Edgar Allan Poe — “Loss of Breath”





  • (narrator) - Under development.


Location - Under development.

Date - Under development.


Under development.


Reading and Reference Texts:

Reading copy:

  • “Loss of Breath” — reading copy


Historical Texts:

Manuscripts and Authorized Printings:

  • Text-01 — “A Decided Loss” — 1831 (There are no known draft manuscripts or scratch notes reflecting the original effort of composition.)
  • Text-02 — “A Decided Loss” — 1831-1832
    • Text-02a — “A Decided Loss” — 1831 (Speculated faircopy manuscript submitted, as one of five, to the Saturday Courier for the contest. Although Poe did not win, several of his stories were printed in that periodical. This manuscript has not survived, but this version is presumably recorded in Text-02b.)
    • Text-02b — “A Decided Loss” — November 10, 1832 — Saturday Courier — (Mabbott text A1)  (This is Mabbott's copy-text for this title)
  • Text-03 — “Loss of Breath” — 1835
    • Text-03a — “Loss of Breath” — 1835, presumed heavily revised version of “A Decided Loss” under the new title. The extent of the changes, with many small but inconsequential variations of a phrase here and there, suggests a new manuscript was written. No original manuscript or fragments are known to exist (but this version is presumably recorded in Text-03b.)
    • Text-03b — “Loss of Breath” — September 1835 — Southern Literary Messenger — (Mabbott text A)
  • Text-04 — “Loss of Breath” — 1839
    • Text-04a — “Loss of Breath” — about 1839 — manuscript revisions in “Duane” copy of Southern Literary Messenger — (Mabbott text B)
    • Text-04b — “Loss of Breath” — 1840 — TGA — (Mabbott text C)
  • Text-05 — “Loss of Breath” — 1842-1845
    • Text-05a — “Loss of Breath” — 1842 — presumed changes for TGAPP — (The title is listed in Poe's handwritten table of contents. This tale appeared in the second volume of TGAPP, which has not survived.)
    • Text-05b — “Loss of Breath” — 1843-1845 — (Speculated collection of changes prepared for the 1845 TALES, as TGAPPB, although this story was not one of those selected. The extent of differences between TGA and the Broadway Journal, including 6 paragraphs that replace 26 paragraphs, strongly suggests a form more extensive that would fit in the printed pages of a bound volume. Thus, these manuscript revisions are lost, but presumably recorded in Text-05c)
    • Text-05c — “Loss of Breath” — January 3, 1846 — Broadway Journal — (Mabbott text D)  (For Griswold's 1856 reprinting of this text, see the entry below, under reprints.) (Harrison mistakenly implies that Poe made changes in this tale in the copy of the Broadway Journal that he gave to Mrs. Whitman. This tale is not one of the three that carry changes in that unique copy.)



  • Loss of Breath” — 1856 — WORKS — Griswold reprints Text-08  (Mabbott text E — This is Mabbott's copy-text for this title)
  • “Loss of Breath” — 1867 — Prose Tales of Edgar Allan Poe, second series (New York: W. J. Widdleton), pp. 465-477 (This collection is extracted from the 1850-1856 edition of Poe's Works. It was reprinted several times.)
  • Loss of Breath” — 1874 — Works of Edgar A. Poe, edited by J. H. Ingram, vol. 2, pp. 535-548 (This collection was subsequently reprinted in various forms)


Scholarly and Noteworthy Reprints:

  • Loss of Breath” — 1894-1895 — The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 4: Tales, ed. G. E. Woodberry and E. C. Stedman, Chicago: Stone and Kimball (4:75-91) (This collection was subsequently reprinted in various forms)
  • Loss of Breath” — 1902 — The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 2: Tales I, ed. J. A. Harrison, New York: T. Y. Crowell (2:151-167, and 2:356-367)
  • A Decided Loss” — 1978 — The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 2: Tales & Sketches I, ed. T. O. Mabbott, Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (2:51-61)
  • Loss of Breath” — 1978 — The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 2: Tales & Sketches I, ed. T. O. Mabbott, Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (2:61-82)
  • “Loss of Breath” — 1984 — Edgar Allan Poe: Poetry and Tales, ed. Patrick F. Quinn (New York: Library of America), pp. 151-163


Comparative and Study Texts:

Instream Comparative and Study Texts:


Associated Material and Special Versions:

Miscellaneous Texts and Related Items:

  • “L‘homme sans souffle” — 1882 — Contes Grotesques par Edgar Poe, Paris: Paul Ollendorff  (French translation by Émile Hennequin)
  • “L‘haleine perdue” — 1885 — Oeuvres Choisies d‘Edgar Pöe, Paris: A. Hennuyer  (French translation by William L. Hughes)
  • “Perte d‘Haleine — Conte qui n‘est ni dans ni hors de Blackwood” — 1914 — Edgar Poe: Histories étranges et Merrveilleuses, Paris: Mercure de France (French translation by M. D. Calvocoressi, from the Harrison reprint of the SLM text)
  • “A bout de souffle” — 1934 — Les Sphinx et autres contes bizarres par Edgar Poë, Paris: Galliard (French translation by Marie Bonaparte)
  • “Perte d‘Haleine” — 1950 — Histories grotesques et sérieuse par Edgar Poe, Paris: Classiques Garnier (French translation by Léon Lemonnier)
  • ”Décidément perdu” — 1991 — Edgar Poe: Le Chat Noir et Autres Contes, Paris: Le Livre de Poche  (French translation by Henri Justin of the 1832 version of the tale, based on Mabbott's printing of the text)



  • Abdoo, Sherlyn, “Poe's ‘Loss of Breath’ and the Problem of Writing,” in The Elemental Passions of the Soul: Poetics of the Elements in the Human Condition, ed. Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka, Dordrecht, South Africa: Kluwer, 1992, pp. 581-594
  • Bachinger, Katrina E., “Towards a New Era in Poe Stdies: The Case for a Byronic Interpretation of Poe's Tales Illustrated by ‘A Decided Loss’ and ‘Bon-Bon’,” in Salzburg Miscellany: English and American Studies 1964-1984, ed. Wilfried Haslauer, Salzburg, Austra: Institut fur Anglistik & Amerikanstik, University of Salzburg, 1984, 1:37-54.
  • 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.
  • Varner, Cornelia, “Notes on Poe's Use of Contemporary Materials in Certain of his Stories,” Journal of English and Germanic Philology, January 1933, 32:77-80.
  • Wyllie, John Cooke, “A List of the Texts of Poe's Tales,” Humanistic Studies in Honor of John Calvin Metcalf, Charlottesville: University of Virginia, 1941, pp. 322-338.


[S:1 - JAS] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Tales - Loss of Breath