Text: Arthur Hobson Quinn, “Appendix 07,” Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography (1941), pp. 745-746


[page 745:]

VII. The Tales of the Folio Club

There has been much dispute concerning the tales which are to be included under this title. According to the editorial statement in the Southern Literary Messenger for August, 1835, including a quotation from the judges of the Visiter contest, there were sixteen stories, one of which seems to have been lost when they were returned by Carey and Lea. In Poe's letter to Hall the publisher in Philadelphia, of September 2, 1836, he says: “There has appeared in the Messenger a series of Tales, by myself — in all seventeen.” Only fourteen stories by Poe had appeared in the Messenger at that time. Originally, however, there were eleven tales, corresponding to the eleven members of the Club. These were:

The members generally, were most remarkable men.

There was, first of all, Mr. Snap, the President, who is a very lank man with a hawk nose, and was formerly in the service of the Down-East Review.

Then there was Mr. Convolvulus Gondola, a young gentleman who had travelled a good deal.

Then there was De Rerum Naturâ, Esqr., who wore a very singular pair of green spectacles.

Then there was a very little man in a black coat with very black eyes.

Then there was Mr. Solomon Seadrift who had every appearance of a fish.

Then there was Mr. Horribile Dictu, with white eyelashes, who had graduated at Gottingen.

Then there was Mr. Blackwood Blackwood who had written certain articles for foreign magazines.

Then there was the host, Mr. Rouge-et-Noir, who admired Lady Morgan.

Then there was a stout gentleman who admired Sir Walter Scott.

Then there was Chronologos Chronology who admired Horace Smith, and had a very big nose which had been in Asia Minor. ...

Here follows in the MS. the fragment of the piece now entitled “Silence: A Fable.”(1) [page 746:]

Obviously, the five stories published in the Philadelphia Saturday Courier, “Metzengerstein,” “The Duc de L’Omelette,” “A Tale of Jerusalem,” “Loss of Breath” and “Bon[[-]]Bon” are to be included. “The Manuscript Found in a Bottle,” which won the Visiter prize, “Siope” (“Silence”) which formed part of the manuscript book submitted to the judges, “Epimanes” (“Four Beasts in One”) which was sent to the New England Magazine in 1833, “Lionizing,” mentioned by Poe in his letter to White July 20, 1835, “The Visionary” (“The Assignation”) given with “Lionizing” in the Messenger account in August 1835, are certain also. Latrobe stated definitely in his account of the meeting of the judges that there was a difficulty in choosing the best. “Portions of the tales were read again and finally the committee selected the ‘Ms. Found in a Bottle.’ One of the stories was called ‘A Descent into the Maelström’ and this was at one time preferred.” Owing to the publication of the latter story in 1841, several authorities have concluded that Latrobe was confusing the two stories. This would be reasonable if he were mentioning only one of them. But how he could speak of them together and still confuse them is difficult to understand. Of the other early stories, “Berenice,” “Morella,” “King Pest,” “Shadow” and “Mystification” have usually been accepted, largely on internal evidence, and their dates of publication. “Hans Pfaall” is stated by Poe in his letter to White of July 20, 1835, to have been written especially for the Messenger, where it had appeared in June. Therefore, it may not have been one of the Tales of the Folio Club, although it clearly belongs to the early period.


[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 745:]

(1)  Virginia Edition, II (Tales I), pp. xxxviii-xxxix.



In the original, the section title is given in all capitals. For the sake of conformity, it has been rendered here in upper and lower case.


[S:1 - EAP:ACB, 1941] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Articles - E. A. P.: A Critical Biography (A. H. Quinn) (Appendix 07)