Edgar Allan Poe — “A Descent into the Maelström”





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Reading and Reference Texts:

Reading copy:

  • “A Descent into the Maelström” — reading copy


Historical Texts:

Manuscripts and Authorized Printings:

  • Text-01 — “A Descent into the Maelström” — 1841, no original manuscript or fragments are known to exist (but this version is presumably recorded in Text-02) (Although J. H. B. Latrobe recalled, in 1875, that this tale was one of those submitted for the Baltimore Saturday Visiter prize in 1833, and a few bibliographers have therefore considered it as one of the Tales of the Folio Club, most scholars dismiss this as an error of memory.)
  • Text-02 — “A Descent into the Maelström” — May 1841 — Graham’s — (Mabbott text A)
  • Text-03 — “A Descent into the Maelström” — 1842 — TGAPP (manuscript of title only) — (The tale is listed in Poe’s handwritten table of contents, but the text itself no longer survives. It was probably a modified version of the printed text from Graham’s Magazine, and is presumably recorded, with perhaps a few additional changes made in proof, in Text-04)
  • Text-04 — “A Descent into the Maelström” — 1845 — TALES — (Mabbott text B)
  • Text-05 — “A Descent into the Maelström” — 1845-1849 — manuscript revisions in “J. L. Graham” copy of TALES — (Mabbott text C)  (This is Mabbott’s copy-text)  (For Griswold’s 1850 reprinting of this text, see the entry below, under reprints.)



  • “In a Maelström” — about April 1841 (?) — Carpenter’s Penny Book (London) (compiled by Joseph Edwards Carpenter) (This reprint was first noted by P. K. Foley, but without details. H&C record a comment by T. O. Mabbott that it “might be before 1850.”)
  • “A Descent into the Maelström” (Batimore Sun) (reprinted from Text-02) (acknowledged as from Graham’s Magazine)
    • “A Descent into the Maelstrom [Part I]” — vol. VIII, no. 149, May 11, 1841 — Baltimore Sun (p. 1)
    • “A Descent into the Maelstrom [Part II]” — vol. VIII, no. 150, May 12, 1841 — Baltimore Sun (p. 1)
  • “A Descent into the Maelström” — May 15, 1841 — Baltimore Weekly Sun (reprinted Text-02)
  • “A Descent into the Maelström” — May 15, 1841 — Portland Transcript (vol. 5, no. 5) (reprinted Text-02)
  • “A Descent into the Maelström” — October 2, 1845 — Newry Telegraph (County Down, Northern Ireland) p. 4, cols. 1-3 (This entry was provided to the Poe Society by Ton Fafianie in an e-maild dated January 25, 2017)
  • “A Descent into the Maelstrom Whirlpool” — October 18, 1845 — London Journal (vol. II) (abridged reprint, presumably from Tales)
  • “A Descent into the Maelström” — May 26, 1849 — Boston Weekly Museum and Literary Portfolio (Boston, MA)
  • A Descent into the Maelström” — 1850 — WORKS — (Griswold reprints Text-04) (Mabbott text D)
  • “A Descent into the Maelström” — 1851 — The Irving Offering, a Token of Affection for 1851 (Reissued in 1851 as The Wintergreen; Aways Remebered: A Token for 1852.)
  • “A Descent into the Maelstrom” — 1852 — Tales and Sketches: to which is added The Raven: A Poem, London, George Routledge & Co.
  • “A Descent into the Maelström” — February 1853 — The Anglo-American Magazine (Toronto, published by Thomas Maclear, later Maclear and Co.) (volume II, no. 2, 2:196-202)
  • “A Descent into the Maelstrom” — May 1856 — Boy’s Own Magazine (London, UK), vol. III, no. 5, pp. 142-149.
  • “A Descent into the Maelstrom” — 1856 — Cyclopedia of American Literature, New York: Charles Scribner
  • “A Descent into the Maelstrom” — March 1857 — United States Magazine (reprinted at the end of an article about Poe)
  • “A Descent into the Maelstrom” — 1867 — Prose Tales of Edgar Allan Poe, first series (New York: W. J. Widdleton), pp. 161-177 (This collection is extracted from the 1850-1856 edition of Poe’s Works. It was reprinted several times.)
  • A Descent into the Maelström” — 1874 — Works of Edgar A. Poe, edited by J. H. Ingram, vol. 1, pp. 150-167 (This collection was subsequently reprinted in various forms)
  • “A Descent into the Maelstrom” — December 1884 — The Book-Worm (New York), vol I, no. 6. (A typical magazine reprint, almost surely from the Widdleton edition of Poe’s works, or its successor.)
  • A Descent into the Maelstrom — 1920 — Paris: Devambez (Printed in English, with wood engravings by Marc Roux, mostly black and white, but a few in color)
  • “A Descent into the Maelström” — February 1934 — Amazing Stories (vol. 8, no. 10)


Scholarly and Noteworthy Reprints:

  • A Descent into the Maelstrom” — 1894-1895 — The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 2: Tales, eds. E. C. Stedman and G. E. Woodberry, Chicago: Stone and Kimball (2:237-259)
  • A Descent into the Maelström” — 1902 — The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 2: Tales I, ed. J. A. Harrison, New York: T. Y. Crowell (2:225-247, and 2:383-384)  (Harrison claims to have used the J. L. Graham copy of Tales as his copy-text, but does not include Poe’s changes made there. Apparently he used instead an unmarked copy of Tales or Griswold’s text.)
  • A Descent into the Maelström” — 1978 — The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 2: Tales & Sketches I, ed. T. O. Mabbott, Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (2:574-597)
  • “A Descent into the Maelström” — 1984 — Edgar Allan Poe: Poetry and Tales, Patrick F. Quinn (New York: Library of America), pp. 432-448


Comparative and Study Texts:

Instream Comparative and Study Texts:


Associated Material and Special Versions:

Miscellaneous Texts and Related Items:

  • “Une Descent Au Maelstrom” — September 1846 — Revue britannique  (French translation signed “O.N.” H&C give this as “O[ld] N[ick]”)
  • “Auf dem Maelstrom: Reiseerinnerungen aus Norwegen” — October 14-18 and 20-21, 1846 — “Ethnography,” Frankfurter Konversationsblatt, 284:1134-1135, 285:1138-1139, 286:1142-1143, 287:1146-1147, 288:1150-1151, 289:1154-1155, 290:1158-1159)  (German translation, acknowledged only as “von Edgar Poe”)
  • “Une descent au Maelstrom” — September 24-27, 1847 — La Démocratie Pacifique  (French translation signed “Isabelle Meunier”)
    • “Une descent au Maelstrom” — Part I (September 24, 1847)
    • “Une descent au Maelstrom” — Part II (September 27, 1847)
  • “Der Mahlstrom” — April 17 and 24, 1852 — Bremischer Beobachter, 185:2-4, 186:4-5  (German translation by A. Malz, acknowledged only as “Nach dem Englischen.”)
  • “Eine Hinabwirbelung in den Maalstrom” — 1855 — Deutsche Monatshefte (New York), 6:404-413  (German translation by Adolf Strodtmann, acknowledged only as “Aus dem Englischen.”)
  • “Une descente dans le maelström” — (French translation by Charles Baudelaire)
    • “Une descente dans le maelström” — February 5-7, 1855 — Le Pays
      • “Une descente dans le maelström” — Part I  (February 5, 1855)
      • “Une descente dans le maelström” — Part II  (February 6, 1855)
      • “Une descente dans le maelström” — Part III  (February 7, 1855)
    • “Une descente dans le maelström” — 1856 — Histoires extraordinaires, Paris: Michel Lévy frères
  • “I Malströmmen” — June 30, 1867 and July 7, 1867 — Figaro  (Danish translation by Robert Watt, noted by Carl L. Anderson, Poe in Northlight, 1973, p. 15)
  • “I Malströmmen” — 1868 — Phantastiske Fortaellinger [Fantastic Tales], Copenhagen  (Danish translation by Robert Watt, noted by Anderson, p. 15)
  • “Una discesa nel Maelstrom” — 1876 — Racconti Incredibili, Milano, Italy: Tipografia Editrice Lombarda  (Italian translation, with several illustrations)
  • “[A Descent into the Maelstrom]” — 1881 — Underliga historier, Stockholm  (Swedish translation, noted by Anderson, p. 54)
  • “Une descente dans le maëlstrom” — 1885 — Oeuvres Choisies d‘Edgar Pöe, Paris: A. Hennuyer  (French translation by William L. Hughes)
  • “Eine Fahrt in den Maelstrom” — 1890 — Seltsame Gesdichten, Stuttgart: Spemann  (Germanh translation by Alfred Mürenberg)
  • ”De Neerdaling in den Maalstroom” — 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)
  • “A Descent into the Maelstrom” — 1970 — a reading by Ugo Toppo Donegan as volume IV of Short Stories of Edgar Allan Poe, issued on the CMS Records label (CMS-588)
  • “A Descent into the Malestrom” — 2017 — Audio book (unabridged), read by Chris Aruffo



  • Anderson, Carl L., Poe in Northlight: The Scandanavian Response to His Life and Work, Durham, NC: Duke Unversity Press, 1973.
  • Bandy, William T., “A New Light on the Source of Poe’s ‘A Descent into the Maelstrom’,” American Literature (January 1953), 24:534-537.
  • Egan, Kenneth V., Jr., “Descent to an Ascent: Poe’s Use of Perspective in ‘A Descent into the Maelstrom’,” Studies in Short Fiction (1982), 19:157-162.
  • Engel, Leonard W., “Edgar Allan Poe’s Use of the Enclosure Device in ‘A Descent into the Maelstrom’,” Essays in Art and Sciences (1979), 8:21-26.
  • Finbolt, Richard D., “The Vision at the Brink of the Abyss: ‘A Descent into the Maelstrom’ in the Light of Poe’s Cosmology,” Georgia Review (1973), 27:356-366.
  • Frank, Frederick S., “The Aqua-Gothic Voyage of ‘A Descent into the Maelstrom’,” American Transcendentalist Quarterly (1976), 29:85-93.
  • 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.
  • Murphy, Christina, “The Philosophical Pattern of ‘A Descent into the Maelstrom’,” Poe Studies (June 1973), 6:25-26.
  • Seaman, Robert E., “Lacan, Poe, and the Descent of the Self,” Texas Studies in Language and Literature (1989), 31:196-214.
  • Shuman, R. Baird, “Norway Mile: A Linguistic Note,” Notes & Queries (Sept. 1953), 202:398.
  • Sweeney, Gerard M., “ ‘Beauty and Truth‘: Poe’s ‘A Descent into the Maelstrom’,” Poe Studies (June 1973), 6:22-25.
  • Turner, Arlin, “Sources of Poe’s ‘A Descent into the Maelstrom’,” Journal of English and Germanic Philology (July 1947), 46:298-301.
  • Ware, Tracy, “ ‘A Descent into the Maelstrom‘: The Status of Scientific Rhetoric in a Perverse Romance,” Studies in Short Fiction (1992), 29:77-84.
  • Weber, Jean-Paul, “Edgar Poe on the Theme of the Clock,” La Nouvelle Revue Francais (August-September 1958), 68:301-311 and 69:498-508.
  • 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.
  • Yonce, Margaret, “The Spiritual Descent into the Maelstrom: A Debt to ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’,” Poe Newsletter (April 1969), 2:26-29.


[S:1 - JAS] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Tales - A Descent into the Maelstrom