Text: Edgar Allan Poe (ed. T. O. Mabbott), “Sources of Texts Collated-Poe’s Own Collections,” The Collected Works of Edgar Allan PoeVol. III: Tales and Sketches (1978), pp. 1396-1399 (This material is protected by copyright)


[page 1396, continued:]



Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque. 2 vols. Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard, 1840 (issued in November 1839). Dedication to Colonel William Drayton.

Lea and Blanchard, in a letter to Poe on September 28, 1839 (now in the Boston Public Library), agreed to print a small edition of 750 copies, the copyright to remain with Poe, who was to have a few copies for distribution but no royalties. William A. Charvat, who had access to the “cost book,” cleared up details about number and cost of this edition in “A Note on Poe’s ‘Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque,’ ” Publisher’s Weekly, November 23, 1946.

An early notice of the published collection appeared in the United States Gazette, December 5, 1839. On December 28, 1839, the New-York Mirror carried a short laudatory review, reprinted in Eric W. Carlson’s Recognition of Edgar Allan Poe (1966). The book was also noticed favorably by Sarah Josepha Hale in Godey’s Lady’s Book for January 1840, but either because it came on the market during the severe depression of 1840-1844 or for other reasons, it did not sell well. [In his forthcoming “Poe in Philadelphia, 1838-1844: A Documentary Record” Dwight Thomas records that the widely circulated Saturday Courier carried a favorable advance notice on November 2; that on December 5 the Philadelphia Public Ledger mentioned the publication, and that on the same date the Pennsylvania Inquirer, as did the United States Gazette, gave the Tales a laudatory review. There was a scathing review in the Boston Notion, December 14, reprinted by Burton R. Pollin in English Language Notes, September 1970.]

This first published collection of Poe’s tales, although a commercial failure, was a milestone in his career, as Heartman and Canny (p. 53) stated. It contains a Preface, twenty-five tales; and an Appendix in the following order:

Volume I: Preface [sole text]; Morella [D]; Lionizing [B]; William Wilson [C]; The Man that was Used Up. A Tale of the Late Bugaboo and Kickapoo Campaign [B]; The Fall of the House of Usher [B]; The Duc de l’Omelette [C]; MS. Found in a Bottle [D]; Bon-Bon [C]; Shadow. A Fable [C]; The Devil in the Belfry [B]; Ligeia [B]; King Pest, A Tale Containing an Allegory [C]; The Signora Zenobia and The Scythe of Time [How to Write a Blackwood Article, B].

Volume II: Epimanes [Four Beasts in One, C]; Siope. A Fable [In the Manner of the Psychological Autobiographists] [Silence, C]; Hans Phaall*; A Tale of Jerusalem [C]; Von Jung [Mystification, B]; Loss of Breath [C]; Metzengerstein [D]; Berenice [C]; Why the Little Frenchman Wears His Hand in a Sling [B]; The Visionary [The Assignation, D]; The Conversation of Eiros and Charmion [B]; Appendix [6 pp., concerning Hans Phaall].

——— [Copy given to the Misses Pedder, now in the Widener Memorial [page 1397:] Room at Harvard University]. This contains a manuscript note added by Poe in The Devil in the Belfry [C].

The Prose Romances of Edgar A. Poe ... Uniform Serial Edition. Each number complete in itself. No. I. Containing The Murders in the Rue Morgue and The Man that was Used Up. Philadelphia: William H. Graham, 1843.

The size of the edition is unknown, the price as indicated on the title page was 12 1/2 cents for this first of what was intended to be a series of pamphlets. Further numbers did not appear, and only five copies of No. I, complete with title page, are known to exist. See Edgar Allan Poe / Prose Romances ... Photographic Facsimile Edition prepared by George E. Hatvary and Thomas O. Mahbott (1968) for details.

Ephemeral as it seems to have been, the book did not go unnoticed. It was advertised for sale in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, July 20, 1843, and noticed in Godey’s for September and in the New-York Mirror of September 9, 1843, which carried the following:

We greet heartily the publication in numbers of “The Prose Romances of Edgar A. Poe;” but few writers of fiction are at all comparable with this fine author for clearness of plot and individuality of character. No. 1 contains a most thrilling story, entitled, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” and a laughable sketch, which, to illustrate the truth of our commendatory remarks, we subjoin. [There follows a reprint of “The Man that was Used Up.”]

The texts collated are The Murders in the Rue Morgue [C] and The Man that was Used Up [D].

Tales by Edgar A. Poe. New York: Wiley and Putnam, 1845. (Wiley and Putnam Library of American Books, number 2).

This volume, without dedication or Preface, was issued late in June. On Thursday, June 26, 1845, the New-York Daily Tribune carried on page 3, under Books, the following: “Also just published. Tales by Edgar A. Poe. 1 vol. beautifully printed in large clear type, on fine paper — 50 cents.”

The selection of twelve tales had been made by Evert A. Duyckinck, choosing, Woodberry felt, “from Poe’s numerous and uneven stories those on which his fame has proved itself to be founded” (Life, II, 146). This was only partly true, and Poe in a letter to Duyckinck of January 8, 1846, said he was anxious to have another volume, “a far better one than the first — containing, for instance, Ligeia ...” However, he revised the stories chosen very carefully. In “The Fall of the House of Usher” alone he made more than fifty changes, including the addition of the motto. After advance notices in the New-York Daily Tribune on June 18 and 21, and the “just published” notice of the 26th, Tales was advertised in the Broadway Journal on June 28 and July 19 as number II in Wiley & Putnam’s Library of American Books, stating, “This excellent collection will include the most characteristic of the peculiar series of Tales written by Mr. Poe.” On July 11 Margaret Fuller had published in the New-York Daily Tribune a brief, on the whole appreciative, review, and by mid-November Poe was able to say (in a letter to Duyckinck, November 13, 1845) that he had sold 1500 copies. He was to receive 8¢ a copy.

There were other issues of Tales, with no textual changes: [page 1398:]

Tales. London: Wiley and Putnam, 1845. This edition was made up of the American sheets with an English title page tipped in. Copies with the date 1846 are known.

Tales. 1845, bound with The Raven and Other Poems. The book of poems was published in November 1845. “From documentary evidence it now seems possible to assign the middle of February 1846, as the possible date of combination” (Heartman and Canny, p. 98). Poe’s presentation copies to Mrs. Browning and Mrs. Whitman, and his own personal copy (now known as the J. Lorimer Graham copy), are all of this state.

Incorporating the emendations Poe made in the J. Lorimer Graham copy, I have used all twelve tales of this collection as master texts for this edition. As they appear in the book, they are: The Gold-Bug [B]; The Black Cat [B]; Mesmeric Revelation [B]; Lionizing [E]; The Fall of the House of Usher [D]; A Descent into the Maelström [B]; The Colloquy of Monos and Una [D]; The Conversation of Eiros and Charmion [D]; The Murders in the Rue Morgue [D]; The Mystery of Marie Roget [B]; The Purloined Letter [B]; The Man of the Crowd [B].

——— [The J. Lorimer Graham copy with revisions as late as 1849]. The tales affected are The Gold-Bug [C]; Mesmeric Revelation [C]; A Descent into the Maelström [C]; The Murders in the Rue Morgue [E]; The Mystery of Marie Roget [C]; The Purloined Letter [C]; The Man of the Crowd [C].

Tales. New York: John Wiley, 161 Broadway, and 13 Paternoster Row, London, 1849. A re-issue, with cancel title of the 1845 Tales.

Eureka: A Prose Poem. New York: Geo. P. Putnam, 1848.

——— Bishop Hurst copy with manuscript changes by Poe. I have used this copy as the source of my text for “A Remarkable Letter.”


PHANTASY-PIECES. This copy of the first volume of the Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque (from which title page and preliminary matter have been removed) was annotated by the author in 1842 to serve as copy for a projected later edition, and contains a manuscript table of contents and title page (see illustrations). Poe was unsuccessful in finding a publisher. The marked volume I is now owned by Mr. H. Bradley Martin. A limited facsimile edition issued by George [page 1399:] Blumenthal is mentioned in the Yale List, under number 150. The tales showing changes are Morella [E]; Lionizing [C]; William Wilson [D]; The Man that was Used Up. A Tale of the Late Bugaboo and Kickapoo Campaign [C]; The Fall of the House of Usher (The Fall of deleted on running heads) [C]; The Duc de l’Omelette [D]; MS. Found in a Bottle [E]; Bon-Bon [D]; Shadow. A Fable [D]; The Devil in the Belfry [D]; Ligeia [C]; King Pest [D]; How to Write a Blackwood Article and A Predicament [How to Write a Blackwood Article, C].


[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 1396:]

*  To appear in Volume IV.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 1398:]

  See my edition of The Raven and Other Poems, Facsimile Text Society, Columbia University Press (1942), where I describe Poe’s compound book on p. xvi, and the J. Lorimer Graham copy of it on pp. xviii and xix. This famous copy, in which The Raven and Other Poems is bound ahead of Tales, is now at the University of Texas at Austin, and I am indebted to Mrs. June Moll for final verification of Poe’s changes.

  For further bibliographical details of Tales (1845) the student is referred to Heartman and Canny, A Bibliography of ... Poe (1943), and to William B. Todd, “The Early Issues of Poe’s Tales (1845),” Texas University Library Chronicle, Fall 1967.




[S:1 - TOM3T, 1978] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions-The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe (T. O. Mabbott) (Sources of Texts Collated-Poe's Own Collections)