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) (For Griswold’s 1850 reprinting of this text, see the entry below, under reprints.)
  • 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)



  • “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., pp. 81-95
  • “A Descent into the Maelstrom” — 1852 — Tales of Mystery and Imagination and Humour; and Poems, London: Henry Vizetelly (An undated edition appears about the same time, published by Charles H. Clark and Samuel Orchart Beeton, and their name appears as publisher for the second series), first series pp. 58-79. (with 4 woodcut illustrations)
  • “A Descent into the Maelström” — February 1853 — Anglo-American Magazine (Toronto, published by Thomas Maclear, later Maclear and Co.) (volume II, no. 2, 2:196-202)
  • “A Descent into the Maelström” — August 25, 1855 — Cambridge Chronicle (Cambridge, MA), vol. 10, nr. 34, p. 1, cols. 1-6 (Information for this entry was sent to the Poe Society by Ton Fafinaie in an e-mail dated December 21, 2019) (the author is not mentioned)
  • “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 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