Text: Dwight R. Thomas and David K. Jackson, “Chapter 07 [Part 02],” The Poe Log (1987), pp. 446-480


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[page 446, continued:]

[1844] JANUARY LONDON. The Foreign Quarterly Review contains a long, patronizing critique of “American Poetry.” The reviewer, probably Dickens’ friend John Forster, praises Bryant, Emerson, and Longfellow, while dismissing other American poets as mere imitators of English verse. “Poe is a capital artist after the manner of Tennyson; and approaches the spirit of his original more closely than any of them.” Quoting from “The Haunted Palace” and “The Sleeper” to illustrate Poe’s “metrical imitation,” the reviewer observes: “These passages have a spirituality in them, usually denied to imitators; who rarely possess the property recently discovered in the mocking-birds — a solitary note of their own.”

[1844] JANUARY. PHILADELPHIA. Graham’s contains Poe’s review of James Fenimore Cooper’s Ned Myers and his preliminary notice of Richard Henry Horne’s Orion (attributions in Mabbott [1932], p. 441, and Hull, pp. 390-92).

[1844] 2 JANUARY. WILMINGTON, DELAWARE. The Delaware State Journal publishes a letter from “Academicus,” a correspondent in Newark, Delaware, who describes the lecture on “American Poetry” Poe delivered to the students and faculty of the Newark Academy, “as well as a considerable number of the more intelligent of the citizens of the place,” on 23 December 1843:

After a graceful exordium and prospective apology for the foreseen necessary length of remarks designed to cover so wide a field, our Lecturer approached the body of his theme. The proper criterion by which we may safely judge of the present state of the poetic art in America and of the comparative excellence of the productions of our different bards first occupied his attention. In this part of the subject the system of puffery at present common with our newspapers, magazines, and even dignified reviews was most clearly and indignantly exposed and condemned. Editors of newspapers building up large Libraries for which they pay by wholesale and indiscriminate puffs of works whose title pages they have hardly had time to copy. — Authors reviewing and praising their own writings, or securing the bespoken praises of a friend — booksellers and publishers promoting the sale of [page 447:] their goods by measures equally corrupt, all received their full share of severe rebuke. . . .

After showing the incompetency of our criticism, as at present managed, to present a true picture of American Poetry, our Lecturer turned to an inspection of the works themselves of our poets — and especially to the several “collections” of American poetry which have successively appeared as representing the state of the art in our country. After a cursory examination and criticism of some five or six such “collections” in the order of their publication, the late compilation of Rev. Rufus W. Griswold, styled the “Poets and Poetry of America,” was introduced — as the last and best — tho’ by no means unobjectionable. This book and its author were handled by the critical Lecturer in not the most gentle manner. Many names had been inserted which Apollo would have refused and some (such as Morris and Conrad) left out, which the muses have acknowledged. The selections from those admitted have been made with a miserable want of judgment — the worst specimens being often chosen instead of the best, — and an extravagant proportion of space allotted to personal friends — altho’ inferior poets — (as in the case of Mr. Hoffman) — while superior merit has been put off with a single page. After thus preparing the way, some eight or ten of our lady poets were introduced one by one and dismissed to their appropriate seats in the temple of Fame, after whom, came the five steel plate faces of Mr. Griswold’s frontispiece, in their order — Dana, Bryant, Halleck, Sprague and Longfellow.

The whole was closed with a highly philosophical and eloquent discourse on the true end and province of poetry and condemnation of what the Lecturer was pleased to term the “didacticism” of modern Poetry.

[1844] 6 JANUARY. PHILADELPHIA. The Irish Citizen, a weekly newspaper now edited by Thomas Dunn English, contains “several chapters of a tale entitled ‘The Doom of the Drinker, or Revel and Retribution’ ” (Public Ledger, 10 January).

[1844] 8 JANUARY. In the United States Gazette Joseph R. Chandler reports: “We learn that Edgar A. Poe, Esq., has consented to repeat, at the Museum, on Wednesday night, his admired lecture on the Poets and Poetry of America. His first lecture was attended by one of the largest and most fashionable audiences of the season; and the Museum will doubtless be crowded by hundreds who were then unable to gain admission.” In the Spirit of the Times John S. Du Solle comments: “Mr. Poe is a correct and graceful reader, and his lecture is not only beautifully written, but commends itself by its good sense and good judgment to the attention of every person of taste.” Robert Morris of the Pennsylvania Inquirer also reports that Poe “will repeat his lecture . . . with further illustrations.”

[1844] 9 JANUARY. In the Inquirer Morris comments:

The lecture of Mr. Poe on the Poets and Poetry of America, — one of the most [page 448:] brilliant and successful of the season, will be repeated to-morrow evening, at the Museum. Mr. Poe is one of the most vigorous and beautiful writers in the country, and as a critic, has won great reputation, by the ability, independence, and boldness of his strictures. His style of delivery is finished and effective, and his lecture, which was listened to by a very large and fashionable audience with delight, is certainly one of the best ever delivered in this city. He will doubtless be greeted by a crowded auditory.

Chandler also gives a second notice in his United States Gazette: “Those who would hear a good lecture well delivered should go to the Museum TOMORROW evening . . . . Mr. Poe is himself a poet, an acute critic, and a vigorous prose writer. It is well occasionally to hear such an one upon his own craft, and his fellow craftsmen.” The Public Ledger comments: “The subject [of the lecture] is one of much interest, and in Mr. Poe the audience will find one well qualified by judgment, good taste and perfect independence, to do full justice to it.” In another column the Ledger carries an advertisement:

LECTURE ON AMERICAN POETRY — The Lecture on “American Poetry,” lately delivered before the William Wirt Institute, by EDGAR A. POE, Esq., will be repeated, with additional illustrations, TO-MORROW (Wednesday) EVENING, at the Lecture Room of the Museum, in GEORGE Street. Tickets may be had at Graham’s Periodical Depot, or at Berford’s “Publishers’ Hall,’ or at the Museum on the night of the Lecture. Single tickets, 25 cents; tickets admitting a gentleman and two ladies, 50 cents. Doors open at half past 6. Lecture to commence at a quarter past 7.

[1844] 10 JANUARY. The advertisement is repeated in the Ledger. Du Solle of the [[Spirit of the]] Times notices the lecture for a second time, describing it as “full of vigorous thought, surpassing taste, and sparkling images.” Morris of the Inquirer mentions it for a third time: “A literary treat of no common kind may be looked for.” Two daily papers, the Philadelphia Gazette and the Pennsylvanian, announce the lecture for the first time. In the weekly Citizen Soldier George Lippard comments:

LECTURE BY MR. POE. — It is with sincere pleasure we perceive that the excellent lecture lately delivered before the Wm. Wirt Institute by Edgar A. Poe, will be repeated this evening at the Lecture Room of the Philadelphia Museum. The subject “American Poetry,” was handled in the lecture, in an able, effective and original manner, calling forth the most enthusiastic demonstrations of applause from the audience. Mr. Poe is rapidly adding to his towering fame as Poet, Author, Critic, in his new capacity of lecturer; and all friends of a correct and healthy national literature hail with delight, the appearance of an able and eloquent advocate of the right and caustic censor of the wrong. We hope in a short time, to have it in our power to welcome the appearance of a sound Magazine, devoted to all the higher objects of American Literature, edited, owned and controlled by Mr. Poe, and do now most heartily bid him “God-speed” in the cause. [page 449:]

[1844] 10 JANUARY. Poe lectures in the Philadelphia Museum, northeast corner of Ninth and George (or Sansom) Streets (implied by advance notices).

[1844] 11 JANUARY. Thomas C. Clarke resigns the editorship of the Saturday Museum (valedictory in 20 January issue).

[1844] 13 JANUARY. Poe writes Joel B. Sutherland, a former Congressman now serving as the naval officer of the Custom House: “Will you permit me to introduce to you my friend Mr Robert Travers, of this city, who will hand you this note? He is an applicant for a post in the Revenue Service. If you could further his views in any regard, I would consider myself as under the very deepest personal obligation.” Travers is not only “an experienced seaman,” but a member “of the Hughes’ family,’ from the Philadelphia suburb of Southwark, who have “always possessed much political influence” (L, 1:240-41).

[1844] BEFORE 20 JANUARY. Graham’s Magazine for February contains Poe’s review of Eugène Sue’s novel The Mysteries of Paris (attribution in Mabbott [1932], p. 441).

[1844] 20 JANUARY. COLUMBIA, PENNSYLVANIA. The Columbia Spy reviews the February Graham’s (Spannuth and Mabbott, p. 121).

[1844] 24 JANUARY. BALTIMORE. The Sun reports:

LECTURE BY EDGAR A. POE, ESQ. — We have authority to promise our readers an evening’s entertainment within a short time, to consist of a lecture by Mr. Edgar A. Poe, the subject of which we learn will be “American Poetry.” It is scarcely necessary for us to do more than introduce this gentleman by name, as he is so well and popularly known to every admirer of modern literature, not only by the exquisite productions of his own imaginative genius, but by his elaborate, daring and caustic criticisms, which have from time to time enriched the pages of the most popular magazines of the day, and proved him abundantly capable of the task he now proposes. The author of “Tales of the Arabesque and the Picturesque,” and within a short time past admired in that ingenious production of his pen, “The Gold Bug,” which took the first prize of “The Dollar Newspaper,” is sure of a hearty welcome in this city, and equally sure to be honored with, as he is to entertain, a crowded audience on his lecture night.

[1844] 27 JANUARY. Snodgrass reviews the February Graham’s in the Saturday Visiter: “We note an improvement in the critical department. Is not E. A. POE back again? The long article on Eugene Sue’s ‘Mysteries of Paris,’ could scarcely have been written by such a common-place critic as R. W. Griswold “ [page 450:]

[1844] 27 JANUARY, 3 FEBRUARY. NEW YORK. Park Benjamin’s New World reprints, in two installments, the critique of “American Poetry” from the London Foreign Quarterly Review.

[1844] 27? JANUARY PHILADELPHIA. The Irish Citizen contains “The Ghost of a Grey Tadpole, by Edgar A. Poe,” a clever burlesque of Poe’s fiction by Thomas Dunn English (Gravely, pp. 362-67; reprints of 31 January and 1 February).

[1844] BEFORE 29 JANUARY. Poe writes “Mr Clark” [presumably Thomas C. Clarke], asking to borrow money: “I am exceedingly anxious to try my fortune in Baltimore with a lecture or two, and wish, if possible, to go immediately” (L, 1:241).

[1844] CA. 29 JANUARY. BALTIMORE. Poe asks the editors of several newspapers to publish advance notices of his lecture (Poe to Isaac Munroe, 31 January).

[1844] 30 JANUARY. The Republican and Daily Argus comments: “Mr. Poe’s lecture — American poetry. — It affords us much pleasure at being able to announce to our readers that our esteemed friend, Edgar A. Poe, Esq., will deliver a lecture on the above very interesting subject to-morrow evening at the Odd Fellows’ Hall. It will be remembered that Mr. Poe is the author of several excellent prize essays, which have afforded so much pleasure to all who have read them. The literary attainments and eminent talent of this gentleman, are of themselves sufficiently indicatory that the subject selected by him will be most ably handled.”

[1844] 31 JANUARY. Three morning papers mention Poe’s lecture. The editors of the Sun comment:

LECTURE OF EDGAR A. POE, ESQ. — It will be seen by a notice in another part of our paper, that the lecture of Mr. Poe, on “American Poetry,” heretofore announced, will be delivered this evening, in the Egyptian Saloon of [the] Odd Fellows’ Hall. The name of the lecturer, the subject of the lecture, and the well known adaptation of the talents of the one to the material of the other, form a combination of attractions which will irresistibly result in a crowded audience — and our word for it a delighted one. — We have never yet confessed to the sin of poetry — jogging along steadily in humble prose with now and then the guilt of a poetic quotation only on our heads, we say boldly, “Let the galled jade wince; our withers are unwrung.”

An advertisement appears on the first page:

A LECTURE ON “AMERICAN POETRY” will be delivered by EDGAR A. POE, in the ODD FELLOWS’ HALL, in Gay street, on THIS (Wednesday) EVENING, 31st, at half past 7 o’clock, Single tickets 25 cents; admitting a gentleman and two ladies, 50 [page 451:] cents — to be had at Mr. Hickman’s book store, at Mr. Isaac P. Cook’s, and at the door.

The American observes that Poe’s subject “affords an excellent and interesting theme; and will, without doubt, be treated with ability.” The Baltimore Clipper requests attendance at this lecture by a well-known author.

[1844] 31 JANUARY. Poe writes Isaac Munroe, editor of the Baltimore Patriot: “I have been endeavouring for the last two days to see you and beg of you to do me the kindness to call attention, in the ‘Patriot’ to a lecture on ‘American Poetry’ . . . . If not too late, will you say a good word for me in this afternoon’s paper” (L, 1:241-42).

[1844] 31 JANUARY. Two afternoon papers notice Poe’s lecture. In the Patriot Munroe prints a brief announcement. The Republican and Daily Argus reminds its readers of the lecture it mentioned yesterday: “The lecture will doubtless be an able one, and we doubt not will attract a numerous audience.”

[1844] 31 JANUARY. In the evening Poe lectures at the Odd Fellows’ Hall, 30 North Gay Street (corner of Gay and Fayette).

[1844] 31 JANUARY. PHILADELPHIA. In the Citizen Soldier Lippard reprints “The Ghost of a Grey Tadpole, by Edgar A. Poe” from the Irish Citizen, without comment and presumably without recognizing it as a hoax by English.

[1844] 1 FEBRUARY. BALTIMORE. The Republican and Daily Argus reprints “The Ghost of a Grey Tadpole, by Edgar A. Poe” from the Irish Citizen, without comment.

[1844] 1 FEBRUARY. At 7:00 AM Poe writes his early benefactor John P. Kennedy: “Some matters which would not be put off, have taken me to Elkton [Maryland] — so that I shall not have the pleasure of dining with you today, as proposed. Before leaving Baltimore, however, I hope to give you another call” (L, 2:704).

[1844] 3 FEBRUARY. In the Saturday Visiter Snodgrass comments:

Edgar A. Poe delivered a lecture in Odd-Fellows Hall, on Wednesday evening — theme “American poetry.” He was very entertaining, and enforced his views well — though to some of them we cannot assent. For instance — that the inculcation of truth is not the highest aim of poetry! He was witheringly severe upon Rufus W. Griswold, and declared it was a shame that he placed the name of N. C. Brooks in the “appendix” — and so it was a “shame” — but we think we should have prefer[r]ed silence on the topic, had we been placed among the ephemera of a [page 452:] volume large enough certainly to admit of putting all in the body of the work! But such alas, is often the fate of “undiscovered genius.”

[1844] BEFORE 9 FEBRUARY? PHILADELPHIA. Poe writes Lowell in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He wishes to deliver his lecture on “American Poetry” in Boston, and he asks Lowell to ascertain whether any learned society in that city would be willing to sponsor it (Lowell’s 6 March reply).

[1844] 9 FEBRUARY. George R. Graham writes Longfellow in Cambridge, Massachusetts:

I send the proof here with [of a contribution to the April Graham’s.] I wish it had been original, as such are worth three times the sum to a magazine. A translation is merely noticed by the press while an original from your pen is always widely copied and commented on.

However I hold you to your promise of an original soon, and am obliged to you for sending the enclosed. . . .

I have a savage review of your “Spanish Student” from the pen of Poe, which shall not appear in Graham. I do not know what your crime may be in the eyes of Poe, but suppose it may be a better, and more widely established reputation. Or if you have wealth — which I hope you have — that is sufficient to settle your damnation so far as Mr Poe may be presumed capable of effecting it[.]

The rascal borrowed some money of me the other day to take him to Boston and I learned within the hour afterward abused me at the next corner as an exclusive. I am so unfortunate as to have many of his MSS. to cover loans, but we part company as soon as I publish some of the least venomous. I had to suffer $30 for the review of you and you shall have it for as many cents when you come along this way. I do not suppose it will ever be redeemed, and I doubt if the writer of it will be (MH-H; cf. Poe to Graham, 10 March 1845).

[1844] 18 FEBRUARY. Poe writes Lippard, evaluating his latest novel The Ladye Annabel: “The opinion I expressed to you, personally, was based, as I told you, upon a very cursory examination. It has been confirmed, however, by a subsequent reading at leisure. You seem to have been in too desperate a hurry to give due attention to details; and thus your style, although generally nervous, is at times somewhat exuberant — but the work, as a whole, will be admitted, by all but your personal enemies, to be richly inventive and imaginative — indicative of genius in its author.” Poe advises Lippard not to worry about these enemies: “Let a fool alone — especially if he be both a scoundrel and a fool — and he will kill himself far sooner than you can kill him by any active exertion” (L, 1:242-43).

[1844] BEFORE 22 FEBRUARY. Graham’s Magazine for March contains Poe’s laudatory critique of Richard Henry Horne’s epic Orion and his unsigned review of Lowell’s Poems (Hull, p. 394). [page 453:]

[1844] 22 FEBRUARY. Du Solle notices Graham’s in the Spirit of the Times: “The review of ‘Orion,’ by Edgar A. Poe, is a rare production — one of those strong, thoughtful, intelligible, and truth-telling papers, which only come across us about once in a century.”

[1844] 23 FEBRUARY. JACKSON, TENNESSEE. John Tomlin writes Poe. He forwarded “the libellous letter” of Lambert A. Wilmer on 10 September 1843; since then he has not heard from Poe:

Did you inflict on him [Wilmer] a chastisement equal to the injury he designed, by the publication of such scandals? Previous to the reception of that letter, I had entertained a good opinion of the “Quacks of Helicon” man, and it had been brought about in a great measure by your Review of the Book. In his former letters, he not only spoke kindly of you, but seemed disposed to become your advocate, against the littérateurs of Philadelphia. I hope that you will forgive him, and that he will go, and “Sin no more.”

Your Review of “Orion” . . . I have read with much pleasure. The article is one of great ability (W, 17:158).

[1844] CA. MARCH. PHILADELPHIA. In the company of Henry B. Hirst, Poe expresses a desire to see an article in an early volume of the Southern Literary Messenger. Hirst borrows the volume for Poe from the private library of William Duane, Jr., a Philadelphia scholar. Poe subsequently asks Mrs. Clemm to return it to Hirst; instead of complying, she sells it to the bookseller William A. Leary, 158 North Second Street (Poe to Duane, 28 October 1844 and 28 January 1845; Duane’s annotations on these letters; see also Bandy [1982], pp. 81-95).

[1844] 1 MARCH. Poe replies to John C. Myers, Samuel Williams, and William Greaff, Jr., of Reading, Pennsylvania, who have invited him to deliver his lecture on “American Poetry” before the Mechanics’ Institute there: “Through some accident which I am at a loss to understand, your letter dated and postmarked Decr 29, has only this moment come to hand; having been lying, ever since, in the Phila P. Office. . . . I presume that your Lectures are over for the season; but, should this not be the case, it will give me great pleasure to deliver a Discourse before your Society” (L, 1:244).

[1844] 5 MARCH. READING, PENNSYLVANIA. Williams and Greaff reply to Poe, inviting him to lecture on 12 March (Poe’s 7 March reply).

[1844] 6 MARCH. CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS. Lowell replies to Poe’s “last letter.” He does not believe that Poe’s lecture on “American Poetry” would succeed in Boston at the present time. The lectures “of a more literary [page 454:] class” have been concluded for the year: “I spoke to the secretary of the Boston Lyceum about the probability of your success if you came experimentally, and he shook his head. It is not a matter in which I feel myself competent to judge — my bump of hope being quite too large. I asked him about engaging you for next year & he seemed very much pleased with the plan & said that the Society would be glad to do it.” The lectures sponsored by the Lyceum hold “the highest rank”; the Society pays each speaker “from fifty to a hundred dollars, as their purse is full or empty.” Lowell will soon forward a sketch of his life to Poe, who has offered to write the notice of him for the “Our Contributors” series now appearing in Graham’s Magazine: “Outwardly it [Lowell’s life] has been simple enough, but inwardly every man’s life must be more or less of a curiosity. . . . When will Graham give us your portrait? I hope you will have it done well when it is done, & quickly too” (W, 17:158-60).

[1844] 7 MARCH. PHILADELPHIA. Poe replies to the 5 March letter from Williams and Greaff of Reading, agreeing to lecture there on next Tuesday, 12 March: “Please reply by return of mail and let me know at what place I shall meet the Committee” (L, 1:244-45).

[1844] 9 MARCH. READING, PENNSYLVANIA. The Berks and Schuylkill Journal announces that “A stated meeting of the Mechanics’ Institute . . . on Tuesday evening next at 7:00 o’clock” will feature a “lecture by Edgar A. Poe of Philadelphia.” Another notice appears in the Reading Gazette: “Lecture — Edgar A. Poe, Esq. will deliver a Lecture before the Mechanics’ Institute, and the public, on Tuesday evening, next at the Academy Hall. Subject. — ‘American Poetry’ ” (Nolan, p. 15).

[1844] 11 MARCH. PHILADELPHIA. The Public Ledger reports that Poe will lecture in Reading: “The people of that borough will be pleased with the lecture.”

[1844] 12 MARCH. Du Solle announces Poe’s lecture in the Spirit of the Times: “Mr. P. is a finished scholar; a man of taste, genius, and nice discrimination.”

[1844] 12? MARCH. READING. Poe delivers his lecture (see 21 MARCH).

[1844] 15 MARCH. PHILADELPHIA. Poe writes Cornelius Mathews in New York: “I have a letter and small parcel for Mr Horne, your friend, and the author of ‘Orion’. Would you be so kind as to furnish me with his address?” Poe thanks Mathews for copies of his “able pamphlet on the International Copy-Right Question” and his novel Puffer Hopkins; he apologizes for the “impudent and flippant critique” of Mathews’ epic poem Wakondah published in Graham’s Magazine for February 1842. “Since I scribbled the [page 455:] article in question, you yourself have given me fifty good reasons for being ashamed of it” (L, 1:245-46).

[1844] AFTER 15 MARCH. Poe writes Richard Henry Horne in London, forwarding a manuscript of his new tale “The Spectacles.” He asks Horne to secure its publication in a British magazine (Horne to Poe, 16 and 27 April; Moldenhauer [1977], p. 186).

[1844] 21 MARCH. BALTIMORE. The Sun reports: “EDGAR A. POE, ESQ. — This distinguished writer delivered his much extolled lecture on the ‘Poets and Poetry of America,’ at Reading, Pa., on Wednesday [Tuesday?] evening last. He was greeted by a large and highly respectable audience, and they testified their approbation of the lecture by repeated bursts of applause.”

[1844] 22 MARCH. SOUTH ATTLEBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS. Abijah M. Ide, Jr., writes Poe: “I am now at my old home again and, in the coming Spring and Summer, I shall plough the same old fields, and make hay on the greensward, that first gave me lessons in labor.” Recently Ide had the good fortune to acquire some money, and he purchased volumes of poetry by Longfellow, Lowell, Whittier, and George Lunt. “I wish you would mention to me, such volumes as you think would do me most profit to read.” In spite of “the wearisome tasks” Ide had to perform during the past winter, he managed to write many poems: “I have published little. A total lack of acquaintance with gentlemen connected with the literary Magazines & newspapers, has withheld me from offering but few lines for publication. — I sent a brief poem to John Inman, (for the Columbian), which was immediately published; (in the March no.). You will find it on page 139 — ‘Strife.’ . . . What publication would you advise me to send my poetry to; and ought I to send it anonymously, or not? You know better about those things than I do” (W, 17:162-64).

[1844] BEFORE 23 MARCH. PHILADELPHIA. Godey’s Lady’s Book contains Poe’s “A Tale of the Ragged Mountains.”

[1844] 23 MARCH. BALTIMORE. The Weekly Sun reprints this story from Godey’s (Phillips, 1:859).

[1844] 27 MARCH. PHILADELPHIA. The Dollar Newspaper contains “The Spectacles.” On another page the editor Joseph Sailer comments: “We publish this week from the pen of Edgar A. Poe, Esq., a story under the title of ‘The Spectacles’, to which we call the attention of the readers of the ‘Newspaper’ under the assurance that they will join us in the opinion that it is one of the best from his chaste and able pen and second only to the [page 456:] popular prize production, ‘The Gold Bug.’ Who will go without ‘Spectacles’ when an article so handsomely furnished may be obtained for 3 cents?” (Moldenhauer [1977], pp. 179, 183).

[1844] 27, 28, 29 MARCH. In the Spirit of the Times Du Solle reprints “A Tale of the Ragged Mountains” in three installments, from Godey’s.

[1844] 28 MARCH. Du Solle comments: “THE DOLLAR NEWSPAPER of this week is a choice number. Poe’s Story of ‘The Spectacles’ is alone worth double the price of the paper.”

[1844] 30 MARCH. Poe replies to Lowell’s 6 March letter. He discusses the “Our Contributors” series of Graham’s Magazine: “Graham has been speaking to me, lately, about your Biography, and I am anxious to write it at once — always provided you have no objection. Could you forward me the materials within a day or two? . . . You inquire about my own portrait. It has been done for some time — but is better as an engraving, than as a portrait. It scarcely resembles me at all. When it will appear I cannot say. . . . My Life is not yet written, and I am at a sad loss for a Biographer — for Graham insists upon leaving the matter to myself.” Poe asks: “Have you seen the article on ‘American Poetry’ in the ‘London Foreign Quarterly’? It has been denied that Dickens wrote it — but, to me, the article affords so strong internal evidence of his hand that I would as soon think of doubting my existence. He tells much truth — although he evinces much ignorance and more spleen.” Like the British critic, however, Poe believes that the present condition of American literature is “dreadful.” The remedy is “a well-founded Monthly Journal” which could set the tone for the nation’s letters: “Such a journal might, perhaps, be set on foot by a coalition, and, thus set on foot, with proper understanding, would be irresistible. Suppose, for example, that the élite of our men of letters should combine secretly. . . . The articles to be supplied by the members solely, and upon a concerted plan of action. A nominal editor to be elected from among the number. . . . If we do not defend ourselves by some such coalition, we shall be devoured, without mercy, by the Godeys, the Snowdens, et id genus omne” (L, 1:246-48).

[1844] 6 APRIL. NEW YORK. Early in the morning Poe and Virginia leave Philadelphia, travelling by train to Perth Amboy, New Jersey, where they take the steamer to New York. Poe rents a room in a boardinghouse at 130 Greenwich Street in lower Manhattan, near the Hudson River (Quinn, pp. 406-08).

[1844] 7 APRIL. Poe writes Mrs. Clemm in Philadelphia, describing yesterday’s trip: [page 457:]

We started in good spirits, but did not get here until nearly 3 o’clock. We went in the cars to Amboy about 40 miles from N. York, and then took the steamboat the rest of the way. — Sissy [Virginia] coughed none at all. When we got to the wharf it was raining hard. I left her on board the boat, after putting the trunks in the Ladies’ Cabin, and set off to buy an umbrella and look for a boardinghouse. . . . When we got to the house we had to wait about 1/2 an hour before the room was ready. . . . Last night, for supper, we had the nicest tea you ever drank, strong & hot — wheat bread & rye bread — cheese — tea-cakes (elegant) a great dish (2 dishes) of elegant ham, and 2 of cold veal, piled up like a mountain and large slices — 3 dishes of the cakes, and every thing in the greatest profusion. No fear of starving here. The landlady seemed as if she could’nt press us enough, and we were at home directly. . . . We have now got 4 $ and a half left. Tomorrow I am going to try & borrow 3 $ — so that I may have a fortnight to go upon. I feel in excellent spirits & have’nt drank a drop — so that I hope soon to get out of trouble. The very instant I scrape together enough money I will send it on. You ca’nt imagine how much we both do miss you. Sissy had a hearty cry last night, because you and Catterina [the family cat] weren’t here.

In a postscript Poe reminds Mrs. Clemm to return the volume of the Southern Literary Messenger which Hirst borrowed for him from William Duane, Jr. (L, 1:251-53; facsimile in Quinn and Hart, pp. 19-21).

[1844] BEFORE 13 APRIL. Poe sells “The Balloon-Hoax” to Moses Y. Beach, editor of the [[New York]] Sun.

[1844] 13 APRIL. The regular morning edition of the [[New York]] Sun carries an announcement under the heading “Postscript”:


We stop the press at a late hour, to announce that, by a Private Express from Charleston, S. C., we are just put in possession of full details of the most extraordinary adventure ever accomplished by man. The Atlantic Ocean has been actually traversed in a balloon, and in the incredibly brief period of Three Days! Eight persons have crossed in the machine — among others Sir Everard Bringhurst and Mr. Monck Mason. — We have barely time now to announce this most novel and unexpected intelligence; but we hope by 10 this morning to have ready an Extra with a detailed account of the voyage.

PS. — The Extra will be positively ready, and for sale at our counter, by 10 o’clock this morning. It will embrace all the particulars yet known. We have also placed in the hands of an excellent artist a representation of the “STEERING BALLOON,” which will accompany the particulars of the voyage.

[1844] 13 APRIL. MID-DAY. Poe’s story is issued as a one-page broadside under the masthead “THE EXTRA SUN”: [page 458:]

ASTOUNDING / NEWS! / BY EXPRESS VIA NORFOLK! / [rule] / THE / ATLANTIC CROSSED / IN / THREE DAYS! / [rule] / SIGNAL TRIUMPH / OF / MR. MONCK MASON’S / FLYING / MACHINE!!! / [rule] / Arrival at Sullivan’s Island, / near Charleston, S. C., of / Mr. Mason, Mr. Robert Hol- / land, Mr. Henson, Mr. Har- / rison Ainsworth, and four / others, in the / STEERING BALLOON / “VICTORIA,” / AFTER A PASSAGE OF / SEVENTY-FIVE HOURS / FROM LAND TO LAND. / [rule] / FULL PARTICULARS / OF THE / VOYAGE!!!

[In his second dispatch to the Columbia Spy, published on 25 May, Poe commented:

Talking of “expresses” — the “Balloon-Hoax” made a far more intense sensation than anything of that character since the “Moon-Story” of Locke. On the morning (Saturday) of its announcement, the whole square surrounding the “Sun” building was literally besieged, blocked up — ingress and egress being alike impossible, from a period soon after sunrise until about two o’clock P.M. In Saturday’s regular issue, it was stated that the news had been just received, and that an “Extra” was then in preparation, which would be ready at ten. It was not delivered, however, until nearly noon. In the meantime I never witnessed more intense excitement to get possession of a newspaper. As soon as the few first copies made their way into the streets, they were bought up, at almost any price, from the news-boys, who made a profitable speculation beyond doubt. I saw a half-dollar given, in one instance, for a single paper, and a shilling [12 1/2 cents] was a frequent price. I tried, in vain, during the whole day, to get possession of a copy. It was excessively amusing, however, to hear the comments of those who had read the “Extra.” Of course there was great discrepancy of opinion as regards the authenticity of the story; but I observed that the more intelligent believed, while the rabble, for the most part, rejected the whole with disdain (Spannuth and Mabbott, p. 33).

Richard Adams Locke’s famous “Moon-Hoax” had appeared in the Sun in August 1835.]

[1844] 14 APRIL. Major Mordecai M. Noah reprints “The Balloon-Hoax” in his Sunday Times. Another Sunday paper, the Mercury, carries a spoof of Poe’s story headed “Astounding Intelligence from the Man in the Moon” (Mabbott [1978], 3:1067).

The Balloon Hoax, from the New York Sun, April 13, 1844 [thumbnail]

[Illustration on page 459]
“The Balloon-Hoax” in the Sun, 13 April

[1844] 15 APRIL. In its daily and semiweekly editions the New York American reports:

The Sun has issued an Extra with a poor imitation of the Moon Hoax in the shape of a narrative of a balloon voyage across the Atlantic in three days — the particulars of which, it purports to have received express from Charleston, where the balloon landed on Tuesday.

The express, which has hardly outstripped the ordinary mail, must also have brought along a woodcut of the balloon, as the Sun has the picture as well as the story — one as good as the other. [page 460:]

James Gordon Bennett of the New York Herald castigates an editorial adversary:

BEACH’S LAST HOAX. — On Saturday last the community were very much exasperated by being imposed upon by a ridiculous hoax, issued by that manufacturer of hoaxes of all kinds, whether in banking or anything else, that offers the prospect of “turning a penny,” Moses Y. Beach. This hoax was in the form of an extra, giving an account of the arrival at Charleston, S. C., of a balloon from England, and extracts from the journal of the voyageurs. When this blundering blockhead had an intention of getting up something in the hoaxing line, he ought to have engaged some person who had common sense and who had information enough to preserve localities and other necessary circumstances in such a narrative. But it was so blunderingly got up — so ridiculously put together — so preposterously issued . . . .

The Sun carries this retraction:

BALLOON. — The mails from the South last Saturday night not having brought a confirmation of the arrival of the Balloon from England, the particulars of which from our correspondent we detailed in our Extra, we are inclined to believe that the intelligence is erroneous. The description of the Balloon and the voyage was written with a minuteness, and scientific ability calculated to obtain credit every where, and was read with great pleasure and satisfaction. We by no means think such a project impossible.

[1844] 15 APRIL. PHILADELPHIA. The Native American publishes a humorous commentary on “The Balloon-Hoax” (Mabbott [1978], 3:1067).

[1844] 16 APRIL. LONDON. Horne replies to Poe’s letter written from Philadelphia after 15 March. Many British literati have been displeased by Horne’s New Spirit of the Age, containing his critical essays on living authors; therefore he can do little at present to promote Poe’s interests in this country. Perhaps Horne can insert “The Spectacles,” the manuscript Poe forwarded, in Jerrold’s Illuminated Magazine: “Jerrold has always spoken and written very handsomely and eloquently about me, and there would be no difficulty. But — I fear this magazine is not doing at all well. I tell you this in confidence. They have a large but inadequate circulation. The remuneration would be scarcely worth having — ten guineas a sheet is poor pay for such a page! And now, perhaps, they do not even give that. . . . Your name is well known to me in the critical literature of America, although I have not seen any American magazine for some months” (Woodberry, 2:50-52).

[Horne was unable to place Poe’s tale. “I tried several magazines. Not an editor would touch it” (Horne to S. S. Rice, 8 April 1876, in Rice, pp. 81-84).] [page 461:]

[1844] 20 APRIL. PHILADELPHIA. The Saturday Courier reprints a portion of “The Balloon-Hoax,” explaining:

We make the short extracts above for the purpose of showing very briefly to our readers the nature of the narrative. It is stated that about 50,000 of the extras were sold, notwithstanding the absurdity of the details which it contained.

We think every intelligent reader will be disposed to regard this attempt to hoax as not even possessing the character of pleasantry. The celebrated “Moon Hoax,” issued from the office of the New York Sun, many years ago, was an ingenious essay; but that is more than can be said of this “Balloon Story.”

[1844] 20 APRIL. COLUMBIA, PENNSYLVANIA. The Columbia Spy reports that the Sun has issued an extra describing a transatlantic balloon voyage: “The joke is an imitation of the moon hoax published in the same paper several years since” (Spannuth and Mabbott, p. 121).

[1844] 27 APRIL. The Spy reprints Poe’s “A Tale of the Ragged Mountains” (Spannuth and Mabbott, p. 121).

[1844] 27 APRIL. LONDON. Horne writes Poe again: “When I replied to your letter (which I did by the next post of the day on which I received it) I had not seen the number of ‘Graham’s’ for March, containing the review of ‘Orion. . . . It would be uncandid in me to appear to agree to all the objections; and, amidst such high praise, so independently and courageously awarded, it would be ungrateful in me to offer any self-justificatory remark on any such objections. I shall, therefore, only observe that there are some objections from which I can derive advantage in the way of revision — which is more than I can say of any of the critiques written on this side of the water. . . . Would any American bookseller like to reprint ‘Orion,” do you think?” (Woodberry, 2:52-55).

[1844] MAY? NEW YORK. Mrs. Clemm joins Poe and Virginia.

[1844] BEFORE 14 MAY. Poe receives Horne’s 16 April letter, forwarded from Philadelphia (Columbia Spy, 18 May).

[1844] 18 MAY. COLUMBIA, PENNSYLVANIA. In the Columbia Spy, a weekly newspaper of limited circulation, the editor Eli Bowen remarks: “Edgar A. Poe, Esq., well known to the Literary public as an eminent scholar and a distinguished critic, we are pleased to announce to our readers, will, in future, be a regular contributor to the Spy. Besides other matters, he will furnish us with a weekly ‘Correspondence’ from the City of New York, where he has taken up his residence for the present.” The issue contains [page 462:] Poe’s first dispatch, dated 14 May, in which he describes his wanderings “far and wide over this island of Mannahatta” and quotes from Horne’s 16 April letter (Spannuth and Mabbott, pp. 23-29, 121).

[1844] 20 MAY. PHILADELPHIA. Horne’s 27 April letter is forwarded to New York (Ostrom [1981], p. 216).

[1844] CA. 20 MAY. Graham’s Magazine for June contains Poe’s signed poem “Dream-Land” as well as two unsigned criticisms, “Our Contributors, No. XII: Robert T. Conrad” and a review of Epes Sargent’s The Light of the Light House, and Other Poems (attributions in Hull, pp. 394-95, and Mabbott [1932], p. 441).

[1844] 21 MAY. NEW YORK. Poe writes Nathaniel P. Willis at the office of the New Mirror:

Seeing that you, now and then, published Original Papers in the “New Mirror,” I have ventured to send you a Tale [“The Oblong Box”] and an Essay for consideration. If you could afford me anything for them, or for either of them, I would feel highly honored by their appearance in your paper. I have long been exceedingly anxious to make the acquaintance of the author of “Melanie,” and, more especially, of a little poem entitled “Unseen Spirits,” and would have called upon you personally, but that I am ill in health and wretchedly depressed in spirits. By and bye I will try and find you at the office of the “Mirror.” Will you please reply, at your leisure, through the P. Office? Should you not be able to accept the articles, I would be obliged if you would retain them until I see you (Crocker, p. 232).

[1844] AFTER 21 MAY. Willis either sees or writes Poe: he praises “The Oblong Box” but explains that the Mirror cannot pay for original contributions (Poe to Mrs. S. J. Hale, 29 May).

[1844] 25 MAY. COLUMBIA, PENNSYLVANIA. The Spy contains Poe’s second dispatch, dated 21 May, in which he describes the reception of “The Balloon-Hoax,” acknowledges the sketch of Conrad in the June Graham’s, and discusses Willis and the Mirror (Spannuth and Mabbott, pp. 31-37).

[1844] 28 MAY. NEW YORK. Poe replies to a letter from Lowell in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who has offered to write his biography for the “Our Contributors” series of Graham’s. “I received yours last night — forwarded from Philadelphia to this city, where I intend living for the future: Touching the Biography — I would be very proud, indeed, if you would write it — and did, certainly, say to myself, and I believe to Graham — that such was my wish; but as I fancied the job might be disagreeable, I did not venture to suggest it to yourself.” Poe encloses a copy of the Saturday Museum [page 463:] containing his biography and poems: “Besides the Tales enumerated in the foot-note, I have written ‘The Spectacles’; ‘The Oblong Box’; ‘A Tale of the Ragged Mountains’; ‘The Premature Burial’; ‘The Purloined Letter’; ‘The System of Doctors Tar and Fether’; ‘The Black Cat’; ‘The Elk’; ‘Diddling Considered as one of the Exact Sciences;’ ‘Mesmeric Revelation;[[’]] ‘The Gold-Bug;’ ‘Thou art the Man[[’]] . . . . Those Italicized are as yet unpublished . . . . Of the ‘Gold-Bug’ (my most successful tale) more than 300,000 copies have been circulated” (L, 1:253-54).

[1844] 29 MAY. Poe writes Mrs. Sarah J. Hale in Philadelphia: “A day or two ago, I handed an article, ‘The Oblong Box’, to Mr Willis, under the impression that he occasionally purchased original papers for ‘The New-Mirror’. This I found, however, not to be the case.” Willis recommended the story for the Opal, a New York annual which he formerly edited. Poe called on the publisher, John C. Riker, who told him that Mrs. Hale, the new editor, would be solely responsible for the contents of the next volume. “Under these circumstances, I have thought it best to write you this letter, and to ask you if you could accept an article from me — whether you would wish to see the one in question — or whether you could be so kind as to take it, unseen, upon Mr Willis’ testimony in its favor” (L, 2:705).

[1844] 31 MAY. Poe replies to a “kind and very satisfactory letter” from Mrs. Hale in Philadelphia: “if you will be so good as to keep open for me the ten pages of which you speak, I will forward you, in 2 or 3 days, an article which will about occupy that space, and which I will endeavour to adapt to the character of ‘The Opal.’ The price you mention — 50 cts per page — will be amply sufficient . . . .” Poe will soon forward “a package” to Louis A. Godey (L, 1:255).

[1844] 31 MAY. Poe writes Edward L. Carey, partner in Carey & Hart, in Philadelphia: “I would take it as a very great favor if you could let me see the proof of my tale, ‘The Purloined Letter’, which will be in the next ‘Gift’. I am not, usually, solicitous about proofs; but, in this instance, the MS. had many interlineations and erasures, which may render my seeing one, necessary” (L, 2:706).

[1844] EARLY JUNE. Poe forwards his stories “The Oblong Box” and “Thou Art the Man” to Godey for the Lady’s Book (implied by Poe to Mrs. Hale, 31 May, and by Godey’s acknowledgment in the August number).

[1844] EARLY JUNE? The Poe family takes lodging in the two-story farmhouse of Patrick and Mary Brennan, located on Eighty-fourth Street between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway, then a rural neighborhood. Poe revises his [page 464:] unpublished poem “The Raven” while the Brennan’s young daughter Martha arranges his manuscripts (New York Mail and Express, 21 April 1900, p. 15; see also Gill, pp. 148-50, Phillips, 2:882-98, and W, 1:223-27).

[1844] 1 JUNE. COLUMBIA, PENNSYLVANIA. In the Spy Eli Bowen comments: “if the puffs of our contemporaries, etc., be any evidence, Mr. Poe’s letters are the best things afloat at present.” This issue contains Poe’s third dispatch, dated 27 May, in which he describes his visit to Blackwell’s Island (now Roosevelt Island) in the East River, a “day or two since” in “a light skiff.” Poe praises his friend William Ross Wallace; he condemns William W. Snowden’s Ladies’ Companion as “the ne plus ultra of ill-taste, impudence, and vulgar humbuggery” (Spannuth and Mabbott, pp. 39-45, 121-22).

[1844] 2 OR 3? JUNE. NEW YORK. Poe forwards “A Chapter of Suggestions,” his contribution to the Opal, to Mrs. Hale in Philadelphia (implied by Poe to Hale, 31 May).

[1844] 3 JUNE. Poe writes the poet Lewis J. Cist in Cincinnati: “Yours, dated April 30th, has only this moment reached me; having been lying, ever since, at Graham’s office. I have removed to New-York, where I intend residing for the next year or two — and this will account, in part, for my not receiving the package sooner.” He was deeply interested in “the memoirs” Cist sent him of another Cincinnati poet, Mrs. Rebecca S. Reed Nichols: “I have long admired her writings.” Poe promises to write George R. Graham today about the disposition of Cist’s poem “The Beaten Path” (L, 2:706-07).

[1844] 4 JUNE. Poe sends Bowen his fourth dispatch for the Columbia Spy, pencilling this request on the manuscript: “I would take it as a very great favor if you could mail me an X [$10] by return of mail, if possible” (L, 1:255-56; Spannuth and Mabbott, p. 55).

[1844] 5 JUNE. PHILADELPHIA. The Public Ledger contains “Singular Death,” a paragraph describing the death of an Englishman who accidentally swallowed a dart while playing “puff the dart.”

[Poe quoted the paragraph in his tale “The Angel of the Odd.”]

[1844] 8 JUNE. COLUMBIA, PENNSYLVANIA. The Spy contains Poe’s fourth dispatch, dated 4 June, in which he discusses Locke’s “Moon-Hoax,” the German-American novelist Charles Sealsfield, and the Antarctic Exploring Expedition originated by Jeremiah N. Reynolds (Spannuth and Mabbott, pp. 47-57). [page 465:]

[1844] 15 JUNE. The Spy contains Poe’s fifth dispatch, dated 12 June, in which he describes the architecture of Brooklyn and street pavements of Kyanized wood (Spannuth and Mabbott, pp. 59-64).

[1844] 15 JUNE. OAKY GROVE, GEORGIA. Thomas Holley Chivers writes Poe. He has received no answer to his last two letters, the first written on 7 December 1842 and the second about a year ago. “I see you still write for ‘Graham’s Magazine.’ He ought to give you ten thousand dollars a year for supervising it. . . . It is not my opinion that you ever have been, or ever will be, paid for your intellectual labour. You need never expect it, until you establish a Magazine of your own. . . . Your criticism of ‘Orion’ pleased me very much. . . . Your conception of the uses, or excellence, of Poetry is the loftiest I have seen. There is, in the perspicuous flow of your pure English, a subtle delicacy of expression which always pleases me — except when you tomahawk people! I cannot say that I like very much your dislike to Transcendentalism” (Chivers [1957], pp. 21-25).

[1844] 22 JUNE. COLUMBIA, PENNSYLVANIA. In the Spy Bowen remarks: “The Letter of our New York Correspondent [Poe’s 18 June dispatch] arrived too late for insertion in to-day’s paper” (Spannuth and Mabbott, p. 122).

[1844] 27 JUNE. ELMWOOD HOUSE, CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS. Lowell replies to Poe’s 28 May letter. For the past month he has been “stealing a kind of vacation from the pen,” but he is now resolved to begin work on Poe’s biography for Graham’s. “The newspaper you sent me will give me enough outward facts — but I want your own estimate of your life. Of course you need not write it as if for my use merely in the writing of this article — but as to a friend. I believe that the opinion a man has of himself (if he be accustomed to self-analysis) is of more worth than that of all the rest of the world.” Although Lowell agrees that the unsigned critique of “American Poetry” in the January Foreign Quarterly Review “was fair enough as far as the Conclusions the author came to were concerned,” he disputes the attribution Poe gave in his 30 March and 28 May letters: “It was not (I am quite sure) written by Dickens, but by a friend of his named Forster . . . . Dickens may have given him hints. Forster is a friend of some of the Longfellow clique here which perhaps accounts for his putting L. at the top of our Parnassus” (Woodberry, 2:87-89; Moss [1963], p. 158).

[1844] 29 JUNE. COLUMBIA, PENNSYLVANIA. The Spy contains Poe’s sixth dispatch, dated 18 June, in which he discusses the case of the accused murderess Polly Bodine and the forthcoming 1845 editions of the Opal and the Gift. Poe regrets that Nathaniel P. Willis left the seclusion of Glen Mary, New York: “In its retirement he might have accomplished much, [page 466:] both for himself and for posterity; but, chained to the oar of a mere weekly paper [the New Mirror], professedly addressing the frivolous and the fashionable, what can he now hope for but a gradual sinking into the slough of the Public Disregard?” (Spannuth and Mabbott, pp. 65-71).

[1844] JULY. NEW YORK. The “Editor’s Table” of the Knickerbocker Magazine contains a fictitious interview with “the great SEATSFIELD” [Charles Sealsfield]. This European commentator on American life is made to compare Poe with the anonymous author of Washington: A National Poem (1843). “POE is a man of nearly equal ability, but his genius condescends to dally with the diminutive. His soul-grasp is indeed vigorous, but his relish for the beautiful breaks up the wholeness of his life-imagery into brilliancy of detail. There is a splendor in his general survey of outward things which too often decoys him from the stern filling-up and elaborate job-work which is absolutely demanded to render a work truly artistical.”

[The purported observations parody Poe’s critical dicta; cf. W, 10:39-40, and L. G. Clark to Longfellow, 5 July.]

[1844] 2 JULY. Poe answers Lowell’s 27 June letter, complying with the request for an estimate of his life: “I am not ambitious — unless negatively. I, now and then feel stirred up to excel a fool, merely because I hate to let a fool imagine that he may excel me. Beyond this I feel nothing of ambition. I really perceive that vanity about which most men merely prate — the vanity of the human or temporal life. I live continually in a reverie of the future. I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active — not more happy — nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago.” Poe still believes that Dickens wrote the article in the Foreign Quarterly Review: “I had two long interviews with Mr D. when here. Nearly every thing in the critique, I heard from him or suggested to him, personally. The poem of Emerson I read to him” (L, 1:256-59).

[1844] 5 JULY. Lewis Gaylord Clark writes Longfellow in Cambridge, Massachusetts, discussing the July Knickerbocker: “You’ll find those Seatsfield notices capital, I think. The [meaning?] of the writer was not so apparent at first. I can see that in his Standards (such as Poe and the author of ‘Washington!’) he designs to crucify the commenting and non-producing asses, who are nothing if not critical, and very little at that” (Clark, pp. 120-21).

[1844] 6 JULY. COLUMBIA, PENNSYLVANIA. The Spy contains Poe’s seventh and final dispatch, dated 25 June, in which he praises John Inman, editor of the Columbian Magazine, and quotes “the best” of Willis’ poems, “Unseen Spirits” (Spannuth and Mabbott, pp. 73-77). [page 467:]

[1844] 10 JULY. NEW YORK. Poe writes Chivers in Oaky Grove, Georgia: “Yours of June 15 was forwarded here to me [from Philadelphia] on the 25th [ul]t. . . . The two letters of which you speak were received; but, in the hurry of mere business, I chanced to file them away among a package of letters endorsed ‘answered,’ and thus it was that I failed to reply.” He still intends to establish his own magazine, to be called the Stylus: “Should you conclude to join me, we will not fail to make fame and fortune. . . . A Magazine like Graham’s will never do.” Chivers is mistaken in his belief that Poe dislikes the Transcendentalists: “it is only the pretenders and sophists among them.” Poe’s personal philosophy is “somewhat detailed” in “Mesmeric Revelation,” forthcoming in the Columbian Magazine. He paraphrases the cosmology revealed in this article: “There is no such thing as spirituality. God is material. All things are material; yet the matter of God has all the qualities which we attribute to spirit: thus the difference is scarcely more than of words. There is a matter without particles — of no atomic composition: this is God. It permeates and impels all things, and thus is all things in itself. Its agitation is the thought of God, and creates” (L, 1:259-60).

[1844] 12 JULY. RICHMOND. Alexander B. Shelton, who married Poe’s early love Elmira Royster, dies at age thirty-seven, leaving his widow an estate estimated at $100,000 (Rudd, 1:31; see CA. 22? SEPTEMBER 1849).

[1844] 17-18 JULY. PHILADELPHIA. The Public Ledger publishes “A Moving Chapter,” Poe’s unsigned article on omnibuses and cabs, in two installments (attribution in the Columbia Spy, 14 August; Mabbott [1978], 3:1088-95).

[1844] 19 JULY. The Ledger contains “Desultory Notes on Cats,” an unsigned playful essay by Poe (Mabbott [1978], 3:1095-98).

[1844] CA. 20 JULY. In a notice to correspondents Godey’s Lady’s Book for August lists “The Oblong Box” and “Thou Art the Man” among the “articles on file for publication.”

[1844] 30 JULY. The Dollar Newspaper for 31 July contains “The Premature Burial.” The editor Joseph Sailer comments: “the original story by Edgar A. Poe is not only powerfully worked up but the interests are set forth in the choicest and most beautiful language that we almost ever placed in print” (Robertson, 2:210).

[1844] 31 JULY. The Public Ledger notices this week’s Dollar Newspaper, which went on sale at the Ledger office yesterday afternoon. “The genius and power of [page 468:] Mr P. as a writer is [are] well known, and ‘The Premature Burial’ exhibits both in a striking degree. It is a highly exciting production, and will be widely read.”

[1844] 31 JULY. COLUMBIA, PENNSYLVANIA. The Spy contains a possible Poe contribution, a paragraph headed “Literary Theft” (Spannuth and Mabbott, p. 111).

[1844] AUGUST. NEW YORK. The Columbian Magazine contains Poe’s philosophic tale “Mesmeric Revelation.”

[1844] AUGUST OR LATER. PHILADELPHIA. The Swedenborgians write Poe that at first they doubted the authenticity of “Mesmeric Revelation” but have since discovered it to be completely true (Poe in “Marginal Notes,” August 1845 Godey’s; T. D. English in October 1845 Aristidean [see BEFORE 8 NOVEMBER 1845]).

[1844] 3 AUGUST. NEW YORK. The New World reprints “Mesmeric Revelation” from the Columbian Magazine, prefacing it with this disclaimer: “Mr. Poe cannot, on so serious a subject, trifle with his readers: yet more extraordinary statements can hardly be conceived. We do believe in the facts of mesmerism, although we have not yet been able to arrive at any theory sufficient to explain them. Here, however, we are almost staggered. Of course, the narrative will be universally circulated; so we recommend it to the perusal of our readers and invite them to draw their own conclusions.”

[1844] 6 AUGUST. OAKY GROVE, GEORGIA. Chivers writes Poe: “I have just received your beautiful, friendly, abstruse, and transcendental letter of July the 10th . . . . I should like very much to see your article entitled ‘Mesmeric Revelation.’ Will you be so good as to forward the Number of the ‘Columbian Magazine’ on to me containing it? If you will, I will do ten times as much for you.” Chivers disputes Poe’s concept that everything is material: “Then the matter of God is spirit. We must either attribute to spirit properties which it does not possess, or ‘God is a spirit’ — as the substance of any thing cannot be less than the qualities of which it is composed. If you mean by matter what I mean by spirit, then your matter is my spirit, and God is material; but if you mean by matter no more than what is usually meant by it, then, my spirit is not your matter, and ‘God is a spirit.’ All the alchimy [alchemy] of your refined genius cannot transmute ‘unparticled matter’ into my idea of spirit” (Chivers [1957], pp. 27-32).

[1844] 14 AUGUST. COLUMBIA, PENNSYLVANIA. The Spy reprints the second installment of Poe’s “A Moving Chapter,” with this preface by Eli Bowen: “If [page 469:] the following article from the Philadelphia Ledger [of 18 July] does not set our readers into a broad laugh, we know not human nature. From the style and manner, we should infer that the paper was written by Edgar A. Poe, who, it is whispered, indites many of the leaders of that able journal. It looks very much like him” (Spannuth and Mabbott, pp. 88-90).

[1844] 17 AUGUST. NEW YORK. Under the heading “Burying Alive” the Rover, a weekly magazine, reprints several paragraphs from Poe’s “The Premature Burial” in the 31 July Dollar Newspaper (Heartman and Canny, pp. 24243; Mabbott [1978], 3:954).

[1844] 18 AUGUST. Poe writes Lowell in Cambridge, Massachusetts, forwarding a corrected copy of his “Mesmeric Revelation” contained in the August Columbian Magazine: “In fact the article was wofully misprinted; and my principal object in boring you with it now, is to beg of you the favor to get it copied (with corrections) in the Brother Jonathan — I mean the Boston Notion — or any other paper where you have interest. . . . In what are you occupied? . . . For myself I am very industrious — collecting and arranging materials for a Critical History of Am. Literature. Do you ever see Mr Hawthorne? He is a man of rare genius. . . . How fares it with the Biography?” (L, 1:261).

[1844] BEFORE 28 AUGUST. PHILADELPHIA. Godey’s Lady’s Book for September contains “The Oblong Box.”

[1844] 28 AUGUST. The Dollar Newspaper reprints Poe’s tale from Godey’s, adding the subtitle “A Capital Story” (Mabbott [1978], 3:922).

[1844] 31 AUGUST. The Saturday Museum reprints “Mesmeric Revelation” from the New World of 3 August (Mabbott [1978], 3:1026, 1029).

[1844] 2 SEPTEMBER. WASHINGTON. Frederick William Thomas writes Poe, addressing his letter to Philadelphia:

Some months since, in passing through Philadelphia, where I tarried a day, I tried to find you, and learned that you were absent in New York. I regretted I did not see you — I saw Mr [Rufus W.] Griswold, and had quite a talk with him.

Poe, you remember that you wrote me that you liked my poem which I call “The Beechen Tree” very much — Well, my good friend, it is just published — I have no copy by me or I would contrive to send you one — You know how much I value a good word from you my friend — and a word to [the wise] &c. . . .

Why, my old friend, have you not written to me — often when I grow tired of my daily dull task I turn to your letters, which I have carefully put away, and have a talk with you . . . . [page 470:]

My particular friend (heaven save the mark!) Thomas Dunn English, is I see editor of the [New York] Aurora — The only notice, except from Clarke of the Knickerbocker, from whom I have had a very kind letter, that I have seen of my poem is in the columns of the Aforesaid Aurora — The editor says it gave him “nausea” and that it was all “twattle” (MB-G).

[1844] 7 SEPTEMBER. BUFFALO, NEW YORK. The Western Literary Messenger reprints “The Oblong Box” from the September Godey’s (Jackson [1981], pp. 109-10).

[1844] 8 SEPTEMBER. NEW YORK. Poe answers Thomas’ letter:

I have left Philadelphia, and am living, at present, about five miles out of New-York. For the last seven or eight months I have been playing hermit in earnest — nor have I seen a living soul out of my family — who are well, and desire to be kindly remembered. . . .

Touching the “Beechen Tree”, I remember it well and pleasantly. I have not yet seen a published copy — but will get one forthwith, and notice it as it deserves — and it deserves much of high praise — at the very first opportunity I get. . . .

You said to me, hurriedly, when we last met on the wharf in Philadelphia, that you believed Robert Tyler really wished to give me the post in the Custom-House. This I also really think; and I am confirmed in the opinion that he could not, at all times, do as he wished in such matters, by seeing Dunn English at the head of the “Aurora” — a bullet-headed and malicious villain who has brought more odium upon the Administration than any fellow (of equal littleness) in its ranks (L, 2:708-09).

[1844] BEFORE 24 SEPTEMBER. PHILADELPHIA. Carey & Hart publish the Gift for 1845, containing Poe’s tale “The Purloined Letter.”

[1844] 24 SEPTEMBER. NEW YORK. The Daily Tribune carries an advertisement for the Gift.

[1844] 24 SEPTEMBER. OAKY GROVE, GEORGIA. Chivers writes Poe, who has not corresponded since 10 July: “Your last letter gave me such intellectual delight — the highest pleasure that a man can enjoy on earth — such as the Angels feel in heaven — that I desire, very much, to receive another one from you. I have been studying it ever since I received it.” Chivers discusses at length the “twofold nature in man,” physical and spiritual. “It is, therefore, plain that the body, to glorify God, must be redeemed as well as the soul. This redemption consists in its perfection. It is the instrument of the soul. Without a perfect instrument, how can the soul elicit its functions? . . . This soul and body, perfected, constitute the beautified person of man. . . . If you will write me in what Number of the ‘Columbian Magazine’ your ‘Mesmeric Revelation’ is published, I can get it in Augusta” (Chivers [1957], pp. 32-36). [page 471:]

[1844] 27 SEPTEMBER. ELMWOOD HOUSE, CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS. Lowell writes Poe: “I kept back the biography a short time in order to send it on by a private hand. It is not half so good as it ought to be, but it was written under many disadvantages, not the least of which was depression of spirits which unfits a man for anything. . . . You will find the package at No. 1 Nassau Street, up stairs. It was addressed to the care of C. F. Briggs” (Woodberry, 2:100).

[1844] 28 SEPTEMBER. NEW YORK. The New Mirror, a weekly magazine, ceases publication. The editors George P. Morris and Nathaniel P. Willis explain that the Mirror will henceforth be issued as a daily newspaper with a weekly edition, thus avoiding the higher postage rates charged for magazines.

[1844] LATE SEPTEMBER? Mrs. Clemm calls on Willis, seeking employment for Poe: “she excused her errand by mentioning that he [Poe] was ill, that her daughter was a confirmed invalid, and that their circumstances were such as compelled her taking it upon herself” (Willis in the Home Journal, 20 October 1849).

George P. Morris and Nathaniel P. Willis [thumbnail]

[Illustration on page 471, bottom]
George P. Morris and Nathaniel P. Willis

[1844] OCTOBER? Poe writes his satire “The Literary Life of Thingum Bob, Esq.,” which incorporates a phrase applied to him in Lowell’s biography, “that [page 472:] indescribable something which men have agreed to call genius” (Mabbott [1978], 3:1125, 1145, 1149).

[1844] OCTOBER? The artist Gabriel Harrison recalls his first acquaintance with Poe:

At that time I was the President of the White Eagle Club [a Democratic political organization], New York, and kept a tea store on the southeast corner of Broadway and Prince street, then Mr. William Niblo’s property. One evening I observed a person looking intently through my windows at a display of some Virginia leaf tobacco. After some minutes he entered the store, spoke of the beauty of the leaf and its quality. He took a very small bit of it in his mouth, and further remarked that he might be considered a small user of the Solace. In a few days after he called again. On this occasion I was endeavoring to compose a campaign song for my club. I acquainted him with the fact, and while I was waiting upon a customer, he had composed a song to the measure and time of the “Star Spangled Banner.” It was used by the club successfully through the campaign of 1844. I was exceedingly pleased with it and ready to present him with all the tobacco I had in my store, the most of which he respectfully declined.

On his departure, I requested the name of my stranger friend, which he left as Thaddeus K. Peasly. Here, to keep my story whole, I must introduce the celebrated poet, FITZ GREEN[E] HALLECK, with whom I was well acquainted, and who at that time was in the office of John Jacob Astor, a little brick building, then situated on the north side of Prince street, west of Broadway. In the evenings, Mr. Halleck frequently visited me, and behind a pile of tea chests, with which I had partitioned off a little room, we would sit in company with old Grant Thorburn, who kept a floral depot next door to me, and would listen to his stories of old New York.

Incidentally, we three lords of the hour, snugly ensconced behind our China walls, would embellish our evening’s entertainment with occasional tastes of my several wines, for which I had not a very large sale, and about which, both the wine and the slow sale, none of us three were much troubled. On one of these occasions, when Mr. Halleck was leaving my store, he met the socalled Peasly entering it, whom he hailed as Poe. An explanation was soon made, and in a few moments we were behind those blessed walls, smiling over the nom de plume of Thaddeus K. Peasley [Pearly]. From this moment Poe and I became well acquainted with each other, and from 1844 to 1847, whenever he was in the city we frequently met (Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 17 November 1875, p. 4; cf. second reminiscence in the New York Times Saturday Review, 4 March 1899, p. 144).

[1844] OCTOBER. The Columbian Magazine contains Poe’s “The Angel of the Odd — An Extravaganza.”

[1844] 3 OCTOBER. COLUMBIA, PENNSYLVANIA. Eli Bowen notices the Columbian in the Spy: “We are gratified to see the name of our friend, Edgar A. Poe, Esq., among the contributors to this Magazine. Mr. Poe is one of the [page 473:] ablest and most original writers of the day. A capital article from his pen, entitled the ‘Angel of the Odd’ (an odd title, by the way,) is contained in the number for the present month” (Spannuth and Mabbott, p. 122).

[1844] 7 OCTOBER. NEW YORK. Morris and Willis sign a contract with Hiram Fuller, formerly a teacher and bookseller in Providence, Rhode Island, who is to “attend to the publication” and “the general business” of the Evening Mirror and the Weekly Mirror (Dedmond, pp. 253-54).

[1844] 7 OCTOBER. The Evening Mirror, edited by Willis, commences publication, “corner of Nassau and Ann-Sts.”

[1844] CA. 7 OCTOBER. Willis hires Poe as his assistant on the Evening Mirror.

[According to Hiram Fuller, Poe’s salary was $15 a week (Evening Mirror, 5 January 1847). With the exception of “The Raven” in the 29 January 1845 issue, Poe’s contributions were unsigned. Although he began to write lead editorials in January and February 1845, his articles in the closing months of 1844 were routine and usually indistinguishable. Willis recalled Poe’s editorship in a 17 October 1858 letter to Morris:

It was rather a step downward, after being the chief editor of several monthlies, as Poe had been, to come into the office of a daily journal as a mechanical paragraphist. It was his business to sit at a desk, in a corner of the editorial room, ready to be called upon for any of the miscellaneous work of the moment — announcing news, condensing statements, answering correspondents, noticing amusements — everything but the writing of a “leader,” or constructing any article upon which his peculiar idiosyncrasy of mind could be impressed. Yet you remember how absolutely and how good-humoredly ready he was for any suggestion, how punctually and industriously reliable, in the following out of the wish once expressed, how cheerful and present-minded in his work when he might excusably have been so listless and abstracted. We loved the man for the entireness of fidelity with which he served us — himself, or any vanity of his own, so utterly put aside. When he left us we were very reluctant to part with him, but we could not object, as it was to better his fortunes. He was to take the lead in another periodical (Home Journal, 30 October 1858).]

[1844] 8 OCTOBER. The Evening Mirror contains Willis’ unsigned critique of Elizabeth Barrett Barrett (wrongly attributed to Poe by Woodberry, 2:102; see Hull, p. 414).

[1844] 10 OCTOBER. The Mirror contains Willis’ unsigned editorial “Authors’ Pay in America.” He argues that authors, not publishers, should receive the bulk of the profits from the sale of books: “we wish to light beacons for an authors’ crusade and we have no leisure to be more than its Peter the [page 474:] Hermit. We solemnly summon Edgar Poe to do the devoir of Coeur de Lion — no man’s weapon half so trenchant!” This issue contains Poe’s first recognizable contribution, “The Swiss Bell-ringers,” in which he describes these popular performers — “white-plumed and fancifully costumed, and each armed with four or five hand-bells of various sizes” — and then facetiously suggests that they are really automatons. Both Willis’ editorial and Poe’s jeu d’esprit are reprinted in the first issue of the Weekly Mirror, dated 12 October.

[1844] 10 OCTOBER. WASHINGTON. Thomas replies to Poe’s 8 September letter:

I would have written you in answer before, but I delayed until I could send you a copy of my little book, [The Beechen Tree,] which please accept as a slight testimony of my faithful friendship and regard.

I have seen my book favorably noticed so far, with the exception of Dunn English, and, as I am told, Park Benjamin, who, a friend informs me, has mounted me without mittens — Do, if you can obtain a copy of the “New World” which contains the aforesaid criticism, send send [sic] it to me . . . .

As to Dunn English — what you say of him I believed long ago — it would not be consistent with self-love for me to think otherwise now . . . .

Our friend [Jesse E.] Dow is very well and deeper immersed in politics than ever. . . . Dow is door keeper to the House of Representatives, has a good salary, and has succeeded as agents for various claimants in making money, and he has purchased himself a house, and is living very comfortably, indeed I may say luxuriously (MB-G).

[1844] 12 OCTOBER. NEW YORK. The Evening Mirror contains Willis’ unsigned editorial “The Pay for Periodical Writing” (attributed to Poe by Heartman and Canny, p. 230, but author refers to his former editorship of the New Mirror).

[1844] 15 OCTOBER. PHILADELPHIA. William Duane, Jr., writes Poe. He complains that Poe has not returned the volume of the Southern Literary Messenger he borrowed around March (Poe’s 28 October reply).

[1844] 19 OCTOBER. NEW YORK. In the Evening Mirror Willis publishes a congratulatory letter he received from a young author who read his 10 October editorial “Authors’ Pay in America;’ reprinted in the Weekly Mirror of 12 October. The anonymous correspondent comments: “I am glad to see that Edgar Poe is in your clearings. He is a man of the finest ideal intellect in the land — carries a nasty tomahawk as a critic — bitter as gall to the literary flies who have been buzzing around his windows. Do give Poe a corner (or a column, or ten o’ ’em) in your ‘Strong-ly’ Mirror, and let him fire away at the humbugs of our literature.” [page 475:]

[1844] BEFORE 24 OCTOBER. QUOGUE, LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK. Samuel D. Craig, a lawyer, writes Poe, possibly threatening legal action because of an article in the Evening Mirror (Poe’s reply).

[1844] 24 OCTOBER. NEW YORK. Poe answers Craig: “Proceed. There are few things which could afford me more pleasure than an opportunity of holding you up to that public admiration which you have so long courted . . . . The tissue of written lies which you have addressed to myself individually, I deem it as well to retain. It is a specimen of attorney grammar too rich to be lost. As for the letter designed for Mr Willis (who, beyond doubt, (will feel honoured by your correspondence), I take the liberty of re-inclosing it. The fact is, I am neither your footman nor the penny-post” (L, 1:263).

[1844] 28 OCTOBER. Poe replies to Duane’s 15 October letter: “I regret exceedingly that circumstances should have led you to think me negligent, or uncourteous, in not returning the volume . . . . The facts are these: Some eight months ago, I believe, I chanced to mention, in Mr Hirst’s hearing, that I wished to look over a particular article in the ‘Messenger’. He immediately volunteered to procure me the desired volume from you. . . . Soon afterwards he handed me the book, which I retained a very short time. It is now certainly more than seven months since I returned it to Mr Hirst, through my mother in law (Mrs Clemm), who informs me that she left it at his office, with one of his brothers” (L, 1:263-64).

[1844] 28 OCTOBER. Poe writes Lowell in Cambridge, Massachusetts: “A host of small troubles growing from the one trouble of poverty, but which I will not trouble you with in detail, have hitherto prevented me from thanking you for the Biography and all the well-intended flatteries which it contains. . . . I sent it to Graham on the day I received it — taking with it only one liberty in the way of modification. . . . It was merely the substitution of another brief poem for the last you have done me the honor to quote.” He inquires whether Lowell has yet married his fiancée Maria White: “At all events I can wish you no better wish than that you may derive from your marriage as substantial happiness as I have derived from mine.” Since Poe has received no response from Lowell to his call for a national magazine controlled by “a coalition” of eminent authors, he again outlines the plan proposed in his 30 March letter (L, 1:264-66).

[1844] LATE OCTOBER. The American Review: A Whig Journal of Politics, Literature, Art and Science issues its first number, dated January 1845 (Mott, p. 750).

[1844] LATE OCTOBER. Poe sends a long letter to Charles Anthon, forwarding his [page 476:] biography in the Saturday Museum and one of his tales. He recalls that Anthon first corresponded with him during his editorship of the Southern Literary Messenger. Before leaving the Messenger Poe perceived the opportunity offered to the man who could establish a “bold & noble” magazine in America:

Of “Graham’s Magazine” you have no doubt heard. It had been in existence under the name of the “Casket” for 8 years, when I became its editor with a subscribption [sic] list of about 5000. In about 18 months afterward its circulation amounted to no less than 50.000 — astonishi[n]g as this may appear. . . . The nature of this journal, however, was such, that even its 50.000 subscribers could not make it very profitable to its proprietor. Its price was $3 — but not only were its expenses immense owing to the employment of absurd steel plates & other extravagances which tell not at all but recourse was had to innumerable agents who recd it at a discount of no less th[a]n 50 per cent . . . . But, if 50000 can be obtained for a 3$ Maga — among a class of readers who really read little, why may not 50,000. be procured for a $5 journal among the true and permanent readers of the land?

Poe’s “ultimate purpose” has always been the establishment of his own magazine, but in the meantime he has been concerned to establish a literary reputation which would further this end. Unfortunately, he has not published books but articles; he has been “essentially a Magazinist . . . liable to be grossly misconceived & misjudged by men . . . who see, perhaps, only a paper here & there, by accident, — often only one of his mere extravaganzas.” Poe wishes to remedy this deficiency by issuing a new collection of his tales, now sixty-six in number: “They would make, perhaps, 5 of the ordinary novel volumes. I have them prepared in every respect for the press; but, alas, I have no money, nor that influence which would enable me to get a publisher — although I seek no pecuniary remuneration. . . . I know that you have unbounde[d] influence with the Harpers — & I know that if you would exert it in my behalf you could procure me the publication I desire” (L, 1:266-72).

[1844] NOVEMBER. PHILADELPHIA. Godey’s Lady’s Book contains Poe’s detective story “Thou Art the Man.”

[1844] NOVEMBER. NEW YORK. The Democratic Review contains the first installment of Poe’s “Marginalia.”

[1844] CA. NOVEMBER. The Opal for 1845 contains Poe’s “A Chapter of Suggestions.”

[1844] 2 NOVEMBER. Anthon writes Poe: “I have called upon the Harpers, as you requested, and have cheerfully exerted with them what influence I possess, [page 477:] but without accomplishing anything of importance. They have complaints against you, grounded on certain movements of yours, when they acted as your publishers some years ago . . . . However, they have retained, for a second and more careful perusal, the letter which you sent to me . . . . My own advice to you is to call in person at their store, and talk over the matter with them.” Anthon subscribed to the Messenger solely because Poe was connected with it, and since then he has read and admired many of Poe’s subsequent writings: “The Harpers also entertain, as I heard from their own lips, the highest opinion of your talents” (Quinn, p. 427).

[1844] 19 NOVEMBER. In the Evening Mirror Poe notices Thomas’ poem The Beechen Tree:

A modest and acceptable offering to the muse, by one of our popular authors, who has heretofore given us little but good prose. His story, “told in rhyme,” however, convinces us of his qualifications as a poet. He has [a] fine command of all forms of expression, a true eye to the beautiful, a deep and natural sense of the affections, and possesses, withal, the rarer power of curbing both his imagination and his language at the point this side [of] redundancy. His r[h]ythmus is smooth and musical, and his choice of epithets peculiarly true and artistic. We do not know but we could find some blemishes in this sweet little poem, if we should look very critically over its fair pages; but, at any rate, we shall not make the experiment (attribution in Hull, pp. 409-10, 425-27).

[1844] 23, 30 NOVEMBER. COLUMBIA, PENNSYLVANIA. The Spy contains two installments of a satiric article on “Puffing,” [[part I]] [[part II]] somewhat in Poe’s manner (Spannuth and Mabbott, pp. 103-09).

[1844] BEFORE 28 NOVEMBER. LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY. The poetess Amelia B. Welby writes Willis: “I copy the subjoined lines ‘By Mr. Willis,’ from an old number of the Jackson (Tenn.) Advocate, where they are evidently out of place, and at all events so grossly misprinted that I must ask you to republish them, the more especially as they do not appear in the late collection by Mr. W. It can scarcely be possible that there are two Dromios.”

[1844] 28 NOVEMBER. NEW YORK. In the Evening Mirror Willis prints Mrs. Welby’s letter and the poem she transcribed, Poe’s “Lenore.” He comments: “We thank our friend, the ‘Amelia,’ for supposing us capable of the authorship of these majestic-paced stanzas. They are not ours — we wish they were! But, (if they are not ‘Amelia’s[’] — and they are very much in the measure of the ‘Step-son’), we do not know whose they are; and we trust that our sail is not filled by many such mis-labelled breezes.”

[1844] 30 NOVEMBER. EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND. Chambers’ Edinburgh Journal publishes [page 478:] an abridged version of “The Purloined Letter,” with this introduction:

The Gift is an American annual of great typographical elegance, and embellished with many beautiful engravings. It contains an article, which, for several reasons, appears to us so remarkable, that we leave aside several effusions of our ordinary contributors in order to make room for an abridgment of it. The writer, Mr. Edgar A. Poe, is evidently an acute observer of mental phenomena; and we have to thank him for one of the aptest illustrations which could well be conceived, of that curious play of two minds, in which one person, let us call him A, guesses what another, B, will do, judging that B will adopt a particular line of policy to circumvent A (Mabbott [1978], 3:972-73).

[1844] DECEMBER. NEW YORK. The Democratic Review contains a second installment of “Marginalia,” in which Poe discusses the Undine of Friedrich de la Motte-Fouqué and Mrs. Welby’s poetry.

[1844] DECEMBER. The Columbian Magazine contains Poe’s signed plate article “Byron and Miss Chaworth,” accompanying an engraving with the same title.

[1844] DECEMBER. RICHMOND. The Southern Literary Messenger contains Poe’s unsigned satire on magazine editors, “The Literary Life of Thingum Bob, Esq.”

[1844] 3-4 DECEMBER. PARIS. The newspaper La Quotidienne publishes in two installments Gustave Brunet’s “James Dixon, ou la funeste resemblance,” an adaptation of Poe’s tale “William Wilson” which is the first known rendition of any of his writings into a foreign language (Mabbott [1978], 2:425).

[1844] 7 DECEMBER. NEW YORK. The Evening Mirror contains a second Willis criticism of “Miss Barrett,” which alludes to his previous notice in the 8 October issue. The Weekly Mirror contains his “Personal Notices of Elizabeth Barrett” (articles wrongly attributed to Poe by Woodberry, 2:102, and others; see Hull, pp. 434, 484-85).

[1844] 7 DECEMBER. Charles F. Briggs, the satiric novelist popularly known as “Harry Franco,” writes Lowell in Cambridge, Massachusetts:

I have made arrangements for publishing the first number of my long talked of paper in January. It will be published by John Biscoe [Bisco], a shrewd yankee from Worcester, who has been a school teacher in New Jersey, and was once the publisher of the Knickerbocker. . . . I have promise of good support here, but I rather hope to draw out something better than we have yet seen afloat on the [page 479:] surface of our literature in this quarter. Do you know of any available talent, or genius rather, in your neighborhood? . . . I shall issue a prospectus in a day or two; the name will be, for the sake of individuality and a-part-from-other-people-ness, the Broadway Journal, or Review, or Chronicle, or Broadway Something. . . . If you know Poe’s address, send it on to me when you write (MiDAAA-P).

[1844] 10 DECEMBER. WASHINGTON. Thomas writes Poe: “Two months ago I wrote to you enclosing a copy of my poem [The Beechen Tree]. Since which I have not heard one word from you — not even a line of acknowledgement. . . . I send this to know if you are in the land of the living, and if I do not soon get an answer I shall conclude you have departed, and proceed forthwith to write your obituary” (MB-G).


My object in writing this is to introduce you to my friend, Charles F. Briggs, who is about to start a literary weekly paper in New York & desires your aid. He was here a month or two since, & I took the liberty of reading to him what I had written about you & today I received a letter from him announcing his plan & asking your address. Not knowing it, & not having time to write him I thought that the shortest way would be to introduce you to him. He will pay & I thought from something you said in your last letter that pay would be useful to you. I also took the liberty of praising you to a Mr. [George H.] Colton, . . . whom I suspect, from some wry faces he made on first hearing your name, you have cut up. He is publishing a magazine [the American Review] & I think I convinced him that it would be for his interest to engage you permanently (W, 17:194-95).

[1844] 19 DECEMBER. NEW YORK. Briggs writes Lowell in Cambridge: “Mr Poe called upon me with yr. note” (MiDAAA-P).

[1844] 23 DECEMBER. Briggs and John Bisco sign a contract to issue the Broadway Journal. Briggs is to control “the editorial department . . . and attend to all communications relating to the same”; Bisco “shall have charge of the publishing department” and handle all financial transactions. “Neither party shall dispose of his interest in the publication without the consent of the other” (Ehrlich, pp. 77-78).

[1844] 26 DECEMBER. WATERTOWN, MASSACHUSETTS. Lowell marries Maria White (Scudder, 1:150).

[1844] BEFORE 27 DECEMBER. NEW YORK. Poe gives Briggs a lengthy critique of Miss Barrett for the first number of the Broadway Journal. [page 480:]

[1844] 27 DECEMBER. Briggs writes Evert A. Duyckinck, enclosing Poe’s critique and asking Duyckinck to emend an ambiguous passage (Ehrlich, p. 79).

[1844] LATE 1844. PHILADELPHIA. The publisher R. G. Berford issues George Lippard’s novel Herbert Tracy, containing the text of Poe’s 18 February letter to the author (Heartman and Canny, pp. 86-87).






[S:1 - TPL, 1987] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Bookshelf - The Poe Log (D. R. Thomas and D. K. Jackson) (Chapter 07 [Part 02)