Edgar Allan Poe — “Von Kempelen and His Discovery”





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Location - Under development.

Date - Under development.


Under development.


Reading and Reference Texts:

Reading copy:

  • “Von Kempelen and His Discovery” — reading copy


Historical Texts:

Manuscripts and Authorized Printings:

  • Text-01 — “Von Kempelen and His Discovery” — early 1849 (There are no known draft manuscripts or scratch notes reflecting the original effort of composition. In this case, it seems likely that the story was written fairly close to its date of publication. Poe wanted to take advantage of recent publicity about the Gold Rush.)
  • Text-02 — “Von Kempelen and His Discovery” — 1849
    • Text-02a — “Von Kempelen and His Discovery” — about February 1849 — (Speculated faircopy manuscript prepared for publication. Based on Poe's letter of March 8, 1849, he first submitted the story to E. A. Duyckinck for the Literary World. Duyckinck apparently did not accept the tale and returned the manuscript to Poe. As already noted in his letter, Poe had originally intended the tale for the Boston Flag of Our Union, which had already published his “Hop-Frog.” He was concerned that in the Flag “it will be quite thrown away.” Having failed to place it in a more prominent periodical, he resorted to his original plan; apparently he was eager to place the hoax, or perhaps to receive payment for it. This manuscript has apparently not survived, but this version is presumably recorded in Text-02b.)
    • Text-02b — “Von Kempelen and his Discovery” — April 14, 1849 — Flag of Our Union — (Mabbott text A)
  • Text-03 — “Von Kempelen and His Discovery” — 1849-1850
    • Text-03a — “Von Kempelen and His Discovery” — May or June 1849 — (a presumed modified version of the Flag of Our Union, for an anticipated new collection that was never printed. This version is lost, but probably represented in text-03b. Mabbott asserts “two apparently auctorial changes.”)
    • Text-03b — “Von Kempelen and His Discovery” — 1850 — WORKS — (Mabbott text B — This is Mabbott's copy-text)



  • “Von Kempelen and His Discovery” — 1867 — Prose Tales of Edgar Allan Poe, first series (New York: W. J. Widdleton), pp. 102-109 (This collection is extracted from the 1850-1856 edition of Poe's Works. It was reprinted several times.)
  • Von Kempelen and His Discovery” — 1874 — Works of Edgar A. Poe, edited by J. H. Ingram, vol. 1, pp. 108-115 (This collection was subsequently reprinted in various forms)
  • “Von Kempelen and His Discovery” — July 1927 — Amazing Stories, vol. 2, no. 4


Scholarly and Noteworthy Reprints:

  • Von Kempelen and His Discovery” — 1894-1895 — The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 4: Tales, eds. E. C. Stedman and G. E. Woodberry, Chicago: Stone and Kimball (4:249-258) (This collection was subsequently reprinted in various forms)
  • Von Kempelen and His Discovery” — 1902 — The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 6: Tales V, ed. J. A. Harrison, New York: T. Y. Crowell (6:245-254, and 6:297)
  • Von Kempelen and His Discovery” — 1978 — The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 3: Tales & Sketches II, ed. T. O. Mabbott, Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (3:1355-1367)
  • “Von Kempelen and His Discovery” — 1984 — Edgar Allan Poe: Poetry and Tales, Patrick F. Quinn (New York: Library of America), pp. 909-916


Comparative and Study Texts:

Instream Comparative and Study Texts:


Associated Material and Special Versions:

Miscellaneous Texts and Related Items:

  • “La découverte de Von Kempelen” — 1882 — Contes Grotesques par Edgar Poe, Paris: Paul Ollendorff  (French translation by Émile Hennequin)
  • “Von Kempelen et sa grande découverte” — 1885 — Oeuvres Choisies d‘Edgar Pöe, Paris: A. Hennuyer  (French translation by William L. Hughes)
  • “Von Kempelen” — 1914 — Edgar Poe: Histories étranges et Merrveilleuses, Paris: Mercure de France (French translation by M. D. Calvocoressi)
  • “La Découverte de von Kempelen” — 1934 — Les Sphinx et autres contes bizarres par Edgar Poë, Paris: Galliard (French translation by Matila C. Ghyka)
  • “Von Kempelen et sa découverte” — 1950 — Histories grotesques et sérieuse par Edgar Poe, Paris: Classiques Garnier  (French translation by Léon Lemonnier)
  • “Von Kempelen and His Discovery” — 2009 — Audio book (unabridged), read by Chris Aruffo (part of a 4-CD set)



  • Daughrity, Kenneth Leroy, “Notes: Poe and Blackwood's,” American Literature, November 1930, 2:289-292.
  • Hall, Thomas, “Poe's Use of a Source: Davy's Chemical Researches and ‘Von Kempelen and His Discovery’,” Poe Newsletter, October 1968, 1:28.
  • 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.
  • Pollin, Burton R, “Poe's Von Kempelen and His Discovery’: Sources and Significance,” Etudes Anglaises, January-March 1967, 20:12-23.
  • Weissuch, Ted N., “Edgar Allan Poe: Hoaxer in the American Tradition,” New York Historical Society Quarterly Bulletin, July 1961, 45:291-309.
  • 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 - Von Kempelen and His Discovery