Edgar Allan Poe — “Al Aaraaf”


Reading and Reference Texts:

Reading copy:

  • “Al Aaraaf” — reading copy


Historical Texts:

Manuscripts and Authorized Printings (full text):

  • Text-01 — “Al Aaraaf” — 1827-1829 — [There are no known draft manuscripts or scratch notes reflecting the original effort of composition. In regard to the date of composition, Mabbott (1:97) states only that “Poe presumably composed ‘Al Aaraaf’ while in the army.” Poe enlisted in the army under the pseudonym of Edgar A. Perry, on May 26, 1827 and was voluntarily dischanged on April 15, 1829.]
  • Text-02 — “Al Aaraaf” — 1828-1829
    • Text-02a — “Al Aaraaf” — 1829 — [This entry is a speculated fair copy manuscript Poe prepared for publication. This manuscript appears not to have survived, but this version is presumably recorded in Text-02b. The manuscript has never been described, but based on the other suviving pages of the Wilmer collection, it was written on off-white sheets of paper, using dark brown ink and a careful script. The length of the poem indicates that it would have been written across a series of separate pages, with odd pages numbered in the upper right corner and even ones in the upper left corner. At this point, Poe had not yet adopted the style of printing in imitation of type, nor the practice of connecting pages by using wax to form a roll. The manuscript was apparently shown to William Gwynn prior to May 18, 1829, as Gwynn printed excerpts in his Federal Gazette and Baltimore Daily Advertiser, on that date. Long afterwards, at the dedication of the Poe Monument in 1875, J. H. B. Latrobe recalled that Gwynn had shown him “the neat manuscript of a poem called ‘Al Aaraaf,’ which he spoke of as indicative of a tendency to anything but the business of matter of fact life.” The manuscript was also shown to William Wirt, who found it to be too “modern” for his tastes, as he said in a letter written to Poe on May 11, 1829. Poe sent the manuscript for “Al Aaraaf” to Isaac Lea about May 11-27, 1829. He wrote to the firm of Carey, Lea and Carey on July 28, 1829, requesting the return of the manuscript. That letter was delivered by hand, with the instructions to give the manuscripts to the bearer of the letter, which was presumably done. However they were returned, Poe had the manuscripts back in his possession prior to November 18, 1829, when he wrote to John Allan that “The Poems will be printed by Hatch & Dunning of this city upon terms advantageous to me.” Poe probably took a copy of the book when he visted Richmond in January 1830, and gave or showed it to John Allan in this form rather than as a manuscript. Having had the poems set in type for the book, Poe appears to have sent the manuscripts for “Al Aaraaf,” “Tamerlane” “To” (“Should my early life seem”) and “Fairyland” to John Neal, who printed exerpts. Neal may have returned the manuscripts as portions of “Tamerlane” and “To” were retained by L. A. Wilmer. Poe subsequently sent the manuscript of “Fairyland” to N. P. Willis of the American Monthly, who says, with some relish, that he burned them. It is possible that the manuscript of “Al Aaraaf,” met the same fate, as it does not appear that it was among the manuscript collection in Wilmer's possession. Alternatively, Wilmer or his descendants may have had the manuscript but gave it away as an autograph, as appears to have happened with a few of the shorter poems.]
    • Text-02b — “Al Aaraaf” — 1829 — ATMP — (Mabbott text C) — [This is the first full text. Poe wrote to John Allan on November 18, 1829 that the poem would be printed by Hatch and Dunning. The Poe Log (p. 100) states that the book was published before December 29, 1829.]
  • Text-03 — “Al Aaraaf” — 1830-1831
    • Text-03a — “Al Aaraaf” — 1830-1831 — [This entry is a speculated revision of the poem, in preparation for the publication of POEMS. As a very long poem, it does not seem that Poe wrote out a fully new manuscript. Instead, it is likely that he created a revised draft by combining existing pages from the poem as it was printed in ATMP with additional bits of manuscript for substantially new material, particularly at the beginning. This draft, as well as preparations for other poems that appeared in the new edition, probably resulted in Poe using up his own copy of ATMP. This draft has not survived, but is presumably recorded in Text-03b. Additonal minor changes may have been made in proof. during the production of POEMS.]
    • Text-03b — “Al Aaraaf” — 1831 — POEMS — (Mabbott text E) — [The Poe Log (p. 116) states somewhat tentatively that the date of publication was “April?” 1831. This text includes substantial revisions, which were essentially abandoned in the subsequent printing, although at least one verbal change of “ventur’d” to “peered” reappears in the 1845 text, perhaps from memory or as a reiteration of a personal preference brought out again at the opportunity to edit the text for publication.]
  • Text-04 — “Al Aaraaf” — 1845
    • Text-04a — “Al Aaraaf” — 1845 — manuscript changes in ATMP-EH in preparation for RAOP — (Mabbott text J)
    • Text-04b — “[The Messenger Star]” — October 1845 — additional manuscript changes in ATMP in preparation for the reading in Boston — (Mabbott text J2)
    • Text-04c — “Al Aaraaf” — about September-November 1845 — [This entry is a speculated form of manuscript changes made by Poe to the proof-sheets during the typesetting process for RAOP. Although we have no specific statement that Poe saw such proof-sheets, the idea seems eminently likely as the book was prepared and printed in New York while Poe was still working at the Broadway Journal. He would certainly have availed himself of the opportunity to do so, and because he could do everything in person there was no need for correspondence that would have provided us with the certain documentation of the fact. Most of the changes are in punctuation, but there are several verbal changes, including a fully new footnote, that strongly suggest the hand of the author himself. A few changes made in ATMP-EH do not appear in the 1845 printing, with the original text of 1829 being used instead. These proof-pages have not themselves survived, but the texts are presumably reflected in Text-04d.]
    • Text-04d — “Al Aaraaf” — 1845 — RAOP — (Mabbott text K — This is Mabbott's copytext) — [Mabbott (1942, p. ix) asserts that “Copy probably went to the printers about the first of October.” Mabbott (1942, p. xi) further notes that “a complete copy was deposited for copyright” on November 12, 1845, and that “The actual date of publication was November 19, 1845.” Poe made no changes to this poem in the J. Lorimer Graham copy of RAOP-JLG, suggesting that he was either happy with that text as a final form or, perhaps more likely, that he saw no chance of republishing such a long poem, and one that had garnered so little attention. For Griswold's 1850 reprinting of this text, see the entry below, under reprints.]


Manuscripts and Authorized Printings (extracts):

  • Al Aaraaf” — May 18, 1829 — of excerpts only — Federal Gazette and Baltimore Daily Advertiser (Baltimore, MD) — (Mabbott text A)
  • Al Aaraaf” — December 1829 — of excerpts only — Yankee and Boston Literary Gazette — (Mabbott text B)
  • Al Aaraaf” — December 29, 1829 — lines 130-131 only, manuscript letter with extract — (Mabbott text D)
  • “[Al Aaraaf]” — about May 1830 — unidentified Baltimore newspaper  (reprint of a two excerpts from the poem, from ATMP in a short review)
  • [Al Aaraaf]” — 1837 — two lines excerpted as the motto, in “Siope,” The Baltimore Book for 1838 — (not noted by Mabbott, no variants except the use of italics for one word, and minor issues of punctuation)
  • “Spirit's Invocation” — February 25 and March 4, 1843 — Saturday Museum (Philadelphia, PA) — [excerpts only, as part of a biographical article about Poe.] — (Mabbott text F) — [Poe sent two copies of this article to J. R. Lowell, one on October 19, 1843 and a second on May 28, 1844. In both cases, he appears to have done so for the purpose of providing Lowell with some biographical material to use for his article on Poe for Graham's Magazine. There is no indication that any of the poems in these copies had modifications made by Poe. Lowell did print an excerpt of one of these selections in his article of 1845, although assigning his own title.]
    • Spirit's Invocation” — February 25, 1843 — Saturday Museum (Philadelphia, PA)
    • Spirit's Invocation” — March 4, 1843 — Saturday Museum (Philadelphia, PA) — [reprinted from February 25, 1843]
  • Ligeia” — February 1845 — excerpt only, Graham's — (Mabbott text G) — [This excerpt from “Al Aaraaf” appears in Lowell's article on Poe.]
  • Al Aaraaf” — May 24, 1845 — excerpts only, Broadway Journal — (Mabbott text H)
  • Al Aaraaf” — November- December 1846 — extracts in “The Rationale of Verse,” manuscript fragments — (Mabbott text L)
  • Al Aaraaf” — October 1848 — extracts in “The Rationale of Verse,” Southern Literary Messenger — (Mabbott text M)
  • Al Aaraaf” — 1849 — extracts in “A Reviewer Reviewed,” manuscript — (Mabbott text N)



  • “Al Aaraaf” — 1830 — Baltimore Minerva and Emerald (excerpts, printed as part of a review of ATMP)
  • “Al Aaraaf” — November 4, 1845 — Boston Daily Star, p. 4 — [This reprint is noted by Ljundquist, p. 206-208, item 7.]
  • “Al Aaraaf” — November 5, 1845 — Boston Daily Star, p. 4 — [This reprint is noted by Ljundquist, p. 208, item 8.]
  • “Al Aaraaf” — November 6, 1845 — Boston Daily Star, p. 4 — [This reprint is noted by Ljundquist, p. 208, item 9.]
  • Al Aaraaf” — 1850 — WORKS — (Mabbott text P) — [Griswold merely reprints the text from the stereo-plates of Text-04d.]
  • Al Aaraaf” — 1875 — The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol 3: Poems and Essays, ed. J. H. Ingram, Edinburgh, Adam and Charles Black (3:62-76) — [Ingram reprints Griswold's text.]


Reprints (extracts):

  • Al Aaraaf” — 1850 — extracts in “The Rationale of Verse,” WORKS — (Mabbott Text Q) — [Griswold reprints the SLM text of this essay.]
  • Spirit Invocation” — 1850 — Thomas Powell, The Living Writers of America, New York: Stringer and Townsend, 1850, pp. 116-117 — [These excerpts from “Al Aaraaf” were probably reprinted from the Saturday Museum, which carries the title and essentially the same excerpts used.]


Scholarly and Noteworthy Reprints (full text):

  • Al Aaraaf” — 1894-1895 — The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 10: Poems, ed. E. C. Stedman and G. E. Woodberry, Chicago: Stone and Kimball (10:107-120, and 10:217-223) — [Stedman/Woodberry prints the text from RAOP.]
  • Al Aaraaf” — 1902 — The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 7: Poems, ed. J. A. Harrison, New York: T. Y. Crowell (7:23-39, and 7:157-163) — [Harrison prints the text from RAOP.]
  • Al Aaraaf” — 1911 — The Complete Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. J. H. Whitty, Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Co. (pp. 99-115, and pp. 266-268) — [Whitty prints the text from RAOP.]
  • Al Aaraaf” — 1917 — The Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. Killis Campbell, Boston: Ginn and Company (pp. 34-48, and pp. 171-192) — [Campbell prints the text from RAOP.]
  • “Al Aaraaf” — 1965 — The Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. Floyd Stovall, Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia (pp. 25-40, and pp. 188-202) — [Stovall prints the text from RAOP.]
  • Al Aaraaf” — 1969 — The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 1: Poems, ed. T. O. Mabbott, Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (1:92-127) — [Mabbott prints the 1845 text from RAOP.]
  • Mysterious Star” — 1969 — The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 1: Poems, ed. T. O. Mabbott, Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (1:159-160) — [Mabbott prints the 1831 introductory portion as “Mysterious Star”]
  • “Al Aaraaf” — 1984 — Edgar Allan Poe: Poetry and Tales, ed. Patrick F. Quinn (New York: Library of America) (pp. 38-52) — [Quinn prints the text from RAOP, but acknowledged as reprinted from Mabbott, Poems, 1969.]
  • “Mysterious Star!” — 1984 — Edgar Allan Poe: Poetry and Tales, ed. Patrick F. Quinn (New York: Library of America) (pp. 52-53) — [Quinn reprints the revised elements of 1831, but acknowledged as reprinted from Mabbott, Poems, 1969.]


Comparative Texts:

Instream Comparative and Study Texts:

  • Al Aaraaf” — Comparative Text (ATMP and POEMS)
  • Al Aaraaf” — Study Text (ATMP-EH)
  • Al Aaraaf” — Comparative Text (ATMP, ATMP-EH and RAOP)


Associated Material and Special Versions:

Miscellaneous Texts and Related Items:

  • “Al Aaraaf” — dated 2009, but available in late 2008 — Poèmes d‘Edgar Allan Poe, Paris: Publibook (translation by Jean Hautepierre)



  • Cairns, William B., “Some Notes on Poe's ‘Al Aaraaf ’,” Modern Philology, May 1915, 13:35-44
  • Church, Henry W. and Hervey Allen, “Poe and Nature,” Saturday Review of Literature, April 6, 1935, 11:598
  • De Prospo, R. C., “Poe's Alpha Poem: The Title of ‘Al Aaraaf ’,” Poe Studies, 1989, 22:34-39
  • Hayes, Kevin, “A New Source for Poe's ‘Al Aaraaf’,” Notes & Queries (London), September 2009, vol. 56, no. 3, pp. 391-392
  • 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.
  • Ljundquist, Kent P., Victorian Periodicals Review, Fall 1995
  • Mabbott, Thomas Ollive, “Al Aaraaf,’ Part II, 1-8,” Explicator, November 1957, vol. 16, no. 4
  • Mabbott, Thomas Ollive, ed., The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe (Vol 1 Poems), Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1969.
  • Pettigrew, Richard C. and Marie M., “A Reply to Floyd Stovall's Interpretation of ‘Al Aaraaf ’,” American Literature, January 1937, 8:439-445
  • Pollin, Burton R., “Poe's ‘sonnet — To Zante’: Sources and Associations,” Comparative Literature Studies, September 1968, 5:303-315
  • Stovall, Floyd, “An Interpretation of Poe's ‘Al Aaraaf‘,” University of Texas Studies in English, 1929, 9:106-133


[S:0 - JAS] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Poems - Al Aaraaf