Text: J. Albert Robbins, “Two Poe Bibliographies,” Poe Studies, June 1975, Vol. VIII, No. 1, 8:26-27


[page 26:]

Two Poe Bibliographies

J. Lasley Darmeron and Irby B. Cauthen, Jr. Edgar Allan Poe: A Bibliography of Criticism, 1827-1967. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1974. xvi & 386 pp. $20.00.

Esther F. Hyneman. Edgar Allan Poe: An Annotated Bibliography of Books and Articles in English, 1827-1973. Boston: G. K. Hall & Co., 1974. xv & 335 pp. $19.50.

There has been no attempt at a “complete” bibliography of Poe scholarship until 1974 — when, behold, not one but two. Both contain disclaimers. Dameron and Cauthen say with curious ambiguity that their work is “designed to be all-inclusive, although it is certainly not complete.” Hyneman says, “Although the bibliography cannot be regarded as complete . . ., it should contain all major criticism . . . in English and a good deal of what is minor.”

We need first to note the differing scope and structuring of materials. The titles indicate two basic differences: Dameron-Cauthen’s cutoff date is 1967, Hyneman’s, 1973; the former cover English and foreign-language materials, Hyneman, only items in English. Despite the earlier cutoff date, the former has 2734 English-language items, the latter, 2358. Add to 2734 the 1287 foreign-language entries and one has the impressive total of 4021 in Dameron-Cauthen.

To speak of English items only, the arrangement of entries is different in the two volumes: Dameron-Cauthen is alphabetical by author (requiring the index to get at topics); Hyneman is alphabetical by author for nineteenth century items, and for twentieth century, by author under twenty-one categories (for example, bibliographies, correspondence, women, portraits and illustrations, general critical articles, interpretations of individual works, metrics, reputation). Both provide annotations of some books and articles. Only Dameron-Cauthen cite reviews of books. Hyneman has some cross references; Dameron-Cauthen, none. Hyneman has a “Chronological Index,” citing the material published in each year, plus an author index.

Which is easier to use depends upon a number of things. If you know the author of a twentieth-century item, then Dameron-Cauthen is quickest. Hyneman has an author index of item numbers, so to get at a specific title of a prolific scholar requires checking out twenty or thirty items, rather than running the eye down pages of author listings. Basic topical subjects, of course, will be found in both — for example “Poe canon” in Hyneman (67 items); “Canon and textual studies” in Dameron-Cauthen (32 items). Or “Bibliographies” in Hyneman (35); “Bibliography of EAP” in Dameron-Cauthen (45). At times the coverage is disparate: “Critical and Aesthetic Theories” in Hyneman (72); “Criticism by EAP, commentary on” in Dameron-Cauthen (56), plus “Aesthetics of EAP” (51) — a total of 107. At times the Dameron-Cauthen topical index is more versatile than Hyneman’s topical divisions: for example, the former has the index topic, “Reminiscences of EAP,” some items of which are buried under “General Biographical Articles” in Hyneman.

Many a user will be interested in informative annotation as a guide and time-saver. How do the two works compare in this regard? Annotations tend to be more detailed in Hyneman’s bibliography. Comparing articles by [column 2:] William T. Bandy, as an arbitrary test case, I find considerable difference in annotations. In one instance (B36 in Dameron-Cauthen, CL393 in Hyneman) the former annotation runs to 39 words, the latter to 10. In another (B27 and CS14), the 12 words in the former are more informative than the 7 in the latter. But in other cases Hyneman has distinctly better commentary: in B38/CL310, Dameron-Cauthen have 9 words and Hyneman 50. In B28/CS2 Dameron-Cauthen have 19 words, Hyneman 78. Dameron-Cauthen take some commentary (always brief) from the bibliography in the quarterly, American Literature, and acknowledge the source; Hyneman is the author of many of her often-detailed summaries. In general Hyneman annotates more fully than Dameron-Cauthen. For example, she gives a useful 93-word summary of the Poe section in Constance Rourke’s American Humor (CK298), whereas Dameron-Cauthen (R103) say only, “Poe’s humor is characterized in this reprint of the 1931 edition” — hardly informative.

As a test case of coverage of single Poe works, I compared the listings on Arthur Gordon Pym. Of items published through 1967, Hyneman has 21, plus 12 others cross referenced to entries elsewhere in the volume. Dameron-Cauthen have 31 items indexed under Arthur Gordon Pym. (Dameron-Cauthen have a few items touching on Pym not indexed, but these I rule out as not readily retrievable.) There are six items in Hyneman not found in Dameron-Cauthen: an 1856 review (B61); an article by J. O. Bailey (CL331); one by R. F. Almy (CL330) and one by Edward Stone (CK330); reference to Pym in a book by Edwin Fussell (CK126); and an article on hoaxes by T. N. Weissbuch (CK363). There are nine items in Dameron-Cauthen not found in Hyneman: one contemporary review (C115); three introductions to editions of Poe which touch on Pym (A303, K57, and A307 C the latter by W. H. Auden); treatment of Pym in Cowie’s Rise of the American Novel (C181); notes on Pym in the Stedman-Woodberry Works (W208); two very marginal items (J36, R100); and an important work which treats Poe and Pym, Leslie Fiedler’s Love and Death in the American Novel (F17), found nowhere in Hyneman. Both bibliographies cite the obvious and standard titles, but each has gaps in peripheral works which touch upon Pym.

There are citation errors in both volumes, but, after a good deal of verifying, I find Hyneman more error-prone than Dameron-Cauthen. All three bibliographers have made use of Lewis Leary’s two volumes of Articles on American Literature, but Hyneman often repeats errors found in Leary. Hyneman (CM55) calls the author of an article Charles F. Richardson; Dameron-Cauthen (R67) correct it to George F. Richardson. Hyneman’s CR11 (following Leary) is in error; Dameron-Cauthen’s (D105) is correct. Hyneman (CM27) mix-corrects a corrupt title in Leary to “. . . the Aesthetics of Poe”C whereas the correct title (Dameron-Cauthen F35) is “the Aesthetic.” In some book titles, Hyneman is badly in error: she calls Richard Wilbur’s Poe: Complete Poems (correct in Dameron-Cauthen W128), Poe: The Laurel Poetry Series (Hyneman CK374). Another botched reference to a Wilbur essay is Hyneman’s CK373 (correctly cited in Dameron-Cauthen W125). There are some curious omissions [page 27:] in Hyneman: no reference of any sort to the Harrison edition (H41 in Dameron-Cauthen) and the only reference to Robert Stewart’s important textual notes in that edition is to his dissertation (CU74); no reference to the 1969 Mabbott edition of Poems, with its detailed notes; no reference to the several facsimile editions of Poe’s poems, with useful introductions; no reference to the excellent catalog of the Koester collection, now at the University of Texas (compiled by Joseph J. Moldenhauer and published in the Texas Quarterly in 1973). Jay B. Hubbell’s fine summary of scholarship in Eight American Authors gets a notice (CB19) — but not his updated revision (1971). G. R. Thompson’s important book on Poe’s 77iction: Romantic Irony in the Gothic Tales (1973) gets no mention. There are citation errors in Dameron-Cauthen, though not as many as I find in Hyneman. Since Dameron-Cauthen arrange everything by author, the index is crucial. Under “Letters of EAP” they index 44 items — but the indexer has overlooked 11 (A285, C94, M48, M85, M172, M177, 026, R73, S229, T58, and W39). I have found other indexing omissions, but none so numerous as “Letters.”

If one cannot afford to buy both volumes, I suggest the Dameron-Cauthen bibliography for completeness and accuracy — but Hyneman saves searching by providing six extra years of coverage. Each volume will give the scholar the essential references but I predict that, whichever volume he has on his shelf, the scholar will find the need to make a final check in the other volume. And, for total accuracy, he will need to verify his references against the articles and books themselves.

Even so, scholars now have what we have long lacked — substantive bibliographies of the mass of Poe scholarship and criticism.

J. Albert Robbins, Indiana University


Associated Article(s) and Related Material:

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