Text: William Doyle Hull II, “Part I, Chapter II, (December 1835 - June 1836) ” A Canon of the Critical Works of Edgar Allan Poe (1941) , pp. 87-138


[page 87:]





On June 13, 1835, White wrote Tucker:

I intend printing an edition of the Heroine . . . I shall not put any imprint to it . . . because I could not then with equal grace give it that praise in the Messenger to which it is so eminently entitled.(1)

And on November 5: “I have this day printed an edition of Eaton Stannard Barrett’s Heroine. . . .”(2) Confident, then, that he had fooled the world, although the book was printed in Richmond under the name of his son-in-law, Bernard, Mr. White told Poe what should be said about the novel. the young editor apparently submitted with good grace.

Cherubina! Who has not heard of Cherubina? Who has not heard of that most spiritual, that most ill-treated, that most accomplished of women — of that most consummate, most sublimated, most fantastic, most unappreciated, and most inappreciable of heroines? (H, VIII, 86). (SLM, II, 43).

After many lines topping these in extravagance he continues:

Every body has read Cherubina. There is no one so superlatively unhappy as not to have done this thing. But if such there be — if by any possibility such a person should exist, we have only a few words to say to him. Go, silly man, and purchase forthwith ‘The Heroine: or Adventures of Cherubina’ (H, VIII, 76). (SLM, II, 41).

In the midst of hyperboles, however, he gives a lust criticism of the book: [page 88:]

When we say all this of a book possessing not even the remotest claim to originality, either in conception or execution, it may reasonably be supposed that we have discovered in its matter or manner, some rare qualities, inducing us to hazard. an assertion of so bold a nature. This is actually the case . . . Never was any thing so charmingly written: the mere style is positively inimitable (H, VIII, 77). (SLM, II, 41).

And concluding:

Yet the Heroine must be considered a mere burlesque; and, being a copy from Don Quixotte (sic) , is to that immortal work of Cervantes what The School for Scandal is to The Merry Wives of Windsor (H, VIII, 77). (SLM, II, 41).

In the plot summary which follows is revealed the new editor; it is in the manner which “Norman Leslie, ” “Paul Ulric, ” and “Ups and Downs” made typical of Poe. I have no doubt that the review is his.


The review of Hawks of Hawk-Hollow, announced by Poe in August,(1) has already been linked with the earlier Bird reviews, definitely Poe’s. In addition, one sentence should be noted:

Like Calavar and the Infidel, it excels in the drama of action and passion, and fails in the drama of colloquy (H, VIII, 73) ; (SLM, II, 46).

An opinion here expressed of the Bride of Lammermuir: “. . . that most pure, perfect, and radiant gem of fictitious literature” (H, VIII, 64) (SLM, II, 43) ; is paralleled in later reviews, In “Conti, ” February, 1836: “. . .that purest and most enthralling of fictions, the ‘Bride of Lammermuir‘” (H, VIII, 23) (SLM, II, 19) ; “Rienzi,” February, 1836: “The Bride of Lammermuir’ (sic) is [page 89:] a better book than any individual work by the author of Pelham‘’ (H, VIII, 223) , (SLM, II, 197) , and “The Drama, ” in the Broadway Journal, July 26, 1845: “. . . that most passionate and romantic of novels . . .” (H, XII, 191-192) ; (BJ, II, 43). Here again: “Miss Harriet Falconer, a copy in many respects of Di. Vernon. . .” (H, VIII, 67-68) (SLM, II, 45) ; in “Skimmings,” October, 1836: “Di Vernon, the most original and spirited of his female paintings” (H, IX, 171) , (SLM, II, 726).

The internal evidence in this case is decisive. The method and style are those which Poe used consistently, after December, 1835, for his critiques of novels, Several citations without comment will suffice:

Colonel Falconer, who is a second edition of Yalkland in Caleb Williams . . . Sterling is a mere mountebank without even the merit of being an original one: and his deathbed, repentence is too ludicrously ill-managed, and altogether too manifestly out of place, to be mentioned any farther . . . In regard to that purely mechanical portion of Dr. Bird’s novel, which it would now be fashionable to denominate its style, we have very few observations to make. In general is faultless. Occasionaly [[Occasionally]] we meet with a sentence ill-constructed — an inartificial adaptation of the end to the beginning of a paragraph —. . .now and then with a pleonasm. . .not unfrequently with a bull proper. . .In the style properly so called — that is to say in the prevailing tone and manner which give character and individuality to the book. . . . (H, VIII, 73). (SLM, II, 45).


In August, 1835, Poe announced the republication of Tales of the Peerage: then he wrote: “The work is ostensibly edited by Lady Dacre, but there can be no doubt of her again; written it” (SLM, I, 715-716). In the December review the critic reproves [page 90:] her for having denied the authorship:

But why, Lady Dacre, this excessive shop; of modesty, or rather this most unpardonable piece of affectation?. . . And why, above all, announce youself [[yourself]] as editor in the title page, merely to proclaim yourself as author in a preface? (H, VIII, 74). (SLM, II, 46-7).

In the August notice, this review, and that of Rienzi in February, one finds expressed the same opinion of her tale, “Ellen Wareham.”(1) One phrase, in conjunction with the rest, is satisfactory evidence: “. . . that indispensable unity which has been rightly called the unity of effect. . .“ (H, VIII, 75) ; (SLM, II, 47). The evidence warrants giving this definitely to Poe.


One finds here a complaint which Poe frequently made, and which on occasion even he gave cause for:

The old fault is to be found with this Review, viz: It is more of a dissert4on on the subject matter of the book in question than an analysis of its merits of defects . . . The Reviewer, as usual, does not stick to his test, but comments, in detail upon all the published poems of Montgomery. . .This article is written with great ability; but why call that a Review which is purely a dissertation on the state of the Irish church? (H, VIII, 89) , (SLM, II, 48-9).

One finds also: “. . .and gives us [Americans] a rap over the knuckles for our overweening vanity, self-sufficient;, and testiness of temper” (H, VIII, 86). (SLM, II, 48). There is here a reference to Horne Tooke: [page 91:]

. . . on account of his having anticipated, on grounds purely speculative, and a priori, what has now been proved a posteriori by Horne Tooke and others, viz: that all grammatical inflections are reducible to the noun alone (H, VIII, 87). (SLM, II, 487).

Poe refers to Horne Tooke in “Southey’s Naval history” as a prose writer,(1) in, “Richardson’s Dictionary‘‘(2) and in “Marginalia”(3) as a grammarian. In practically every phrase this review is unmistakably Poe.


Internal evidence is here convincing:

. . . a mere rifacimento of stale jests. . . In the first place what is the meaning of Anecdote and Facete? In the second what are we to think of such blunders, as ‘one of honest here’s classical jeu d‘esprit . . . in a volume professing to be Anecdote an Facete (oh! — too bad) of Oxford and Cambridge scholars? (H, VIII, 90) ; (SLM, II, 49).

When he traces one of the retorts to “the Facetiae of Hierocles — not to mention innumerable editions of Joe Miller”(4) (H, VIII, 40) ; (SLM, II, 41) , there is no rooms for doubt.


There is external evidence for this review. White wrote Minor on October 24, 1835:

I thank you most sincerely for the notice you have been pleased to prepare of C. R.’s new book. It shall appear in my next —. . . .(5) [page 92:]



These two notices are brief, perfunctory, with much quotation: perfect examples of duty writing. They are Poe’s I believe, and fairly typical of his routine work. The use of the dash in both of then points to Poe:

The work is well — indeed even beautifully gotten up — is embellished with an admirably finished head of Mr. Rice, engraved by J. Sartain, from a painting by W. J. Hubbard — and is, in every respect, an acceptable and valuable publication (H, VIII, 101) ; (SLM, II, 51).

The tone of feeling pervading the Oration is quite characteristic of its author — ardent — affectionate — consistent (H, VIII, 102) ; (SLM, II, 54).


In “Southey’s Naval History, ” September, 1835, Poe wrote: “Why not say . . . the Latin of Erasmus is better than the Latin of Buchanan. . . .” (H, VIII, 49) ; (SLM, I, 780). In “Washingtonii Vita:”

. . . Latin, which is not one jot inferior to the Latin of Erasmus . . . His ‘equivalents,’ too, are, in all cases, ingeniously managed: and we are mistaken if the same can be said of the ‘equivalents’ of Erasmus — certainly not of those used by Grotius, or Addison, or Schroeckh, or Buchanan . . . (SLM, II, 54).(1) [page 93:]

Internal evidence leaves one convinced that this review is Poe’s,

A Life of Washington, succinct in form, yet in matter sufficiently comprehensive, has long been a desideratum . . . We confess that we regarded the first announcement of this rara avis with an evil and suspicious eye. The thing was improbable we thought, Mr. Reynolds was quizzing us — the brothers harper were hoaxed — and messieurs Anthon and Co. were mistaken . . . His ingenuity is not less remarkable than his grammatical skill. Indeed he is never at loss. It is nonsense to laugh at his calling Quakers Tremebundi. Tremebundi is as good Latin as Trementes and more euphonical Latin than Quackeri — for both which latter expressions we have the authority of Schroeckh . . . (H, VIII, 103 . . . 107) ; (SLM , II 52-3).

In reply to the suggestion that this work be used in schools, Poe says that only if the aim is to teach Latin as it might have been spoken in the nineteenth century would this plan be practical.


White wrote to Minor on November 23, 1835:

You are altogether right..about the Leslie critique — Poe has evidently shown himself no lawyer — whatever else he may be.(1)

The object of the allusion is this sentence:

When did you ever hear of an American Court of Justice objecting to the testimony of a witness on the ground that the said witness had an interest in the cause at issue? (H, VIII, 62) , (SLM, II, 57).

Here is proof conclusive — but unnecessary. Without it internal indications are of weight enough.


For “The Linwoods” there is evidence, external-internal, of a sort which is always decisive. Of this review eighty-nine [page 94:] lines appear later in “Literati, ” under “Catherine V. Sedgwick,”(1) practically unaltered. Other passages are paraphrased: VIII, 95, 1.5 - IV, 208, 11.20-21; VIII, 85, 11.17-18 - XV, 109, 11.24-26; VIII, 95, 11.22-25 - XV, 109, 11.26-27; VIII, 95, 1.30 to 97, 1.3 - XV, 109, 1.27 to 111, 1.7; VIII, 98, 1.33 to 99, 1.24 - XV, 111, 1.10 to 112, 1.11; VIII, 100, 11. 13-17 - XV, 112, 11.12-17.(2)


In the Appendix to his edition of the poems Mr. J. H. Whitty prints two lines from a White-Minor letter dated December 25, 1835: “All the critical notices are from the pen of Poe — who, I rejoice to toll you, still keeps from the Bottle.”(3) Assuming that this letter referred to the December reviews adjudged his in the Cambridge History of American Literature bibliography,(4) five others, implying at the same time that he accepted the remaining notices as Poe’s.(5) The December number, however, came out about November 26.(6) The December 25th letter contains a partial table of contents which shows that White was speaking of the January issue.? Since the evidence of this letter is the [page 95:] only basis Mr. Campbell offers for his attribution, one has no right to include the notices-op the Westminster, London Quarterly, and North American Reviews, of the American Almanac and English Annuals in his canon. These reviews are, nevertheless, certainly Poe’s.

In the “Westminster Review” one finds:

. . . her Ethics, which, to say the truth, are as little to the purpose as her political, or if she pleases, her philanthropic Economy, is most effectually to the point, ..in relation to positive and negative quantities. . . in the necessity alluded to. . .This is an interesting and able paper, but has no pretensions to the name of Review . . . forms the subject of the Essay — for it is an Essay, although an admirable one (SLM, II, 58-61).


Here is one of those exceedingly rare cases in which a British critic confines himself strictly to his text-but this is nearly all that can be said in favor of this article. A more partial, a more indiscriminate or fulsome panegyric, we never wish to see (SLM, II, 62).

Of Lamb Poe here writes:

He was one of those men of infinite genius. , who unite the most exquisite daintiness and finish of style with a vigorous and dashing; abandon of manner (SLM, II, 61) ;

in a January critique Poe has: “In Miss Gould we recognize . . . abandon of manner” (H, VIII, 135) ; (SLM, II, 115).


In the discussion of Article VI the reviewer points out an absurdity, a contradiction between this and the September issue.

The North American considered Southey a fine writer, but Washington Irving a much finer, and indeed, “the best living writer of English prose:’ having, however, to review Mr. Channing in the present number, its [page 96:] opinions are considerably modified to suit the occasion, and now the English of William E. Channing is declared coram populo to be ‘equally elegant, and a little more pure, correct, and pointed than that of Mr. Irving’ (SLM, II, 64).

In the September review of Southey’s Naval History Poe Said that the North American Review had ventured to place Irving above Southey ‘in truly English . . . prose’ (H, VIII, 49) ; (SLM, I, 78).


Comparisons of this nature, moreover, rarely fail of appearing, even although they really be not invidious . . . (H, VIII, 49) ; (SLM, I, 780).

The December reviewer makes the same point.(1) A few lines below he attacks the statement that Coleridge “. . . shows an almost total want of precision and clearness of thought (SLM, II, 64). He thinks that Sigourney and Gould have not been fairly treated by the North American; it is possible that this feeling suggested his January review. Again, he ridicules Sartor Resartus,(2) a favorite prejudice with Poe. Two sentences are strongly suggestive in a period too early for imitation: “We think the whole paper exceedingly silly,” and “We think the whole critique a hum of the worst order, viz: a hum unintentional” (SLM, II, 64).


But the critique is badly written, and its enthusiasm outre and disproportionate (SLM, I, 64).

This review may be given Poe with an asterisk. [page 97:]


The twenty-four line notice, though brief, is character Poe in general tone, The difference between this and the notices of the earlier parts of the wore. has already been suggested. Isolated illustrations are here of less value than usual, for the notice is so tightly put together that the temper of the whole can scarcely be suggested by any part or parts:

We feel it almost an act of supererogation(1) to speak of this book, which is long since in the hands of every American who has leisure for reading; at all. The matter itself is deeply interesting, but, as usual, its beauty is beauty of style . . . possessing . . . some absolute portion of variety . . . the authenticity of history properly so called . . . (H, VIII, 91-92) , (SLM, II, 64).


Like “The Crayon Miscellany,” “Godwin’s Necromancers” is a brief notice, and one which is revealed as Poe’s more by the tone of the whole than any group of scattered quotations can demonstrate. However, in the absence of more tangible evidence, quotations must suffice.

There is about the writings of Godwin, one peculiarity which we are not sure that we have ever seen pointed out for observation, ‘but which, nevertheless, is his chief idiosyncracy — setting him peculiarly apart from all other literati of the day. We allude to an air of mature thought — of deliberate premeditation pervading in a remarkable degree, even his most common-place observations ..We are never tired of his terse, nervous, and sonorous(2) periods . . . The pen which wrote Caleb Williams, should never or a moment be idle. Were we [page 98:] to specify any article, In the Necromancy, as more particularly interesting than another, it would be one entitled ‘Faustus,’ The prevalent idea that Fust the printer, and Faustus the magician, were identical, is here very properly contradicted (H, VIII, 92-94) , (SLM, II, 65).

In this notice one finds expression of Poets great admiration for Coleridge, as well as for Godwin.


This is another of those perfunctory notices. The address was published by White. This, however, is more peculiarly Poe’s than the two noticed earlier this month. In the censure of the Reverend Gentleman for making apologies in prefixed correspondence one sees the new editor:

To make an apology, they, similar to that of Mr. Carroll, is but a modest way of hinting that, with a fair trial, the writer could have done much better. On the whole, we wish that there had been no apology; for the address needs none (H, VIII, 116) ; (SLM, II, 65).


Mr. Jackson says:

It seems probable that White or Minor, perhaps the two in collaboration, not Poe, also wrote the brief notices in the Messenger calling attention to Minor’s forthcoming critique, which appeared in the February, 1836, issue . . .(1)

Harrison, Minor, and Robertson give it to Poe. It is with Jackson that I agree. This sentence Poe would never have written “To such a material no human still could incommensurately great” (H, XVII, 115). (SLM, II, 66). There are three possibilities. [page 99:] White might have asked Minor, as he did on occasion, to edit the notice for him; this, however, is unlikely. The December number was out by November 26,(1) White wrote Minor on the 9th, 20th, 13th, and 14th of November, asking for the review, but there is no mention of a preliminary notice.(2) He might have asked Poe to dress it up for him, but the notice gives no evidence of having been touched by roe’s hand. It is most probable that White alone is responsible for it. There is a verbal lining between the last line of the notice: “. . . we shall, perhaps, give also a few light personal reminiscences of Judge Marshall” (H, VIII, 115) ; (SLM, II, 66) , and a sentence in the November 26, 1835, White-Minor letter: “I hope you have found time to progress with the Marshall Review — as also with my ‘light’ (unfortunate error) reminiscences.”(3) Anyone who has read many of White’s letters will recognize him in this:

. . . our great and lamented countryman, fellow-townsman, neighbor, and friend — for by all of these names did a fortuitous conjuncture of circumstances, including his own kind and prideless heart, entitle us to, call him (H, VIII, 115) ; (SLM, II, 66).(4)


A White-Minor letter, Richmond, October 20, 1835, settles the question of this notice: [page 100:]

He [Poe] is very much pleased with it [the address] — in fact he passes great encomium on it to rye, ind intends noticing it under the head of Reviews.(1)


Here one need only quote:

The work is dedicated to Charles F. Hoffman, Esq . . . (why will our writers persist in this piece of starched and antique affectation?) (2) . . . a tale neither so verisimilar, nor so well told. . .The Yankee’s Story is much better — but not very good . . . but we have fault to find, likewise, with the phraseology in this instance. No Indian, let Chateaubriand and others say what they please, ever indulged, for a halt hour at a time, in the disjointed and hyperbolical humbug here attributed to the Wyandot (H, VIII, 120-121) ; (SLM, II, 67).


We are, however, at a loss to understand the Preface — can it be that its ambiguity is intentional? (SLM, I, 67).

Five of the fourteen lines of the notice are devoted to this ambiguity.

Seven are given over to a listing of the contents. The final sentence is typical of Poe’s nicer manner: “Mrs. Hale has already attained a high rank among the female writers of America, and bids fair to attain a far higher” (H, VIII, 118) ; (SLM, II, 67). Poe often ended notices thus; he was particularly fond of the phrase “bids fair.”


To those who are at all acquainted with Mr. Hall, or with Mr. Hall’s writings, it is superfluous to say that the book is well written. Wild romance and exciting adventure form its staple . . . a fund both of information and amusement (SLM, I, 69; H, VIII, 108-9).

Poe frequently urged this Horatian principle in his criticisms. [page 101:] This notice, I have no doubt, is his.


A comparison of the American Almanac notices in December, 1835, October, 1836, November, 1837, and January, 1839, reveals that the first two are by one person, the last two by another. The first two begin: “This is the seventh number of this invaluable work” (SLM, II, 68) ; “This is the eighth number of a work. . .” (SLM, II, 720) ; “The tenth number, or volume, of this capital work is on the counters . . .” (SLM, V, 80). The first paragraph in each of the first two is devoted to an account of Worcester; the list of his works is identical except that the later review omits the second item. In the first:

Its editor, from the first year of its publication, is understood to have been E. Worcester, Esq., the indefatigable author and compiler of a number of works requiring great industry, perseverance, and talent (SLM, II, 68) ;

in the second:

From its commencement it has been under the editorial management of Mr. J. E. Worcester, Tor more than twenty years known to the American public as an able and most indefatigable author and compiler. . . All these publications are of high reputation and evince unusual perseverance and ability (SLM, II , 720).

And in the next paragraph one finds: “. . . no ordinary talent and industry . . .” (SLM, II, 720). The second paragraph in both discusses Worcester’s work on the almanac, revealing that the astronomical department is by someone else. in the first [page 102:] notice this paragrph [[paragraph]] begins: “We know of no publication of the find more fully entitled to be calledA Repository of Useful Knowledge‘” (SLM, II, 68) ; the underlined words occur in the second notice. The third paragraphs of each, which list the contents of the Almanac, should be compared. In the October, notice one finds:

We have before stated our conviction, and here repeat it, that no work of equal extent in America embodies as much really important information — important to the public at large — as the eight published volumes of Mr. Worcester’s Almanac” (SLM, II , 720).

the underlined words occur in order in the December. The November, 1837, and the January, 1839, reviews are as obviously by one author, but a different one — Lucian Minor.(1)

In December the critic writes:

. . . a second edition of which [Worcester’s Universal Gazeteer], at the present time, we agree with the North American Review in thinking would be highly acceptable . . . (SLM, II, 68).

Article X of the October North American, which Poe reviewed in the December number, was a review of Worcester’s Comprehensive Pronouncing and Explanatory Dictionary. In the august, 1835, notice of Worcester’s Dictionary, the author is not mentioned at all.(2) Perhaps from the North American Poe got his information about Worcester; perhaps from there also came the incentive to review the Almanac. It had not been done before in the Messenger. At any rate, this bit of evidence suggests that [page 103:] both notices are from the same hand — and there is no doubt that Poe reviewed the North American. The first two notices, then, in the Messenger of the American Almanac may safely be attributed to Poe with an asterisk.


There is here evidence sufficient to allow the inclusion of the notice in the canon with an asterisk. After Poe had become a friend of the author, he wrote in “Autography;”(1)

His ‘Clinton Bradshaw’ is perhaps better known than any of his later fictions. It is remarkable for a frank, unscrupulous portraiture of men and things, in high life and low, and by unusual discrimination and observation in respect to character (H, XV, 209-210; GM, XIX, 272).

In the December review:

. . . . we dislike the novel considered as a novel. Some detached passages are very good, The chief excellence of the book consists in a certain Flemish caricaturing of vulgar habitudes and action. The whole puts us irresistibly in mind of High Life below Stairs (H, VIII, 109; SLM, II, 68).

In “Tortesa”(2) “. . . . a true Flemish perception of truth” (H, X, 68; BGM, V, 117) ; in “Marginalia:”(3) “. . . the level of Flemish art” (H, XVI, 68; GLB, XXXI, 49). The essential criticism points in itself to Poe:

While the author aims at originality and evidently fancies himself the pioneer of a new region in fictitious literature, he has we think, stumbled upon the very worst species of imitation, the paraphrasical (H, VIII, 109) ; (SLM, II, 68). [page 104:]

Five years later, feeling a need to speak favorably of the novel to Thomas, he wrote equivocally:

You give yourself up to your own nature (which is a noble one, upon my soul) in ‘Clinton Bradshaw‘(1)


This brief notice is probably Poe’s.

Plate No. 7 — the Countess, engraved by H. T. Ryall from an original painting by E. T. Parris is exquisite indeed — unsurpassed by any plate within our knowledge (SLM, II, 68).

This is the way Poe wrote about engravings, which in such notices he stressed equally with the literary aspect. This of course proves nothing, but the whole is in the Poe tone; for example: “The literary portion of the work is but so so . . .” (SLM, II, 68).

JANUARY, 1836.

White wrote Minor on December 25, 1835: “All the Critical Notices are from the pen of Poe.”(2) This places in the canon all of the fourteen January reviews.



This has long been one of the most famous of the Poe reviews, as it is one of the most scathing. Were there no evidence of an external sort, the internal would be more than satisfying. The second sentence, however, supplies internal-external [page 105:] evidence:

Be this as it may, when we called Norman Leslie the silliest book in the world we had certainly never seen Paul Ulric (H, VIII, 178; SLM, II, 173).

In “Norman Leslie”:

But we have done with Norman Leslie, — if ever we saw as silly a thing, may we be — blistered (H, VIII, 62; SLM, II, 57).

Later in “Paul Ulric:”

. . . all fine writers have pet words and phrases, Mr. Fay had his ‘blisters‘ — Mr. Simms had his ‘coils,’ ‘hugs,’ and ‘old-times‘(1) — and Mr. M must be allowed his ’suches’ and ’so muches’ (H, VIII, 202; SLM, II, 179).

To the overuse of these words Poe had objected in the eariler [[earlier]] reviews. There is no need here to give any example of style or attitude; that each line inevitably bears the mark of Poe is scarcely overstatement.


That the notice of Martin’s Gazeteer is Tucker’s is improbable.(2) It cannot be Minor’s:

In the sketch which is given of the county of Louisa,(3) we think we recognize a pen which has not unfrequently adorned the pages of the ‘Messenger’ (H, VIII, 213; SLM, II, 180).

Outside of Poe, I know no eligible person except Tucker’s colleague, Proffessor [[Professor]] Rogers, whom White frequently urged, though as far as I know without success, to contribute to the Messenger. Another sentence in the review eliminates [page 106:] him: “The report of Professor Rogers . . . will shed much light . . . (H, VIII, 213; SLM, 180). There is nothing particularly distinctive about the review; in the absence of negative evidence it may be given to Poe who was interested in such things.


This eight and a half line notice may, I think, be assigned to Poe without hesitation. Practically non-committal, as Poe well knew how to be on occasion, it begins: “This is an unpretending little duodecimo of about two hundred pages;” and has this sentence: “The story itself is interesting, but not very well put together, while the style might be amended in many respects” (SLM, II, 188).





This review may be definitely excluded from the canon. Although few scholars have ever considered it Poe’s, there has been much confusion about it, “Mr. Campbell wrote in The Mind of Poe and Other Studies: [page 107:]

This is given to Poe by Miss Alterton (p. 50) , mainly on the round of a reference by Poe in one of his letters to an article on Marshall that he had sent to T. W. White, proprietor of the Messenger. The circumstantial evidence supporting Poe’s authorship seems to me to have weight; but the article is largely a compilation, and is less deftly mortised together than was usual with Poe. Besides, it was not like Poe to document quite so freely his reviews as is done in this instance. It is more probable, I think, as B. B. Minor suggests,(2) that the article was written by Judge Beverley Tucker.(3)

Mr. Campbell has followed Miss Alterton in an inexplicable error. In the letter referred to, Poe wrote somewhat ambiguously; “The Death of the Chief Justice, so far from rendering the Review useless, was the very thing to attract public notice to the Article;”(4) however, an earlier letter clarifies the matter: “I will do my best to please you in relation to Marshall’s Washington if you will send it on.”(5) The February, 1836, review was of three orations on Marshall.

The publication of the White-Minor letters revealed Lucian Minor as the author. On November 9, 1835, White wrote him;

I am obliged to ask you to do one more service before you go to Charlottesville — and that is to Review the Eulogies of Messrs. Binney and Story on the death of Chief Justice Marshall. . . .It strikes me that you will be able to make a most interesting Review out of the two — and I must earnestly beg that you will do so for me, and that as expeditiously as possible.(6) [page 108:]

For some reason Minor did not respond promptly, White wrote him many times through November and December, supplicating in this vein:

Even your half-acquiescence cheered up my desponding spirits (November 10) :

Sincerely as I regret your being unable to accommodate all me with the Review or Biographical Notice of the late Chief Justice for this No., I nevertheless submit with the very best grace in the world . . . (November 14) ; I really wait with great anxiety for your Review of the Orations . . . . (December 7) :

These Reviews, FROM YOUR PEN, I would not miss on any consideration . . . (December 14).(1)

White received the review by December 24;(2) but he was unable to get it in the January number, for he had kept open only our pages.

Further evidence of a decisive nature is given in a letter from Poe to Lucian Minor:

Your Marshall article has been well received in all directions. Griggsby, (sic) of Norfolk, alone speaks ill of it, and he speaks ill of everything. His objections were to the passage touching John Randolph and Chapman Johnson.(3)

There is, in connection with this review, another point to be cleared up. On November 9, 1835, White wrote Minor: [page 109:]

After you have finished the Review, I must beg the favor of you to make the Publisher speak of Mr. Marshall — for which purpose I shall scribble for your guide, some true. reminiscences. — If you find you can make any thing out of any part of them, why it will be well. — If you believe any thing from me could be irrelevant, why let it pass — I will not murmur. All that I say shall be matter of fact.(1)

And on the next day:

In my very poor, and very unpretending manner, I last night attempted some reminiscences of the late Chief Justices (sic). If you can make any thing out of what I have attempted to say, I hope you will do so in your own language — borrowing nothing but the facts from me.(2)

In February White wrote Tucker: “See my own slight remiscences (sic) touching the Chief Justice — pencil marked.”(3)

There are, in the review, thirty-seven lines which may definitely be traced to White. Nine and a half lines are as White wrote them, in quotations; the rest, apparently, is paraphrased. The passage has:

One . . . who, as a printer’s boy . . . The reminiscent, having been transferred to Washington in 1800 . . . ‘I found him still the same plain, unostentatious John Marshall: always accessible, and arrays with a smile on his countenance when I handed him the ‘Federalist’ (SLM, II, 188).

To Tucker, White wrote in November, 1834:

In ‘99 . . . I went an apprentice to the trade which I now follow, to William A. Rind and John Stuart of this city, who were then printing the Virginia Federalists. In the early part of 1800, they removed to Washington City (and I with them) . . . .(4) [page 110:]

The passage quoted above and this, from the review:

Even from this early period the reminiscent may date the commencement of an intercourse and correspondence with the Chief Justice . . . (SLM, II, 188).

explain the clause of the December notice:

. . . for by all these names did a fortuitous conjuncture of circumstances, including his own kind and prideless heart, entitle us to call him (H, VIII, 115).

and assigns the earlier notice to White.


The first seventeen lines of “Emilia Harrington” are a paraphrase and elaboration of lines twenty-three to thirty-three(1) of “Robinson Crusoe.”(2) Then following:

What we said on this subject in the last number of the Messenger, maybe repeated here without impropriety. We spoke of the Robinson Crusoe (H, VIII, 235) , (SLM, II, 191) ,

one finds nineteen lines quoted exactly, in quotation marks, from the earlier review. In “Autography”(3) Poe mentions neither the novel nor the notice, but he expresses an identical point of view:

. . . . he [Wilmer] has reaped the usual fruits of a spirit of independence, and has thus failed to make that impression on the popular mind which his talents, under other circumstance you a have effected (H, XV, 86) ; (GM, XIX, 280).

In the notice he writes:

Yet, unhappily, books thus written are not the books by which men acquire a contemporaneous reputation (H, VIII, 235; SLM, II, 191). [page 111:]


In the review of Slidell’s Spain Revisited May, 1836, one finds:

Some three months since we had occasion to express our high admiration of Lieutenant Slidell’s American in England . . . We recognize the same artist-like way of depicting persons, scenery, or manners, by a succession of minute and well-managed details. We perceive also the same terseness and originality of expression . . . many of the same niaseries(1) . . . although we cannot think it at all equal to the American in England for picturesque and vigorous description . . . In our notice of the American in England, we found much fault with the style —— that is to “say, with the mere English (SLM, II, 389, 391; H, IX, 1, 11).

In the February review is this:

Lieutenant Slidell’s very excellent book, ‘A year in Spain, ’ was in some danger of being overlooked by his countrymen when a benignant star directed Murray’s attention to its merits. . .Cockney octavos carried the day. A man is nothing if not hot-pressed; and the clever young writer who was cut dead in his Yankee-land habiliments, met with bows innumerable in the gala dress of a London imprimatur (sic). . .It was the work of a man bf genius; and passing through several editions, prepared the public attention for any subsequent production of its author (H, VIII, 214; SLM, II, 92).

In “Autography:”(2)

. . . his first book, ‘A Year in Spain,’ was in some danger of being overlooked by his countrymen, until a benignant star directed the attention of the London Bookseller, Murray, to its merits. Cockney octavos prevailed; and the clever young writer, who was cut dead in his Yankee habiliments, met with bows innumerable in the gala dress of an English imprimateur. The work now ran through several editions, and prepared the public for the kind reception of ‘The American in England . . . . (H, X9, 201; GM, XIX, 252). [page 112:]

This evidence is conclusive in itself; one unmistakable passage, however, may be quoted:

He has felt that the apparent, not the real, is the province of a painter — and that to give (speaking technically) the idea of any desired object, the toning down, or the utter neglect of certain portions of that object is absolutely necessary to the proper bringing out of other portions — portions by whose sole instrumentality the idea of the object is afforded (H, VIII, 216) . (SLM, II, 195).


Of Conti Poe writes:

In its, prevailing tone, it bears no little resemblance to that purest and most enthralling; of actions, the Bride of Lammermuir, and we have once before expressed our opinion of this, the master novel of Scott (H, VIII, 233-234; SLM, II, 196).

In “Hawks of Hawk-Hollow” he had written: “. . . that most perfect, pure, and radiant gem of fictitious literature, the Bride of Lammermuir . . .” (H, VIII, 64; SLM, II, 43). This is the first reference in the Messenger reviews to this novel; the third is found in “Rienzi,” also in the February, 1836, number, but printed after “Conti.” There is another in a Broadway Journal review.(2) The review of memorials, October, 1836, begins:

Mr. Chorley is well known to American readers as a contributor to the chief of the London Annuals, and still better is the author of the stirring volumes entitled “Conti the Discarded with Other Tales and Fancies’ (H, IX, 195; SLM, II, 722) ;

here: “His name, however, is familiar to all readers of English [page 113:] Annuals” (H, VIII, 229; SLM, II, 195).(1) There:

As a musical connoisseur, or rather as profoundly versed in the only true philosophy of the science, he may be considered as unrivalled (H, IX, l95; SLM, II, 722).


. . . . all of which papers evince . . . an intimate acquaintance with the science o1husic, and a lofty and passionate devotion to its interests (H, VIII, 234; SLM, II, 196).(2)

In both these reviews the general opinion of Mr. Chorley is identical. All bf this constitutes proof enough; it is corroborated by a discussion of the question: “When shall the artist assume his proper situation in society — in a society of thinking beings?” (H, VIII, 230; SLM, II, 195) , a paragraph on the man of genius and his capacity for adaptation (H, VIII, 231; SLM, II, 195) , and by one on the Kunstromanen (H, VIII, 233; SLM, III, 195).


“These are two neat little volumes devoted to a theme of rich interest” (H, VIII, 238; SLM, II, 196) : This, the first sentence of the “Noble Deeds of Women,” identifies it in tone with “Rose-Hill.” As in the “Young Wife’s Book, ” January, 1836, he complains: “There is nothing in the title-page or in the body of the book indicative of its derivation” (H, VIII, 238; SLM, II, 196). It may be significant that the only quotation is [page 114:] a letter of Mrs. Sigourney, “a document well deserving preservation.” There are only twenty-two lines of actual writing, yet the flavor is decided enough to suggest Poe.


In a notice, reprinted from the Richmond Compiler, in the Supplement of the April, 1336, Messenger, there is a sentence which may be accepted as true, since Poe let it by without comment: “The Review of ‘Rienzi,‘” too, the last novel of Bulwer, is written in Mr. Poe’s best style . . .” (SLM, II, 345). The references in this review to “Ellen Wareham” and to the Bride of Lammermuir have been linked to other Poe reviews in the paragraphs on “Lady Dacre’s Tales” and “Hawks.” One finds here, moreover, the first expression of an idea which was to recur often:

There is no greater error than dignifying with the name of History a tissue of dates and details, though the dates be ordinarily correct, and the details indisputably true. To the effect let us look — to the impression rather than to the seal. (H, VIII, 226-227; SLM, II, 198).

An unpublished Poe letter to Carey and Hart is described as “asking for Bulwer’s ‘Rienzi’ to be reviewed in the Southern Literary Messenger.”(1) In further support of the external evidence cite: above, this sentence may be quoted, with the statement that the whole critique is in the tone of the [page 115:] laurel-awarding Poe:

In regard to the story — or that chain of fictitious incident usually binding together the constituent parts of a Romance — there is very little of it in the book (H, VIII, 224; SLM, II, 197).


The notice of Dr. Roget’s Physiology is Poe’s, despite one sentence which is the very antithesis of an attitude found in the December review of Carroll’s address:

We are grieved to learn from the Preface that his progress has been greatly impeded by ‘long protracted anxieties and afflictions, and by the almost overwhelming pressure of domestic calamity’ (H, VIII, 210; SLM, II, 202).

Indeed, this sort of personal tone is not typical of Poe the Reviewer. One wonders, also, at phrases like “an exuberance of material” (H, VIII, 210; SLM, II, 203). Aside from these, however, there is nothing out of accord with the manner Poe usually adopted for reviews of a technical nature.

In the Critical Notices, August, 1835:(1)

The seventh Bridgewater Treatise has appeared in two volumes . . . the article on the Bridgewater Treatises in the London Quarterly (we blieve [[believe]]) is one of the most admirable essays ever penned (SLM, I, 716).

This shows that Poe was informed about there treatises, one of which Roget’s Physiology is, at least six months before the review in question was written; it also reveals the probable source of the detailed two column discussion of the history of and flaws in this series of works. In later years he showed continued interest in it.(2) In the 1ight of this evidence, the [page 116:] review may, I think, be given to Poe.


In his remarks on Matthew Carey in “Autography,” February, 1836.(1) Poe has nothing but six lines on his handwriting. In no other one of the “Autography” articles of this month does he treat a person he has reviewed without giving some characteristic of style or general temper. it is true that Carey is the only one of these reviewed in February, and that the “Autography” was written by October 1, 1835;(2) but there is a possibility that Poe revised or added to the article after October. This supposition is given some support by the fact that not until November, if the ordinary course of events prevailed, did the Messenger secure the autographs of Miss Sedgwick and Judge Story. There are, however, too many loose ends in this argument to deduce that Poe had read nothing by Carey; nevertheless, on the basis of internal evidence, I hesitate to give the review of Carey’s Autobiography to Poe.

Its perusal cannot well fail of having a salutary effect upon those who struggle with adversity — of imparting a salutary strength to all who grow feeble under the pressure of the innumerable harrassing cares which encumber and weigh so ponderously upon the ‘man of the world’ . . . It may induce a love of our fellow-man, in many bosoms hitherto self-hardened against the urgent demands of philanthropy (SLM, II, 203). [page 117:]

Although this again reminds one of White, that it is his is unlikely. In a letter to Tucker, the one in which he culled attention to his “slight remiscences (sic) ” of Marshall, White wrote; “What with sickness, cold weather and provocation, I have been scarcely able to get along in my office affairs at all.”(1) Nor is it likely that it is Tucker’s, for White would probably have mentioned it. Minor is another possibility: there are no known letters covering this period. Most probably, however, the review was sent in by some, now at least, unknown contributor; the fact that this review is headed simply “Carey’s Autobiography,” while the other February reviews reprint all the matter -from the title pages, may support this suggestion. Although one is not justified, perhaps, in dogmatically taking it from Poe, its authenticity must be strongly questioned. I have not included it in the canon.


A version of Autography Poe had written in the late summer of 1835. On September 29, White wrote him:

I have thought over the matter seriously about the Autograph article, and have come to the conclusion that it will be best to omit it in its present dress. I should not be at all surprised, were 1 to send it out, to hear that Cooper sued me for libel. The form containing it has been ready for press three days — and I have been just as many days deciding the question!(2) [page 118:]

On October 1st, sending some advance sheets of the Messenger to Minor, White wrote:

No. 1, I shall not insert. Well penned and witty as I think it is, I think it unnecessarily severe on Cooper? Read it — and candidly tell me what you think on the subject; — after you have read it, cut it out and destroy it.(1)

The February, 1836 “Autography” has a brief nondescript section on Cooper. Apparently Poe revised the article. Poe claims this “Autography” as well as that in the Messenger of August, 1836, in the introduction to the November, 1841, Graham’s chapter.


In the April, 1336, Supplement a notice of the Messenger from the Baltimore Patriot has this line: “Then follow ‘Critical Notice.’ these are written by Poe” (SLM, II, 342).(2)

One can be certain that, on printing this notice, Poe would have denied any review not his; nevertheless, it may be well to look for corroboration in these five reviews.


Here one finds:

. . . . we beg leave to refer our readers to remarks, (from the pen of Judge Beverley Tucker) which appeared under the Critical head of our Messenger before the writer of this article assumed the Editorial duties (H, VIII, 243; SLM, II, 289). [page 119:]

There exists even more evidence. On April 4, 1836, White wrote Tucker:

He [Bancroft] wished me to introduce him to Poe . . . who he says has unintentionally done him some injustice in my last No.(1)

In this review Poe presents the points of Mr. Bancroft’s “Aspersions” and “Insinuations” about the loyalty of Virginia, and the points of rebuttal in Tucker’s June, 1835, Bancroft review. The interview must have taken place; for, in an April editorial, “The Loyalty of Virginia,” Poe(2) recognizes an injustice done to Bancroft, rights it, and attacks Dr. hawks for misinterpreting Bancroft.


In an article on roe’s interest in phrenology, Mr. Hungerford points out that, before the review of Mrs. Miles’ Phrenology, Poe had manifested no interest in the science; in the next two months(3) he makes use of apparently new-found knowledge upon which he capitalizes for the rest of his life.(4) The style points to Poe; the interest decidedly does. [page 120:]

* 91. MAHMOUD.

As in the “Young wife’s Book, ” January, 1836, and “Noble Deeds, ” February, 1836, in “Mahmoud” Poe vents irritation at the lack of information on the title-page, . indulging in a passing hit at the variable and expansive meaning of the word “published.” He concludes;

Nothing less than the consciousness of superior power could have justified anyone in treading in the steps of Mr. Hope. And certainly, nothing at all, under any circumstances whatever, could have justified a direct and palpable copy of Anastasius. Yet Mahmoud is no better. (H, VIII, 257). (SLM, II, 258).


That “Georgia Scenes” is Poe’s needs less evidence than the Patriot presents. Here he is;

. . . . a very Theophrastus in duodecimo . . . of geese and ganders he is the La Bruyere, and of good -for-nothing horses the Rocherfoucault . . . Seriously — if this book were printed in England it would make the fortune of its author . . . our cachinnatory nerves . . . What a hubbub they would occasion in the uninitiated regions of Cockaigne. And what would Christopher North say to them? — ah, what would Christopher North say? that is the question . . . the whole anecdote is told with a raciness and visor which would do honor to the rages of Blackwood . . . in joint humor and similitude . . . (H, VIII, 258 and 260; SLM, II, 287-8).


The notice of The Tea Party stresses the vast importance of frequently laying “reminiscences such as the present before the public,” referring back, to the idea advanced in the review [page 121:] of Rienzi, February, 1836, that dates are not history, that it is the impression of the spirit that matters. Beginning in the tone of “Rose-Hill” and “Noble Deeds,” its hidden claws are less so:

In Boston it is very natural that the veteran Hewes should be regarded with the highest sentiments of veneration and affection. He is too intimately and conspicuously connected with that city’s chivalric records not to be esteemed a hero — and such indeed he is — a veritable hero (SLM, II , 29).

This is Poe.



This is not an essay but a table of brief comment, in the manner of “Pinakidia.” It is signed “P.” There can be no doubt that Poe is the author.


In the June, 1836, Supplement, Poe “rote; “Halleck, since our abuse of his book, :writes us thus. . . .” (H, VIII, 338) ; here Poe also quoted from a letter; “Allow me to say that I think your article on Drake and Halleck one of the finest peices [[pieces]] of criticism ever published in this country” (H, VIII, 639). Poe drew on this double review of Drake and Halleck for material at least four times in after years. First in the critique “Alciphron, ” in Burton’s Gentlemen’s Magazine, January, 1840: [page 122:]

We allude to the late Dr. Rodman Drake, whose puerile abortion, ‘The Culprit Fay,’ we examined at some length, in a critique elsewhere . . . (H, X, 62). (BGM, V, 53).

On this page 11.31-33 parallel 11.4-6, in VIII, 293.(1) Prefaced by: “We shall be pardoned for repeating here, as nearly as we can remember them, some words for what we then said” (H, X, 63) , and by a citation of to lines from the poem, found in VIII, 295, a long passage, X, 63, 1.33 to 65, 1, 13, is exactly copied from the earlier review, VIII, 1.33, 299 to 301, 1.17.

In a “Few Words About Brainard,” Graham’s Magazine, February, 1842, Poe wrote:

What we found it [Culprit Fay] we ventured to express distinctly, and at some length, in the pages of the ’Southern Messenger’ (H, XI, 17). (GM, XX, 119).

The second footnote on page 21, continued to page 22, quotes a passage, found in VIII, 307, which Poe considered the “finest individual passage in the volume” (H, VIII, 307). The “Brainard‘’ article, like the “Alciphron,” is obviously from the pen that did the Drake critique.

In September, 1843, the eighth number of “Our Contributors‘’ appeared in Graham’s Magazine — Fitz-Greene Halleck; in it Poe used much material, sometimes rewritten, from the first review. IX, 199, 11.8-11, slightly changed from VIII, 307, 11.2428. IX, 199, 11.13-26, exact with one sentence omitted and two [page 123:] phrases altered, from VIII, 309, 1.28 to 310, 1.11. IX, 199, 1.27 to 200, 1.4, written down from VIII, 308, 1.21 to 309, 1.2. IX, 200, 11.5-22 (4 of which retain only the thought) from VIII, 11.3-15 and 21-25. IX, 200, 1.28 to 201, 1.10 paraphrased from VIII, 314, 11.5-20 and 24-26. IX, 201, 1.11 to 202, 1.16, is often exact from VIII, 316, 1.8 to 318, 1.4. IX, 202, 1.27 to 203, 1.4, from VIII, 312, 1.32 to 313, 1.8, and 313, 1.12 to 314, 1.4 (the stanzas quoted are in different order). IX, 203, 11.508, rewritten from VIII, 310, 11.17-23. IX, 203, 1.23 to 204, 1.19, is a citation, most of which is found in VIII, 312, 11.1-14 and 311, 11.15-20.

Again, in the “Literati” article on Halleck,(1) Poe made use of the April, 1836, review. XV, 52, 1.18 to 53, 1.2, from VIII, 309, 1.26 to 310, 1, 16. Eleven of these lines are exact; the rest a close paraphrase. XV, 53, 11.4-5, from VIII, 308, 11.23-25. XV, 53, 11.7-11, from VIII, 309, 11.14-15 and 21-25, XV, 53, 11.17-22, from VIII, 310, 11.17-23. XV, 32, 11.22-26, from VIII, 312, 11.15-20. MV, 53, 11.27-32, from VIII, 313, 11.4-8 and 25-28. XV, 54, 11.2-5, from VIII, 313 11.17-20. XV, 54.1.26 to 55, 1.6, from VIII, 316, 11.3-16 and 317, 1.26 to 318, 1.4. The borrowings in the “Literati” are on the whole more close than those in the Graham’s article.


On May 2, 1836, Poe wrote Tucker from Richmond:

I must also myself beg your pardon for pacing a few immaterial alterations in your article on Slavery, with a view of so condensing it as to get it in the space remaining at the end of the number. One very excellent Massage in relation to the experience of a sic‘- bed-has been, necessarily, omitted altogether.

In neither the February, the March, nor the May numbers is there an article on slavery. In the April there is nothing [[about slavery]] but a double review of Paulding’s Slavery and Manly’s The South Vindicated, a review which amounts to little more than an essay. It does, of course, come at the end of the number. It is of this, then, that Poe is writing. There are in it, however, two bedside scenes; it would seem either that there were originally three such examples, or that Poe succeeded in getting in “the very excellent passage.”


“Brunnens of Nassau‘’ has already been mentioned in connection with the April, 1835, review of the North American. Poe noticed a later edition of this book in the Broadway Journal of October 4, 1845. In this shorter notice there is no reference to the first. Both, however, begin similarly. [page 125:] The first: “This ‘old man’ is the present governor of Canada” (H, VIII, 319;SLX, II, 339) ; the second: “The Old Bean is Sir Francis head” (BJ, II, 191). In the later, Poe quotes from the preface to the book. It will be of interest to compare the quotation with passages in the April, 1836, review.

‘The writer of this trifling Volume was suddenly sentenced, in the cold evening of His life, to drink the mineral waters of one of the bubbling springs, or brunnen, of Nassau . . . On reaching the point of his destination he found . . . it was moreover insisted upon that the mind was to be relaxed inversely as the body was to be strengthened . . . His hasty sketches of whatever chanced to please wither his eyes, or his mind . . . The critic must, of course, declare this production to be vain, empty — light — hollow — superficial . . . but it is the nature of Bubbles to be so’ (BJ, II, 191-192).

. . . a gentleman who represents himself as having been sentenced, in the cold evening of his life, to drink the mineral waters of Nassau; and who, upon arriving at the springs found that, in order to effect the cure designed by his physicians, the mind was to be relaxed as the body was being strengthened . . . hasty sketches of whatever chanced for the moment to please either the eyes or the mind of the patient. He anticipates the critic’s verdict as to his book — that it is empty, light, vain, hollow, and superficial: ‘But then,’ he says, ‘it is the nature of ‘bubbles’ to be so’ (H, VIII, 319) ; (SLM, II, 339).

The first as well as the last of these notices is Poe’s. The tone of the whole may be illustrated by a few quotations:

To call this work facetious, as that term is commonly used, were not perhaps to give so accurate an idea of its style as might be conveyed by the adjective whimsical . . . Without subjecting the ‘old man’ to the imputations of copyism, one may describe the manner as being an agreeable mixture of Charles Lamb’s and Washington Irving’s . . . . the same piquant allusion . . . a quiet, pungent, sly, laughter-moving conceit, which at first stirring the finest membranes of your pericardium, at length sets you out into a broad roar [page 126:] of laughter, honest fellow as you are, and which you must be, indeed, a very savage, if you can avoid. . . Here is a characteristic crayoning(1) . . . (H, VIII, 320; SLM, II, 339).



That the review of Slidell’s Spain Revisited and the one of An American In England are from the same hand, and that the February review is Poe’s has already been satisfactorily demonstrated. To establish completely, then, the authenticity of the flay review, it is sufficient to point out a bit of external-internal evidence in corroboration. In the July, 1836, Supplement is printed a notice of the Messenger from the Newbern Spectator (H, VIII, 333-336; SLM, II, 517) . Quoting a passage from that section of the Spain Revisited review which dealt with stylistic and grammatical faults, this paper attacks the Messenger for being captious and incorrect. Poe replies, in the Supplement (H, VIII, 336-339; SLM, II, 317-8) , utterly effacing the Spectator’s criticism. It should also be noted that one fifth of the review is devoted to censuring the dedicatory epistle; Poe had no patience “with this sort of affectation.”


The January, 1837, review of Anthon [[Anthon’s]] Cicero begins: [page 127:]

Last May we had occasion to express our high opinion of Professor Anthon’s Sallust, and of his literary labors in general. We then said what we have long thought, and still think, that this gentleman has done more for sound scholarship at home, and for our classical reputation abroad, than any other individual in America (H, IX, 266; SLM, III, 72).

“Anthon’s Sallust” has: “That Mr. Anthon has done more for our classical literature than any man in the country will hardly be denied (SLM, II, 392). Again, in the January: “The work is gotten up in the same beautiful style as the Sallust” (H, IX, 267; SLM, III, 72) ; the first paragraph of the “Sallust” is devoted to high praise of the appearance of the book. As the January review is Poe’s,(1) this may be given him without hesitation.


For the May review of Mrs. Trollope’s Paris and Parisians there is so external evidence, save a reference in an October review(2) which suggests that Poe was familiar with the lady’s works: “The manner of the narrative is singularly à la Trollope” (H, IX, 157; SLM, II, 732). The first paragraph sets forth a grievance ever present with Poe: “We have no patience with that atra-bilious set of hyper-patriots, who find fault [page 128:] with Mrs. Trollope’s book of flumflummery(1) about the good people of the Union . . . our national soreness of feeling prevented us, in the case of her work on America, from appreciating the real merits of the book” (H, IX, 17; SLM, II, 393-4). the method of presenting the contents of the book through a “brief account” of the “plates?’ is in accord with a marked interest of Poe. This review, I feel sure, is his.


White wrote Tucker, April 26, 1837:

If he [Paulding] would have been proud of praise from Poe, it would. have been because he really admired the fellow’s talents.(2)

It seems logical that the praise of which Paulding was proud would have been public praise — in a printed review. If this be so, this statement offers evidence as to the authorship of the review of Paulding’s Washington — the only Paulding work reviewed in the Messenger during the Poe period, save for Tucker’s of Slavery. However this may be, internal evidence points to Poe; there is no rival claimant who can fill half the requirements. The first two paragraphs are in Poe’s careful, local-address-reviewing style. The second reveals an opinion that has been noticed before: [page 129:]

The rich abundance of those delightful anecdotes and memorials of the private man which render a book of this nature invaluable — is the prevailing feature of Mr. Paulding’s Washington (H, IX, 15; SLM, II, 376).

Except for one demurring;

Perhaps a rigorous examination would detect an occasional want of euphony, and some inaccuracies of syntactical arrangement (H, IX, 16; SLM, II, 378).

— except for this, the praise, in regard to style is extravagant:

There is no better literary manner than the manner of Mr. Paulding. Certainly no American, and possibly no living writer of England has more of those numerous peculiarities which go to the formation of a happy style . . . The volumes now before us . . . contain many long individual passages of a force and beauty not to be surpassed by the finest passages of the finest writers in any time or country (H, IX, 16; SLM, II, 399).

This was praise to be proud of. There follows a passage more peculiar to Poe:

. . . at a season when we are so culpably inattentive to all matters of this nature, as to mistake for style the fine airs at second hand of the silliest romancers . . . (H, IX, 16; SLM, II, 399).

A Paulding-Poe letter,(1) March 17, 1836, shows that Paulding has been trying to get published in New York a “Book” of Poe’s. A review in this vein at this time would have been only politic. Under the circumstances, it may well be given to Poe. [page 130:]


For “Walsh’s Didactics” there exists only internal evidence; it is, however, satisfactory. Mr. Hungerford has pointed out the interest this review reveals in phrenology.(1) Poe writes of the article on Phrenology in the Didactics:

. . . we are sorry to see the energies of a scholar and an editor (who should be, if he be not, a man of metaphysical science) so wickedly employed as in any attempt to throw ridicule upon a question (however much maligned, or however apparently ridiculous) whose merits he has never examined, and of whose very nature, history, and assumptions, he is most evidently ignorant. Mr. Walsh is either ashamed of this article now, or he will have plentiful reason to be ashamed of it hereafter (H, VIII, 329; SLM, II, 401).

Poe is again revealed in this:

How absolute is the necessity now daily growing, of rescuing our stage criticism from the control of illiterate mountebanks, and placing it in the hand of gentlemen and scholars! (H, VIII, 322; SLM, II, 399).


In the October, 1836, notice of Cooper’s Switzerland, one finds:

In our notice of Part I, of the work before us, we had occasion to express our full sense of the writer’s descriptive powers, refined and strengthened as they now appear to us to be. . .fhe subject of the first two volumes is fir. Cooper’s visit to Switzerland in 1828 — that of the two now published, his visit in 1832 (H, IX, 162-163; SLM, II, 720-1). [page 131:]

The method of the second review is comparison with the first; in style and point of view the two are identical. That they are from one pen is inescapable, and that pen is beyond doubt Poe’s. In“Pinakidia”(1) after a statement about Switzerland Poe admits: “Mr. Cooper, the novelist, is our authority” (H, XV, 45-46).


We have received this notice of Mellen’s Poems from a personal friend, in whose judgment we have implicit reliance — of course we cannot deviate from our rules by adopting the criticism as Editorial (SLM, II, 403).

I take the author to be J. F. Otis. The style and temper is that of his other pieces in the Messenger. this editorial footnote is interesting. We have seen that even since the beginning of volume II there have appeared as editorial reviews from Minor, Tucker, and White. White, one supposes is the explanation of these “deviations.”



From the review of Virginia Springs, August, 1836: [page 132:]

In our late notice of a Pleasant Peregrination through the Prettiest Parts of Pennsylvania, we had occasion to mention in high terms of commendation the Letters Descriptive of the Virginia Springs. (H, IX, 79; SLM, II , 592).

The August review is typical of Poe’s cursory notice; beyond this fact and the reference to Peregrination, there is no characteristic suggesting Poe; however, the tone, style, and method of the June review constitute proof enough that both are his. The statement: “There is some mistake here or we are mistaken” (H, IX, 38; SLM, II, 447) , introduces some corrections of the author’s assertions about railway rates and expenses. here occurs the word “ycleped, ” which Poe used in the December, 1835, review, “Washinotomii Vita” (H, VIII, 105; SLM, II, 53) ; one finds also a favorite word of Poe: “. . . .not troubling much about his keeping . . .” (H, IX, 37) . Three illustrations more will suffice:

This epistle is full of fun, bustle, and all good things . . . (H, IX, 37; SLM, II, 447). Unlike the hotels previously described, which were all elegant, respectable, and neat,’ this one is merely ‘neat, elegant, and respectable’ (H, IX, 39; SLM, II, 448). . . . the adventurous Mr. Prolix, whose book we heartily recommend to all lovers of the utile et dulce (H, IX, 42; SLM, II, 450).


Just as certain am I that this thirty-two line notice is Poe’s. In

We are grieved, however, to see, even in the opening passages of the work, a piquancy and freedom of expression, in regard to the unhappy sources of animosity between America and the parent land . . . (H, IX, 22; SLM, II, 450). [page 133:]

one finds Poe’s intolerance of “Hyper-patriot;” in “We object, particularly here to the use of the verb forms in the present tense” (H, IX, 23; SLM, II, 450) , one recognizes his meticulous concern for strict correctness in grammar.


If there be any one thing more than another which stirs within us a deep spirit of indignation and disgust, it is that damnation of faint praise which so many of the Narcissi of critical literature have had the infinite presumption to breathe against the majesty of Coleridge — of Coleridge — the man to whose gigantic mind the proudest intellects in Europe found it impossible not to succomb. (H, IX, 51; SLM, II, 451).

Thus writes Poe (for it is Poe — the attitude and phraseology are insistent) in “Recollections of Coleridge.” The fifty-five line notice ends with:

It [Biographic Literaria] is, perhaps, the most deeply interesting of the prose writings of Coleridge, and affords a clearer view into his mental constitution than any other of his works. (H, IX, 52; SLM, III, 453) ,

and with the appeal, already quoted in the discussion of the April, 1835, review of the North American Review, for an American publication of this work. A comparison with Poe ’s opinions of Coleridge presented in earlier sections of this study makes it clear that this review is Poe’s.


If we are to consider opinions of the press, when in perfect accordance throughout so wide a realm [page 134:] as the United States, as a fair criterion by which to estimate the opinions of the people . . . (H, IX, 33; SLM, II, 453).

— this, the first sentence points to Poe, as does this:

What a lesson in dignified frankness, to say nothing of common sense, may not the following passage afford to many a dander-headed politician (H, IX, 34; SLM, II, 453).

Here Poe approached the work in hand, as he frequently did, by reference to an earlier work, followed by a brief comparison of the two. There occur here three words of which Poe was fond; stricture, animadvert, and animadversion. This review could be no one else’s.


The June number contains a review of Maury’s Navigation. Aware of Poe’s natural bent in this direction, one is tempted to call it his with little deliberation. The first danger signal is the heading: like that of “Carey’s Autobiography, ” it is unique in its issue in not containing the full bibliographical matter of the title page. An examination of certain passages is worthwhile.

They aim at comprising a great multiplicity of details, many of which relate to matters only remotely bearing upon the main objects of the treatise — and they are deficient in that clearness of argument, without which, the numerous facts and formulae composing the body of such works are little less than a mass of confusion (H, IX, 49; SLM, II, 454).

Hitherto how little have they improved the golden opportunities of knowledge which their distant [page 135:] voyages held forth, and how little have they enjoyed the rich banquet which nature spreads for them in every clime they visit . . . freighted with the knowledge which, observation only can impart and enriched with collections of objects precious to the student of nature, their return after the perils of a distant voyage will then be doubly joyful. The enthusiast in science will anxiously await their coming, and add his cordial welcome to the wares greetings of relatives and friends (H, IX, 50; SLM, II, 454-5).

Involved, loose, weighted down with verbiage, this style is not Poe’s; it is rather reminiscent of the “O”(1) who contributed the review of Mellen’s poems in the May, 1836, issue. There is the same grim, breathless crowding of thought after thought into every sentence, Compare this passage from the Mellen review;

It is as high praise as we are able to bestow upon it, that we have read most of its contents with the very associations around us, which are required for the perfect production of the impressions intended to be produced by the poet — and that we have, in each and all, still found these impressions strengthening and deepening upon our minds, as we perused the pages before us (SLM, II, 403).

The “Mellen” reviewer uses “wrought” twice in a rather uncommon way: “highly wrought expectations, ” and “too highly wrought . . . in style” (SLM, II, 403) ; here one finds: “clearly wrought numerical examples” (H, IX, 49). The more passages should be compared. In the “Mellen:” [page 136:]

This volume has but one general fault, and that is, its deficiency in the lighter and gayer strains, in which we have private proof that Mellen certainly excels (SLM, II, 403) ;

in the “Maury:”

This volume . . . strongly commends itself to notice. The works at present used by our navy and general marine, though in many respects not devoid of merit, have always struck us as faulty in two particulars . . . they are deficient in that clearness . . . (H, IX, 48-40; SLM, II, 454).

The notice of Maury’s Navigation is clearly not Poe’s;(1) it is probably by the reviewer of Mellen’s Poems, who may be J. F. Otis, a regular contributor to the messenger.(2)


Beginning with the bald statement: “This book is a public imposition” (H, IX, 24) and continuing to show that the whole of the duodecimo could be printed on fourteen Messenger pages, this review is one of the most merciless that Poe ever wrote. In the “Autography” of August, 1836, he wrote:

From the chirography no precise opinion can be had of Mr. Stone’s literary style. (Mr. Messenger says no opinion can be had of it any way) (H, X, 173).

In the introduction to the “Autography” printed in Graham’s Magazine, November, 1841: [page 137:]

In one instance only was the jeu d‘esprit taken in serious dudgeon. Colonel Stone and the Messenger had not been upon the best off terms. Some one of the colonel’s little brochures had been severely treated by that, journal, which declared that the work would have been far more properly published anion; the quack advertisements in a spare corner of his paper (H, XV, 177; GM, XII, 224).

The last sentence of the review:

It was written, we believe, by Col. Stone of the New York Commerical [[Commercial]] Advertiser, and should have been printed among the quack advertisements, in a spare corner o~ his paper (H, IX, 33;ZU1, 1I, 457).

Poe continued the feud in the December, 1841, “Autography,” Graham’s Magazine (H, XV, 215).


Poe writes here:

We should like very much to copy the whole of the article entitled Pawnbroker’s Shops, with a view of contrasting its aim ter and manner with the insipidity of the passages we have just quoted on the same subject from the ‘Ups and Downs’ of colonel Stone, and by way of illustrating our remarks on the unity of effect . . . (H, IX, 48; SLM, II, 458).

He continues the comparison to conclude:

So perfect and never-to-be-forgotten a picture cannot be brought about by any such trumpery exertion, or still more trumpery talent, as we find employed in the ineffective daubing of Colonel Stone (H, IX, 48; SLM, II, 458).(1)

There is a parallel in “Marginalia.”(2) Here: “The Black Veil . . . an act of stirring tragedy, and evincing lofty powers in the writer” (H, IX, 47; SLM, II, 458) ; there: “. . .‘The Black Veil;” a [page 138:] strangely pathetic and richly imaginative production, replete with the loftiest tragic power” (H, XVI, 11; DR, XV, 487). This review will be discussed further under another hand.


There are only eighteen lines of writing here, for the other nine list the engravings. The writing is not distinctive on the whole. There is, however, occasionally a revealing sentence:

. . . . well conceived — brief, properly arranged, and sufficiently comprehensive (SLM, II, 400; H, IX, 45).

I have no doubt that Poe is the author.



[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 87:]

1.  White-Tucker, Richmond, June 13, 1835. Copy in UVL.

2.  White-Tucker, Richmond, November 5, 1835. PSLM, 109.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 88:]

1.  See SLM, I, 716.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 90:]

1.  SLM, I, 716; H, VIII, 75, and 225. See also “Bulwer’s Poems, ” BJ, February 8, 1845, I, 81: and “Marginalia,” DR, December, 1844, H, VI, 34.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 91:]

1.  SLM, September, 1835, H, VIII, 49. SLM, I, 780.

2.  SLM, August, 1836. H, IX, 105. SLM, II, 583.

3.  DR, November, 1844. H, XVI, 3, or XV, 484.

4.  SLM, II, 64.

5.  White-Minor, Richmond, October 24, 1835. PSLM, 103-104.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 92:]

1.  This passage is not printed in Harrison’s edition. After “with the genius of Latin declension as” (end of last line in the body of page 53, SLM, II) , he prints the translation (given as a footnote in the Messenger) of a preceding quotation which he omitted. Having made he “as” govern the translated passage, he fails to print the remaining eleven lines of the paragraph, found on top of page 54 in the Messenger.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 93:]

1.  White-Minor, Richmond, November 23, 1835. PSLM, 105.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 94:]

1.  GLB, September, 1846, H, XV, 108-113.

2.  ‘These refer to the Harrison printings.

3.  J. H. Whitty, The Complete Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, 185.

4.  CHAL, II, 456-457.

5.  Killis Campbell, “Gleanings in the Poe Bibliography, ” MLN, XXXII, 269.

6.  See note 1, page 99

7.  White-Minor, Richmond, December 25, 1835. PSLM, 106-107.

* Number, 17. Killis Campbell gave to Poe, aside from the December.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 96:]

1.  SLM, II, 64.

2.  See “Marginalia,” GLB, September, 1845 (H, XVI, 74) ; DR, April, 1846 (H, XVI, 100) ; GM, December, 1946 (H, XVI, 122) ; et passim in Poe’s works.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 97:]

1.  A favorite word with Poe.

2.  These words, especially the first two, are found often in Poe’s descriptions of style.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 98:]

1.  D. K. Jackson, “Poe’s Knowledge of Latin during the Messenger Period, ” Am. Lit., X, 337.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 99:]

1.  See White- Minor, Richmond, November 26, 1835. TQHGM, XVII, 238.

2.  See White-Minor, Richmond, November 9, 10, 13, 14, 1835. TQHGM, XVII, 234, ff.

3.  White-Minor, Richmond, November 26, 1835. TQGHM, XVII, 238.

4.  See the discussion of the February, 1836, Marshall article for further evidence.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 100:]

1.  White-Minor, Richmond, October 20, 1835. PSLM, 102-103.

2.  Cf. “Carroll’s Address.” Dedications and superfluous prefaces were pet grievances with Poe.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 101:]

1.  This phrase is paralleled in the December notice by “Nearly twenty years ago he became known to the American public” (SLM, II, 68).

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 102:]

1.  See White-Minor, Richmond, October 29, 1837. TQHGM, XVIII, 33.

2.  SLM, I, 715.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 103:]

1.  GM, December, 1841.

2.  BGM, August, 1339.

3.  GLB, August, 1845.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 104:]

1.  Poe-Thomas, Philadelphia, November 23, 1840. H, XVII, 63.

2.  White-Minor, Richmond, December 25, 1835. PSLM, 107. See p. 94.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 105:]

1.  Simms’ The Partizan Poe reviewed in January, 1836.

2.  See page 7.

3.  Minor’s home at this time.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 107:]

1.  Poe-White, Baltimore, July 20, 1835. H, XVII, 12.

2.  B.B. minor, Op. cit., 39.

3.  E. Campbell, The Mind of Poe, 216.

4.  Poe-White, Baltimore, July 20, 1835. H, XVII, 12.

5.  Poe-White, Baltimore, June 12, 1835. Gr. MSS. Phot. In UVL.

6.  White-Minor, Richmond, November 9, 1835. TQHGM, XVII, 234.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 108:]

1.  White-Minor, Richmond, November 10, 13, 14, 26; December 7, and 14, 1835. TQHGM, XVII, 235-240.

2.See  White-Minor, Richmond, December 24, 1835. TQHGM, XVII, 240-241.

3.  Poe-Minor, Richmond, March 10, 1836. Gr. MSS. Phot. in UVL.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 109:]

1.  White-Miror, Richmond, November 9, 1835. TQHGM, XVII, 234.

2.  White-Minor, Richmond, November 10, 1835. TQHGM, XVII, 235. For further mention see White-Minor, Richmond, November 26 and December 7, 1835. TQHGM, XVII, 238-239.

3.  White-Tucker, Richmond, February 6, 1836. Copy in UVL.

4.  White-Tucker, Richmond, November 17, 1834. Copy in UVL.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 110:]

1.  The reference is to the Harrison printing, VIII, 170.

2.  January, 1836, For evidence that this is Poe’s, see White-Minor, Richmond, December 25, 1835. PSLM, 107.

3.  GM, December, 1841.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 111:]

1.  The words underlined appear in the February review.

2.  GM, November, 1841.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 112:]

1.  The parentheses are Poe’s.

2.  See the discussion of “Hawks, etc.” for these quoted in full. pp. 88-9.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 113:]

1.  Harrison misprints this “Annals;” the messenger has “Annuals,” SLM, II, 195.

2.  See “Marginalia, ” DR, November, 1844 (H, XVI, 8) for a modificacation [[modification]] of this opinion.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 114:]

1.  Poe-Carey and Hart, Richmond, January 21, 1835 (sic) , described in American Book-Prices Current, 1898, 477.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 115:]

1.  These are Poe’s. See White-Minor, Richmond, September, 8, 1835, PSLM, 98.

2.  See “Marginalia,” DR, November, 1944, H, XVI, 9; and BJ, H, XIII, 45.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 116:]

1.  SLM, II, 285-212; H, XV, 161.

2.  See White-Minor, Richmond, October 1, 1835. PSLM, 101. Also White-Poe, Richmond, September 29, 1335; it “has been ready for press three days.” H, XVII, 21.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 117:]

1.  White-Tucker, Richmond, February 6, 1836. Copy in UVL.

2.  White-Poe, Richmond, September 29, 1935. H, XVII, 211.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 118:]

l. White-Minor, Richmond, October, 1835. PSLM, 1011.

2.  The reference is to the March, 1836, number.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 119:]

1.  White-Tucker, Richmond, April 4, 1836. Copy in UVL.

2.  This must be his: “In our last number, while reviewing . . . we . . . in our own review, alluded to above (SLM, II, 317) ; also he quotes from the March review.

3.  April: “Drake-Halleck;” May: “Walsh’s Didactic.”

4.  E. Hungerford, “Poe and Phrenology,” Am. Lit., II, 213.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 122:]

1.  All of these references are to the Harrison printings.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 123:]

1.  GLB, July, 1840.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 124:]

1.  Poe-Tucker, Richmond, May 2, 1836. J. S. Wilson, “Unpublished Letters of Edgar Allan Poe, ” The Century Magazine, 1924, 652-656.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 126:]

1.  This word is found in the title of the Irving work which Poe reviewed in December, 1835.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 127:]

1.  See SLM, III, 72 and 96.

2.  “Madrid in 1835.”

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 128:]

1.  Domestic manners of the Americans.

2.  White-Tucker, Richmond, April 26, 1837. Copy in UVL.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 129:]

1.  Paulding-Poe, New York, March 17, 1836. H, XVII, 31-32.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 130:]

1.  E. Hungerford, op. cit., 213.

2.  See further page 143, section III.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 131:]

1.  SLM, August, 1836, II, 573-582.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 135:]

1.  Minor says “O” is probably J. F. Otis: B. B. Minor, op. cit., 47.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 136:]

1.  It is given him by H?, M, J, and R.

2.  The sentimental eloquence of this reviewer is reminiscent of the author of “Carey’s Autobiography;” Otis may be the “contributor.”

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 137:]

1.  Harrison prints “unity of effect” with capitals.

2.  DR, November, 1844.


[S:0 - CCWEAP, 1941] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Articles - A Canon of the Critical Works of EAP (W. D. Hull) (Part ?, Chapter ?)