Edgar Allan Poe — “The Elk”


Reading and Reference Texts:

Reading copy:

  • “The Elk” — reading copy


Historical Texts:

Manuscripts and Authorized Printings:

  • Text-01 — “[Morning on the Wissahiccon]” — early 1841 (There are no known draft manuscripts or scratch notes reflecting the original effort of composition.)
  • Text-02 — “Morning on the Wissahiccon” — spring 1843-1844
    • Text-02a — “Morning on the Wissahiccon” — spring 1843 (Speculated faircopy manuscript prepared for and sent to the editors of The Opal. This manuscript has not surived, and was presumably destroyed in the process of typesetting, but this version is presumably recorded in Text-02b.)
    • Text-02b — “Morning on the Wissahiccon” — summer 1843 — The Opal: A Pure Gift for the Holy Days (for 1844) — (Mabbott text A — This is Mabbott's copy-text)
    • Text-02c — “The Elk” — title change in a letter from Poe to J. R. Lowell, May 28, 1844 (In his 1845 article on Poe, Lowell listed the work under this title among Poe's writings published since TGA, although that footnote is not included in later printings of the essay. Following this mostly unhelpful lead, J. H. Ingram expended a good deal of effort searching for this item, unaware that it was actually published under a different title. He never found either “The Elk” nor “Morning on the Wissahicon,” although he would at least see the mystery solved by Woodberry in 1885, in his biography of Poe (p. 189), where Poe's letter to Lowell was first printed.)



  • “Morning on the Wissahiccon” — May 8, 1887 — Albany Sunday Express (Albany, NY), vol. XLI, no. 8, p. 3, cols. 2-3 (The text is reprinted in full in an article called “Writings Left Behind: Unpublished Work of Three Famous Authors,” although a better title might have been “Writings Left Behind: Forgotten Work of Three Famous Authors,” since only one of the three items, a poem by John G. Saxe, appears to have been taken from manuscript. The other two items, one by Poe and one by Washington Irving, where both printed in annuals published decades before, and from which the texts are clearly taken. The Irving and Poe entries have introductory material by Joel Benton. Benton uses Poe's published title, and makes no mention of the later title suggested by Poe to Lowell.) (This item was resurrected and brought to the attention of the Poe Society by Ton Fafianie in a private e-mail of September 29, 2016.)


Scholarly and Noteworthy Reprints:

  • The Elk” — 1894-1895 — The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 2: Tales, ed. G. E. Woodberry and E. C. Stedman, Chicago: Stone and Kimball (2:77-83) — (Mabbott text B, although no variants are given as it is technically a reprint. Neither Griswold nor Ingram collected this item. It was effectively forgotten until Woodberry and Stedman collected it in 1894-1895.)
  • The Elk [Morning on the Wissahiccon]” — 1902 — The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol 5: Tales IV, ed. J. A. Harrison, New York: T. Y. Crowell (5:156-162, and 5:322)  (Harrison's note comments that “This piece was not included in the Griswold collection, but is mentioned in a note to J. R. Lowell's Biography of Poe in Graham's Magazine for February, 1845.” Lowell's “Biography of Poe” was revised and reprinted in volume I of “the Griswold collection.”)
  • Morning on the Wissahiccon (‘The Elk’)” — 1978 — The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol 3: Tales & Sketches, 1843-1849, ed. T. O. Mabbott, Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (3:860-867)
  • “Morning on the Wissahiccon” — 1984 — Edgar Allan Poe: Poetry and Tales, Patrick F. Quinn (New York: Library of America), pp. 939-944


Comparative and Study Texts:

Instream Comparative and Study Texts:

  • None


Associated Material and Special Versions:

Miscellaneous Texts and Related Items:

  • “L‘Elan (Matinée sur le Wissahiccon)” — (French translation by M. D. Calvocoressi)
    • “L‘Elan (Matinée sur le Wissahiccon)” — February 16, 1911 — Le Mercure de France (Paris)
    • “L‘Elan (Matinée sur le Wissahiccon)” — 1914 — Edgar Poe: Histories étranges et Merrveilleuses, Paris: Mercure de France
  • “Matin sur le Wissahiccon” — 1950 — Histories grotesques et sérieuse par Edgar Poe, Paris: Classiques Garnier  (French translation by Léon Lemonnier)
  • “Morning on the Wissahikcon” — 2009 — Audio book (unabridged), read by Chris Aruffo (part of a 6-CD set)



  • 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.
  • Mabbott, Thomas Ollive, ed., The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe (Vols 2-3 Tales and Sketches), Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1978.


[S:0 - JAS] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Essays - The Elk