Text: Edgar Allan Poe (ed. J. A. Harrison), “Review of Writings of Sir E. L. Bulwer,” The Complete Works of Edgar Allan PoeVol. X: Literary Criticism - part 03 (1902), pp. 212-214


[page 212, continued:]


[Graham’s Magazine, November, 1841.]

WE have read these volumes with the highest pleasure. They embrace all of the known minor writings of Bulwer, with the exception of his shorter fictions; and we recognize the collection several very excellent articles which had arrested our attention and excited our curiosity while their authorship was undivulged.

Mr. Bulwer is never lucid, and seldom profound. His intellect to be rather well balanced than lofty; rather comprehensive than penetrative. His taste is exquisite. His style, in its involution and obscurity, partakes of the involution of his thoughts. [page 213:] Apart from his mere intellect, however, — or rather as a portion of that intellect, — we recognize in his every written word the keenest appreciation of the right, the beautiful, and the true. Thus he is a man worthy of all reverence, and we do not hesitate to say that we look upon the charges of immoral tendency which have been so pertinaciously adduced against his fictions as absurdly little and untenable in the mass.

The volumes now before us are plain evidence of the noble spirit which has constantly actuated him. The papers here published were written at various epochs of his life. We look through them in vain for anything false, as a whole, or unchivalrous, or impure, or weak, or tasteless, or ignoble. Were we addicted jurare in verba magistri, there is no man living [[lives no man]] upon whose faith we would more confidently rely than upon that of Bulwer, no man whose opinion upon any point involving a question of truth, or justice, or taste, we would be more willing to adopt unexamined.

We have been especially pleased with an article (in the volumes now before us) entitled “Literature Considered as a Profession,” and with another “Upon the Spirit of True Criticism.” Some remarks in the latter paper are quite as applicable to our own country as to Great Britain.

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We wish also to call attention to a very excellent article on the subject of “International Copyright.” The only paper in the collection which we could have wished omitted is one entitled “A Letter to the Quarterly Review” — an attempt at vindictive retaliation upon Lockhart. We admire this gentleman quite as little as Mr. Bulwer can possibly do, but we grieve to see [page 214:] an attack which has neither vigor nor wit, and which proves nothing beyond the writer’s wrath and utter incapacity for satire.



There appears to be no authority for the change of “lives no man” to “is no man living,” which is therefore considered to be an error or an editorial revision by Harrision.


[S:1 - JAHCW, 1902] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions - The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe (J. A. Harrison) (Review of Writings of Sir E. L. Bulwer)