Text: Edgar Allan Poe, “Marginalia [part IX],” mauscript, November 7, 1846


[sheet 1:]


Graham's Dec. 1846


Edgar A. Poe.


<Whatever may be the merits or> >>Whatever may be the merits or the<< demerits, generally, of the Magazine Literature of America, there can be no question as to its extent or influence. The topic — Magazine Literature — is therefore an important one. In a few years its importance will be found to have increased in geometrical ratio. The whole tendency of the age is Magazine-ward. The Quarterly Reviews have never been popular. Not only are they too stilted, (by way of keeping up a due dignity,) but they make a point with the same end in view, of discussing only topics which are caviare to the many, and which, for the most part, have only a conventional interest even with the few. Their issues, also, are up at [sheet 2:] too long intervals; their subjects get cold before being served up. In a word, their ponderosity is quite out of keeping with the rush of the age. We now demand the light artillery of the intellect; we need the curt, the condensed, the pointed, the readily diffused — in place of the verbose, the detailed, the voluminous, the inaccessible. On the other hand, the lightness of the artillery should not degenerate into popgunnery — by which term we may designate the character of the greater portion of the newspaper press — their sole legitimate object being the discussion of ephemeral matters in an ephemeral manner. Whatever talent may be brought to bear upon our daily journals, (and in many cases this talent is very great,) still the imperative necessity of catching, currente calamo, each topic as it flits before the eye of the public, must of course materially narrow the limits of their power. The bulk and the period of issue of the monthly magazines, seem to be precisely adapted[[,]] if not to all the literary wants of the day, at least to the largest [sheet 3:] and most imperative, as well as the most consequential portion of them.

To Graham's Mag. for Dec. 1846

Edgar A. Poe.

Philada. Nov. 7, 1846




For convenient reference, an item number has been added to each individual entry. The numbers are assigned across the full run of “Marginalia,” matching those used in the authoritative scholarly edition prepared and annotated by Burton Pollin (1985). The present installment, therefore, begins with item 182.

On the manuscript, the word “Marginalia” again appears where the text breaks at the top of the third leaf. Usually, Poe would have covered this repetion of the title in pasting the separate pieces to form the roll. In this case, the anomaly may be an indication of his haste in putting together a revison for a manuscript that was already in Graham's hands and about to go to press. What Poe was trying to change in the first line is uncertain, as the final text is essentially the same as the original text. It may be that Poe had marked it for italics, and no longer wanted that formatting choice to stand, and it would be too messy to scratch out the underline genearlly used to indicate italics.

It is curious that in this manuscript, Poe has marked italics with double underlines.

The catalog for the H. B. Martin collection erroneously notes in describing this item “contains the only known evidence of a previously unsuspected trip by Poe to Philadelphia in November 1846” (item 2226). The mistake apparently arises from the reference to Philadelphia at the end of the manuscript, which, following the convention of letters at the time, indicates the destination, not the source. It is, of course, Graham's Magazine that is in Philadelphia, not Poe.



[S:0 - MS, 1846] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Misc - Marginalia [part IX] [Text-01]