir which occupies half the volume, and is also something in the nature of a defense, is by Eugene L. Didier, who has since appeared as the editor of the Madame Bonaparte letters. The volume has a fine portrait of Poe, engraved by F. Halpin, with his autograph, and an engraving of the little cottage he occupied at Fordham. In this revised edition is corrected the statement of the first edition that Poe's parents perished in the burning of the Richmond theater, and the announcement is made of the death of Mrs. Whitman with a tribute to her memory.

The Memoir is a very interesting one, as probably most of our readers know; indeed, Poe is one of the few geniuses in literature about whose personality an intense curiosity always is felt. But the memoir has the fault of being too apologetic — and attitude perhaps forced on the writer by the aspersions cast on him; but we cannot but think that it would be better for his memory, since questions [column 3:] have been raised, either to say nothing about his habits, or to set forth his frailties plainly and let his genius balance them (as in the case of Burns) in the estimation of the world. The other fault of the memoir is a too constant strain of highest eulogy, which is always apt to prejudice the reader against the subject of a biography. His works speak for themselves. Yet the author has written an exceedingly interesting memoir, and we are not disposed to complain much, considering the provocation, at its warmth of tone. It was impossible that Poe, with his free tongue about all his contemporaries, should not have made enemies, and we should like to believe with the editor that his sharpest criticism sprang not from any personal feeling but from his extreme sensitiveness to bad art. He certainly had a rare critical faculty, and his friends can afford to let his opinions of authors stand or fall in the judgement of today. That Poe had the courage of his opinions on literary men when he stood almost alone will ever be remembered to his great honor. (W. J. Widdington [[Widdleton]]: New York. Brown & Gross: Hartford. $1.50.)





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