Text: Edgar Allan Poe, “The Literati of New-York: S. Anna Lewis” (Text-01), manuscript fragments, 1848


[Fragment 1:]

In person; — she is about the medium height of woman, or perhaps rather above it — of a dignified and reserved demeanour — a finely formed figure — chesnut hair, curling naturally, and large, dark hazel eyes. The beautiful portrait, by Elliot, lately exhibited, is by no means too flattering a likeness.

[Fragment 2:]

Probably no American poetess has a more thoroughly educated mind or is more conversant with standard English and American Literature.

[Fragment 3:]

While with its lofty pinions furled

The Spirit floats in neither world.

She gains at length the holy fane,

Where Death and solemn Silence reign —

Hurries along the shadowy aisles

Up to the altar where blest tapers

Burn dimly and the Virgin smiles

Midst rising clouds of incense vapors

There kneels by the Confession Chair

Where waits the Friar with fervent prayer

To soothe the children of Despair.

Her hands are clasped — her eyes upraised —

Meek — beautiful — though coldly glazed —

And her pale cheeks are paling faster.

From under her simple hat of straw

Over her neck her tresses flow

Like threads of jet o’er alabaster.




Although it carries the title “The Literati of New York,” the present article was published two years later, and in a different magazine from the earlier series.

Fragments 1 and 2 are described by Moldenhauer, 1973, p. 24, item 13. They are written by Poe on pale blue paper, which has yellowed, and bear traces of having been wafered, with was often Poe’s practice for material to be published. Based on a comment by F. S. Osgood, the MS for “The Literati” was done up in rolls, and it seems reasonable that this would have been as well, although it was two years later. Other fragments of Poe manuscripts from 1848 are known which also appear on pale blue paper, including the substantial manuscript fragments for “The Rationale of Verse” and the “Griswold” manuscript of the note on Mrs. Lewis which was published in Works, 1850.

Fragment 3 was in the collection of Oliver Barrett, sold at auction on Nov. 1, 1950, item???. It is reproduced in facsimile in the Parke-Bernet catalog. A photograph of the fragment is also preserved in the J. H. Whitty papers at Duke University, were the image was apparently indended to be used in Edgar Allan Poe: The Man, but ultimately was omitted.



[S:0 - MS, 1848] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Cricitism - The Literati of New York: S. Anna Lewis (Text-01)