Text: William Doyle Hull II, “Part I, Chapter II,” A Canon of the Critical Works of Edgar Allan Poe (1941), pp. 187-199


[page 187:]


AFTER 1837

There is no evidence that Poe contributed to the Messenger any more reviews until May, 1845. The last page of the April, 1845, number has an editorial note concluding;

To enable the Messenger to discharge its part, we have engaged the services of Mr. Poe; who will contribute monthly a critique raisonnee of the most important forthcoming works ... (SLM, IX, 256).

Mr. B. B. Minor, editor from August, 1843, to November, 1847, wrote in his history of the Messenger:

Of course, such an announcement would hover have been made without due authority; but.it was never in the least part fulfilled by Mr. Poe.(1)

Mr. Campbell, however, points out:

A notice of Anthon's edition of Smith's ‘Dictionary of Greek and Roman antiquities’ ... May, 1845 ... paraphrases in part Poets notice of the same work in the Broadway Journal of April, 12, 1845 ... the most reasonable assumption is that Mr. Minor's memory played him false in this matter, and that Poe simply made his article do double duty, as he did, we know, con more than one other occasion.(2)

MAY, 1845.


A comparison will show that the Messenger critic incorporated the Broadway Journal notice in his review. The [page 188:] first two paragraphs of the Messenger notice are not found in the earlier one, but they contain background material which Poe usually gave in reviewing such works. The last paragraph of the one paraphrases the first of the other, with occasional verbal parallelism. In the Broadway Journal: “This invaluable work is designed to supersede, and must entirely supersede the compilations of Potter and Adams” (H, XII, 129) ; in the Messenger: “It is scarcely necessary to mention that, by this truly comprehensive work, the meagre compilations of Potter and Adams, are completely over-shadowed” (SLM, XI, 326). With these compare two sentences, one from “Autography,” Graham's, November, 1841:

His [Anthon's] amplification of Lempriere ... has been entirely superseded by a Classical Dictionary of his own ... It has at once completely over-shadowed everything of its kind (H, XV, 180; GM, XIX, 225).

And one from “Literati,” Godey's Lady's Book, June, 1846: “... his [Anthon's] ‘Classical Dictionary’ has superseded the work of the Frenchman altogether” (H, XV, 34; GLB, XXXII, 265).

Broadway Journal:

... there is appended an Index Raisonne, in which the whole subject ... is classified under appropriate heads, so that, by mums of the Index, the book, although retaining the advantages of a dictionary, may be made ‘to answer readily all the college purposes of a text book (H, XII, 129) ;


He has also appended an index Raisonne, classifying everything, so that, retaining the form of a Dictionary, the book may still be made to answer all the purposes of a college text-book. (SLM, XI, 326). [page 189:]

Broadway Journal:

Dr. Anthon has enriched the American edition by a fund of information on scientific topics ... He has also introduced some most obvious improvements in form and method ... (H, XII, 129-130) ;


He has improved the arrangement of matter very materially, and added numerous excellent papers on the Botany, Mineralogy, and Zoology of the Ancients (SLM, XI, 326).

Broadway Journal:

He is not only the best scholar in America — but perhaps the most absolutely accurate one in the world„, we should stand by his decision in any matter of classical fact, in preference to that of any man in Europe, or elsewhere (H, XI, 130).

Messenger: “... Professor Charles Anthon ... as few, (if any) equals, and no superior in the classical world” (SLM, XI, 326). It should be noted as significant that in every case, each change is for the better.


This notice directly follows that of Anthon's Dictionary in the Messenger, In the April 19 Broadway Journal of 1845 and in the April 12, theme are twenty-one and seventeen line notices of it. The latter ends: “We are now merely speaking at random, for we intend to recur to this subject again, and perhaps even again” (BJ, I, 253). The earlier ends; “We shall speak of it more fully hereafter” (BJ, I, 226). The Messenger notice begins: “This is a large octavo of some 700 pages ...[page 190:] (SLM, XI, 326) ; the April 12: “This is a large and handsome octavo of some 700 pages” (BJ, I, 226) ; the April 19: “This is a very large volume of nearly 700 octavo pages..” (BJ, I, 253). At the time of the first notice4 which is little more than an announcement, Poe confessed that he had not “fully read the work.” He adds: “...his volume, if only for the amount of well-digested and various information it embodies, is worth double the sum demanded for it” (BJ, I, 226) ; in the Messenger: “... independently of its proper merit as an exposition of the thesis, Mnemotechny, [it] is singularly instructive as a storehouse of facts” (SLM, XI, 326). In the second Broadway Journal Notice: “... we have no hesitation in declaring the work one of the most extraordinary ever issued in this country or elsewhere” (BJ, I, 253) ; in the Messenger: “... one of the most important and altogether important works which have been published within the last fifty years” (SLM, XI, 326), In the Journal:

M. Gouraud is of that class of men who, through intensity of enthusiasm, accomplish great things, but who again, through the very peculiarity, or markedness, of this enthusiasm, excite against them a thousand prejudices in the minds of the mass of mankind (BJ, I, 253).

After a twenty-three line discussion, in the Messenger, of this idea, there is a summary: [page 191:]

It will be understood at once, that M. Gouraud is of the class of men who accomplish great results by means of the very quality which excites prejudice, in the majority of mankind, during the accomplishments of these results (SLM, XI, 327).

In both the notices and the review (that in the Messenger is a review, filling; two columns and a half) the reviewer refers to the systems of Grey and Feinagle, Moreover, in the first Poe has:

And yet it was the immortal Lalande who said he knew of nothing so profoundly inconsequential as the system of Feinagle (BJ, I, 253) ;

in the Messenger; “Yet of the system of Feinagle, it was no less a man than that king of logicians, Lalande, who thus expressed himself...” (SLM, XI, 326), In the following quotation the word “nothing” is italicized.

There is a possibility, although unlikely, that a Messenger reviewer drew on the Journal notices, I have no doubt that these two reviews are Poe's. There is nothing discordant in tone, matter, or attitude. Furthermore, the positions of the notices in both magazines and the dates of each are too coincidental not to have weight. The April Messenger announced the new arrangement with Mr. Poe. In April Poe would have had to send any reviews intended for the May number. Finding himself pressed for time, he took three short notices in the Journal of two works in which he was especially interested and expanded them for his Messenger duty. Lack of time kept him from further fulfilling his engagement. [page 192:]

In the summer of 1859 Mrs, Anna Cora Mowatt, then Mrs. Ritchie, wrote to Mrs, Julia Dean Freeman:

Mr. Thompson (the new editor of the Messenger) became acquainted with Poe in the summer of 48 or 49. (I cannot trust my memory as to the year).(1) Poe came to his office, introduced himself, talked in the calmest manner of his faults and finally engaged to write for the Messenger. He and Mr. Thompson became quite intimate and Mr. Thompson has a full appreciation of the fine points of his character.(2)

Mrs. Whitman copied this account in a letter to Ingram. It seems to have some amount of truth, for Poe again began occasionally to contribute to the Messenger.



Killis Campbell says that this, “considerably amplified,” appeared first in the Democratic Review, August, 1848.(3) In another article his says that a review, “Mrs. Lewis's Poems,” published anonymously in the Western Quarterly Review, April, 1849 (I, 404-408). “is partly a recast by Poe of” the Messenger review.(4) He points to a reference in a letter from Poe to Mrs. Clemm: “Did Mrs. Lewis get the Western Quarterly Review?”(5) In a fragment, entitled, in Harrison's edition, “Memorandum by [page 193:] Poe in the Griswold Collection — Relating to Mrs. E. A. Lewis — ‘Stella’ ” one finds: “... in a late ‘Southern Messenger,’ Mr. Poe has quite an elaborate review of her poems generally ...” (H, XIII, 225). This scrap seems to be part of a paragraph Poe sent to Thomas on February 14, 1849, for insertion in his Louisville newspaper, The Chronicle. The passage in the letter reads:

... in a late ‘Southern Messenger,’ Mr. Poe had quite an elaborate review of her [Mrs. Lewis’] generally, and commended them ‘richly imaginative and passionate.(1)

Harrison prints also an article entitled “Estelle Anna Lewis (Text: Griswold)” (H, XIII, 215-225), which has, among others, four long passages identical. with ones in the Messenger review, H, XIII, 216, 11.9-7.7, paraphrased from SLM, XIII, 156, 11.16-30. H, XIII, 217, 11.1-1.8, paraphrased, with ten lines of verse, from SLM, XIII, 157, 11.7-25. H, XIII:, 218, 1.3 to 219, 1.12, exact from SLM, XIII, 1.33 to 161, 1.17. H?, XIII, 219, 11, 30-33, verse from SLM, XIII, 162, 11, 27-30. H, XIII, 220, 1.5 to 221.1.27, exact, except for change; from “we” to “I,” from SLM, XIII, 161, 1.11 to 162, 1.25. H, XIII, 221.1.32 to 223, 1.13 and 11.21-31, exact, except for the insertion of three words, from SLM, XIII, 163, 1.1 to 165, 1, 4.(2) [page 194:]

The circumstances leading to Griswold's getting possession of this manuscript may be revealed by the Poe to Griswold letter of June 28, 1849. Poe asks permission to do the notice on Mrs. Lewis for Griswold's new book. He will leave the article for Griswold, sealed, at Mrs. Lewis’.(1)

OCTOBER, 1848.




On January 13, 1849, Poe wrote Thompson, proposing that he take for the Messenger a series of “Marginalia;” “You might afford me, as before, I presume, $2 per page.” He added a postscript:

I am about to bestir myself in the world of Letters rather more busily then I have done for three or four years past — and a connexion which I have established with 2 weekly papers may enable me, now & then, to serve you in respect to “The Messenger.”(2)



Poe wrote Griswold, perhaps in January, 1849:

What I have always held in conversations about you, and what I believe to be entirely true, as far as it goes, is contained in my notice of your ‘Female Poets of America.’ in the forthcoming Southern Literary Messenger’ (Poe-Griswold, H, XVII, 326). [page 195:]

MARCH, 1845.

* 171. A FABLE FOR CRITICS. [[list]]

On February 14, 1849, Poe wrote Thomas from Fordham:

I sent a review of the ‘Fable’ to the ’S. L. Messenger’ a day or two ago, and I only hope Thompson will print it.(1)

The review appeared, with no name, under Notices of New Works, in the March number. Were there no external evidence, any single paragraph would be convincing enough.*

APRIL, 1849.

* 172. MARGINALIA. BY EDGAR A. POE. [[list]]

On pages 41 to 45, volume X, Harrison prints a review, “George P. Morris. (Text: Burton's Gentleman's Magazine, December, 1839: Southern Literary Messenger, April, 1849, revised), ” with this footnote:

This review eras reprinted with slight alterations in the So. Lit. Mess. April, 1849, under the title ‘National Melodies of America. By George P. Morris, Esq.

Mr. Harrison has made a mistake. There is no such Poe review in any volume of the Messenger. In the “Marginalia, ” however, which appeared in the April, 1849, issue of the Messenger, the earlier review of Morris is incorporated without the change of a single word. Harrison does not correct his mistake when he prints “Marginalia.” (2) [page 196:]

MAY, 1849.

* 173. MARGINALIA. BY EDGAR A. POE. [[list]]

JUNE, 1849.

* 174. MARGINALIA. BY EDGAR A. POE. [[list]]

JULY, 1849.

* 175. MARGINALIA. BY EDGAR A. POE. [[list]]

AUGUST, 1849.


The previous articles on Mrs. Osgood should be compared. There is in the Broadway Journal for December 13, 1845, a review, “Poems. By Frances Osgood,” with this note; “Some of the passages oQ the above articles have appeared in some of our Magazines — in ‘Marginalia,’ etc.” H, XIII, 17, 11.16-23, slightly differing from SLM, XIII, 191, 11.5-12. H, XIII, 18, 11.1-3, 6-9, and 18-22, rewritten in, SLM, XIII, 191, 11.22-30. H, XIII, 18, 11.24-32, in SLM, XIII, 192, 11.3-10. H, XIII, 21, 1.18 to 22.1.16, a quotation in SLM, XIII, 189. H, XIII, 25, 1.5 to 20, 1, 4, a quotation in SLM, XIII, 190, 1.4 to 191, 1.4.(1)

In March, 1846, Godey's Lady's Book printed a review of Mrs. Osgood by Poe, largely concerned with the Wreath. It is unlike that in the Journal except for a few verbal parallelisms and the quotation in entirety of two poems quoted there. With [page 197:] that in the Messenger there is more similarity. H, XIII, 107, 11, 4-29, exact in SLM, XIII, 186, 1.28 to 187, 1.16, H, XIII, 108, 11.21-29, exact in SLM, XIII, 187, 11.17-24, H, XIII, 109, 11, 13-16, in SLM, XIII, 178, 11.22-25, H, XIII, 110, 1.11 to 112.1.5, almost exact in SLM, XIII, 177, 1, 27 to 178, 1.21 (a long quotation is omitted). H, XIII, 112, 11.6-9, slightly altered in H, XIII, 178, 1, 25 to 179, 1.1. H, XIII, 113, 1, 25, to 114, 1, 5, slightly altered in SLM, XIII.179, 11.2-11, 18-20. H, XIII, 114, 11.9-13, slightly altered in SLM, XIII, 180, 11.25-28. H, XIII, 114, 1, 17 to 115, 1.239 slightly altered in SLM, XIII, 181, 11, 7-25 (part of a quotation is omitted). H, XIII, 115, 1.28 to 117, 1.4, slightly altered in SLM, XIII, 182, 1.14 to 183, 1.17. ;Ei, XIII, 118, 1, 11 to 120, 1.17, slightly altered in SLM, XIII, 184, 1, 1 to 186, 1.4, H, XIII, 122, 1, 17 to 124 1.20, slightly altered in H?, XIII, 189, 1, 1 to 191, 1.4, H, XI1I, 124, 1.24 to 125, 1.3, slightly altered in phraseology with the order of the three sentences reversed, in SLM, XIII, 191, 11.12-21.(1)

Godey's Lady's Book, September, 1846, has a “Literati” article which contains “Frances S. Osgood.” H, XV, 94, 1.1 to 96, 1.25, exact, except for three phrases, in H, XIII, 175, 1.10 (the beginning of the review) to 177, 1.27, H, XV, 96, 11, 26-33, exact but for the last phrase, in H, XIII, 196, 11.21-28. H, XV, 96, 1.34 to 97, 1.4, slightly altered in H, XIII, 187, 1.30 to 188, 1.2. H, XV, 97, 1.8 to 99, 1.36, slightly altered with two passages paraphrased in H, XIII, 179, 1.20 to 181, 1.18.(2) H, XV, 100, H, 1-9, [page 198:] slightly altered in H, XIII, 188, 11.3-9. H, XV, 102, H, 1-5, slightly altered in H, XIII, 188, 11.42-27.(1)

The Messenger review seems to have been written from the three earlier reviews, because, while a few passages are common to all four, the Messenger has with each one certain passages not found in any of the others. The article which Griswold printed, in his “Literati,” and which Harrison prints in an appendix, XV, 270-288, seems either to have been taken from the Messenger, or from a Poe manuscript, the source of the Messenger review. The two are identical except for three quotations which are omitted in the Griswold, for the last paragraph (XV, 287, 1.34 to the end is a close paraphrase of XIII, 192, 11.28-33), and for the last five lines, for which Griswold has no parallel.


* 177. MARGINALIA. BY EDGAR A. POE. [[list]]

OCTOBER, 1850.


Thompson prefaced the article:

From advance sheets of ‘The Literati, ’ a work in press, by the late Edgar A. Poe, we take the following sketches of Headley and Channing — as good specimens of that tomahawk-style of criticism of which the author was so great a master. In the present instances the satire is well-deserved. Neither of these sketches we believe have (sic) been in print before (SLM, XVI, 608). [page 199:]

Griswold printed these two articles in his “Literati.”(1) The “Channing” appeared first as “Our Amateur Poets, No, III, ” in Graham's, August 1843.(2) Only the first five and two thirds pages of the sixteen and a half page review(3) appeared in the Messenger; Griswold printed the entire review.


[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 187:]

1.  B. B. Minor, op.. cit,, 140.

2.  K. Campbell, op. cit., Nation, XCIII, 362.

[The following footnotes appeared at the bottom of page 192:]

1.  It would seem to have been 1848.

2.  Mrs. Whitman-Ingram, February 27, 1874. Ingram Col. in UVL.

3.  K. Campbell, op. cit., Nation, LXXXIX, 625-624.

4.  K. Campbell, op. cit. MLN, XXXII, 270.

5.  Poe-Mrs. Clemm, Richmond, September, 1849. H, XVII, 369.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 193:]

1.  Poe-Thomas, New York, February 14, 1849. Gr. MSS. phot. in UVL.

2.  The figures in both of these refer to the Harrison printing; H is for the Griswold text; SLM, for that of the Messenger.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 194:]

1.  Poe-Griswold, New York, June 28, 1849. Gr. MSS. Phot. in UVL.

2.  Poe-Thompson, New York, January 13, 1849. Phot. in UVL.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 195:]

1.  Poe-Thomas, Fordham, February 14, 1849. H, XVII, 333.

*  Cf. BJ, I, 161, March 15, 1845: “Satiricial [[Satirical]] Poems.”

2.  H, XVI, 130-140.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 196:]

1.  Harrison prints the BJ review in XIII, 17-26. here H refers to this printing; SLM, to that of the Messenger review, in H, XIII, 177-192.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 197:]

1.  Harrison prints the GLB review in XIII, 105-125. Here H refers to this printing; SLM, to his printing of the Messenger review.

2.  Harrison does not print all of the quotation.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 198:]

1.  The “Literati” article is printed by Harrison in XV, 94-105; SLM, XIII refers to the Messenger review.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 199:]

1.  R. W. Griswold, The Works of Poe, III, 249-253; 229-240.

2.  H, XI, 174-190.

3.  As printed by Harrison.


[S:0 - CCWEAP, 1941] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Articles - A Canon of the Critical Works of EAP (W. D. Hull) (Part I, Chapter II)