Text: Thomas Ollive Mabbott, “Introduction and Digressions,” from the facsimile edition of The Raven and Other Poems New York: The Facsimile Text Society, 1942, pp. v-xxviii


[page v, unnumbered:]


POE, in 1845, finally won popular recognition as a poet. The Raven and Other Poems, published late in that year, was the last of Poe's volumes of verse to appear during his lifetime, but the first to enjoy considerable success. In the four years of his life that remained he published, in periodicals, poems as good as anything in the volume of 1845; but in that volume was included a large proportion of the poetry on which his fame was to rest. Furthermore, Poe kept by him until his death a copy of the book in which he made a number of manuscript revisions in pencil, apparently with a new edition in mind. This “Lorimer Graham copy,” rich in artistic and personal significance, has been chosen for reproduction, to complete the Facsimile Text Society's series of reprints of Poe's four volumes of verse. It is a worthy companion to the three preceding volumes, for while The Raven is far less rare than Poe's earlier books,(1) this particular copy is unique. The circumstances of the preparation and publication of The Raven and Other Poems are not veiled in mystery. But in the following brief discussion, largely confined to historical and bibliographical problems, will be found some new information.(2) [page vi:]

Poe's volume of Tales (selected by Evert A. Duyckinck) was published as the second of Wiley and Putnam's “Library of American Books,” about June 25, 1845. It sold fairly well, and the publishers decided to bring out, as the eighth book in their series, a collection of Poe's poems, to include the famous “Raven.”(3). In the following letter [page vii:] we have Poe's reply to a request for material for the volume.

My Dear Duyckinck,

I leave for you what I think the best of my Poems. They are very few — including those only which have not been published in volume form. If they can be made to fill a book, it will be better to publish them alone — but if not, I can hand you some “Dramatic Scenes” from the S. L. Messenger (2d Vol.) and “Al Aaraaf” and “Tamerlane,” two juvenile poems of some length.

Truly yours   Poe

Wednesday 10th [September 1845.](4)

I believe Duyckinck wrote at once asking Poe to see him, and that the brief note of reply is the following;

Thursday morning.

My dear Sir

Your note of yesterday was not received until this morning.

I will call at your home to-night, about 8, in the hope of finding you disengaged.

Very truly yours,   Edgar A. Poe.(5)

E. A. Duyckinck Esq. [page viii:]

The decision was made to include the juvenile poems and the dramatic scenes from Politian. The following note, hitherto apparently unpublished, reveals Poe appealing to his “dearest enemy,” Rufus Griswold, for the Southern Literary Messenger, to use as copy for the Scenes.

New York, Sep. 28 [1845]

My dear Griswold,

Please do not forget to send the S. L. Messenger — vol. 2. I will take especial care of it.

Truly yours   Poe.(6)

As copy for the section of juvenile poems Poe used a corrected copy of his Al Aaraaf, 1829, which he had once given his cousin Elizabeth Herring, of Baltimore, but had again in his hands by midsummer, 1845. This copy survives, and is at last accessible for study in the Berg Collection in the New York Public Library. It has many corrections, made for three distinct purposes, of which my discussion is necessarily so technical it is given as Digression A, below. [page ix:]

Of the copy used for the major poems on pages 1-30, the “Sonnet to Science” on page 55,(7) and “To Helen,” with which the volume of 1845 concludes, nothing is really known, but Poe had published all these poems rather recently in forms of which clippings with manuscript changes would have well served his purpose. We know he preferred printed copy, and it is unlikely that anything was sent the printer in manuscript except the Dedication, Preface, and the note on page 55, which had never been printed.

Copy probably went to the printers about the first of October.(8) Poe later probably sent a few corrections to the printers — for some light on his methods see Digression B, below. There were a few changes made in proof. [page x:] The order of the early poems was changed from that of the volume of 1829. “To Helen” was placed last, because it was Poe's custom to call it very early, and also he probably wished to conclude the volume artistically with a fine poem. The collection was fairly complete. He had by him no copy of his 1827 volume. He rejected the new versions of 1831, but he gave all save three of the poems of 1829, and of serious poems published over his signature after 1831 only “Serenade” (1833) is missing. That Poe may have forgotten himself.

The names of the two typographers who worked on The Raven are preserved in printers’ notes on the Herring volume; but since two printers of each surname occur in the New York Directory for 1845, we can only say they were Richards and Moran. They worked with speed, and Poe read the last proofs on October 15.

Originally it was planned to issue The Raven about November 10, for Poe wrote in the Broadway Journal of November 1, 1845: [page xi:]

Mrs. Kirkland's new book, with our own Poems (including “Al Aaraaf,” the one with which we quizzed the Bostonians) will be issued in about ten days by Messrs. Wiley & Putnam.

In the issue of November 8 the publishers advertised it as the second of nine “new books to be published ... in the month of November.” The book was finished by November 12, when a complete copy was deposited for copyright in the “Clerk's Office for the So. Dist. of New York.” This copy, rebound, but with paper covers and all six leaves of advertisements preserved, is now in the Library of Congress. On November 15 Poe wrote Chivers that he was sending him his poems, obviously an advance copy. The actual date of publication was November 19, 1845,(9) when the book was announced as “this day published” at the price of 31 cents,(10) in the Tribune. [page xii:]

Before publication of his book Poe wrote Duyckinck a letter on “Thursday morning — 13th [November, 1845]”(11) in which he offered to compound all payments for a lump sum of cash, which he needed to finance his Broadway Journal. Poe says $75 was to be paid for the poems, 8 cents a copy on the Tales, and a settlement was promised in February.(12)

Since the book is completely reproduced in this volume, bibliographical description would be superfluous, but it should be pointed out that contemporary advertisements call it 16mo. and that the signatures are peculiar. Two leaves of advertisements (as reproduced) are integral in all issues of the book.(13) The pages measure about 194 x [page xiii:] 130 mm.; but a slightly larger format is adopted in the reproduction so as not to crowd the marginal notes.

There are three issues of the book, to be distinguished primarily by the binding. These formerly gave much trouble (or perhaps too little trouble) to bibliographers. We shall discuss them in turn, saying at once that the priority(14) of the form in paper covers is now established.

I.  The first issue is that in paper covers, of a pinkish brown. These covers have printed text on all sides, and are reproduced herewith, from the Duyckinck copy at the New York Public Library. On the spine is “THE RAVEN AND OTHER POEMS.” This issue also contains four additional leaves of advertisements, which are not present in the form of the book chosen for reproduction. The paperbound book bears on the cover the price 31 cents, and all early advertisements mention no other price. It is incredible that more was not asked for copies in cloth.(15) It will be seen that on the back cover is a list of nine books, of which The Raven is the eighth, but the last for which a [page xiv:] price is given. Simms's Views and Reviews is called “Just Ready.” There is no reason to believe in an “earlier state” of the covers of The Raven, for the copyright copy, deposited a week before sale of the book, has the covers in the state described, and that is decisive.(16) Of this state there is a presentation copy to the publisher of the Broadway Journal, inscribed, “Mr. John Bisco — with the sincere regards of E. A. Poe.” It is in the Berg Collection.

This was the form usually seen by reviewers, and the reviews may be discussed here. The first was a pleasantly appreciative article, probably by N. P. Willis, in the Evening Mirror(17) of November 21. Margaret Fuller printed in the Tribune, November 26, a fairly appreciative and [page xv:] keenly analytical review, signed with her regular asterisk.(18) To an unfavorable review by John S. Dwight, in Brook Farm's organ, The Harbinger, of December 6, Poe thought it worth while to reply the next week in the Broadway Journal. A brief but highly valuable review, showing the attitude of an intelligent contemporary, appeared in the New York Evangelist, November 27, and may be given in full here.

There is great diversity of opinion respecting Mr. Poe's poetry — more so than respecting his talents as a prose writer, or temper as a critic. But the reader of the Raven will never deny him originality and great power both of thought and versification. It is an extraordinary performance, and of itself is enough to establish the author's reputation as a poet. The other poems are various in subject and merit; but usually evince great skill in versification. And if obscurity is the test, uncommon originality. The collection of these poems is a public favor and we doubt not it will be popular.

Other reviews are of less interest, a list of those of which I have record is given in a footnote.(19) None has anything [page xvi:] so fine as the remark made about “The Raven” by Charles Fenno Hoffmann to Mrs. Oakes Smith, “It is despair brooding over wisdom.”

II.  The second state is a compound book, made up of the sheets of both the Raven and the Tales, bound together in cloth,(20) inscribed on the spine “LIBRARY / OF / AMERICAN / BOOKS // THE RAVEN AND / OTHER POEMS / [ornament] / POE’S TALES // WILEY & PUTNAM” and priced $1.00. It came out certainly later than the paper form. The date of publication cannot be given exactly. The evidence shows publication between December, 1845, and April, 1846; my belief is, it was “ready” about the end of February.(21) [page xvii:]

Now, the dedication copy, inscribed “To Miss Elizabeth Barrett Barrett, With the Respects of Edgar A. Poe,” belongs to this issue,(22) and she received it on March 20, [page xviii:] 1846.(23) One other presentation copy is known to me of the double form. It is the celebrated copy inscribed “To Mrs. Sarah Helen Whitman, from the most devoted of her friends, Edgar A. Poe.” It was, of course, not given her until after she met Poe in 1848.(24) Poe's personal copy, described below, is also of this form.

III. The third state is made up of the American sheets with a cancel title leaf (reproduced herewith), dated London, 1846, and bound in green cloth, inscribed on the spine “POE’S / POEMS” only. It has six leaves of advertisements, exactly like state I.(25) It apparently came out late in February, and despite the new date, 1846, on its title page, my feeling is that it is earlier than state II. (26)

Poe's personal copy of his Raven and Tales he kept by him until the end of his life and in it made numerous corrections in faint pencil. It was apparently with him at [page xix:] Richmond and presumably in his trunk at the time of his death. Griswold searched for it, and finally got it into his hands.(27) He wrote his name in it, but either he or his family ultimately sold it. At one time it was in the hands of a New York dealer, George P. Philes, a keen student of Poe, who also wrote his name in it. Later, thus authenticated, it was acquired by J. Lorimer Graham, whose bookplate it bears and by whose name it is still known.(28) By courtesy of the Century Club, Poe's book of poems is herewith reproduced from the volume for the first time completely. It is to be recalled that in some cases the readings are not certainly his latest revisions; for Poe prepared some periodical texts during his visit to Richmond that include changes he did not add to his personal copy. Whether he would have added all of them in a second edition can never be known. The changes in the present copy are all highly significant of Poe's careful artistry.

It has been stated that the corrections are in faint pencil. [page xx:] All are easily read in the original, but some of them do not photograph well for reproduction, and the plates have in some places been slightly retouched, with the result that the lines sometimes appear thicker, and always blacker, than in the original.(29)

Poe used proofreaders’ marks as we do today, and most of his changes will be clear to a modern reader. But I give below a transcript or explanation of all the verbal changes in the facsimile. After the title of each poem are the numbers of the pages on which the changes occur; the number before each note is the line of the poem corrected, not always the same as that on the page. The second reading is the correction. Changes involving only spelling or punctuation are on pages 1, 5, 17, 22, 24, and 29.

PREFACE (page vii) 3 at random / [deleted] 4-5 I am naturally anxious that / [placed at beginning of sentence] 7 upon / on.

THE RAVEN (pages 2, 3, 4) 27 darkness / stillness 28 Lenore! / Lenore! 32 I heard again / again I heard 39 an instant / a minute 65 melancholy / [The word was once altered by Poe, who later erased the correction; enough can be made out in some lights to say the cancelled change was] ev[er cer]tain 67 sad soul / fancy 80 angels whose faint / seraphim whose.

BRIDAL BALLAD (page 7) 23 [After this line Poe adds]

Here is a ring, as token

That I am happy now! —

THE SLEEPER (pages 9, 10) 17 [line deleted] 27 fringed / fringéd 45 dim / pale 52 winged / wingéd.

COLISEUM (page 13) 24 wanlight / wan light.

LENORE (page 15) 20-26 [Poe changed the whole stanza to read]

Avaunt! — avaunt! from fiends below, the indignant ghost is riven —

From Hell unto a high estate far up within the Heaven [page xxi:]

From grief and groan, to a golden throne, beside the King of Heaven! —

Let no bell toll, then! — lest her soul, amid its hallowed mirth,

Should catch the note as it doth float up from the damnèd Earth! —

And I! — to-night my heart is light! — No dirge will I upraise

But waft the angel on her flight with a Pæan of old days!

CATHOLIC HYMN (page 15) [Poe deleted the first word of the title.]

DREAMLAND (pages 18, 19) 12 dews / tears 48 fringed / fringéd.

TO ONE IN PARADISE (page 23) 1 all that / that all 23 dark / grey.

THE CONQUEROR WORM (page 28) 31 the angels / seraphs 37 And / While.

THE HAUNTED PALACE (page 30) 35 sorrow / morrow [The only ink correction, and not surely in Poe's hand; it is of an obvious misprint.]

POLITIAN (page 34) [In the stage directions] ROME [is deleted, and at first mention the speakers’ names are expanded to] Lalage [and] Jacinta.


For permission to reproduce the Lorimer Graham copy of The Raven and Other Poems thanks are due to the Century Club and its courteous librarian, Mr. Theodore Bolton. For permission to use Poe's autograph letters to Duyckinck, the Herring Al Aaraaf, the dedication copy of The Raven, and two copies of Tamerlane we thank the New York Public Library; all save the first are in the Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection, whose curator, Dr. John D. Gordan has helped me in many ways. We are also indebted to the Pierpont Morgan Library, the Boston Public Library, the Henry E. Huntington Library, Brown and other university libraries, the Library of Congress, the British Museum, and the New York Historical Society for many courtesies. Finally I am indebted to Mr. David A. Randall for much help with the complex bibliographical [page xxii:] problems, to Dr. Gordan for help with my proofs, and to Mr. Oscar Wegelin for many courtesies.


New York
December 4, 1941

[page xxiii, unnumbered:]


­ A: The Herring Al Aaraaf

THE COPY of Al Aaraaf, 1829, inscribed on page iii, “For my cousin Elizabeth — E. A. Poe” for Elizabeth Herring, later Mrs. Smith, contains many manuscript changes. It has long been known, but only very recently became available for study in the Berg Collection. By the generosity of the donor and the New York Public Library I am now able to give an analysis of the marginal material, and also to say that the date, which appears to be 1820, and has by some been mistaken for a misprint, is really altered with a knife from 1829.

There is no doubt whatsoever that Poe did this as a hoax himself. In the Broadway Journal, II, 262, he wrote “The poem is ” ... a ‘juvenile poem’ — ... we wrote it, printed it, and published it, in book form, before we had completed our tenth year. We read it verbatim, from a copy now in our possession, and which we shall be happy to show at any moment to any of our inquisitive friends.” In 1845 Poe was claiming to have been born in 1811, and as part of the hoax he must have changed the date. That this copy is that used at Boston is also confirmed by the fact some of the papers there called “Al Aaraaf” by the name “The Messenger Star,” a phrase which occurs only as a manuscript reading of this copy, and also by the fact it is unlikely Poe could have had any other copy of his very rare book in 1845.

It contains, in addition to marks of the printers (which occur beside “Al Aaraaf” and are thus clearly those of the persons printing the 1845 volume), an estimate of the space to be filled in the 1845 book by the text. This is in Poe's hand, and it reads;

about   25 p
other juveniles — 7

The book contains at least three sets of corrections. First are those intended for the printers of the Broadway Journal in reprinting several poems that appear in that magazine between August 16 and October 4, 1845. I mark such readings “A” Second [page xxiv:] and are those changes meant for the printers of The Raven and Other Poems, about October 1-15,1845, which are marked “B.” The third set consists of readings for use at Boston, marked “C,” and those which may have been for use at Boston or may be earlier readings which Poe cut out of the 1845 book by instructions to his printer or in proof. If these were made solely for the Boston reading of October 16, 1845, they may have been made after Poe got the book back from Wiley and Putnam's printers and may never have been seen by them. But one cannot be certain on this point, and I mark such readings “D.”

In the following lists I give first the title of the poem in the edition of 1829, followed in parentheses by the pages of that volume (easily available in our facsimile) on which the changes occur. The number before each reading is the line of the poem, not the page line. “Sonnet to Science” was not printed from 1829 in 1845. My occasional notes are in brackets.

AL AARAAF (pages 13, 14, 26, 27, 38) [Used as copy for RAVEN, pp. 56-73, and for reading at Boston] Part I ,11 With / Ah! [In RAVEN, p. 56, reading is “Oh” perhaps a change in proof] D 15 wandering / Messenger C 19 A garden spot / An oasis B Part II, 37 the / thy D 38 Of / Too D 40 near / in D 255 Al Aaraaf / Tophet — Noun D [This last is a very puzzling note, probably Poe's direction to himself to revise in some fashion, frankly not understood by me.]

TAMERLANE (page 52 f.) [Poe made no verbal changes, but wrote no ¶ beside section 22 and canceled some of the other numbers. In RAVEN, pp. 74-82, all the section numbers are omitted, as indeed they are from the minor poems.]

ROMANCE (page 57) [Used for BROADWAY JOURNAL, II,119, August 30, and RAVEN, p. 84] Title Preface / Romance AB 1 Romance / l.c. A 12 air / Heavens A [In RAVEN changed to Heaven] 14 I hardly have had time for cares / I have no time for idle cares AB 15 sky! / sky. AB 21 Did it not tremble / Unless it trembled AB [At end Poe added signature for A, a double dagger.]

TO — —, “Should my early life” (page 59) [Marked for omission by Poe, and not in A or B, but rewritten by Poe in 1848 or 1849 as “A Dream within a Dream.”]

TO — —, “I saw thee” (page 61) [For BROADWAY JOURNAL, II, 166, September 20, and RAVEN, p. 90] 3, 11, 15 Tho’ / [page xxv:] Though AB 6 [Square brackets changed to parentheses] AB 7 fetter’d / aching AB 15 Happiness / l.c. AB [At end Poe put signature “E.” for A, but this dropped out in that printing.]

TO — —, “The bowers” (page 62) [For BROADWAY JOURNAL, II, 164, September 20, and RAVEN, p. 87] 11 Of / Of the AB 12 trifles / baubles AB.

TO THE RIVER — — (page 63) [For BROADWAY JOURNAL, II,131, September 6, and RAVEN, p. 88] 2 labyrinth-like / chrystal, wandering A [B has this also, but spelling is “crystal”] 6 daughter — / daughter; AB 10 resembles — / resembles; AB 14 The scrutiny of her / Of her soul-searching AB [At end is the signature “P.” for A.]

THE LAKE (page 64) [For RAVEN, p. 89, but without changes.]

SPIRITS OF THE DEAD (page 64) [Not marked in any way, but omitted from RAVEN.]

A DREAM (page 67) [For BROADWAY JOURNAL, II, 85, August 16, and RAVEN, p. 83. Poe put signature “P.” at end for A, and marked to omit for B, but later canceled the mark, and the poem was inserted.]

TO M — (page 68) [Not in A or B, though Poe placed mark to omit only at the beginning of the third stanza, and later in life reworked the first two stanzas, which Griswold printed from a manuscript of 1848 or 1849.]

FAIRYLAND (pages 70-71) [For BROADWAY JOURNAL, II, 193f., October 4, and RAVEN, pp. 85-86. For A, Poe placed at end a signature which the printer made a double dagger on its side.] 13 sort / kind AB 33-34 [Deleted by Poe] AB 44 The unbelieving things / Never-contented things AB Footnote / [Deleted by Poe] AB.

­ B: A Letter on Printing “The Raven”

By permission of the Pierpont Morgan Library I give a complete text of Poe's celebrated letter to John Augustus Shea, written about February 3, 1845. It gives instructions about the printing of “The Raven” in the New York Tribune, February 4, 1845, where the text was set up obviously from a copy of the Mirror text with manuscript corrections, which Poe feared might confuse the printer. The Tribune has the readings Poe [page xxvi:] wrote about. The letter is marked outside “J. Augustus Shea Esq., to be delivered as soon as he comes in.” It reads;

Dear Shea,

Lest I should have made some mistake in the hurry I transcribe the whole alteration.

Instead of the whole stanza commencing “Wondering at the stillness broken &c — substitute this

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken

“Doubtless”, said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store

Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster

Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore —

Till the dirges of his Hope the melancholy burden bore,

‘Nevermore — ah, nevermore!” ’

At the close of the stanza preceding this, instead of “Quoth the raven Nevermore,” substitute “Then the bird said “Nevermore”

Truly yours   Poe.

This is the only part of “The Raven” existing in a manuscript meant for the printer, and it was not meant for the printer of Poe's volume. But it does give us a clue to Poe's methods of sending corrections and supervising changes in his texts. There is a manuscript of the full text of “The Raven” made for an autograph collector, and once owned by Mr. Madigan. There is also said to be a stanza of “The Raven” copied out for a friend, which I have not seen. I have also seen a facsimile of what purported to be another full manuscript of “The Raven,” (Mirror text?) of the authenticity of which I was not satisfied.

C: Supplementary Notes on Tamerlane, 1827

Page ix, line 11. Cancel “sought . ... a position in Philadelphia.” The sole authority is Whitty, p. xxviii, and he was confused or in error. The Ellis and Allan papers in the Library of Congress seem to contain no references to the dispute between John Allan and the Mills Nurseries about Poe's application, but they do reveal the nurseries were on Long Island.

Page xii, note 5, line 14. I called the boat Poe may have used [page xxvii:] the “Only Daughter,” but Professor Quinn, Edgar Allan Poe, 1941, p.118, calls it the “Only Son.” I find we are using different papers as “authority,” and each is following his source faithfully. Certainty on the name is not possible at present.

Page xxv, note 14. Mr. Wegelin has found the following additional Buffalo imprints of Calvin Thomas (all in the New York Historical Society): — 20. Report of the Harbor Committee, 1847. 21. Dyer's . ... Report of . ... Free Soil Convention, [1848]. 22. Laurens P. Hickok, Address, 1848. 23-24. John C. Lord, The Valiant Man, 1848; and Funeral Discourse upon . ... George Sprague, 1848. 25-27. Thirteenth Annual Report of . ... Young Men's Association, 1849, also Reports for 1853 and [1857]. 28. Frank H. Hamilton, On the Employment of Water in Surgery, 1851. 29. John C. Lord, Our Strong Rods Broken, 1852. 30. Statement . ... Buffalo, Brantford and Goderich Railway Co., 1853. 31-32. Frank H. Hamilton, Fracture Tables, 1853; and Address, 1853. 33. James M. Newman, Congestion of the Brain in Cholera, 1854. 34. George W. Hosmer, First Unitarian Church of Buffalo, 1861. 35. Manual of the North Presbyterian Church, 1865. 36. Forest Lawn [Cemetery], 1867. 37. Certificate of Incorporation . ... Buffalo Historical Society, 1868. 38. Frederick Frothingham, Trial of Unitarianism, 1868.

Page xxviii, line 3. Quinn, loc. cit., suggests Poe may have been the nameless young man who appeared on the stage at Boston on April 24, 1827. This is not impossible. It has occurred to me that if Poe was in Baltimore on May 1, it may have been on a trip from Boston, since DeGrand probably had connections there. The evidence is a mere shadow in any case.

Page xxxii, note 22, line 12. The Goodspeed copy of Tamerlane is now in the Berg Collection. The inscriptions are: I, on the front cover, the signature, “Susan Saunders”; II, on the verso of the cover, “Presented to Susan Saunders from Martha M. Nelson”; III, on page 23, the child owner wrote, “Susan Saunders aged 10 years.”

Pages xliv-xlv. To my list of misprints in the original edition of Tamerlane add: in “To — —” page 25, line 13, the / thee; in NOTE 5, page 38, thnik, / think.

Page liii, line 10. Professor M. S. Shockley's article has appeared in PMLA December, 1941. [page xxviii:]


Page xxxi, footnote 20, line 4; for 28 read 26. Page xliii, line 6, for 25 read 35. Page xliv, footnote 30, line 8, for 28 read 26. Page liv, line 8, for XVI read XIV. Page lvii-lxiii, the page references to the minor poems in the original volume should be corrected by reducing by one the first number given in each case.

­ D: Reviews in The Aristidean, 1845

In the Aristidean for October and November, 1845, respectively, Dr. English, at the time on good terms with Poe, printed reviews of the Tales and Raven. The first contains information (e.g., about O’Sullivan rejecting “The Haunted Palace,”) which must have come from Poe. Before writing the review, the author of “Ben Bolt” must have discussed the stories with Poe, and probably obtained memoranda from him. The review of the poems implies recollection of conversations with Poe, but nothing more.


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

1.  Tamerlane, 1827, was published in 1941; Al Aaraaf, 1829, in 1933; and Poems, 1831, in 1936. The Introduction to the last was by my friend, the late Professor Killis Campbell, to the others by myself. In the present Introduction will be found material supplementary to my remarks on Al Aaraaf, and, for completeness, at the end I give a few additional notes on Tamerlane, as Digression C, below.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page v, running to the bottom of page vi:]

2.  Comment on the sources, significance, and art of the individual [page vi:] poems is reserved for another place, but the reader is referred to Killis Campbell's Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, 1917, for much material of this kind, and for a record of the variant readings of the texts of different versions of the poems printed with Poe's authorization. For discussion of the title poem, Ingram's separate edition, London, 1885, is still of value. On the collection of 1845 two notes should be given here. Poe chose the title himself, for in the Broadway Journal, October 11, 1845, when he must have had The Raven under consideration, he remarked he would like to call a new edition of his stories The Gold-Bug and Other Tales. His remark, in the Preface, about his wish to have his work circulated as he wrote it is illustrated by an article in the Broadway Journal, September 13, in which Poe rebuked the Chambersburg Times for copying without credit and altering the text of “Lenore,” at some time after August 16. No file of the Times is accessible. [[There is an apparently unique file for the newspaper in the collection of the Franklin County Historical Society, in Kittochtinny, PA. Along with “Lenore” another poem from the Broadway Journal, “A Dream,” is also reprinted. Both appear on the front page.]]

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page vi, running to the bottom of page vii:]

3.  “The Raven” was first accepted and printed in the American Review for February, 1845, by G. H. Colton. But the poem was first published in the New York Evening Mirror of January 29, 1845, where it was copied with slight revisions from the still unpublished magazine. The American Review should have come out on February 1, the usual date for the issue of magazines of its type. On Saturday, the first, the New York Tribune said “The American Journal and Whig Review for February is published. We shall notice its contents when we have had time to read them.” The tone of this seems to me decisive that even copies for papers can hardly have reached editors in general before the last day of January. I also find that on June 28 the Tribune printed William Wallace's “Gods of Old” as “from the forthcoming American Review for July.” There should be no doubt about the first printing and first publication of “The Raven,” but since such doubts have been [page vii:] expressed, I give full and specific details here. Confusion because the February 8 weekly edition of the Mirror retained the statement that the poem was a prepublication is unnecessary, for the article in the weekly edition is from the same setting of types, not a reset reprint of the article as published in the daily paper.

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

4.  Original manuscript in New York Public Library, published in the Bulletin of the Library (VI, 7) January, 1902, and often reprinted. The date is established by the fact that in 1845 the tenth fell on Wednesday only in September and December; the latter is obviously too late. These letters to Duyckinck were not sent by ordinary mail, but delivered by messenger or the penny post, and bear no postmarks.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page vii, running to the bottom of page viii:]

5.  The letter is not in the New York Public Library, which now has a pencil copy of the text. I saw the original on the market [page viii:] in 1922, but do not know its present whereabouts, or of any previous publication.

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

6.  Original manuscript (hitherto unprinted?) in the Boston Public Library; paper, handwriting, and contents all confirm 1845 as the year. Poe's promise of care suggests that any pencil alterations would have been erased before the periodical was returned, but he had another reason to reassure Griswold. The reverend editor probably had heard of the misadventures of a copy of the Messenger Poe borrowed from William Duane, which Mrs. Clemm, without Poe's knowledge, sold to a bookseller on the family's departure from Philadelphia in 1844. See A. H. Quinn, Edgar Allan Poe, 1941, pp. 408 ff. The original manuscript of Politian was certainly not used as copy for the volume of 1845, but rather a slightly corrected Messenger. This is clear from the variants recorded in my edition of Politian, 1923, pp. 46-50.

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

7.  This poem is uncorrected in the Herring Al Aaraaf, and I am sure that book was not used by the printer of 1845 for this poem, which is much altered from the 1829 version.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page ix, running to the bottom of page x:]

8.  The date is suggested by the fact the last poem printed from the Herring Al Aaraaf appeared in the Broadway Journal on October 4 and by the date of the letter to Griswold. Poe himself, in the Broadway Journal, II, 358, said, “ ‘The Raven etc.’, was in the publishers’ hands a month or six weeks before we received the invitation from the Lyceum.” This is very vague, and I prefer the evidence of the documents. On the other hand the statement that he read the last proofs the night before he lectured at Boston we need not question, for Poe had good reason to remember such a date precisely. Both statements occur in one of the controversial articles (all in bad taste) that followed Poe's not too successful reading on October 16, at Boston. These articles are full of nonsense, such as Poe's statement that he wrote “Al Aaraaf” at ten years of age. Poe probably intended this ironically, but stuck to the statement when he found some people believed him. He made it plain he had his tongue in his cheek, when (in his Broadway Journal, II, 339) he remarked he had a poem “written at seven months,” which he intended soon to deliver at Boston. Poe seems to have often made wild and half humorous statements about himself in conversation — he told a [page x:] respectable librarian he intended to read “The Raven” before the Queen; though he was probably intoxicated on this occasion, it is as significant as it is amusing (see Woodberry, Life of Edgar Allan Poe, 1909, II, 425). Poe's story of his “hoax” at Boston took in Thomas Dunn English.

It may be added that Poe's failure at Boston had some excuse in his temperament. He apparently lectured with ease and pleasure, but had a horror of composing a poem for public delivery. According to the Tribune of July 2, 1845, Poe failed to appear when scheduled to read a poem before the Philomathean and Eucleian Societies of New York University the previous evening at Dr. Potts's Church. Poe apparently tried to get his courage from a bottle at Boston, and attempted to pass the resulting fiasco off as a hoax. He would have done better to have made no defense, but he probably thought, perhaps rightly, that the publicity helped the sale of his new book.

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

9.  Two advertisements of the publishers in the New York Tribune are happily definite. The second, published on November 20, is a reprint of the first, and hence contains the words “this day published,” but it has the printer's code mark “n19 — 2 tis,” which means it was to be inserted twice, first on November 19. On November 21 another bookseller, W. H. Graham, mentioned it in his advertisement, and I find a reference to it in a Wiley and Putnam advertisement as late as November 29. It was advertised for sale in the Baltimore Saturday Visiter of November 26. In each case but one price is given, 31 cents. The autograph letter to Chivers was verified for me at the Huntington Library. The letter was published in full by Woodberry in the Century Magazine, LXV, 547.

10.  The price is not so curious as it may seem. Until long after 1845 Mexican silver money was legal tender in the United States, and far more of it was in circulation than of our national coinage. The real, equal to 12 1/2 cents, was called a shilling in New York. Two and a half reals is 31 1/4 cents, but the small fraction apparently was disregarded, since no quarter cent circulated. Reckoning in New York shillings continued occasionally within my own memory.

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

11.  Original manuscript, New York Public Library, conveniently reprinted in Harrison's edition of Poe's Works, XVII, 219. The date is certain, for the contents will not permit us to fill in February or March, the only other months of 1845 in which there was a “Thursday — 13th.” Another letter to Duyckinck, formerly dated “[November 13? 1845]” is actually docketed “June 26,” and its contents do not concern us here.

12.  Poe discussed some other financial transactions with the publishers, but did not say if there had been a down payment on the Tales or if royalties were promised on copies of the poems sold. Since the Tales sold at 50 cents, royalties on the poems in proportion would have been five cents a copy. Since a down payment on the Tales would have been finished business, royalties on copies of the poems not yet begun; Poe's silence is not a conclusive argument they were not part of his agreement. We do not know if Poe's request for an immediate payment in November was granted. No information about the number of copies printed is available.

13.  The signatures (3 on page 17, 4 on 33, 5 on 65, and 7 on 81) indicate gatherings of eights, front matter being a gathering of four; “5” is probably a misprint. Different issues show no resetting, but the number of leaves of advertisements differs. The broken page numerals (32, 33, 76, 77) seem to be constant in all states. An advertisement of 1846 calls the book 12 mo.

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

14.  Mr. David A. Randall set the matter straight in the Publishers’ Weekly, November 30, 1940, where he presented most of the material upon which my conclusions, after impartial personal investigation, are based. He has read my introduction in manuscript, and generously placed at my disposal some of the material here given which has not previously been cited. Discussions prior to the publication of his material were unavoidably meager or incorrect.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page xiii, running to the bottom of page xiv:]

15.  It seems clear that no regular copies, bound in cloth, with American title page, existed in Poe's lifetime. No genuine copy of such an issue is now known; a supposed one in a private collection is now admitted to be a “made-up copy,” and the entry describing the dedication copy in the Wakeman Catalogue is incorrect; that book is of state II. In the Bookbuyer's Manual, New York, 1852 (Putnam's Catalogue), there is the first known reference to a Raven in cloth in America; it is described as “cloth, .50.” This may be a description of London copies, reimported; [page xiv:] of the double book, at a reduced rate, to get rid of it; or of American copies, specially bound up, which may now be taken for rebound copies, and so be unrecognized. Since the London issue has a cancel title, some copy might exist (in green binding?) which was left unaltered through carelessness. Because our arguments are so largely based on negative evidence, neither Mr. Randall nor I will absolutely deny the possible existence of an American separate Raven in cloth. But if a copy turned up, we should want to examine it very carefully indeed.

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

16.  Simms's book was unexpectedly delayed. It was announced for “publication in November,” after Poe's and Mrs. Kirkland's books, in advertisements in the Broadway Journal, beginning November 8; it was again announced for “publication in December,” in advertisements that begin December 4, but a tenth book, Headley's Alps and the Rhine, is then announced. Headley's book was copyrighted on December 20, reviewed by Poe on that date, and announced as published by December 24, 1845. But Simms's book was not deposited for copyright until April 3, 1846. And it was still called “just ready” in the News-Letter for April, 1846, though a price of 50 cents had been fixed. I think it was complete in December, but for some reason not out till April 17, when the Tribune announced it.

17.  Reprinted in the weekly edition of November 29, which advertisements in the daily edition show came out November 26.

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

18.  It is marred by her apparent acceptance of Poe's absurd statements about the age at which he composed “Al Aaraaf,” but points out that Poe's primary purpose in “The Raven” apparently is to prove his artistic mastery. I suspect she had discussed this with Poe.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page xv, running to the bottom of page xvi:]

19.  Poe, in the Broadway Journal, November 22, merely gave the title of his book. Thomas Dunn English gave a partly favorable notice in the Aristidean (1, 399 ff.) for November (probably published about the end of the month); John L. O’Sullivan (he had refused to print “The Haunted Palace”) had a brief note in the Democratic Review (XVII, 400) for December; Lawrence Labree an appreciative little notice in his Illustrated Magazine (I, 192) of December 6; and an unknown writer a brief review in the Golden Rule (III, 385) of December 13. Poe's enemy, L. G. Clark, reviewed Poe unfavorably in the Knickerbocker (XXVII, 69 ff.) for January, 1846. All these are [page xvi:] in New York periodicals. Graham's and Godey's did not notice the book, but unsearched newspapers may contain reviews unknown to me. Two English reviews are mentioned in footnote 26. Neither the discussion in the article “Fugitive Poetry of America,” in the Charleston Southern Quarterly for July, 1848, nor the remarks (largely about Poe's Tales) in Simms's Magazine for December, 1845, should be called reviews of The Raven, but, they are mentioned for completeness, since I have seen references to them.

20.  The colors seen are dark blue or bluish green; obviously the dye is subject to change with time. Other colors may exist, of course. The binding of London copies seen in a dark grass green, apparently less subject to change. In state II, each work is followed by two leaves of advertisements.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page xvi, running to the bottom of page xvii:]

21.  In Wiley & Putnam's Literary News-Letter, April, 1846, is an elaborate full-page advertisement describing the “Library of American Books,” which, incidentally, is the earliest advertisement of this second form. Four works are first described, all new issues, and then in two columns below are listed the other books of the series. In the first column, headed “IN NUMBERS” (which means paper binding), are listed in order ten works, of which “Tales. By Edgar A. Poe. 50 cents” is second; “The Raven and Other Poems. By Edgar A. Poe. 31 cents” is seventh. The reason it is not eighth is clear; the fourth title, the first part [page xvii:] of Simms's Wigwam and Cabin, is listed with its second part among the new books above. In a word, this list is chronological. In the second column, headed “IN VOLUMES. Very neatly done up in extra cloth.” are listed six volumes, each made up of two of the books issued as numbers. An examination of this list is enlightening, for the earliest combination possible is “TALES, BY EDGAR A. POE, and the Raven and other Poems, in 1 vol., $1 00.” But it is third on the list, which my examination of dates of copyrights, reviews, and advertisements shows is not chronological by first or second parts of the combinations, and may not be chronological in any way. If it were, the first book included Hall's Wilderness and Warpath, published April 6, and this might be the date of publication of the series, but the sixth book on the list, Melville's Typee, was issued in two parts at 37 1/2 cents each, or bound together at $1.00; and these were all advertised in the Tribune as published March 17, the earliest mention known of any combination as published. Now Cheever's Wanderings was advertised “in two parts,” without mention of a cloth form, as late as February 13, 1846, and the dedication copy of Poe's double book was in England by March 20. A dedication copy presumably would be sent as soon as it became available to the author, probably before publication. Failure to send the paper form argues a hope that a cloth form would soon be available, no more. This material cannot be considered absolute proof of anything, but the three dates last mentioned are very suggestive to my mind, and have led me to venture on the date in the text as the most probable one.

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

22.  Poe had dedicated the book to Miss Barrett, perhaps because of his debt to her for the suggestion of the rhythm and some phrases of “The Raven” in “Lady Geraldine's Courtship,” but also, perhaps, because of her friendship with his friends R. H. Horne and Cornelius Mathews (the latter also Duyckinck's friend); but he did not know her. My theory is that he knew the bound volumes were planned and delayed sending a presentation copy until they were ready. The dedication copy is in the New York Public Library, in the Berg Collection.

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

23.  Happily, as J. G. Varner pointed out in LTLS, April 11, 1935, she wrote Robert Browning on that date that she received it that day. She had seen another Raven earlier, but her references make it plain it was not sent her direct by Poe. Her letter of thanks (now in the Berg Collection) is dated “April, 1846;” the envelope with postmark is lost. The letter is conveniently printed in Harrison's edition of Poe, XVII, 229.

24.  Mrs. Whitman gave the copy to C. Fiske Harris; it was also in the McKee Sale, 1900, I, No. 602, whence I take the inscription. What is called a presentation copy to a Miss Durant, The Raven and Tales bound in “one volume without advertisements’’(!) is recorded. There is a facsimile of the inscription in the recent Newton catalogue. I omit its text deliberately.

25.  Copies are available at Harvard, University of Virginia, and Library of Congress. As in state I, leaf three of the advertisements duplicates leaf one textually, and leaf six duplicates leaf two.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page xviii, running to the bottom of page xix:]

26.  The book was reviewed in the London Athenæum, February 28, 1846 (by Thomas Kibble Hervey, according to Dr. Leslie Marchand), and in the Literary Gazette, March 14 (possibly by William Jerdan). The second review is less absurd than the first. [page xix:] The dates suggest the book did not appear before the middle of February. Copyright laws did not demand immediate deposit of a copy, and The Raven was not received at the British Museum until May 3, 1846. Its Pressmark is 1154.h.9, and like the Tales (Pressmark 1457.d.24, received January 8, 1846), it is still in original binding. I find no record of the price asked, but assume it was four shillings sterling.

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

27.  See A. H. Quinn, Edgar Allan Poe, 1941, pp. 656-57.

28.  James Lorimer Graham, born in January, 1835, joined the Century Association in 1859, and died on April 30, 1876. He lived much in Florence, where he was American consul, and had many literary friends, one of whom, the poet Swinburne, wrote in his memory a poem called “Epicede.” Graham's widow presented her husband's collection of books to the Century Club. The Poe volume, probably the most important book in the collection, is described at page 277 of A Catalogue of the James Lorimer Graham Library, with Preface by Paul Leicester Ford, New York, 1896.

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

29.  The two lines at the bottom of page 7 are badly smudged, and I have retouched them considerably.



This text is reproduced with special permission from the estate of Thomas Ollive and Maureen Cobb Mabbott.

Although the note is dated late in 1941, the facsimile in which it appeared was printed early in 1942. A presentation copy inscribed to his wife reads: “To Mernie with love from Tom” and is dated “14.ii,42,” indicating February 14, 1942 as the date of publication.

Althought this note has been separated from the facsimile, the full text of the Poe's original book is reproduced in e-text as ­The Raven and Other Poems­, and Poe's changes in the Lorimer-Graham copy are also available.

For information about the Facsimile Text Society, see the note to Mabbott's “Bibliographical Note” for Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane and Minor Poems (1933).


[S:1 - IDRAOP, 1942] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Bookshelf - Introduction and Digressions [to The Raven and Other Poems] (T. O. Mabbott, 1942)