Text: Edgar Allan Poe, “George Bush,” from Literary America, 1848, manuscript


[page 65, continued:]

George Bush.

The Reverend George Bush is Professor of Hebrew in the University of New York, and has long been distinguished for the extent and variety of his attainments in Oriental literature: — indeed, as an Oriental linguist, it is probable that he has no equal among us. He has published [page 66:] a great deal, and his books have always had the good fortune to attract attention throughout the civilized world. His “Treatise on the Millennium” is, perhaps, that one of his earlier compositions by which he is best known. More lately he created a singular commotion in the world of theology by his “Anastasis, or the Doctrine of the Resurrection: in which it is shown that the Doctrine of the Resurrection of the Body is not sanctioned by Reason or Revelation”. This work has been zealously attacked — and as zealously defended by Dr. Bush and his friends. There can be no doubt that the Bushites have had the best of the battle. The “Anastasis” is lucidly, succinctly, vigorously, and logically written; proving, in my opinion, everything that it attempts — provided we admit the imaginary axioms with which it sets out; — and this is as much as can be well said of any theological disquisition under the sun. After reading all that has been written, and after thinking all that can be thought, on those great topics which Professor Bush is so fond of discussing — the topics of God and immortality — the man who has a right to say that he thinks at all, will find himself face to face with the conclusion that, on these topics, the most profound thought is that which can be least readily distinguished from the most superficial sentiment. It might be hinted, too, in reference as well to the Professor as to his opponents, that “la plupart des sectes ont tort dans une bonne partie de ce qu’elles avancent, mais non pas en ce qu’elles nient”. The author of the sentence quoted, having been long dead, has no doubt long ago learned to pardon so small an offence as the one I have committed in substituting “tort” for the “raison” which, during his mortality, he was weak enough to write.

A subsequent work on “The Soul”, by the author of “Anastasis”, has made nearly as much noise, and to quite as little purpose, as the “Anastasis” itself.

Taylor, who wrote so ingeniously “The Natural History of Enthusiasm”, might have derived many a valuable hint from the study of Professor Bush. No man is more ardent in his theories — and these are neither few nor common-place. He is a Mesmerist and a Swedenborgian; has lately been engaged in editing Swedenborg's works.

Doctor Bush is one of the most amiable men in the world.



This text begins on the last page of the manuscript about Mary E. Hewitt. On the manuscript, this entire item is marked for deletion, although it is not clear if it was so marked by Poe or by Griswold.

Prior to the current presentation, this MS has never fully been printed, and is currently inaccessible in a private collection. Consequently, it has been necessary to base the text on other sources. The John A. Spoor catalog (item 682) gives the variant of the French text and the new sentence following it. The Martin catalog provides the final sentence of the first paragraph as given above, and also notes the absence of the last 9 sentences as printed in “The Literati.” All of the catalogs mention this item as being part of the same pages as the much longer article on Mary E. Hewitt, and only the first page of that manuscript has been reproduced. The current presenation has been made possible due to the presense of a careful typescript of the full manuscript that was made by John A. Spoor and sent to J. H. Whitty, currently part of the Whitty collection at the Rubenstein Library of Duke University (Box 23). This typescript sat unnoticed until 2019, when the collection was thoroughly examined by Jeffrey A. Savoye.

One obvious typographical error in the typescript has been corrected. “neither few no common-place” has been assumed as “neither few nor common-place.”


[S:1 - LTAM, 1848] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Misc. - George Bush