Text: Thomas Ollive Mabbott, “Earliest Imaginative Prose,” The Collected Works of Edgar Allan PoeVol. II: Tales and Sketches (1978), p. 3 (This material is protected by copyright)


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Of Poe's ’prentice work as a writer of fiction a little is known. We have a single account of stories written in 1826 at the University, including a description of a tale that Poe destroyed. There is a short story printed in 1831 that has been ascribed to his pen, tentatively, but for reason of some weight. In addition we have two small fragments, of which Poe certainly composed one or at least rewrote it; the other may or may not be in his hand.

These four items are here grouped together. They certainly antedate the tales Poe gave to the world with his name. In those the author usually held himself to certain standards, especially one of correctness — an avoidance of “allusions contrary to fact” unless essential to the plot. The author of “A Dream” did not adhere to this standard, but neither did Poe live up to it when he composed two of the very earliest tales now acknowledged — “The Bargain Lost” and “A Decided Loss.”




[S:1 - TOM2T, 1978] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions-The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe (T. O. Mabbott) (Earliest Imaginative Prose)