Edgar Allan Poe — “Silence — A Fable” (Siope)





  • (narrator) - Under development.


Location - Under development.

Date - Under development.


Under development.


Reading and Reference Texts:

Reading copy:

  • “Silence — A Fable” — reading copy


Historical Texts:

Manuscripts and Authorized Printings:

  • Text-01 — “Siope — A Fable” — 1832 — (There are no known draft manuscripts or scratch notes reflecting the original effort of composition.)
  • Text-02 — “Siope — A Fable” — about 1832 — “Folio Club” manuscript fragment — (Mabbott text A) (The earliest mention of “Siope” is in a letter of September 11, 1835, which Poe wrote to J. P. Kennedy.) (Harrison notes that the manuscript was in the possession of Mrs. William M. Griswold, the widow of Rufus Griswold's son. Along with Poe’s manuscript introduction to The Folio Club, these pages were among Poe's papers which came under Griswold's control from Mrs. Clemm after Poe's death. It seems clear that it is not the manuscript that was sent for publication.) (The fragment is currently owned by the Poe Foundation, in Richmond, where it was left by the Griswold family.)
  • Text-03 — “Siope — A Fable” — 1837
    • Text-03a — “Siope — A Fable” — about April 1837 — (Speculated fair copy manuscript Poe wrote out and sent to W. H. Carpenter for publication in The Baltimore Book. The presence of the earlier manuscript among Poe' papers, as well as the number of changes evident in the printed text, strongly suggest that Poe made a new manuscript for this purpose. The tale had not yet been printed, and it was only about 4 pages long, making writing out a new draft feasible and necessary. The date is assigned based on Poe's letter of February 28, 1837. This copy has not survived, but is presumably recorded in Text-03b.)
    • Text-03b — “Siope — A Fable” — November 1837 — The Baltimore Book — (Mabbott text B) (The Baltimore Book was reissued in 1839, with a new title page. Presumably sales of the annual were poor, and no further editions were issued in subsequent years.) (Although the imprint date is 1838, the book was available for purchase by about November of 1837.)
  • Text-04 — “Siope — A Fable” — 1838-1840
    • Text-04a — “Siope. A Fable” — 1838-1839 — (speculated copy of pages from The Baltimore Book, marked with changes by Poe in anticipation of printing in TGA. This copy has not survived, but is presumably recorded in Text-04b.)
    • Text-04b — “Siope. A Fable” — November 1839 — TGA — (Mabbott text C) (although the imprint date is 1840, the book was available for purchase in early November of 1839.)
  • Text-05 — “Siope — A Fable” — 1842-1845
    • Text-05a — “Silence — A Fable” — 1842 — manuscript title revision in TGAPP — (The tale is listed, under its new title, in Poe's handwritten table of contents, but the modified version of volume II of TGA no longer survives. The text is presumably recorded, with perhaps a few additional changes made in proof, in Text-05b.)
    • Text-05b — “Silence — A Fable” — September 6, 1845 — Broadway Journal — (Mabbott text D) (For Griswold's 1850 reprinting of this text, see the entry below, under reprints.)



  • “Silence. — A Fable” — September 18, 1845 — Rutland Herald (Rutland, VT), vol. 51, no. 38, p. 1, cols. 3-4 (noted as from the Broadway Journal and with Poe's name as author.) (Information for this entry was provided to Ton Fafianie to the Poe Society in an e-mail dated August 3, 2019)
  • Silence. — A Fable” — 1850 — WORKS — (Mabbott text E — This is Mabbott's copy-text) (Griswold reprints Text-05b. Although Mabbott asserts that Griswold's text “shows one presumably authorial change,” it seems more likely to be an editorial change, and thus made by either Griswold or one of his typesetters.)
  • “A Fable” — June 27, 1866 — Southern Watchman (Athens, GA), vol. 13, no. 13, p. 1, cols. 3-4 (acknowledged as “by Edgar A. Poe,” and with the subtitle about “In the manner of the Pschological Autobiographists,” but without the main title of “Silence.”) (This entry was provided to the Poe Society by Ton Fafianie in an e-mail dated April 48. 2021.)
  • “Silence. — A Fable” — 1867 — Prose Tales of Edgar Allan Poe, second series (New York: W. J. Widdleton), pp. 6-9 (This collection is extracted from the 1850-1856 edition of Poe's Works. It was reprinted several times.)
  • Silence. — A Fable” — 1874 — Works of Edgar A. Poe, edited by J. H. Ingram (vol. II, pp. 213-216) (This collection was subsequently reprinted in various forms)
  • “Silence. — A Fable” — 1888 — The Complete Poetical Works and Essays on Poetry of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. John H. Ingram, London and New York: Frederick Warne & Co. (pp. 149-152) (This tale is included as one of six “Prose Poems,” without further explanation.)


Scholarly and Noteworthy Reprints:

  • Silence — A Fable” — 1894-1895 — The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 1: Tales I, eds. E. C. Stedman and G. E. Woodberry, Chicago: Stone and Kimball (1:242-246)
  • Silence. A Fable” — 1902 — The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 2: Tales I, ed. J. A. Harrison, New York: T. Y. Crowell (2:220-224, and 2:380-382)
  • Siope (Silence)” — 1978 — The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 2: Tales & Sketches I, ed. T. O. Mabbott, Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (2:192-200)
  • “Silence — A Fable” — 1984 — Edgar Allan Poe: Poetry and Tales, ed. Patrick F. Quinn (New York: Library of America), pp. 221-224


Comparative Texts:

Instream Comparative Texts:


Associated Material and Special Versions:

Miscellaneous Texts and Related Items:

  • “Silence” — (French translation by Charles Baudelaire)
    • “Le Silence” — February 22, 1855 — Le Pays
    • “Silence” — 1857 — Nouvelles histoires par Edgar Poe, Paris: Michel Lévy frères
  • “[Silence: a Fable]” — 1905 — Translations into Greek Verse and Prose, translated by Richard Dacre Archer-Hind, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1905, pp. 214-222 (At the end of the English text Poe is acknowledged as the author and the title is given. No title is provided for the Greek text. Archer-Hind translates Poe's “behemoth’ as the Greek word for “crocodile.”) (This entry was provided to the Poe Society by Ton Fafianie in an e-mail dated April 48. 2021.)
  • “Stilte” — about 1930 — Fantastische Vertellingen van Edgar Allan Poe, Haarlem: H. D. Tjeenk Willink & Zoon (Dutch translation by Machiel Elias Barentz, with elaborate illustrations by Albert Hahn, somewhat reminiscent of those by Harry Clarke)
  • “Silence — A Fable” — 1971 — a reading by Martin Donegan as part of volume VI of Short Stories of Edgar Allan Poe, issued on the CMS Records label (CMS-626)
  • “Silence — A Fable” — 2010 — Audio book, read by Chris Aruffo



  • Basler, Roy P., “Poe's Dream Imagery,” Sex, Symbolism and Psychology in Literature, New Brunswick: Rugers University Press, 1948, pp. 177-200
  • Burduck, Michael M., “Justifying the Ways of Death to Men: Milton's Influence on Poe's 'shadow — A Parable’ and ‘Silence — A Fable’,” in Perspectives on Poe, ed. D. Ramakrishna, New Delhi: APC Publications, 1996, pp. 181-190
  • Cantalupo, Barbara, “The Lynx in Poe's ‘Silence’,” Poe Studies/Dark Romanticism, 1994, 27:1-4
  • Claudel, Alice M., “What has Poe's ‘Silence — A Fable’ to Say?,” Ball State University Forum, 1969, 10:66-70
  • Fisher, Benjamin Franklin IV, “The Power of Words in Poe’s ‘Silence’,” Poe at Work: Seven Textual Studies, Baltimore: The Edgar Allan Poe Society, 1978, pp. 56-72.
  • 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.
  • Pittman, Diana, “ ‘Silence — A Fable’,” Southern Literary Messenger, 1941, 3:418-422  (this is the new series of the journal)
  • Thompson, G. Richard, “ ‘Silence — A Fable’ and the Folio Club: Who Were the ‘Psychological Autobiographists’?,” Poe Newsletter, January 1969, 2:23
  • 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:0 - JAS] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Tales - Silence -- A Fable