Edgar Allan Poe — “Maelzel's Chess-Player”


Reading and Reference Texts:

Reading copy:

  • “Maelzel's Chess-Player” — reading copy


Historical Texts:

Manuscripts and Authorized Printings:

  • Text-01 — “Maelzel's Chess-Player” — late 1835 or early 1836, no original manuscript or fragments are known to exist (but this version is presumably recorded in Text-02) — (Griswold adds a note to his printing of the text stating that it was “written in 1835,” although his authority for the statement is not clear.)
  • Text-02 — “Maelzel's Chess-Player” — April 1836 — Southern Literary Messenger (For Griswold's 1856 reprint of this text, see the entry under reprints, below.)



  • Maelzel's Chess-Player” — 1856 — WORKS — Griswold essentially reprints Text-02
  • Maelzel's Chess-Player” — 1875 — The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. J. H. Ingram, Edinburgh, Adam and Charles Black (3:286-311)   (The illustration of the player appears on 3:290)
  • The Chess Player — about 1895 — Log Cabin Series, No. 35, New York: Log Cabin Press  (soft-bound publication of 199 pages, with a lovely pictorial cover, but with no obvious connection to the contents, and advertisements. Although “The Chess Player” is the featured title, the book also contains ten other works by Poe.)
  • the essay is widely anthologized


Scholarly and Noteworthy Reprints:

  • Maelzel's Chess-Player” — 1895 — The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 9: Eureka and Miscellanies, eds. E. C. Stedman and G. E. Woodberry, Chicago: Stone and Kimball (9:141-173, and 9:315)  (The illustration of the player appears on 9:147)
  • Maelzel's Chess-Player” —1902 — The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. J. A. Harrison, New York: T. Y. Crowell (14:6-37)  (The illustration of the player appears on 14:11)
  • “Maelzel's Chess-Player” — 1984 — Edgar Allan Poe: Essays and Reviews, ed. G. R. Thompson, New York: Library of America (pp. 1253-1276)
  • Maelzel's Chess-Player” — 1997 — Edgar Allan Poe: Writings in the Southern Literary Messenger, Nonfictional Prose, ed. Burton R. Pollin and J. V. Ridgely, New York: Gordian Press, 5:156-164  (volume 5 of The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe)  (This version reprints the full text using a photographic facsimile of pages from the Southern Literary Messenger, although the layout of pages and columns has been modified for the new format.)


Comparative and Study Texts:

Instream Comparative and Study Texts:

  • None


Associated Material and Special Versions:

Miscellaneous Texts and Related Items:

  • “Le joueur d‘échecs de Maelzel” — (French translation by Charles Baudelaire)
    • “Le joueur d‘échecs de Maelzel” — July 12 - August 2, 1862 — Le Monde illustré
      • “Le joueur d‘échecs de Maelzel” — Part I — July 12, 1862
      • “Le joueur d‘échecs de Maelzel” — Part II — July 19, 1862
      • “Le joueur d‘échecs de Maelzel” — Part III — July 26, 1862
      • “Le joueur d‘échecs de Maelzel” — Part IV — August 2, 1862
    • “Le joueur d‘échecs de Maelzel” — 1865 — Histoires grotesques et sérieuses, Paris: Michel Lévy frères
  • “Mäelzel's Chess Player” — 2007 — Audio book (unabridged), read by Chris Aruffo (part of a 5-CD set)



  • Anonymous, “[Notice of ‘Maelzel's Chess Player’ from the SLM of April 1836],” New-York Spectator (New York, NY), vol. XXXIX, June 23, 1836, p. 3, col. 4.
  • Daughrity, Kenneth Leroy, “Notes: Poe and Blackwood's,” American Literature, November 1930, 2:289-292.
  • Evans, Henry Ridgely, Edgar Allan Poe and Baron von Kempelen's Chess-Playing Automaton, Kenton, OH: International Brotherhood of Magicians, 1939.
  • Garber, Frederick, “Maelzel and Me,” in Encountering the Other(s): Studies in Literature, History, and Culture, ed. Gisela Brinkler-Gabler, Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1995, pp. 103-126.
  • Heartman, Charles F. and James R. Canny, A Bibliography of First Printings of the Writings of Edgar Allan Poe, Hattiesburg, MS: The Book Farm, 1943.
  • Irwin, John T., “Handedness and the Self: Poe's Chess Player,” Arizona Quarterly, 1989, 45:1-28
  • Panek, Leroy L., “ ‘Maelzel's Chess-Player,’ Poe's First Detective Mistake,” American Literature, 1976, 48:370-372
  • Pollin, Burton R. and Joseph V. Ridgely, eds., Edgar Allan Poe: Writings in the Southern Literary Messenger, New York: Gordian Press, 1997, 5:177-181  (This is volume 5 of the Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe, though all volumes in this series were issued separately)
  • Wimsatt, William K., Jr., “Poe and the Chess Automaton,” American Literature, May 1939, 11:138-151.


[S:0 - JAS] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Essays - Maelzel's Chess-Player