Text: Burton R. Pollin, “Poe ‘Viewed and Reviewed’: An Annotated Checklist of Contemporaneous Notices,” Poe Studies, December 1980, Vol. XIII, No. 1, 13:17-28


[page 17:]

Poe “Viewed and Reviewed”:
An Annotated Checklist of
Contemporaneous Notices

Bronx Community College of the City University of New York, Emeritus

In various letters and articles Edgar Allan Poe indicated clearly his strong sense of the importance of consulting the contemporaneous reviews of an author’s books, and yet a practical means for locating such notices of his own works has been heretofore lacking. While several partial lists exist, both published and unpublished, there is a need for a comprehensive guide comparable to those available for other American authors.(1) The following annotated checklist attempts to meet that need: it provides an index to and brief description of all known contemporary reviews and notices of Poe’s separately published works (the list is limited to items appearing before the author’s death and excludes notices of the periodical publication of individual poems tales and articles) The following sections provide an overview of the character of these notices and of their significance for Poe and a description of the principles on which the checklist is organized.


Poe himself maintained a clipping file of the notices he received, as letters and book blurbs amply testify. Midway in his career, in a letter of 15 June 1846, he asked Joseph M. Field, editor of the St. Louis Reveille, to publish a paragraph of his own composition listing favorable reviews of his works; the paragraph, part of Poe’s counter-campaign against Hiram Fuller of the New-York Mirror, reads,

The British literary journals are admitting Mr. Poe’s merits, in the most unequivocal manner. A long and highly laudatory review of his Tales . . . appeared in . . . ‘The London Literary Gazette‘. ‘The Athenaeum,’ ‘The British Critic,[’] ‘The Spectator’ ‘The Popular Record’ ‘Churton’s Literary Register‘, and various other journals . . . have united in approbation of Tales & Poems. . . . ‘The Times’ . . . copies the ‘Valdemar Case‘. . . .

After all this, Mr Poe may possibly make up his mind to endure the disapprobation of one Hiram Fuller. . . . (Letters, I, 320-321)

Poe evidently saw reviews as ammunition in his literary duels, as self-justification for his principles and methods of [column 2:] writing, and as vindication of his reputation. He is correct in tacitly paying respect to the British reviewers for their thoroughness and critical balance by comparison with the Americans. During his last year, in April 1849, he also contrasted “that justice which had been already rendered me by the . . . ‘Revue des Deux Mondes‘” with the “insult” given him by “a member of the ‘North American Review’ clique.“(2) He is referring to the Knickerbocker magazine’s reprinting a squib against him, taken from the Boston magazine of 1846. Poe was to suffer far too many “insults” from American reviewers irritated by his harsh criticisms or genuinely distressed by his unconventional creative works, and twice he applied to them a summarizing quip borrowed from Horace Binney Wallace’s novel Stanley (1838): “As we rode along the valley we saw a herd of asses on the top of one of the mountains — how they viewed and reviewed us!“(3)

Not all American reviewers, however, were “asses,” and many published critiques that he happily gathered and used to induce reluctant book publishers to issue collections of his tales and poems in 1839 and 1845. The evidence can be seen in his epistolary opinions and in old reviews printed in the end papers of his books. In fact, the reviewer on the New York Spirit of the Times, concerning the Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque, hoped that “the premonitory encomiums on his tales, in the second volume, were placed there by the publisher, and not by the author.” But Poe’s manuscript for this very set of “encomiums” (Poe’s printed word), now in the New York Public Library, makes clear that he did indeed assemble them for the publisher’s advertising; the notices were collected from letters and from reviews of his individually published tales, although a few were drawn from the supplements of the Southern Literary Messenger where they had similarly served publicity purposes. One item, by Ezra Holden in the Philadelphia Saturday Courier, was actually an advance notice (2 November 1839) of the book, strategically gathered up and inserted into the end pages when it was issued a month later.(4)

In an important sense, the reviews of his books served Poe at the time, and also serve us today, to gauge the direction or current of contemporaneous taste and standards in fiction and poetry. Poe knew very well that not all critics were as biased and spiteful as Lewis Gaylord Clark and his coterie on the Knickerbocker and allied journals, or Hiram Fuller of the Mirror, or the New England group. The “respectable” English journals published “capital” reviews, in his opinion, and in America there were Simms of [page 18:] the Southern Patriot and Tasistro of the old Mirror and even Margaret Fuller in her inconsistency perceptive reviews in the Tribune. In France there was the critic “E. D. Forgues” (that is, Paul Emile Daurant) of the Revue des Deux Mondes, who perceptively found the quality of analysis evident in the detective fiction to be inherent in many of the other tales.(5) Poe was, of course, capable of exaggerating even mere announcements about his books into “capital notices,” as he says of those in the New York Star and Evening Post (Letters, I, 125). But his responses to the longer, more critical reviews can furnish especially valuable insights into his evolving taste and professional practices, and a guide to all the discoverable notices is basic and ancillary, I believe, to developing such insights.

Poe’s opinions and ideas on reviews in general and chiefly on the reviews of his books and articles appear in numerous letters extending from 2 September 1836 to his death thirteen years later. The nature of his correspondents — an important factor in judging his directness and sincerity — ranges from the fellow editors of journals and authors to friends and relatives, such as Maria Clemm. A random sampling of these letters yields a rich variety of material relevant to use of this checklist: acceptances or refusals of offers to review books, requests for notices about his own published works, thanks for encouraging reviews, proud self-congratulations on flattering reviews, and arrangements to “place” in specific journals reviews or statements about his own books.(6)

Poe also allowed his intense preoccupation with the effects of reviews to enter into his creative fiction. His “Literary Life of Thingum-Bob,” in the Southern Literary Messenger of December 1844, is concerned with what he calls “the cant” of literary reviews such as the Edinburgh and the Quarterly.(7) He mocks trite critical comments, undiscriminating eulogies, venal, self-interested critiques, and grave or flippant judgments that display neither taste nor independence of mind. He even mocks himself in “using up the herd of poor-devil authors“ — reminding us both of his role as critical inquisitor and as the victimized poet and tale-writer. Even more penetrating and self-satirical was his unpublished manuscript of 1849, intended for Graham’s Magazine and called “A Reviewer Reviewed,” in which he takes himself to task for being “bitter . . ., captious, faultfinding, and unnecessarily severe,” heedless of “the beauties of a work,” scientifically inaccurate, grammatically faulty, and plagiaristic (Works, III, 1381-1386), and to establish some of these points he cites foreign reviews of his tales. Unquestionably, the material and the effect of reviews occupied much of Poe’s attention and views.

Meaningful use of the following checklist will require the reader to keep in mind the general nature of the “reviews” described in it. Most of the original entries are no longer than a sentence or two and might fairly be said to be notices or even informal announcements. In a few cases they are “pre-announcements” signifying that the editor of the journal has received a publisher’s statement about an imminent publication. For the Tales of 1845 and The Raven and Other Poems, respectively numbers II and VIII of “The American Library” put out by the well known [column 2:] New York publisher Wiley and Putnam, the earliest references by journals comprise a kind of pre-announcement which brings Poe’s name before the reading public. After publication, reviewers, usually busy editors, might then furnish very sparse, even minimal comments together with reprinted excerpts, often of some length. Thus they save time, till up their space, and cater to the taste of lovers of fiction and poetry with no worry about author’s rights or payments. In the case of The Raven and Other Poems, issued during the year which first saw the publication of its celebrated title poem (29 January and 8 February 1845), the editor’s artifice of republication was especially common. In a few instances the excerpts comprise the entire “review,” and yet they deserve to be listed, for the very printing demonstrates Poe’s appeal and popularity. Similarly, the lazy-man’s device of reprinting reviews, especially from the journals of England, speaks to Poe’s fame in both countries. Hence, we find several in the republication magazine of Boston, Littell’s Living Age, as well as one in the New-York Mirror. A few reviews or excerpts can be found reprinted for special purposes in other magazines, such as the hostile Knickerbocker’s inclusion of a damaging comment on the Tales by the North American Review. In the checklist, the originals and the copies are accordingly listed and cross-indexed.

There are a few instances of another type of “review” or statement about Poe’s books. Holden’s Dollar Magazine in 1848 ran a series called “Autobiography of a Monomaniac” (by John Tomlin) which contained a mock-serious review of Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque (1839). This implicit evaluation has been included as a rype of delayed review, as has the separate discussion of the Tales (1845) and their accompanying books of poems by Poe’s supporter and friend Phillip Pendleton Cooke in the January 1848 Messenger article on Poe. There are very few instances of this sort. As has been noted, no reviews of individual poems, tales, or articles are included in the checklist, although the journals regularly published brief items in their editorial columns devoted to the articles of other journals. While most of these were mere acknowledgments of their having been published, sometimes with a stereotyped sentence of formal appreciation showing no insight and no real perusal, they also often brought the name of Poe before the public and ultimately deserve collection in some manner.(8)


The checklisr is arranged chronologically by Poe’s works, with reviews grouped alphabetically by journal title. The reviews were all anonymous (although often presumed to be by the editor, being placed in the “editorial” domain); where the writer can be fairly certainly identified, parentheses supply his name. The multiplicity of city names along with “daily” or “weekly” in the journal rifles makes it best to adopt the procedure of Winifred Gregory’s American Newspapers (1937), namely, printing the alphabetizing word in capitals while ignoring city names and terms designating periodicity or days of the week for indexing purposes (with the exception of monthlies — for example, the MONTHLY Review). In the few instances [page 19:] of alternate or changing titles, cross references are provided.

The annotations, in general, employ the system used in the previous publication of a portion of this checklist, my bibliography of the reviews of Eureka, in the American Transcendental Quarterly.(9) Data are given in phrases rather than uniformly complete sentences, normally embodying pithy or characteristic words from the review without quotation marks. The titles of specific poems or tales are generally in abridged form without quotation marks (that is, Usher for “The Fall of the House of Usher”). The length of the notice is indicated with a statement about the number of sentences, paragraphs, or columns of print — usually extremely fine in the periodicals of Poe’s day — taken up by the original. Whenever relevant to aid in locating the indexed items, a column number, after a slash, follows the page number of the original notice; pagination for newspapers, generally not numbered in printing, is indicated without brackets.

The full presentation of the texts of these notices and reviews would be extremely useful to students, especially those far from major libraries.(10) This desideratum will be provided, in part, by Ian Walker’s scheduled work, The Critical Heritage of Poe (Rutledge and Sons of England). The list below attempts to provide some leads to secondary sources for the full texts, designated by the following rubrics after an annotation:

DT: Dwight Thomas, “Poe in Philadelphia, 1838-1844: A Documentary Record” (Diss., University of Pennsylvania, 1978; 2 vols).(11)

PS 8: Burton R. Pollin, “Three More Early Norices of Pym,” Poe Studies, 8 (1975), 32-35.

PS 9: J. Don Vann, “Three More Contemporary Reviews of Pym,” Poe Studies, 9 (1976), 43-44.

SAF: Burton R. Pollin, “Poe’s Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym and the Contemporary Reviewers,” Studies in American Fiction, 2 (1974), 37-56.(12)

The text used for references to the poems and tales and to the “annals” of Poe is the Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. T. O. Mabbott (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1969, 1978), designated as “Works.”

Finally, the abbreviations (and one short tirle) used for Poe’s books, especially when cross referencing is needed, are these, in the order of publication:

ATMP: Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane and Minor Poems (1829)

Pym: Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym. (1838)

CFB: Conchologist’s First Book (1839)

TGA: Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque (1839; dated 1840)

ROP: The Raven and Other Poems (1845)

When the full tide of each work is initially listed, a preliminary note indicates the date of publication as exactly [column 2:] as possible, although in most cases this must be inferred from rhe dates of the earliest reviews or from Poe’s letters.(13) And the reader will note that the second of the two works that Poe wrote for fee with and for Thomas Wyatt, A Synopsis of Natural History (1839), has been included in the checklist because of the one real review it received (actually by Poe himself) and because of the evidence of Poe’s knowledge of the work in his tales.

[page 20:]

Checklist of Contemporaneous Notices


Tamerlane and Other Poems. By a Bostonian. (Boston: Calvin F. S. Thomas . . . . Printer, 1827). July 1827 (see Works, I, 21).


NORTH American Review, 25 (August 1827), 471. Has been received.

UNITED States Review and Literary Gazette (New York), 11 (August 1827). Has been received.


Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems. By Edgar A. Poe. (Baltimore: Hatch & Dunning, 1829). December 1829 (see Works, I, 540, and Letters, p. 21).


AMERICAN Monthly Magazine, 1 (November 1829), 586-587 (by N. P. Willis). Not a review but part of “The Editor’s Table,” referring to poetry worthy of being burnt, such as “some sickly rhymes on Fairyland.” Lines 25-38 quoted from Poe’s letter.

Baltimore GAZETTE and Daily Advertiser, 18 May 1829. “Extract from ‘Al Aaraaf’ an Unpublished Poem” by “Marrow” in the advertising columns (see Works, I, 97-98, and Arthur H. Quinn, Edgar Allan Poe: Critical Biography [NY, 1941], p. 152, n. 21).

LADIES’ Magazine, 3 (January 1830), 47 (by Sarah Josepha Hale). Paragraph in “Literary Notices.” Some poems are boyish, feeble, and unpoetic, while others, like Shelley’s, show the promise of a genius. Text in Quinn, p. 165.

Baltimore MINERVA and Emerald (exact date unknown; review by John H. Hewitt — see Killis Campbell Mind of Poe, p. 38 — not in issues of 1830). See V. Starrett Saturday Review, 26 (1 May 1943), 4-5, 25, for complete transcript of the review, found in manuscript. Scornful comments on ATMP: obscure plot, synaesthesia, false rhymes, poor language.

Richmond WHIG, 19 January 1830. An edited version of the first two sentences of the December 1829 Yankee item (below), omitting the references to the faults (thus probably inserted by Poe) and adding that the poems are on sale at Sankey’s store.

YANKEE and Boston Literary Gazette, NS. No. 3 (September 1829), 168. John Neal, editor, has received from Poe stanzas of Fairyland (called Heaven) in a letter. He cites 11. 1-4, 1028, and ironically calls it exquisite nonsense preluding perhaps a fine poem.

————————, NS No. 6 (December 1829), 296-298. “Unpublished Poetry.” Refers to a forthcoming book by an author who will stand high. Gives data from Poe’s letter about age, parentage, precociously written poems, and first words of encouragement from Neal, explains that author had no time to reduce the extravagance of the poems, gives origin of Al Aaraaf, cites passages from several poems, and commends them to “lovers of genuine poetry.”

Unknown Baltimore newspaper, late in 1829. Facsimile of review by Randolph Church reprinted in Virginia Cavalcade, 5 (Summer 1955), 4-7. Very favorable to the poems in ATMP. Largely quotations. [page 21:]



Poems. By Edgar A. Poe. (New York: Elam Bliss, 1831). Published April 1831 (see Quinn, p. 175, and Works, I, 155.)


ATKINSON’S Casket, 1 (May 1831), 239-240 (reprint from Saturday Evening Post — see Works, 1, 542). Editor explains that he extracts three poems from a volume of poems by a West Point cadet: To Helen, Irene, Sonnet — to Silence.

Morning COURIER and New-York Enquirer, 7 (8 July 1831), 2/3. A strange mixture of genius and nonsense; pure poetry on one page, absurdity on another, as To Irene, To Helen, Sonnet — to Silence prove. Poe must not indulge oddity.

New-York MIRROR, 8 (7 May 1831), 349-350 (by George Pope Morris, but see Works, II, 290-291, for Theodore Fay’s possible authorship). Imaginative but indefinite and unlikely to appear less obscure upon study; especially true of Fairyland, cited along with Doomed City.

Philadelphia Saturday Evening POST, 21 May 1831 (presumably by L. A. Wilmer). Reprinted in Atkinson’s Casket, appearing at the end of May (q.v.).



The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym. Of Nantucket. [plus the following subtitle, given because many of the reviews relied partly or wholly upon it for their content] Comprising the Details of a Mutiny and atrocious butchery on board the American brig Grampus, on her way to the South Seas, in the month of June, 1827. With an Account of the recapture of the vessel by the survivers; their shipwreck and subsequent horrible Sufferings from Famine; their Deliverance by means of the British schooner Jane Guy; the brief Cruise of this latter vessel in the Antarctic Ocean; her Capture, and the Massacre of her Crew among a group of islands, in the eighty-fourth parallel of southern latitude; together with the incredible Adventures and Discoveries, still farther South, to which that distressing calamity gave rise. Published by Harper & Brothers, New York, July 30, 1838; British version published by Wiley and Putnam in London. Advertised and announced (see Gentleman’s Magazine entry below) November 1838, but see Spectator of October (below). Changes made (see Heartman and Canny, Bibliography, p. 39) including new title: The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, of Nantucket, North America: Comprising the Details of a Mutiny, Famine, and Shipwreck, During a Voyage to the South Seas; Resvlting in Various Extraordinary Adventures and Discoveries in the Eighty-Fourth Parallel of Southern Latitude.


ALBION (New York), NS G (18 August 1838), 263. One paragraph. Despite its assurance of truth, this tale’s author is a fascinating second Gulliver without political and moral satire. (SAF)

ALEXANDER’S Weekly Messenger, 22 August 1838, 2/4 (by John Frost). One paragraph good-naturedly mocks Pym’s impossibilities as more incredible than Riley’s starvation-narrative, told like Defoe’s.

The ATLAS (London), 13 (20 October 1838), 666. Three long [column 2:] fine-print columns, with summaries and excerpts ironically praising the far-fetched sense of the marvelous, although shocking and melodramatic.

BURTON’S Gentleman’s Magazine, 3 (September 1838), 210-211 (by Burton). Four long paragraphs unequivocally condemning the incredible, improbable, and inconsistent episodes, such as the moire water, regretting Poe’s association with it. (SAF) See Letters, 1, 130, for Poe’s comments.

Hartford COURANT (daily), 11, No. 183 (6 August 1838), 2/2. Seventeen lines of print announcing the book, using the title only. Also, No. 195 (20 August 1838). “New books: Pym’s Adventures, etc.”

Morning COURIER and Nev -York Enquirer, 19, No. 3486 (30 July 1838), 2/2. A paragraph on book as just published. Comments on array of horror and shows interest in the well-written story. Obviously based on title.

Philadelphia Saturday COURIER, 4 August 1838. One paragraph objects to the long title, the incredibilities, and the ambiguity of the reference to the SLM (SAF)

COURT Gazette and Fashionable Guide (London), 13 (October 1838) . A book of wonders, but published in an American journal. Like Robinson Crusoe in style and content. Gives first paragraph. (PS 9)

ERA (London), 21 October 1838, p. 44 (probably by ed. Wm. Carpenter). A paragraph complains that the exciting story is too uniformly extravagant (with two excerpts). (PS 9)

The FAMILY Magazine (NY, Boston, Phila., and, apparently, also Cincinnati), 6 (1839), 152 (rpt. in 1841 also). One paragraph of slightly ironic admiration of the rare adventures. (SAF)

FRANKLIN’S Miscellany (London), 17 August 1839. Prints only two long quotations from ch. 8 (on thirst) without comment, using same plates as London Free Press (q.v.). (PS 9)

London FREE Press and Literary Times, 24 August 1839. Two excerpts from ch. 8 only (see item above). (PS 9)

New-York GAZETTE, 50, No. 18438 (30 July 1838), 2/2. A full paragraph humorously speaks of the book of the late “notorious” Pym, but it must really have been Mr. Richard Locke’s of Moon Hoax fame.

———————, No. 18441 (2 August 1838), 2/4. Rejoinder to the New Era (q.v.) . Cites the refutation of above by Locke, editor of the New Era. Both men are equally fantastic, especially in view of Locke’s “loco foco friend of the Boston Post”

GENTLEMAN’S Magazine (London), NS 10 (November 1838), 526. Under “Literary and Scientific Intelligence,” “Travels”: Adventures and Discoveries in the South Seas by A. G. Pym.

KNICKERBOCKER Magazine, 9 (May 1837), 529. Announcement: Harpers has Pym “nearly ready for publication.”

——————, 12 (August 1838), 167 (by Lewis Gaylord Clark). The paragraph praises Pym’s too horrifying interest, but finds it slipshod in style and loose in narration. (SAF)

LADIES’ Companion, 9 (September 1838), 250 (probably by [page 22:] ed Ann C. Stephens 1. One paragraph largely based on the title. Questions Pym’s good taste, deprecates gossip about authorship. (PS 8)

METROPOLITAN Magazine (London), 23 (November 1830), 81. The paragraph accepts it as an amusing, exciting fiction, but unfortunately a willful hoax (SAF)

New-York MIRROR, 16 (11 August 1838), 55 (by George Pope Morris). The paragraph likes the masterly language and descriptions, but not the improbabilities and preternatural and revolting adventures. (SAF)

MONTHLY Review (London), 3 (October 1838), 566-569. Part of “Novels of the Month” (paired with another verisimilar novel). Likes the vivid details and bold imagination but not the repulsively absurd. Gives excerpts from ch. 12. (SAF)

NAVAL and Military Gazette (London), 20 October 1838, p. 667. Four brief paragraphs. Powerful painting, clumsy construction, less convincing than Robinson Crusoe or Seaward’s narrative but effective for the strong-stomached. (PS 9)

NEW Era (NY), No. 546 (1 August 1838), 2/3 (ea. R. A. Locke). A paragraph (not a review of Pym) suggests that the author is not Locke but Poe. Answered by the New-York GAZETTE (q.v.).

NEW Monthly Magazine (London), NS 3 (November 1838), 428-429. Two full paragraphs jocularly present Pym. as vivid and absurdly wonderful. (SAF)

NEW-YORKER, 5, No. 20 (1 August 1838), 317. One paragraph on its freezing interest and horrible wonders, probably by Horace Greeley. (SAF)

Sunday Morning NEWS (NY), 4, No. 13 (5 August 1838), 2/5. Full title and a sentence about the marvellous. (PS 8)

PENNSYLVANIA Inquirer, 2 August 1838, 2/2. An exciting work. Hearsay about its nature. Full title given. (DT)

———————, 3 August 1838, 2/1. Second notice of Pym. A paragraph says it enchains the interest and sympathies. (DT)

PENNSYLVANIAN, 2 August 1838, 2/1. Three sentences summarize the title and hint that it is by an able American writer. As yet unread. (DT)

The Evening POST (NY), No. 11118 (8 August 1838), 2/1. A brief paragraph praises the skillful air of reality and mentions Peter Wilkins and Sinbad. (SAF)

PUBLIC Ledger (Phila.), 2 August 1838, 2/5. Announcement of the book, with the entire title given. (DT)

New York REVIEW, 3 (October 1838), 489. A full paragraph cites the full title and objects to the hoaxing details, the air of truth, and the too painful interest, unlike Crusoe and Seaward. (SAF)

SPECTATOR (London), No. 539 (27 October 1838), 1023. Full page, three-column review, with copious excerpts. Early parts plausible, later ones fabulous, but verisimilar in nautical details and in fancy. (SAF)

The Evening STAR (NY), No. 271 (10 August 1838). A full paragraph on book just published. Full title. Dwells on its ingenious mystification, perhaps implying Poe as author. [column 2:]

The TORCH (London), 2 (13 October 1838), 383-385. Long review with many excerpts and much praise for ingenious effort to establish the reality. (SAF)

UNITED States Gazette (Phila.), 2 August 1838, 2/1. One brief paragraph gives title and notes author’s assurance of its truth. (DT)

WALDIE’S Select’ Circulating Library, 13, No. 6, Part 11 (7 August 1838), 3/2. Gives full title and praises air of truth, like Crusoe’s and Seaward’s. (SAF)

The Daily WHIG (NY), 2, No. 29 (31 July 1838, 2/3. Gives title.



The Conchologist’s First Book: or, A System of Testaceous Malacology, Arranged expressly for the Mse of Schools, in which the animals, according to Cuvier, are given with the shells, A great number of new species added, and the whole brought up, as accurately as possible, to the present condition of the science. By Edgar A. Poe, etc. Philadelphia: Haswell, Barrington, and Haswell, 1839. The 1st edition appeared before 20 April 1839. The 2nd edition, dated 1840, increased to 166 pp. (from 156), appeared by 14 September 1839. The 3rd edition, without Poe’s name, appeared in 1845 (see Works, 1, 549, and Heartman and Canny, pp. 41-44).


ALEXANDER’S Weekly Messenger, 11 September 1839, 2/4. Two paragraphs. The need for new second edition recommends the book, used as a text in most large seminaries. Has special features for school use. Author’s versarile abilities are well known. (DT)

Saturday CHRONICLE and Mirror of the Times (Phila.), 3, No. 50 (27 April 1839), 2/3. This instructive volume uniquely tells about the anatomy and the shells, with illustrations, and it is planned to use it in the leading schools. It is from Poe’s pen.

Saturday COURIER, 20 April 1839, 2/7. Identifies Poe as formerly of the SLM and author of several works. States purpose, arrangement, and basis for the present work, in five sentences. (DT)

———————, 14 September 1839. Notes the need for a second edition as showing its usefulness. Cites preface to prove its merit.



A Synopsis of Natural History: Embracing the Natural History of Animals, With Human and General Animal Physiology, Botany, Vegetable Physiology and Geology. Translated From The Latest French Edition of C. Lemmonnier, etc. And arranged As A Text Book For Schools. By Thomas Wyatt, etc. Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle, 1839. Published June 1839. For the fullest account of Poe’s ghost-writing this book for Wyatt, at least to the same extent as he did CFB, but without signing his name, see Heartman and Canny, pp. 45-46, and Works, I, 549. [page 23:]


BURTON’S Gentleman’s Magazine, 5 (July 1839), 61-62 (by Poe). Two paragraphs of praise. Wyatt was well known for his beautiful CFB and now he supplies a much needed school text. He preserves the spirit of Lemmonnier’s (sic) Tableaux, happily adapted and varied and illustrated, deserving to be bought by all interested Philadelphians.

UNITED States Gazette, 30 April 1839, 2/2. Announcement of the publication. (DT)



Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque. 2 volumes. Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard, 1840. Published December 4 or 5, 1839 (see letter of 6 December 1839, Letters, I, 123, and reviews of the Public Ledger, Pennsylvania Inquirer, United States Gazette).


The ALBION (NY), NS 1, No. 50 (14 December 1839), 399. One paragraph. The two terms of the title are apt for light and sentimental tales, all delightful.

ALEXANDER’S Weekly Messenger, 18 December 1839, 2/4 (by John Frost). Worthy of being studied for original, vigorous, independent mind, varied subjects, and promise of greater success for more exertions. (DT)

———————, I January 1840, 4/6 (by Poe). A paragraph on the New-York Mirror refers to “the well written critical notice” said to be by G. P. Morris (but later by Tasistro. See notice itself). (DT)

New-York AMERICAN, 21, No. 3825 (21 December 1839), 2/5. Announces publication of TGA and speaks of wild, vivid fancy, “copious” style, curious learning, terrors and distresses, and want of natural sympathy. Copied out in Richard Gimbel’s exhibition Catalogue (see Dameron and Cauthen, G31).

AMERICAN and Commercial Daily Advertiser (Baltimore), 14 December 1839, 2/2 (by John L. Carey). One paragraph. Worthily given more durable form, these tales have fine imagination. William Wilson has profound meaning. (DT)

BURTON’S Gentleman’s Magazine, 6 (January 1840), 58 (probably by Burton). The publisher has just issued twenty-five brief tales, with this title, which indicates their general character.

St. Louis COMMERCIAL Bulletin, 1839 (by George G. Fosrer, according to excerpt in Philadelphia Saturday Museum memoir of Poe, of 4 March 1843). Given by Hyneman, A70, with an unverified and too early date of September 1839, in which case it refers to earlier printings of the tales. Speaks of Poe’s union of philosophy, good sense, humor, and poetry, his imagination, acute observation, fine style, and enthusiasm.

——————, undetermined date. Discussion by the Bulletin quoted in the Daily Chronicle of 8 October 1840, anent the Penn Magazine (projected). Mentions Poe’s varied talents particularly, as shown in the book, TGA. (DT)

The CORSAIR (NY), No. 41 (21 December 1839), 653 (by ed. Timothy O. Porter). Fancy, sentiment, novelty, and wit intermingled with the grotesque. (PS 5, 56)

Philadelphia Saturday COURIER, 2 November 1839, 2/G (by Ezra Holden) . Two paragraphs. Admired when previously published, these tales, about to appear, are wildly imaginative, [column 2:] novel in incident, rich in description, and colorful. (DT; see TGA appendix of ads.)

————————, 14 December 1839, 2/5-6 (by Ezra Holden). Full paragraph. These tales are varied, imaginative, often grotesque, polished, learned, with Wilson and Usher the best. (DT)

GODEY’S Lady’s Book, 20 (January 1840), 46 (by Morton McMichael) . One paragraph of praise of his analysis, acute perception, imagination, and wild, vivid sciences. (DT)

HOLDEN’S Dollar Magazine, 2 (December 1848), 718 (by John Tomlin). Mock-serious “review” in the “Autobiography of a Monomaniac” (q.v. in Heartman and Canny, p. 212). All the tales of TGA are perfect, but might be ascribed “to any other man of equal genius.” Humorous comments on Rue Morgue and Usher.

KNICKERBOCKER, 14 (December 1839), 564. Promise to review TGA, never fulfilled.

Philadelphia LEDGER, 8 (December 183’)), 2/4. Announces TGA only.

MADISONIAN (NY biweekly), 3 (4 January 1840). Mere announcement: Received and for sale at Waverly Circulating Library, 12 December.

New-York MIRROR 17 (21 December 1839), 207. The title is apt for the tales exciting and original. Ligeia equal to Bulwer’s. Rich contents.

————, 17 (28 December 1839), 215 (by Louis P. Tasistro, according to Saturday Museum March 1843 article). A long, serious review. Highest praise for description, imagination, invention, diction, display of passions and motives, and fine stress upon the somber and wild.

Baltimore Saturday MUSEUM. Given by Hyneman, A70, for September 1839 as a reprint from the St. Louis Commercial Bulletin (q.v.), but not traceable. Is it an error for the Saturday Visiter?

Philadelphia NORTH American, 10 December 1839, 2/2. Two sentences: Poe can do better; he should cease imitating German mysticism and omit profanity. (DT)

Boston NOTION, 1, No. 11 (14 December 1839), 3/7. Below average; offspring of distempered imagination; wild and pointless, humorless nonsense. (English Langvage Notes, 8, 23-28)

Brownsville OBSERVER, 1839. Taken from reprinted notices in TGA which may refer to individual printings of tales. One sentence: bold development and vivid description.

PENNSYLVANIA Inquirer, 5 December 1839, 2/1. Two sentences call several tales capital and all agreeable with varied subjects. (DT)

The PENNSYLVANIAN, 6 December 1839 (by Joseph C. Neal, q.v. in DT). One paragraph: vigorous, original imagination; varied tales, some of the German school and some droll (see Letters, 1, 125).

Boston Morning POST, 16, No. 143 (17 December 1839). One paragraph condemns tales as utter trash and Poe for affectation of learning daring to satirize Bulwer and Chris North.

New-York Evening POST, 13 December 1839, 2/1. A mere announcement [page 24:] and restatement of title, “a series of tales, grave and merry.” (See Letters, 1, 125.)

Saturday Evening POST, 7 December 1839, 2/2. Two sentences: the tales, republished, are full of the German spirit and metaphysical style. (DT)

PUBLIC Ledger, 5 December 1839, 2/4. Mere announcement of new publication.

SOUTHERN Literary Messenger, 6 (January 1840), 126 (by James E. Heath). Decries Poe’s style and the tendency of his tales, but praises his imagination and invention. Many firsr appeared in SLM. Offers titles of tales of humor and of stronger, more graphic power.

SPIRIT of the Times (NY), 9, No. 41 (14 December 1839). Three sentences call the former editor of SLM clever and hope the puffs in vol. 2 are placed by the publisher, not the author.

The STAR (NY), 18 December 1839, 2/3. Mere announcement but see Letters, 1, 125; “capital notice.”

UNITED States Gazette, 5 December 1839, 2/1. Brief comment on tales from Poe’s fertile pen, with learning, taste and spirit, but not showing all his versatile capacities (see Letters, 1, 125; DT).



The Prose Romances of Edgar A. Poe, Author of “The Gold Bug,” “Arthur Gordon Pym,” “Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque,” Etc. Etc. Etc. . . . No. 1. Containing the Murders in the Rue Morgue, and the Man that Was Used Up. Philadelphia: . . . William H. Graham, . . . 1843. Published by 20 July 1843 (when it was advertised in Public Ledger).


Daily CHRONICLE, 19 July 1843, 2/1. One paragraph praises the interesting and forcible style. (DT)

CITIZEN Soldier (Phila.), 1 (26 July 1843), 174 (by George Lippard). Two paragraphs on the humor, analysis, and impressive style. (DT)

Saturday COURIER (Phila.), 29 July 1843, 2/4. Four paragraphs praise the author as learned, severe as a critic, highly original; two peculiar tales, contrasted with T. S. Arthur’s. (DT)

The Daily FORUM (Phila.), 20 July 1843, 3/6. One paragraph praises the two works but cannot see the merit of the Gold-Bug. (DT)

GODEY’S Lady’s Book, 27 (September 1843), 143. One very favorable paragraph on mastery of subject, originality, versatility, inventiveness. (DT)

LADIES’ National Magazine (Phila.), 4 (September 1843), 107 (by Charles J. Peterson, ed.). Poe is well qualified by his analytical powers, imagination, style, taste, scholarship. Rue Morgue is equal to Gold Bug. His tales are soon to appear in Paris.

Saturday MUSEUM, 22 July 1843, 2/2 (by Thomas C. Clarke). Long praising paragraph finds in tales insight worthy of a [column 2:] profound, skilled lawyer (cf. same idea in review of Gold-Bug on 8 July by Clarke in the Saturday Museum; q.v., DT, p. 593).

NEW Mirror (NY), 1, No. 23 (9 September 1843), 362-365. Review and reprint of Man Used Up; a paragraph on clumsy plot and on individual characters. (See Works, I, 553; DT)

PENNSYLVANIA Inquirer, 19 July 1843, 2/1 (presumably by Robert Morris, ea.) One paragraph of praise: able, popular, admirable (see Works, I, 604; DT).

————————, 26 July 1843, 2/2. Long paragraph of praise: Murders is the better tale. Poe is a man of genius with a lawyer’s chain of reasoning. (DT)

The PENNSYLVANIAN, 21 July 1843, 2/5. One paragraph recognizes Poe’s remarkable and peculiar abilities. Both tales have singular merit and neat and agreeable form. (DT)

Saturday Evening Post, 22 July 1843, 3/1. Brief generalities of praise. (DT)

PUBLIC Ledger (Phila.), 15 (21 July 1843), 2/6. Both tales are highly entertaining. (DT)

SPIRIT of the Times (Phila.), 12 and 13 September 1843, 1/4-6 and 1/3-5. Reprint of Man Used Up, without comment.

UNITED States Gazette (Phila.), 21 July 1843, 2/2. One paragraph welcomes this as first in a uniform edition of Poe’s interesting, vigorous works.

Baltimore Saturday VISITER, 5 August 1843, 3/3 (by Joseph E. Snodgrass). One brief paragraph calls Murders one of Poe’s greatest efforts. (DT)



Tales By Edgar A. Poe. New York: Wiley and Putnam, 1845. Published “about June 26” (Works, I, 558) or by 19 June (see Heartman and Canny, p. 92).


AMERICAN Whig Review, 2 (September 1845), 306-309 (by George H. Colton). Poe’s scorn as a reviewer may prejudice critics and readers against these fine tales, which show refined reason and keen analysis, curious ideas, great mental power and imagination and morbid passions. Long excerpts from Murders and Usher and discussion of Black Cat and Maelstrom. Utterly favorable.

ARISTIDEAN, September 1845, p. 238. Preliminary review in “Our Book-Shelves” (article xix) of one paragraph speaks of Wiley and Putnam Library’s first volume. The mere twelve tales out of Poe’s eighty blunt his versatility of invention and display his analytical tales but not extravaganzas and non-descripts. Shows Poe’s advice.

———————, 22 October, pp. 316-319 (shows Poe’s hand, according to Quinn, p. 467). Discusses many pet Poe themes, such as plagiarism, originality, totality of effect, ingenuity, verisimilitude, novelty, induction in the detective tales; discusses specific tales, Poe’s clear and forcible style, minute details, the writing of tales backwards.

The ATLAS (London), 20 (9 August 1845), 507. One paragraph plus long excerpt from Maelstrom. Startling, horrifying adventures, in typical American style.

BIBLICAL Repository (NY), 1, Series 3 (October 1845), 776. One sentence: much praised and well-wrought and fascinating but extravagant, with one hurtful tale.

BLACKWOOD’S Edinburgh Magazine, 62 (November 1847), 582-587. Concerns ‘Library of American Books” as a whole. Strange, powerful productions, full of analytic observation, no passion or dramatic dialogue, strained metaphors, skill in accumulating facts and circumstantial details in detective fiction. Likes heavenly dialogues.


BROADWAY Journal, 2 (12 July 1845), 10 (obviously by Poe). One paragraph lists the twelve tales selected out of seventy, but none of the diversity is seen.

CHURTON’S Literary Register (London), (1845: an annual for that year), 163. Three full paragraphs call tales strongly legalistic and ingenious, varied in subject matter. Summarizes Rue Morgue.

COLOMBIAN Lady’s and Gentleman’s Magazine (NY), 4 (September 1845), 144. One sentence: No. 11 of Wiley and Putnam’s Library, like others, is worthy of a place in the best selected library.

Boston COURIER. Seen only in excerpts published in Wiley and Putnam’s Literary Newsletter and also in end papers of that firm’s books (e.g., Hazlitt’s Characters of Shakespeare). One sentence: Poe’s most characteristic tales.

New Haven COURIER. Seen only in Wiley and Putnam’s advertisements (see above) and Newsletter. One paragraph. Poe, one of our writers equal to foreign ones, will be cherished by lovers of the wonderful and exciting.

CRITIC (or BRITISH Critic) (London), 2 (6 and 20 September 1845, 378-379 and 420-422. Tales are disappointing; Gold-Bug is ingenious but superficial as are Marie R. and Rue Morgue and Purloined Letter. Objects to cruel horror of Black Cat but likes Mesmeric Revelation (reprints excerpts). Second part devoted to reprint of Maelstrom excerpt. Reprinted in Daily MIRROR (q.v.) shorn of excerpts.

DEMOCRATIC Review, 17 (August 1845), 156-157. Announcement of the book and listing of contents, with no comments.

————————, 17 (November 1845), 400. Lists the book among ‘‘Books Just Published.‘’

FISHER’S National Magazine and Industrial Record, 1, No. 2 (July 1845), 194. A short paragraph generally approves the first three of Library of American Books.

GODEY’S Lady’s Book, 31 (June 1845), 271. “Editor’s Book Table.‘’ Poe, well known, shows profound analysis, brilliant fancy, detailed description, and astonishing skill.

The GOLDEN Rule (later known as GAZETTE of the Union and Golden Rule and Odd-Fellow’s Family Companion) (NY), 3 (December 1845), 369. One paragraph lists a few tales by this vigorous and elegant writer of lofty imagination.

GRAHAM’S Magazine, 27 (September 1845), 143. Full paragraph praises the tales as original, characteristic, forcible, acute, subtle in reasoning, analytic of crime and perversity, stimulating to reflection, and ingenious.

HARBINGER (Boston), I (2 July 1845), 73-74 (by Charles [column 2:] Dana). A strange inclusion in Wiley and Putnam s Library. An intense order of genius is apparent in the tales, seen in long cited passages of dramatic intensity, sometimes too horrifying, and in the sketches, as in the cited Mesmeric Revelation. But they are clumsy, unnatural, in bad taste, and perverse in basic philosophy.

HUNT’S Merchants’ Magazine, 14 (1845), 205. Short paragraph: fine specimens of genius, exuberance of fancy, inexhaustible sources.

Philadelphia INQUIRER (1845). Seen in end papers of Tales. One sentence: the book has interest and power.

KNICKERBOCKER, 28 (July 1846), 94. Refers to the Tales as so little noteworthy as to demand no remark.

————————, 28 (November 1846), 451-452. Cites the North American’s characterization of the Tales as in the forcible-feeble and the shallow-profound school and exonerates the Wiley and Putnam Library because of other volumes, such as Typee.

LITERARY Gazette (London), No. 1487 (19 July 1845), 528. One paragraph of faint praise for interest, mysterious plots, apt description of local scenes, reasonably pure style. Good for the vacant hour.

———————, No. 1515 (31 January 1846), 101-102 (by Martin Tupper. Refers to a letter by William Petrie protesting improbabilities in Maelstrom. Discounts Black Cat as revolting, Usher as juvenile. Best feature is Poe’s power of induction and analysis as in Gold-Bug. Maelstrom has fine writing, Eiros is full of terror and instruction. Poetry in Usher half redeems it. Long citations.

Weekly MIRROR, 2 (26 April 1845). The two paragraphs praise the excellent basic conception and choice of books in the Wiley and Putnam American Library and the inclusion of works by Headley, Hawthorne, and Poe.

New-York Daily MIRROR, 3 (25 November 1845). Reprints British CRITIC’s review of Tales, shorn of the long Maelstrom excerpt.

New-York Weekly MIRROR, 3 (6 December 18415), 131. Same reprint as above.

Washington NATIONAL Intelligencer (30 August 1845), p. 2. An article not a review, by R. W. Griswold on “Tale Writers‘’ of America, with a section on Poe’s Tales (clearly implied). Defends high quality of American tales. Poe is unique in his imagination combined with analysis, suggestiveness plus minute detail, horror plus impression of reality, but has no humor. Superior to C. B. Brown in pathology. Cites Usher, Rue Morgue, Purloined Letter.

Morning NEWS, 2 (28 June 1845), 2/3 (probably by Evert Duyckinck, ed.). Same item in Weekly edition of 5 July 1845. Two paragraphs. Poe’s tales, previously scattered, here available. Characteristic are Purloined Letter, ingeniously constructed Gold-Bug, and other police tales.

NORTH American Review (Boston), 63 (October 1846), 359 (on Simms’ novels). One paragraph on Wiley and Putnam’s Library, not likely to do honor to American literature. The Tales belongs to the forcible-feeble and the shallow-profound school.

Daily PICAYUNE (New Orleans), 2 August 1845, 2/1. Collective review of Wiley and Putnam Library. Poe’s volume selects several “masterly” tales. [page 25:]

————————, 9 (12 September 1845), 2/1. Another announcement of four Wiley and Putnam Library volumes, including Poe’s.

Boston POST, 27 (8 July 1845), 1/5. In one paragraph, praises Poe’s clarity, detective fiction ingenuity, and odd learning but deprecates his limited and partial criticism.

New-York Evening POST, 43 (9 July 1845). One paragraph. Poe is master of the analytic faculty of higher regions of thought, as in the dialogues.

St. Louis REVEILLE, No. 433 (2 October 1845), 2/4 Not a review, this article refers to Poe’s tales in England (using the Mirror reprint) and mentions the note on the Gold-Bug title in England.

REVUE des Deux Mondes (Paris), 15 October 1846, pp. 341-366 (by “E. D. Forgues” or Paul Emile Daurant). For Poe’s comment see “Marginalia” 211, Complete Works, XVI, 145; for English abridgment, see Sidney Moss, ESQ, No. 60 (1970), pp. 4-13. Stresses kinship of tales with Laplace’s views on probability. Tales seem plausible, as in those on the next world (Monos, Eiros, Mesmeric Revelation), or require exact observation to solve problems (Gold-Bug, Maelstrom, and the detective tales). Added are Poe s sense of poetry and fantasy; he ranks with or above Irving, Godwin, C. B. Brown.

The ROVER (NY), 5 (28 June 1845), 240. The tales are of absorbing interest, above the “medium” of style, although the Gold-Bug is like “The Pirate’s Treasure” (a charge probably borrowed from the Phila. Spirit of the Times). The author noted for his harsh criticism.

SOUTHERN and Western Magazine (Charleston), 2 (December 1845), 426-427 (by W. G. Simms). Collective review on Wiley and Putnam Library. These highly original tales are of difficult mystical nature. Gold-Bug is faulty in geographical description.

SOUTHERN Literary Messenger, 14 (January 1848), 34-38 (by Philip Pendleton Cooke). Not a review, this general evaluation of Poe assesses the tales in their 1845 format and ROP and cites Valdemar for truth-like representation, Maelstrom and Ligeia for imaginative power, but asks for cheerful, homely content and a better, more diverse selection.

The SPECTATOR (London), 18 (2 August 1845), 739. One paragraph on the twelve tales’ diablerie or mystery, ingeniously and mathematically unfolded despite profuse minutiae. Magazinish art and effects.

TAIT’S Edinburgh Magazine, 12 (September 1845), 612. The tales, presumably American, are original, monstrous, often revolting and in bad taste, but rudely powerful and fascinating, sometimes philosophical and legalistic like Zadig.

New-York TRIBUNE, 5, No. 79 (11 July 1845), 1/3 (by Margaret Fuller). Six paragraphs on the refreshing contrast to numerous debased, talentless magazine tales. Vigorous imagination, keen observation, and adept handling of the terrible. Special praise for Rue Morgue. Poe should write a metaphysical novel. Uses words inaccurately.

UNITED States Gazette (Phila.). Cited in Wiley and Putnam’s book advertisements. Well known and liked effusions by Poe, of singular power of style, opinions possibly derived from magazine tales, reviewed singly.

WILEY and Putnam’s Literary Newsletter, 4 (July 1845), 340 plus advertisement (August, p. 353). One sentence. Book published in June. [column 2:]



The Raven and Other Poems. By Edgar A. Poe. New York: Wiley and Putnam, 1845. Wiley and Putnam’s Library of American Books, No. VIII. Published 19 November 1845.


AMERICAN Whig Review, 2 (December 1845), 668. Promise of a review, never issued.

ANGLO-AMERICAN, 6 (22 November 1845), 116 (probably by A. D. Paterson, ed.). In one paragraph, calls Poe a widely reputed author whose juvenile poems should not be distributed.

ARISTIDEAN, November 1845, pp. 399-404 (probably by T. D. English with Poe’s aid). “Our Book Shelves” (article xxi). Speaks of Lyceum fiasco and of Poe’s peculiar school with more admiration than sympathy. A poet of the ideal. Discusses several poems: Zante sonnet, Israfel. Second half of book is puerile.

ATHENAEUM (London), 18 (26 February 1846), 215-216 (by Thomas Kipple Hervey), rpt. in LITTELL’S Living Age (q.v.). American poetry borrows even its obscurity from London. Sometimes Poe’s fancy and proper quaintness as in the Raven and Dreamland (cited) show his sense of music and other poetic qualities, but he must learn to be natural and less mystical.


CHURTON’S Literary Register and London Miscellany, I (March 1846), 115. Two sentences and three stanzas of the Raven, a singular ballad.

The COLOMBIAN Lady’s and Gentleman’s Magazine, 5 (January 1846), 46-48. One sentence in “Books of the Month‘’ on “The Ravens‘’ (sic) and other poems “of which too few.”

Morning COURIER and New-York Enquirer, 33, No. 5758 (22 November 1845), 3/5. One paragraph on incomparably smooth versification and brilliant fancy.

CRITIC, 3 (4 April 1846), 357-358. Three columns, but chiefly excerpts. These poems are peculiarly American, probably from a young man with good poetic stuff who promises much, if he works hard and blots much. Having previously (in vol. I of Critic) printed the Raven, here cites the Tennysonian Valley of Unrest and the Coleridgean Sleeper and Dream-Land. Volume has too much juvenilia.

DEMOCRATIC Review, 17 (December 1845), 479 (ed. John L. O’Sullivan) . Poe’s ‘‘Poems” has been added to Wiley and Putnam’s Library and includes the spirited and ingenious Raven; a book bound to be popular.

Brooklyn EAGLE, 4, No. 298 (13 December 1845), 2/4. One paragraph. Poe, one of our best writers of prose and verse, should not deprecate in preface his own interesting works.

New-York EVANGELIST, 16 (27 November 1845). One paragraph. Opinion about Poe’s poetry is more diverse than about his tales or criticism, but surely the Raven is original and powerful in thought and versification; others are obscure.

GODEY’S Lady’s Book, 32 (January 1846), 48. A highly reputed writer, Poe shows in his excellent poems a careless rhythm, the fault perhaps of his facile diction.

The GOLDEN Rule, 4 (13 December 1845), 385. Two sentences: these poems are not new, some of rare beauty and some puerile. [page 26:]

The HARBINGER, 1 (6 December 1845), 410-411 (by John S. Dwight). Excerpt quoted by Poe in 13 December Broadway Journal. Lengthily attacks Poe for his derision of New England and its writers, but finds power and beauty in his poems, although strange, ill-boding, studied in effect, remote, and unimpassioned.

HOME Journal (then called MORRIS’S Press), 2, No. 9 (10 October 1846), 3/3. Three paragraphs of high praise for Poe’s poetry, which should be his primary occupation rather than criticism and controversy, although profound and original, or tale-writing.

HUNT’S Merchants’ Magazine, 14 (January 1846), 107. Full paragraph: although it has subtle conceptions, playful fancy, original passion and sentiment, beautiful imagery, the Raven is merely clever.

New-York ILLUSTRATED Magazine (formerly the Rover), NS 1 (8 December 1845), 192. Collective review with Mrs. Kirkland’s Western Clearings. Creditable to American literature, but puzzling. Raven better for construction than spirit of poetry. Public indebted for the book.

KNICKERBOCKER, 27 (January 1846), 69-72 (by Lewis G. Clark) . Long, utterly contemptuous review, attacking Poe’s taste in criticism, his meagre output, justified by no handicaps, his printing of avowedly juvenile verse, his coyness (conceals even the name of the river addressed), his vagueness, his incomprehensible “poetry not a purpose, but a passion,” his attack on didactic poetry — the highest type — leading to the beautiful nonsense of the Raven.

LITERARY Gazette (London), No. 1521 (14 March 1846), 237-238 (possibly by William Jerdan). A full page with excerpts and a letter (by William Pettie) on the bad angles of observation in Maelstrom. Cites the introduction about Poe’s pleasing only himself, excerpts the Sleeper as exaggerated and in bad taste, Conqueror Worm as morbid, and compares Poe’s poems to those of E. B. Barrett, who has same strangeness of language but superior earnestness.

LITTELL’S Living Age (Boston), No. 83 (13 December 1845), 490. Announces that ROP is the eighth vol. in Wiley and Putnam Library.

————————, 9, No.101(18April 1846), 106-107. Reprint of ATHENAEUM review.

New-York Evening MIRROR, 3, No. 349 (21 November 1845), 2/2-3. Also in the Weekly MIRROR, 3, No. 6 (November 29), 128. Three full paragraphs. Despite Poe’s disclaimer in the preface, this is true poetry of wonderful power, imagination, and purpose, as shown by the Raven and Lenore.

MORRIS’S Press (see HOME Journal).

Morning NEWS (NY), 2, No. 70 (10 November 1845), ½. Glancing reference in a summary of DEMOCRATIC Review announcements of new books: ROP will include Poe’s juvenile poem read in Boston.

NORTH American and Daily Advertiser (Phila.), 7, No. 2074 (26 November 1845), ½. Full paragraph. Glad to see these poems collected. Poe, a poor critic whose prejudices and reckless expression make enemies, is strong in grammatical analysis but fails to look at the whole work and harps on plagiarism (despite his use of the Iron Shroud for the Pit and Pendulum) . Tales have analytical and dramatic power. The Raven, Lenore, and a few others will live, but why publish juvenile poems? [column 2:]

Daily PICAYUNE (New Orleans), 6 December 1845, 2/5. Poe’s ROP will soon appear in Wiley and Putnam’s series, with a scornful introduction likely to lead to critical onslaught.

————————, 10 December 1845, 2/1. Announcement of the Wiley and Putnam Library ROP.

Boston POST, 27 (I December 1845), 1/6. Two full paragraphs allude to the Lyceum poem as in the collection and still incomprehensible, and singles out three poems (including Raven) for ingenious language, the rest being mediocre or absurd, unlike the fine tales.

QUARTERLY Journal and Review (Cincinnati), I (January 1846), 92-96. Calls Poe an unusual genius and a terror to other poets, comments on the illogical preface and analyzes the perfectly original Raven, notes the excellent Coliseum and striking scenes from Politian, and scorns Israfel, the Sleeper, and Valley of Unrest.

St. Louis REVEILLE, 3 December 1845, 2/5. A brief notice of the familiar Raven and other beautiful poems with a reprint of To F — s O d.

SMITH’S Weekly Volume for Town and Country (Phila.), 2 (3 December 1845), 354. One paragraph ironically praising Poe’s judgment of his poems in the preface.

SOUTHERN Literary Messenger, 14 (January 1848), 34-38 (by Philip P. Cooke) . Not a review but a memoir of Poe, discussing ROP and citing Raven for its rhythm, phrasing, melancholy tone, and startling effect here and abroad. Has little to add to Lowell’s memoir in Graham’s; cites Paradise.

SOUTHERN Patriot, 2 (March 1846), 368 (by W. G. Simms). A long column on Poe’s pure imagination and magical singularity and on intense power of construction in his tales and similarly in the ingenious refrain of the Raven. Cites Valley of Unrest for music, dreaminess, and vague quality.

Daily TRIBUNE (NY), 5 (26 November 1845) (by Margaret Fuller), reprinted in weekly issue of November 29. One and one-half columns. Echoing Poe’s preface, deems these to be mere token of possibilities, but cites To One in Paradise. Likes Haunted Palace and Sleeper. Objects to “loll” and diction, and wishes Poe to write a metaphysical romance.



Eureka: A Prose Poem. By Edgar A. Poe. New-York: George P. Putnam, 1848. Although intended for publication on 15 June 1848 in the contract with Putnam, the actual date seems to have been on or shortly before 12 July from the reviews.


ALBION (NY), 7 (14 July 1848), 345. Two paragraphs citing the preface, looking in vain for the poetry in text, glancing at the essay and hoping for acute criticism of such keen research and talents.

ATHENAEUM (London), 19 August 1848, p. 820. Under “New American Books‘’ announces Eureka, or, the Physical and Metaphysical Universe. A Prose Poem. There was no British edition or imprint, only imported copies.

New-York COMMERCIAL Advertiser, 51 (12 July 1848), 2/1. Brief paragraph. Writer expects brilliance, some truth, and much eccentricity, as from an “art-product.‘’ [page 27:]

DEMOCRATIC Review (NY), 23 (August 1848), 192. One paragraph. Handsomely printed. No need for extended notice of work from the well known Poe.

DOLLAR Magazine (Phila.), 6 (19 July 1848), 3/3. Duplicates the New-York COMMERCIAL Advertiser paragraph without acknowledgment.

Brooklyn EAGLE, 7, No. 180 (31 July 1848). In one paragraph, Eureka is called a dying bequest of new and startling thoughts about God and man in a strong, musing, poetic style.

New-York Evening EXPRESS, 12 (12 July 1848), 1/3. A long paragraph of laudation. This extraordinary essay consummately expands the lecture into an elegant volume. With its reasoning force and depth, this new theory of the universe, unequaled since Newton, will shed lustre on Poe’s name.

GAZETTE of the Union and Golden Rule and Odd-Fellow’s Family Companion, 9 (26 August 1848), 155. A brief paragraph on the production of an eccentric genius, dealing with a vast theme, subtle analysis, ingeniously combatting many existing theories and trampling on ordinary opinions and authorities.

The HOME Journal, 12 August 1848. Three paragraphs. Dr. Chalmers, man of genius, and Dr. Draper have shown the modern tendency to wed to science Christian truth or the sense of beauty and imagination. Poe boldly disavows induction in favor of scientific inspiration. Attraction and repulsion in his suggestive fantasy sound like the Vestiges of Creation and Swedenborg.

HUNT’S Merchants’ Magazine, 19 (August 1848), 237. One paragraph. A startling work, in the province of poetry or romance, with imagination and glorious thought about the true, intuitively felt and well illustrated.

The INDICATOR (Amherst College), 1, No. 7 (February 1849), 193-199 (copy in Harvard College Library, “Emerson” inscribed at the head and “Briggs” at the end: the professional tone, familiarity with Poe’s works, and marked hostility making Briggs possible, although unlikely. Mentioned first by Roger Forclaz in Le Monde d‘Edgar Poe, p. 455, n. 136, based on John C. Miller’s index to the Ingram Collection) . The long review regards Eureka as typical of Poe’s impudent hoaxing pieces and satirically summarizes the main arguments. The end implies that Poe’s “sands are nearly run,” cites Lowell’s Fable, rejects the work as “poetry,” and finally objects to its egotism.

New-York JOURNAL of Commerce, 37 (14 July 1848). Brief paragraph. This romance or poem has beautiful passages, is said to be ingenious, and suits lovers of dreamy speculations.

The LITERARY World, 3 (20 July 1848), 502 (by John H. Hopkins; see Letters, 1, 382). Will ignore its alleged poetry for its claim to truth. Hypotheses still need demonstrations and consistent statement. One page speaks of unitary God as might a Christian or deist, another polytheistically, and another of each soul as self-created — nonsense if not blasphemy. The physical elements may be true, although derivative, but the metaphysical are unintelligible and the theological intolerable. Might be a scientific hoax from author of Maelstrom.

The Evening MIRROR (NY), 8, No. 80 (15 July 1848), 214. One paragraph. Notices the three different titles and regards “prose poem” as contradictory, stresses the marked character and clear style of the author, and promises to read the book subsequently.

NEW Church Repository, and Monthly Review (Swedenborgian organ of NY), I (August 1848), 508-509 (probably by ed. [column 2:] George Bush; see Poe’s comments in Complete Works, XV, 5-6 and XVI, 97-98) . Two-page review. The author treats the universe “poematically,” not mechanically. While it denies demonstration, the treatise begins to explain gravitation through a plausible guess. His generative principle is a simple monad, unlike that of Leibnitz, but like Swendenborg’s “first natural point.” Worst feature is the pantheism.

The NORTH American and United States Gazette (Phila.), 55, No. 16379 (2 August 1848), 2/3. One paragraph. Comments derisively on the variety of titles assigned to this solemn hoax.

New-York Evening POST, 46, No. 18 (15 July 1848), 2/2. One paragraph announcing the book, which arises from Poe’s metaphysical speculations. Has passages of beauty, but reviewer has no time for a careful reading now.

Boston Saturday RAMBLER, 3 (22 July 1848), 2/5. Announcement: Poe is publishing a prose-poem revealing his new theory of the universe.

Boston Daily Evening TRANSCRIPT, 20 July 1848 (copy from the Ingram Collection, which marks it as by Epes Sargent). Two paragraphs. The lavish scientific ostentation would dismay even Humboldt; reminds one of the Vestiges of Creation, but lacks its sincerity. Unworthy of Poe’s fine talents.

New-York Daily TRIBUNE, 8, No. 99 (3 August 1848), last page. A full paragraph plus excerpts. A remarkable book of bold imagination, keen analysis, and ingenuity. It fills out the lecture with additional illustrations, expresses mental passion through startling propositions, daringly overturns previous philosophical systems, and tenaciously thrusts knowledge to the furthest limits. But the initial humor is degrading. Cites the “wild” conclusions at the end of the book.



1. - Herman Melville’s works, for example, have been treated by Steven Mailloux and Hershel Parker, eds. Checklist of Melville Reviews (Los Angeles: Melville Society, 1975). David Kesterson has informed me of the progress of the Hawthorne review checklist, under rhe aegis of Buford Jones of Duke University. Killis Campbell handled the marter for Poe incompletely in The Mind of Poe (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1932), ch. 1, Contemporary Opinion of Poe,” pp. 34-61, a slight revision Of an earlier arricle, PMLA, 36 (1921), 142-166. No orher published studies exist save those on Pym and Eureka and a one-paragraph list on The Raven and Other Poems in Works, I, 578 (see below). Reviews enter into Dudley Hurcherson, ‘‘One Hundred Years Of Poe . . . 1827-1927” (Diss., Univ. of vat, 1936), and into Irby s. Cauthen, Jr., “Descriptive Bibliography of Criticism of . . . Poe, 1827-1941” (Master’s Thesis, Univ. of vat, 1942); both were used in Edgar Allan Poe: A Bibliography of Criticism . . . by Cauthen and J. Lasley Dameron (Charlottesville: Univ. of vat, 1974), but the recorded reviews are not singled out separately nor are they complete. For the opportunities to collect the ensuing material in rhis paper I am indebted not only to the libraries personally visited in London, Paris, Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Washingron, and Charleston but also to grants from various foundations during many years: The New York State University and City University Research Foundations, the American Philosophical Society, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. [page 28:]

2. - See these in the North American statement of October 1846 on the Tales of 1845, which was taken up by the Knickerbocker Magazine of November 1846. Poe uses this for his “Marginalia” 211 of April 1849, Complete Works, XVI, 145.

3. - This appears at the end of “Marginalia” 211, Complete Works, XVI, 145; he used it also in “Marginalia” 145 of September 1845, XVI, 83, again with the incorrect attribution to Sterne’s Letter from France rather than Tristram Shandy, VI, 2, Poe having been misled by Wallace’s Stanley (I, 102). Finally Poe used it for the motto of “The Reviewer Reviewed” (Works, III, 1377), discussed in my text below.

4. - I am indebted to Ian Walker of Manchester University for a copy of the four pages of the end papers from the beginning of the second volume of the Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque in the Alderman Library of the University of Virginia, and for other favors.

5. - For a discussion of Forgues and Poe, see Leon Lemonnier, Les Traductesws d‘Edgar Poe en France (Paris: Presses Universitaires, 1928), ch. 2. Poe’s reference also to “justice” in the Revue Franfaise is incorrect, as my research in the Bibliotheque Nationale of Paris showed.

6. - These highly significant references can be found on the following pages of the Letters, I and II: 111, 113, 115, 121, 124-125, 137, 139, 211-213, 262, 293, 313, 323, 329, 355, 361, 363, 379, 447, 461.

7. - He cites “the Quarterly cant about ‘sustained effort’ ” — Works, III, 1132.

8. - A small portion of these can be found under “Anon.” in the Dameron-Cauthen bibliography and also in that of Esther F. Hyneman (Boston: G. K. Hall, 1974), in Section “A: 1827-1850” (pp. 1-23).

9. - ATQ, No. 26 (Spring 1975), pp. 26-30, which includes all items save The Indicator, North American of Philadelphia, and the Boston Transcript.

10. - Please note that a large number of the monthlies and several of the weeklies in my list can be found in the microfilm series, “Early American Periodicals, 1800-1850” put out by University Microfilms, Ann Arbor.

11. - This is an indispensable tool for studying Poe’s life and work at this period. Mr. Thomas very kindly provided me with many early Philadelphia items that I had not previously found by personal search of the archives, subsequently included in his thesis, a copy of which he graciously sent me in 1979.

12. - For a few of the very long British reviews it was necessary to omit the excerpts and abridge the summaries.

13. - Newspaper and magazine advertisements, when known, are also used to establish publication dates. The exact title of Pym, both in spelling and capitalization, is not easily determined, as I indicate in SAF, pp. 38-39 and 54, n. 4, but the long title must be furnished since so many of the reviews rely on it as a form of summary of the plot.


Associated Article(s) and Related Material:

  • Two additional notices are mentioned by K. P. Ljungquist in “ ‘Mastodons of the Press’: Poe, the Mammoth Weeklies, and the Case of the Saturday Emporium,” Masques, Mysteries and Mastodons: A Poe Miscellany (2006), pp. 91-92 and note 17.


[S:0 - PSDR, 1980]