Text: Dwight R. Thomas and David K. Jackson, “Chapter 09 [Part 01],” The Poe Log (1987), pp. 611-679


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[page 611:]

CHAPTER NINE

The War of the Literati

Thomas Dunn English [thumbnail]

[Illustration on page 610]
 
Thomas Dunn English

1846-1847

The years 1846 and 1847 bring Poe increasing recognition in Europe. The London Sunday Times and other British journals reprint his hoax “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar,” creating a controversy over its authenticity. In France “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and other stories attract such able translators as E. D. Forgues and Isabelle Meunier. Two European critics convinced of Poe’s importance review the Wiley and Putnam edition of his Tales: Martin Farquhar Tupper in the London Literary Gazette of 31 January 1846 and Forgues in the Paris Revue des Deux Mondes of 15 October 1846. At home Poe is troubled by ill health, poverty, and quarrels with minor literati. Mrs. Elizabeth F. Ellet, a jealous and vindictive woman, interferes with his innocent correspondence with Mrs. Frances S. Osgood; he is forced to return the letters he received from both these rivals for his attention. The ensuing scandal in January and February 1846 damages his standing with the circle of bluestockings headed by Miss Anne C. Lynch, who no longer invites him to her popular soirees. Around May, seeking seclusion and inexpensive lodging, Poe moves his family to a small cottage at Fordham, some thirteen miles outside New York. His sketches of “The Literati of New York City,” then being serialized in Godey’s Lady’s Book, keep his name before the public. The July installment contains his flippant notice of his enemy Thomas Dunn English, who responds by inserting a vitriolic “Reply” in the Evening Mirror of 23 June. Since this attack falsely accuses Poe of forgery and pecuniary fraud, he sues the Mirror for publishing it. Around November 1846 Mrs. Mary Gove visits Poe and his wife at Fordham and finds them both seriously ill, without adequate food or clothing. On 15 December the New York Morning Express carries a report of their plight, which is reprinted by many newspapers. On 30 January 1847 Virginia Poe dies of tuberculosis, aged twenty-four years and five months. Although Poe becomes dangerously ill after her death, he is nursed back to health by Mrs. Marie Louise Shew, a kindly, unsophisticated woman with medical training, but no interest in literature. His libel suit against the Mirror is heard in Superior Court on 17 February; a twelve-man jury awards him $225 damages as well as legal costs. He discusses his judicial victory and his proposed magazine the Stylus in several letters to a young admirer, George W. Eveleth of Phillips, Maine. [page 612:] In 1847 Mrs. Sarah Anna Lewis, an ambitious but mediocre poetess, becomes a frequent visitor to Fordham, occasionally providing Poe and Mrs. Clemm with financial assistance. The American Review for December contains Poe’s melodic but puzzling poem “Ulalume.”

 


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~~ 1846 ~~

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[page 612, continued:]

[1846] WINTER. NEW YORK. Mrs. Elizabeth Oakes Smith encounters Poe at various social gatherings held in the homes of Anne C. Lynch, Orville Dewey, James Lawson, and other literati. She recalls: “He [Poe] delighted in the society of superior women, and had an exquisite perception of all graces of manner, and shades of expression. He was an admiring listener, and an unobtrusive observer. We all recollect the interest felt at the time in everything emanating from his pen — the relief it was from the dulness of ordinary writers — the certainty of something fresh and suggestive. His critiques were read with avidity; not that he convinced the judgment, but that people felt their ability and their courage” (Smith quoted by Whitman, p. 23; cf. Smith, p. 121).

[1846] JANUARY. The Columbian Magazine mentions The Raven and Other Poems among the “Books of the Month” (Pollin [1980], p. 26).

[1846] JANUARY. Freeman Hunt reviews The Raven and Other Poems in his Merchants’ Magazine:

This is the second volume of Mr. Poe’s productions that have appeared in Wiley & Putnam’s American Library. The characteristics of his poetry are a quick, subtle conception, and a severe taste of what is harmonious in expression. Exhibiting all the nervous, impatient marks of true genius, an unbridled playfulness of fancy, it is, while seemingly riding havoc in thought, metre and harmony, restrained throughout by a skilful rein, that guides sentiment and style by well defined rules, never allowing it to border upon the ridiculous, or ill judged sublimity. This union of the faculties of a critic and genius, making cultivation a second nature, and unconsciously governing the style, is a rare gift and power in a writer. The passion and sentiment are also original, while the style has a fragmentary character, like the architecture of the ruins of Chiapas, where frescoes, and rude, but beautiful workmanship, are scattered about in the wildest profusion. The Raven is rather a production of artistic cleverness than genius, while the poems that follow breathe such pure passion, and are embodied in such beautiful imagery, and the etherial speculations given with so much descriptive, thought — awakening power, that we regret Mr. Poe should do aught else than write poetry. [page 613:]

[1846] JANUARY. The Knickerbocker Magazine contains Lewis Gaylord Clark’s abusive review of The Raven and Other Poems. Clark can readily accept Poe’s assertion that he composed some of these poems in childhood:

At what period he [Poe] commenced writing verses we do not know; but he tells us in a note that it was in his “earliest boyhood,” which begins we believe with the jacket-and-trousers, generally at three or four years. If Mr. POE wrote the Ode to Science [“Sonnet — To Science”] at that early period, he was certainly a remarkable boy, but hardly a poet. We have heard that, in the paper [Broadway Journal] of which he is the editor, he has stated that he wrote “Al Aaraaf,” the poem with which he professes to have humbugged the poor Bostonians, in his tenth year. The “Boston Post” thought it must have been produced at a much earlier age. We have no opinion on the subject ourselves, not having read it, but are disposed to believe the author, and should believe him if he said the same of the poems which we have read. We see no reason why they might not have been written at the age of ten: children are more apt, in remembering words, than men; and as there have been infant violinists, pianists, mimics and dancers, we see no reason why there should not be an infant rhythmist.

[1846] JANUARY. PHILADELPHIA. Godey’s Lady’s Book contains Poe’s favorable criticism of William Gilmore Simms’s The Wigwam and the Cabin, which he had initially reviewed in the Broadway Journal for 4 October 1845. Godey’s also carries a brief notice of The Raven and Other Poems, “a collection of fugitive pieces which fully sustain the high reputation which the author had previously gained by his prose works for power of imagination and command over the English language. Indeed, Poe’s masterly facility in diction may be supposed to have occasioned the only fault which we perceive in any of these poems, an appearance of careless wantonness in rhythm, which, perhaps, after all, may be merely the independent freedom of one who cannot but feel his own power.”

[1846] JANUARY. Arthur’s Ladies’ Magazine contains Poe’s tale “The Sphinx.”

[1846] JANUARY. CINCINNATI. The Quarterly Journal and Review, edited by Lucius A. Hine, notices The Raven and Other Poems: “Edgar A. Poe occupies a conspicuous position in the literary world. . . . He is — what can be said of few — sui generis, stamped with his own originality. . . . He is a man of genius rather than talents, — though were his genius less, and his talents greater, he would do more for the good of the world, and his own reputation.” The reviewer quotes six stanzas from “The Raven”; he objects to the poem’s “general tenor,” because “it associates the author with the people of ancient times, when the fate of man was seen by the perverted imagination in the flight and song of ominous birds.” The second poem, “The Valley of Unrest,” lacks “every mark of poetry, except its rhyme, which is very imperfect, and the capitals that commence each line.” An [page 614:] example of wretched taste occurs in “The Sleeper,” in the line “Soft may the worms about her creep!” While “The Coliseum” is excellent, “Israfel” is unworthy of Poe’s talents. “Dream-Land,” “To One in Paradise,” and “The Conqueror Worm” all contain poetry “of a high order.” None of the other pieces is “particularly striking,” except the “Scenes” from Politian: “The part given forces a desire to see the whole; which we hope Mr. Poe will not be backward in handing over to the printer.”

[1846] EARLY JANUARY? LONDON. Wiley and Putnam, 6 Waterloo Place, issue The Raven and Other Poems in England. The volume, bound in green cloth, is made up of the American sheets and an inserted title page giving London as the place of publication (Mabbott [1942], p. xviii; Spectator, 24 January).

[1846] CA. 1 JANUARY? PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND. Sarah Helen Whitman writes Anne C. Lynch in New York, inquiring about Poe. She wishes to obtain his review of Elizabeth Barrett Barrett, published in the Broadway Journal for 4 and 11 January 1845 (implied by Lynch to Whitman, 7 January).

[Mrs. Whitman was fascinated by Poe and his writings for several years before she actually met him. On 10 October 1850 she wrote Mary E. Hewitt: “I can never forget the impressions I felt in reading a story of his for the first time about six or seven years ago. I experienced a sensation of such intense horror that I dared neither look at anything he had written nor even utter his name. . . . By degrees this terror took the character of fascination — I devoured with a half-reluctant and fearful avidity every line that fell from his pen” (Williams, pp. 769-71).]

[1846] 2 JANUARY. BOSTON. In the Evening Transcript Cornelia Wells Walter comments:

EDGAR A. POE. In October last, Mr Poe notified the public that he had assumed the whole control, (proprietary and editorial) of the Broadway Journal, on which occasion he appended the interrogative, “may we not hope for the support of our friends?” Now Mr Poe either has no friends (which we won’t believe) or they have proved hard hearted and uncharitable, for we learn from the New York Mirror of Wednesday, that “he has disposed of his interest in the Broadway Journal, and will hereafter devote his time and pen to some better paying business.”

To trust in friends is but so so,

Especially when cash is low;

The Broadway Journal’s proved “no go” —

Friends would not pay the pen of POE. [page 615:]

[1846] 3 JANUARY. NEW YORK. Poe replies to Charles G. Percival of Utica, New York, who had sent him a cipher to translate on 19 December 1845: “It is an illegitimate cryptograph — that is to say, the chances are, that, even with the key, it would be insoluble by the authorized correspondent. Upon analysis, however, independent of the key-solution, I find the translation to be the 3 first verses of the 2d chapter of St John” (L, 2:309).

[1846] 3 JANUARY. The Broadway Journal ceases publication. The final issue contains Poe’s revised tale “Loss of Breath,” as well as his reviews of Thomas Carlyle’s edition of the Letters and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell, published by Wiley and Putnam, and of the November and December 1845 numbers of the Aristidean, received “some time” ago. The “Editorial Miscellany” contains Poe’s “Valedictory”:

Unexpected engagements demanding my whole attention, and the objects being fulfilled, so far as regards myself personally, for which “The Broadway Journal” was established, I now, as its editor, bid farewell — as cordially to foes as to friends.

Mr. Thomas H. Lane is authorized to collect all money due the Journal.

[1846] 4 JANUARY. LONDON. The Sunday Times reprints “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” from the American Review, under the heading “Mesmerism in America: Astounding and Horrifying Narrative” (Mabbott [1978], 3:1232).

[1846] 5 JANUARY. The Morning Post reprints Poe’s tale under the heading “Mesmerism in America.” The editors comment: “For our own parts we do not believe it; and there are several statements made, more especially with regard to the disease of which the patient died, which at once prove the case to be either a fabrication, or the work of one little acquainted with consumption. The story, however, is wonderful, and we therefore give it” (Mabbott [1978], 3:1232; Post quoted by Poe in “Marginalia,” Graham’s Magazine, March 1848).

[1846] 5 JANUARY. PHILLIPS, MAINE. George W. Eveleth writes Poe that he has received the Broadway Journal for 20 December 1845: “I like it in some respects, and in some, do not. The quality of the paper is pretty good, and the sheet is in a form such as I would have it. . . . Your ‘Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar’ are wonderful, if true — if false, you are a genius of wonderfully curious fancies, I must confess. The article suits me very well whether it is fact or fiction. . . . I do not value your critical notices so highly as I should if they were more lengthy. There cannot be much criticism in so few words.” Eveleth encloses three dollars for his subscription, “commencing with the new volume” (Eveleth, p. 6). [page 616:]

[1846] 6 JANUARY. PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY. A correspondent who signs himself “T. L. C.” writes the Richmond Compiler, reporting that Poe has left the Broadway Journal and “is to annoy the public, or the small portion of it who saw his paper — through its columns no longer. He signalized the close of his career by declaring lately that he considered Tennyson (the man whom he imitates) ‘the greatest poet that ever lived!’ and by declaring farther that he was ‘willing to bear all the reproach this might call down on him.’ His vanity might have spared itself this bravado.” The letter appears in the Virginia paper on 9 January (Pollin [1985a], pp. 6-7).

[1846] 7 JANUARY. NEW YORK. Anne C. Lynch writes Sarah Helen Whitman in Providence: “I sent you a few days ago Mr Poe’s review of Miss Barrett which he gave me for that purpose. . . . I see Mr Poe very often. I think his stories are, some of them, very remarkable” (RPB-W).

[1846] 7 JANUARY. Another New York correspondent, possibly Mrs. Frances S. Osgood, writes Mrs. Whitman, apparently in response to her inquiry: “I meet Mr. Poe very often at the receptions. He is the observed of all observers. His stories are thought wonderful, and to hear him repeat the Raven, which he does very quietly, is an event in one’s life. People seem to think there is something uncanny about him, and the strangest stories are told, and, what is more, believed, about his mesmeric experiences, at the mention of which he always smiles. His smile is captivating! . . . Everybody wants to know him; but only a very few people seem to get well acquainted with him” (Didier [1877], p. 13).

[1846] CA. 7 JANUARY? A correspondent writes Mrs. Whitman, describing a literary soiree at which Poe bested Margaret Fuller in conversation: “The Raven has perched upon the casque of Pallas, and pulled all the feathers out of her cap” (Didier [1877], p. 12).

[1846] 8 JANUARY. Poe writes Evert A. Duyckinck, Wiley and Putnam’s editor: “For ‘particular reasons’ I am anxious to have another volume of my Tales published before the 1rst of March. . . . Would not Mr. Wiley give me, say $50, in full for the copyright of the collection I now send. It is a far better one than the first — containing, for instance, ‘Ligeia’, which is undoubtedly the best story I have written — besides ‘Sheherazade’, ‘The Spectacles’, ‘Tarr and Fether,’ etc.” Poe requests “an early answer, by note, addressed 85 Amity St.” (L, 2:309-10).

[1846] 8 JANUARY. LONDON. Wiley and Putnam deposit a copy of Poe’s Tales in the British Museum, for copyright (Mabbott [1942], p. xix). [page 617:]

[1846] 9 JANUARY. Elizabeth Barrett Barrett writes Robert Browning at New Cross, Hatcham, Surrey: “I have just received Mr. Edgar Poe’s book [The Raven and Other Poems] — & I see that the deteriorating preface which was to have saved me from the vanity-fever produceable by the dedication, is cut down & away — perhaps in this particular copy only!” (Browning [1969], 1:372-74; cf. Barrett to Browning, 28 November 1845).

[1846] 10 JANUARY. The Popular Record of Modern Science reprints Poe’s “Valdemar” from the Morning Post of 5 January, giving it the heading “Mesmerism in America. Death of M. Valdemar of New York.” The Record quotes the Post’s observation that the article seems to be a fabrication; it objects that the Post “does not point out the especial statements which are inconsistent with what we know of the progress of consumption.” The Record is inclined to accept the account as factual, because “credence is understood to be given to it at New York.” Corroboration of its details can surely be obtained:

The initials of the medical men and of the young medical student must be sufficient in the immediate locality, to establish their identity, especially as M. Valdemar was well known, and had been so long ill as to render it out of the question that there should be any difficulty in ascertaining the names of the physicians by whom he had been attended. In the same way the nurses and servants under whose cognizance the case must have come during the seven months which it occupied, are of course accessible to all sorts of inquiries. . . . The angry excitement and various rumors which have at length rendered a public statement necessary, are also sufficient to show that something extraordinary must have taken place. . . . Under this view we shall take steps to procure from some of the most intelligent and influential citizens of New York all the evidence that can be had upon the subject. No steamer will leave England for America till the 3d of February, but within a few weeks of that time we doubt not it will be possible to lay before the readers of the Record information which will enable them to come to a pretty accurate conclusion (Mabbott [1978], 3:1232; Record quoted in “Marginalia,” Graham’s Magazine, March 1848).

[1846] 10 JANUARY. PHILADELPHIA. The Saturday Courier reprints the report of Poe’s retirement from the Broadway Journal published in the Boston Evening Transcript on 2 January. The Courier explains: “Miss Walter, editor of that spicy little journal, . . . has not liked Edgar A. Poe much since he was indiscreet enough, last fall, to say he attempted to hoax the Bostonians by pronouncing a poem, written when he was 13.”

[1846] 10 JANUARY. BUFFALO, NEW YORK. In the Western Literary Messenger Jesse Clement, the editor, reviews The Raven and Other Poems:

As a poet, Mr. Poe is a peculiar writer. His style and his manner of thinking are [page 618:] purely his own. . . . We have an instance of this in the “Raven.” . . . In artistic grace it is excelled by no poem ever composed in this country; and did more to elevate the reputation of the author as a poet, than all else he has written. It is a poem whose beauties every one can appreciate, and which every one likes to read. We wish as much could be said of the productions of the same pen generally; but the major quantity, though they possess the genuine melody of high[ly] wrought verse, find no response in the reader’s heart. Their tone is foreign to the ordinary feeling of mankind. For this reason but few of them have been widely circulated through the medium of the newspaper press.

Clement quotes the first stanza of “Dream-Land,” observing that few “can appreciate such lines as these.” Of the nineteen poems in the first part of the book, only two or three “approach the naturalness and simplicity which, when combined with fervor and strength, are so certain to move the universal heart.” Clement reprints “To One in Paradise,” the “best of the minor poems.” The second part “contains eleven poems written in the author’s youth . . . . Two of these early effusions, ‘Al Aaraaf and’ ‘Tamerlane,’ are long and tedious; most of the others are short and tedious. In all of them, however, is here and there a line or a brief passage, which is strikingly beautiful.”

[1846] 10 JANUARY. NEW YORK. At the request of Anne C. Lynch, Poe writes the poet Fitz-Greene Halleck and the clergyman Charles Edwards Lester. In each letter Poe extends Miss Lynch’s invitation to her soiree this evening, remarking that the New England novelist Catharine M. Sedgwick, the Kentucky abolitionist Cassius M. Clay, “and some other notabilities” are expected to attend (L, 2:310-11).

[1846] 10 JANUARY. 7:00 PM. Poe attends Miss Lynch’s soiree at 116 Waverley Place (Lynch to Mrs. Whitman, 20 January).

[1846] 12 JANUARY. Poe writes Philip Pendleton Cooke at The Vineyard, Clarke County, Virginia (cited Moldenhauer [1973], p. 62, and Ostrom [1974], p. 528).

[1846] 14 JANUARY. BOSTON. The Morning Post praises Lewis Gaylord Clark’s hostile review of The Raven and Other Poems in the January Knickerbocker, while objecting to the suggestion that Poe “humbugged” the Bostonians with his Lyceum poem: “Nearly if not quite half the audience actually left the hall before the conclusion of the reading, and those who remained were actuated by feelings of politeness toward a stranger, who, though sadly disappointing them, had done perhaps as well as he was able. . . . It is true that the audience did not know that the poem was written in the ‘tenth year’ of the author; they only knew that it was sad stuff’ (Moss [1963], pp. 109-10; Post quoted in February Knickerbocker). [page 619:]

[1846] 15 JANUARY. NEW CROSS, HATCHAM, SURREY. Robert Browning writes Miss Barrett in London: “Will you let Mr. Poe’s book [The Raven and Other Poems] lie on the table on Monday, if you please, that I may read what he does say, with my own eyes?” (Browning [1969], 1:388-90).

[1846] 16 JANUARY. NEW YORK. Poe writes Sarah J. Hale in Philadelphia, replying to her 14 November 1845 letter. He had already seen Mrs. Hale’s drama “Ormond Grosvenor” in Godey’s Lady’s Book; but upon receiving her manuscript, he gave it “a second careful reading.” Although he retains his “first impression of its remarkable vigor and dramaticism,” he suggests that it would be improved by “a curtailment of some of the mere dialogue.” For her romance “Harry Guy” he would prefer the subtitle “A Tale in Verse” instead of “A Tale in Rhyme”: “I think Clark & Austin or Paine & Burgess would be more willing to publish it, and afford you more liberal terms, than Wiley & Putnam — although, in point of caste, the latter are to be preferred, and their issues are sure of some notice in England” (L, 2:311-12).

[1846] 16 JANUARY. PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND. Sarah Helen Whitman writes Anne C. Lynch in New York, asking whether Poe’s tales about mesmerism are based on actual occurrences (Lynch to Whitman, 20 January).

[1846] CA. 16 JANUARY? Mrs. Whitman writes her friend George William Curtis, an emergent author of twenty-one, in New York. She discusses Poe’s review of Miss Barrett (Curtis to Whitman, 20 January).

[1846] 19 JANUARY. NEW YORK. Andrew Jackson Davis, a clairvoyant known as the “Poughkeepsie Seer,” receives a visitor: “His remarkable face bore traces of feminine mental characteristics; but upon his spacious brow there sparkled the gems of rare endowments. . . . At length he informed us that his name was ‘Edgar A. Poe.’ . . . I recollect of assuring him that, though he had poetically imagined the whole of his published article upon the answers of a clairvoyant [‘Mesmeric Revelation’], the main ideas conveyed by it concerning ‘ultimates’ were strictly and philosophically true. At the close of this interview he departed, and never came again” (Davis quoted by Damon, pp. 157-58).

[1846] 20 JANUARY. Miss Lynch replies to Mrs. Whitman: “Mr Poe’s mesmeric revelations are mere fancies of his own without the least shadow of foundation in fact.” She describes her 10 January soiree:

I will tell you who were here . . . Cassius Clay, Mr Hart the Sculptor who is going to do Henry Clay, full length in marble, & who has great genius I think — and is just fresh from Kentucky for the first time — Halleck, Locke (the man in [page 620:] the moon) Hunt of the merchants’ magazine Hudson, Mr Bellows, Poe, Headley Miss Sedgwick Mrs Kirkland Mrs Ellet Mrs Seba Smith Miss Fuller Mrs Osgood & a great many others distinguished & undistinguished that I do not now remember. I wish very much that I could have numbered you among them. They come at seven & break up early & I give no entertainment except what they find in each other. My evening[s] however are by no means always as full and pleasant as this was. Many came to meet Mr Clay who do[es] not come very often (RPB-W).

[1846] 20 JANUARY. Curtis replies to Mrs. Whitman: “You speak of Poe’s article upon Miss Barrett. I should much like to see anything really good of his. With the exception of his volume of poems I know nothing of him save a tale [‘Valdemar’] in one of the reviews a month ago, which was only like an offensive odor. There seems to be a vein of something in him, but if of gold he is laboring thro’ many baser veins, and may at last reach it” (Curtis, pp. 371-73).

[1846] 24 JANUARY. LONDON. The Spectator reviews the books it received “From January 16th to January 22d,” perfunctorily noticing The Raven and Other Poems: “A collection of fugitive American poems, which their author, Mr. Poe, has reprinted; not that he thinks the ‘volume will be of much value to the public or very creditable to himself,’ but with a view to ‘their redemption from the many improvements to which they have been subjected while going at random the rounds of the press.’ ”

[1846] 24-25 JANUARY. Elizabeth Barrett Barrett writes Robert Browning at New Cross, Hatcham, Surrey, forwarding “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” and The Raven and Other Poems:

I send you besides a most frightful extract from an American magazine sent to me yesterday . . . no, the day before . . . on the subject of mesmerism — & you are to understand, if you please, that the Mr. Edgar Poe who stands committed in it, is my dedicator . . . whose dedication I forgot, by the way, with the rest — so, while I am sending, you shall have his poems with his mesmeric experience & decide whether the outrageous compliment to me EBB or the experiment on M. Vandeleur [sic] goes furthest to prove him mad. There is poetry in the man, though, now & then, seen between the great gaps of bathos . . . “Politian” will make you laugh — as the “Raven” made me laugh, though with something in it which accounts for the hold it took upon people such as Mr. N. P Willis & his peers — it was sent to me from four different quarters besides the author himself, before its publication in this form, & when it had only a newspaper life. Some of the other lyrics have power of a less questionable sort. For the author, I do not know him at all — never heard from him nor wrote to him — and in my opinion, there is more faculty shown in the account of that horrible mesmeric experience (mad or not mad) than in his poems. Now do read it from the beginning to the end. That “going out” of the hectic, struck me very much . . . & the writhing away of the upper lip. Most horrible! (Browning (1969), 1:415-19). [page 621:]

[1846] 30 JANUARY. NEW YORK. Poe writes Evert A. Duyckinck, requesting information on various authors he intends to discuss in his forthcoming sketches of “The Literati of New York City.” He asks whether Duyckinck has seen Martin Farquhar Tupper’s promised review of his Tales: “if so — how is it? long or short — sweet or sour? — if you have it, please lend it me.” This letter will be delivered by Mrs. Clemm: “Should she not see you, can’t you contrive to step in at 85 Amity St — some time to-day or tomorrow?” (L, 2:312-13).

[1846] 31 JANUARY. LONDON. The Literary Gazette contains Tupper’s long critique of Poe’s Tales: “His work has come to our shores recommended by success upon its own; and . . . such success is no more than it deserves.” Before discussing Poe’s virtues, Tupper applies “a light and wholesome touch of censure” to “The Black Cat,” which is “impossible and revolting,” and to “Mesmeric Revelation,” which “far too daringly attempts a solution of that deepest of riddles, the nature of the Deity.” He characterizes “Lionizing” as “simply foolish” and “The Fall of the House of Usher” as “a juvenile production.” While these four stories are “not without their own flashes of genius,” they could have been omitted. Poe’s “pervading characteristics” are “induction, and a microscopic power of analysis.” As an illustration Tupper quotes a passage from “The Gold-Bug” describing Legrand’s solution of Captain Kidd’s cryptograph. This “bit of ingenious calculation” parallels the deciphering of the Rosetta stone. “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” reveals a “marvellous train of analytical reasoning”; in this tale “the horror of the incidents is overborne by the acuteness of the arguments.” Poe displays similar powers in “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt.” Other stories in this volume are “equally brightened by genius” while “untarnished with the dread details of crime.” From “A Descent into the Maelström” Tupper quotes a long passage of “magnificent writing” describing the narrator’s experiences inside the whirlpool. “The Conversation of Eiros and Charmion” is “full of terror and instruction; true to philosophy and to holy writ.” Tupper prints an excerpt which “details the probable mode of the final conflagration.” To conclude his review he reprints “The Haunted Palace,” the book’s sole specimen of poetry: “It occurs in the otherwise condemned tale of ‘Usher’; and not only half redeems that ill-considered production, but makes us wish for many more such staves.”

[1846] LATE JANUARY? Short & Co., 8 King Street, Bloomsbury, publish a sixteen-page pamphlet: “MESMERISM / ‘IN ARTICULO MORTIS.’ / AN / ASTOUNDING & HORRIFYING NARRATIVE, / SHEWING THE EXTRAORDINARY POWER OF MESMERISM / IN ARRESTING THE / PROGRESS OF DEATH. / BY EDGAR A. POE, ESQ. / OF NEW YORK / . . . / Price Threepence.” The inside front cover contains an “Advertisement”: [page 622:]

The following astonishing narrative first appeared in the American Magazine [American Review], a work of some standing in the United States, where the case has excited the most intense interest.

The effects of the mesmeric influence, in this case, were so astounding, so contrary to all past experience, that no one could have possibly anticipated the final result. The narrative, though only a plain recital of facts, is of so extraordinary a nature as almost to surpass belief. It is only necessary to add, that credence is given to it in America, where the occurrence took place (copy in NN-B; cf. Arch Ramsay to Poe, 30 November).

[1846] LATE JANUARY? NEW YORK. Mrs. Frances S. Osgood visits Poe:

Virginia, his sweet wife, had written me a pressing invitation to come to them; and I, who never could resist her affectionate summons, and who enjoyed his society far more in his own home than elsewhere, hastened to Amity-street. I found him just completing his series of papers entitled “The Literati of NewYork.” “See,” said he, displaying, in laughing triumph, several little rolls of narrow paper, (he always wrote thus for the press,) “I am going to show you, by the difference of length in these, the different degrees of estimation in which I hold all you literary people. In each of these, one of you is rolled up and fully discussed. Come, Virginia, help me!” And one by one they unfolded them. At last they came to one which seemed interminable. Virginia laughingly ran to one corner of the room with one end, and her husband to the opposite with the other. “And whose lengthened sweetness long drawn out is that?” said I. “Hear her!” he cried, “just as if her little vain heart didn’t tell her it’s herself!” (Mrs. Osgood to R. W. Griswold, early 1850, quoted in Griswold [1850], p. xxxvii).

[1846] LATE JANUARY? A Poe correspondent, probably Mrs. Elizabeth F. Ellet, is irritated by the treatment accorded one of her letters: “A certain lady . . . fell in love with Poe and wrote a love-letter to him. Every letter he received he showed to his little wife. This lady went to his house one day; she heard Fanny Osgood and Mrs. Poe having a hearty laugh, they were fairly shouting, as they read over a letter. The lady listened, and found it was hers, when she walked into the room and snatched it from their hands” (Elizabeth Oakes Smith quoted by Derby, p. 548).

Elizabeth F. Ellet [thumbnail]

[Illustration on page 623, top]
 
Elizabeth F. Ellet

[1846] LATE JANUARY? While visiting Poe’s home at 85 Amity Street, Mrs. Ellet sees a letter to him from Mrs. Osgood which she considers indiscreet. She later persuades Mrs. Osgood to seek the return of all her letters to Poe. Margaret Fuller and Anne C. Lynch call upon him to present Mrs. Osgood’s request. Annoyed at this intrusion into his personal life, Poe testily remarks that Mrs. Ellet should be more concerned about her own letters to him. As soon as Misses Fuller and Lynch depart with Mrs. Osgood’s letters, Poe collects Mrs. Ellet’s letters into a bundle, which he leaves at her residence. Mrs. Ellet schemes to free herself from Poe’s imputation that [page 623:] she sent him compromising letters: she has her brother William M. Lummis call upon him and demand her letters. Having already returned them, Poe is unable to comply; Lummis threatens his life unless he produces them. Poe visits Thomas Dunn English and asks to borrow a pistol to defend himself. English refuses to assist him, suggesting that he never possessed letters from Mrs. Ellet in the first place. Incensed, Poe engages in fisticuffs with English; the two men are quickly separated by Poe’s friend Thomas Wyatt. Poe is subsequently confined to bed by illness; he has his physician, Dr. John W. Francis, deliver a letter of apology to Mrs. Ellet. In it Poe apparently denies any recollection of having charged her with an indiscreet correspondence; and he suggests that if he made such an accusation, he must have been suffering from temporary insanity (Poe to Mrs. Whitman, 24 November 1848; Mrs. Whitman to J. H. Ingram, 11 February and 11 May 1874, Miller [1979], pp. 20-22, 154-55; English in the Morning Telegraph, 23 June 1846; “Mr. Poe’s Reply to Mr. English,” 10 July 1846; Mrs. Ellet to Mrs. Osgood, 8 July 1846; Griswold [1850], pp. xxiii-xxiv; English, p. 1448; Reece [1970], pp. 157-64).

[As a result of this episode, Poe ceased to see or write Mrs. Osgood; and Miss Lynch removed his name from her guest list. He gained the lasting [page 624:] enmity of English and Mrs. Ellet. Reports of his “insanity,” possibly spread by Mrs. Ellet, were printed by newspapers in New York and elsewhere. See W. G. Simms to E. A. Duyckinck, 27 March, and to James Lawson, 15 May; Mrs. Hewitt to Poe, 15 April; reports published on 12, 18 April, 9, 14 May 1846; Miss Lynch to Mrs. Whitman, 31 January and 21 February 1848.]

[1846] FEBRUARY? Virginia Poe writes Mrs. Osgood.

[Early in 1850 Mrs. Osgood wrote Rufus W. Griswold, asking him to declare her “innocence” in his forthcoming biography of Poe: “You have the proof in Mrs. Poe’s letter to me, and in his [Poe’s] to Mrs. Ellet, either of which would fully establish my innocence in a court of justice — certainly hers would. Neither of them, as you know, were persons likely to take much trouble to prove a woman’s innocence, and it was only because she felt that I had been cruelly and shamefully wronged by her mother and Mrs. E[llet] that she impulsively rendered me that justice” (Griswold [1898], p. 256).]

[1846] FEBRUARY. In the “Editor’s Table” of the Knickerbocker Magazine, Lewis Gaylord Clark quotes the Boston Morning Post of 14 January, which has denied that Poe actually deceived the Lyceum audience with “Al Aaraaf.”

[1846] FEBRUARY. PHILADELPHIA. Godey’s Lady’s Book contains Poe’s expanded criticism of Mrs. Mary E. Hewitt’s The Songs of Our Land, and Other Poems, which he had initially reviewed in the Broadway Journal for 25 October 1845.

[1846] 3 FEBRUARY OR BEFORE. LONDON? Acting on the request of the editor of the Popular Record of Modern Science, a “gentleman” writes “direct to Mr. Poe,” inquiring whether his “Mesmeric Revelation” and “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” are authentic accounts. This correspondent encloses the Record for 29 November 1845, containing the former tale, and for 10 January 1846, containing the latter (the Record, 10 January and 11 April).

[1846] 13 FEBRUARY. NEW YORK. Poe composes an acrostic poem of twenty-one lines, dated “Valentine’s Eve,” which conceals the name “Frances Sergeant [Sargent] Osgood” (facsimile in Quinn and Hart, pp. 1-2).

[1846] 14 FEBRUARY. George P. Morris issues the first number of his National Press: A Journal for Home, a weekly subsequently named the Home Journal.

[1846] 14 FEBRUARY. Virginia Poe composes an acrostic valentine which conceals the name “Edgar Allan Poe.” The poem, addressed to Poe at 85 Amity [page 625:] Street, reveals her desire to escape the petty rumors occasioned by his association with Mrs. Osgood, Mrs. Ellet, and other bluestockings:

Ever with thee I wish to roam —

Dearest my life is thine.

Give me a cottage for my home

And a rich old cypress vine,

Removed from the world with its sin and care

And the tattling of many tongues.

Love alone shall guide us when we are there —

Love shall heal my weakened lungs;

And Oh, the tranquil hours we’ll spend,

Never wishing that others may see!

Perfect ease we’ll enjoy, without thinking to lend

Ourselves to the world and its glee —

Ever peaceful and blissful we’ll be

(facsimile in Phillips, 2:1096).

[1846] 14 FEBRUARY [1846?]. Poe composes a valentine poem “To Miss Louise Olivia Hunter,” addressed to the schoolgirl whose “Prize Composition” he read at the commencement of the Rutgers Female Institute on 11 July 1845 (Mabbott [1969], 1:396-99; Moldenhauer [1973], pp. 8-9).

[1846] 14 FEBRUARY. A revised manuscript of Poe’s acrostic valentine for Mrs. Osgood, dated “Saturday, February 14,” is read at Anne C. Lynch’s soiree at 116 Waverley Place (Mabbott [1969], 1:386-91).

[On 16 January 1847 Miss Lynch wrote Mrs. Whitman: “Last year, on the evening of valentines day which came on Saturday, I had a valentine party — that is there were valentines written for all present — mostly original & in general merely complimentary verses — The best of them were selected & read & some of them afterwards published. . . . Mrs Osgood Mrs Ellet & a good many were here” (RPB-W). While Poe contributed a valentine to this soiree, it seems unlikely that he would have attended, considering the current scandal over Mrs. Ellet’s letters.]

[1846] AFTER 14 FEBRUARY. The Poe family leaves 85 Amity Street and moves “in the country” (Poe to P. E. Cooke, 16 April).

[The family seems to have lived near the East River for several months, close to the home of Mr. and Mrs. John C. Miller. In 1909 Miss Sarah F. Miller, their daughter, left this reminiscence:

When I was a little girl we lived in a house facing Turtle Bay, on the East River, near the present 47th Street. Among our nearest neighbors was a charming family trio consisting of Mr. Poe, his wife Virginia, and his mother-in-law, Mrs. Clemm. Poor Virginia Poe was very ill at the time, and I never saw her leave her home. [page 626:]

Poe and Mrs. Clemm would very frequently call on us. He would also run over every little while to ask my father to lend him our rowboat, and then how he would enjoy himself pulling at the oars over to the little islands just south of Blackwell’s Island, for his afternoon swim.

Mrs. Clemm and my mother soon became the best of friends, and she found mother a sympathetic listener to all her sad tales of poverty and want. I would often see her shedding tears as she talked. In the midst of this friendship they came and told us they were going to move to a distant place called Fordham, where they had rented a little cottage, feeling sure the pure country air would do Mrs. Poe a world of good (Whitty [1911], p. lvii; see also Phillips, 2:1109-13).]

[1846] 21 FEBRUARY. The Evening Mirror prints twenty short poems from Miss Lynch’s 14 February soiree; Poe’s acrostic for Mrs. Osgood appears under the heading “TO HER WHOSE NAME IS WRITTEN BELOW.” The final valentine is addressed to Poe:

TO THE AUTHOR OF THE RAVEN.

I asked the raven on his bust, above

the chamber-door,

If that your fame could ever die — he answered

“Nevermore.”

The article is reprinted in the Weekly Mirror for 28 February.

[1846] 23 FEBRUARY. PORTLAND, MAINE. Mary Neal, the daughter of John Neal, writes Mrs. Osgood in New York: “I am making a collection of the hair of our distinguished authors, poets, and painters . . . . May I hope to possess yours?” (MB-G).

[1846] 26 FEBRUARY. SOUTH ATTLEBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS. Abijah M. Ide, Jr., writes Poe. He needs “certain numbers” of the Broadway Journal to make his set complete. Although he sent 50 cents to the magazine’s office by a friend, he never received these issues: “Perhaps you may have the papers reserved for me in your possession” (MB-G).

[1846] 27 FEBRUARY. NEW YORK. Mrs. Osgood writes Mary Neal, enclosing a lock of her hair. If Mary would also like a lock of Poe’s hair, Mrs. Osgood can obtain it for her (Mary’s reply, 25 April).

[1846] 28 FEBRUARY. LONDON. The Athenaeum notices The Raven and Other Poems. The reviewer, probably the editor Thomas K. Hervey, complains that American poetry is merely an imitation of English verse. Since “Mr. Poe’s fancy” is “to be original,” it is unfortunate that he has not chosen “to be so after a native fashion. The instinct of borrowing must be unconquerable [page 627:] amongst a people who borrow even their originality. . . . Electing to be mystical, we should have been grateful to Mr. Poe for a mysticism caught up on his own mountains, — fed on the far prairie, — watered by the mighty rivers of the land . . . . But Mr. Poe has taken his mystical degree in one of the worst of our London schools; where the art, as taught, consists in saying plain things enough after a fashion which makes them hard to be understood, and commonplaces in a sort of mysterious form which causes them to sound oracular.” While Poe’s poems occasionally reveal “a breathing of the Muse,” he often “approaches dangerously near to the verge of the childish, and wanders on the very confines of the absurd.” In the “Scenes” from Politian “the excess of the puerile . . . amounts to dramatic imbecility.” The reviewer reprints “The Raven” (“a strange specimen of the author’s mannerisms”) and “Dream-Land.” Poe has “both music and imagination,” yet his poetry is not altogether comprehensible: “The sense of the vague and mysterious, no doubt, may be conveyed by mysterious music; but the character and meaning of the mystery wants some more intelligible exponent.”

[1846] LATE FEBRUARY? NEW YORK. Wiley and Putnam reissue Poe’s Tales and The Raven and Other Poems, bound together in a cloth volume which is priced at one dollar (Mabbott [1942], pp. xvi-xviii).

[1846] LATE FEBRUARY? Poe writes Charles Dickens in London. He understands that Dickens has become the editor of a London paper, the Daily News; he offers to furnish American correspondence for it. In another package Poe is sending Dickens the volume containing his Tales and The Raven and Other Poems (Dickens to Poe, 19 March).

[1846] LATE FEBRUARY? Poe sends a copy of his tales and poems to Miss Barrett in London, inscribed “To Miss Elisabeth Barrett Barrett / With the Respects of / Edgar A Poe” (presentation copy in NN-B; Barrett’s letters to Robert Browning and John Kenyon, 20 March).

[1846] MARCH. PHILADELPHIA. Graham’s Magazine contains an installment of Poe’s “Marginalia.”

[1846] MARCH. Godey’s Lady’s Book contains Poe’s laudatory criticism of Mrs. Osgood’s A Wreath of Wild Flowers from New England, a volume of verse published in 1842, and of her Poems, a new collection which he had initially noticed in the Broadway Journal for 13 December 1845.

[1846] MARCH. LONDON. Churton’s Literary Register reviews The Raven and Other Poems, quoting three stanzas from the title poem (Pollin [1980], p. 26). [page 628:]

[1846] CA. MARCH. BALTIMORE. Robert DeUnger, an apprentice printer, becomes acquainted with Poe, who is visiting Baltimore:

I first met him [Poe] in 1846, about a year previous to his wife’s death. He was probably 12 or 15 years my elder at that time, as I was nearing my majority. [We were introduced by] Mr. John N. Millington, then foreman of the Baltimore Patriot, an evening paper, (also publishing a morning edition.) The introduction took place in Guy’s Coffee House, corner of Monument Square and Fayette street, but our conversation was quite brief, Mr. Poe being of a nervous, melancholy, glum disposition and not much inclined to converse. He spoke to Mr. Millington of the illness of his wife — she had then been an invalid for some years — and remarked that there was a slight improvement in her condition. I do not remember where he said she was, but she certainly was not in Baltimore at that time. As Mr. Poe stood up to the “Bar” and drank off a big drink of whiskey, (I believe this was his favorite tipple), Mr. Millington and myself joining him — my drink “California Pop,” as it was called, I formed the opinion that the poet had, in his time, seen many a barkeeper’s countenance; and, really, I pitied him, for I had read a number of his short stories, printed if my memory serves me correctly, in Graham’s Gentlemen’s Magazine, a Philadelphia monthly, and greatly admired his style of composition. I was “courting” those days and the men in the Patriot office, on account of my youth, twitted me a good deal about it. At that time I was assisting Mr. John Wills, who managed the commercial column of the Patriot. Mr. Millington joked me and mentioned the matter of my “courting” to Mr. Poe, who, with the gravity of a Church beadle, remarked — “My young friend — don’t hurry yourself as to marriage. It has its joys, but its sorrows overbalance those.” His manner, when he uttered this sentence, actually chilled me. A second drink — called for by Mr. Millington, — was indulged in and we separated. It is fresh in mind that Mr. Poe, on this occasion, was entirely destitute of funds, because he took Mr. Millington aside and borrowed a trifle from him (DeUnger to E. R. Reynolds, 29 October 1899, ViU-I; cf. Mrs. Hewitt to Poe, 15 April 1846).

[1846] 2 MARCH. CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA. In the Southern Patriot William Gilmore Simms reviews The Raven and Other Poems: “The wild, fanciful and utterly abstract character of these poems, will prove incomprehensible to him who requires that poetry shall embody an axiom in morals, or a maxim in philosophy or society.” While Simms will not go “so far as to approve wholly of the scheme and tenor of Mr. Poe’s performances in verse,” he cautions those readers who would condemn this book: “Mr. Poe is a fantastic and a mystic — a man of dreamy mood and wandering fancies. His scheme of a poem requires that his reader shall surrender himself to influences of pure imagination. He demands as a preliminary that you should recognize totally unreal premises — that you should yield yourself wholly to the witch element, as implicitly as Mephistopheles requires it of Faust, ascending the wizard eminences of the Brocken. Unless you can make him this concession you had better have nothing to do with his volume.” Having space for “but a single extract,” Simms [page 629:] reprints “The Valley of Unrest,” which aptly illustrates Poe’s genius: “The music of the verse, the vagueness of the delineation, its mystical character, and dreamy and spiritual fancies, are all highly characteristic.”

[1846] 6 MARCH. LONDON. Miss Barrett writes Robert Browning at New Cross, Hatcham, Surrey: “I forgot to tell you that Mr. [John] Kenyon was in an immoderate joy the day I saw him last, about Mr. Poe’s ‘Raven’ as seen in the Athenaeum extracts [of 28 February], & came to ask what I knew of the poet & his poetry, & took away the book [The Raven and Other Poems]. It’s the rhythm which has taken him with ‘glamour’ I fancy” (Browning [1969], 1:521-22).

[1846] 7 MARCH. NEW YORK. The Daily Tribune reports: “The New-York correspondent of a Washington paper says that Mr. Poe is engaged on a work which will embrace his opinions of the various New-York literati, and thinks that it will create a sensation, and that the uproar which attended Pope’s Dunciad was nothing to the stormy confusion of the literary elements which will war and rage, ‘with red lightning winged,’ when that book makes its appearance.”

[1846] 14 MARCH. LONDON. The Literary Gazette contains a hostile review of The Raven and Other Poems by the editor William Jerdan: “The genius of Edgar Poe, such as it is, had its full exposition and place assigned to it [by Martin F. Tupper] in the Literary Gazette of 31st January.” Jerdan prints a letter he received afterwards from William Petrie, a reader of the Gazette who ingeniously pointed out several inaccuracies in Poe’s description of the whirlpool in “A Descent into the Maelström.” Jerdan observes: “If such objections can justly be raised against his [Poe’s] prose, we fear we must allow that some of his poetry is not less wild; or, in other words, that there is not so much method in his furor as could be desired by readers not inflamed and carried away by his vague thoughts and diction.” As “a specimen of bad taste and exaggeration,” Jerdan quotes the last stanza of “The Sleeper,” italicizing the line “Soft may the worms about her creep!” He then reprints “The Conqueror Worm”: “another sample of the morbid.” Miss Barrett’s style seems to have had “considerable influence” on Poe: “In some points it might have been better had he studied her more closely.”

[1846] 14 MARCH. PHILADELPHIA. The Saturday Evening Post cites The Conchologist’s First Book in an editorial discussing plagiarism:

One of the most remarkable plagiarisms was perpetrated by Mr. Poe, late of the Broadway Journal, whose harshness as a critic and assumption of peculiar originality makes [make] the fault, in his case, more glaring. This gentleman, a few years ago, in Philadelphia, published a work on Conchology as original, when in reality [page 630:] it was a copy, nearly verbatim, of “The Text-Book of Conchology, by Capt. Thomas Brown,” printed in Glasgow in 1833, a duplicate of which we have in our library. Mr. Poe actually took out a copy-right for the American edition of Capt. Brown’s work, and, omitting all mention of the English original, pretended, in the preface, to have been under great obligations to several scientific gentlemen of this city. It is but justice to add, that in the second [third] edition of this book, published lately in Philadelphia, the name of Mr. Poe is withdrawn from the title-page, and his initials only affixed to the preface. But the affair is one of the most curious on record, and we recommend it to Mr. Griswold as a rare morsel for his forthcoming “Curiosities of American Literature.”

[Poe’s book was actually an undertaking of his friend Thomas Wyatt, who paid him for the use of his name. While it contained some original material, it was largely compiled from various European sources, like most American textbooks and scientific manuals of the time. All its illustrations were reproduced from Brown’s book; the other borrowings from this source are much less obvious.]

[1846] 17 MARCH. WOODLANDS, SOUTH CAROLINA. Simms writes Evert A. Duyckinck in New York, mentioning his 2 March review of The Raven and Other Poems: “Did you receive a notice of Poe’s & Headley’s Vols. that I sent you . . . ? Where is Poe now & what doing” (Simms, 2:151-53).

[1846] 18 MARCH. QUINCY, ILLINOIS. The Whig publishes “The Pole-Cat,” a parody of “The Raven” (Lincoln, 1:377).

[1846] 18 MARCH OR LATER. Andrew Johnston, a Quincy lawyer, writes his friend Abraham Lincoln, an amateur poet as well as an emergent Illinois politician, forwarding the newspaper containing “The Pole-Cat” (Lincoln to Johnston, 18 April).

[1846] 19 MARCH. LONDON. Charles Dickens replies to Poe’s recent letter. Although he has not yet received the volume containing the Tales and The Raven and Other Poems, he avails himself “of a leisure moment” to thank Poe “for the gift of it.” Dickens cannot consider Poe’s offer to furnish American correspondence for the London Daily News: “I am not in any way connected with the Editorship or current management of that Paper. I have an interest in it, and write such papers for it as I attach my name to. This is the whole amount of my connexion” (PHi).

[1846] 20 MARCH. Elizabeth Barrett Barrett writes Robert Browning at New Cross, Hatchman, Surrey: “Mr. Poe has sent me his poems & tales . . . . Just now I have the book” (Browning [1969], 1:546-48).

[1846] 20 MARCH. Miss Barrett writes her friend John Kenyon: “To-day Mr. Poe [page 631:] sent me a volume containing his poems and tales collected, so now I must write and thank him for his dedication. What is to be said, I wonder, when a man calls you the ‘noblest of your sex’? ‘Sir, you are the most discerning of yours’ ” (Browning [1898], pp. 248-49).

[1846] 21 MARCH. The London Journal reprints “The Raven” (Tanselle [1963], pp. 229-30).

[1846] 27 MARCH. WOODLANDS, SOUTH CAROLINA. Simms writes Duyckinck, who has alluded to the scandal involving Mrs. Ellet’s letters: “Your hints with regard to Poe, the Ladies, Billet doux &c quite provoke my curiosity. What is the mischief — who the victims &c. Entre nous, I half suspected that mischief would grow out of all those fine critical discriminations &c. It is dangerous to the poetess when the critic teaches her the use of spondees, and trochaics, dactyls, trimeters & dimeters” (Simms, 2:157-59).

[1846] BEFORE 28 MARCH. PHILADELPHIA. Godey’s Lady’s Book for April contains Poe’s essay on William Cullen Bryant.

[1846] 28 MARCH. NEW YORK. In the Evening Mirror Hiram Fuller reviews Godey’s, citing the “very discriminating critique on the poetical works of Bryant, from the pen of Mr. Poe.” The review appears in the Weekly Mirror for 4 April.

[1846] BEFORE APRIL. Poe replies to a correspondent in England, who had inquired whether the two tales of his reprinted in the London Popular Record of Modern Science are fact or fiction:

The philosophy detailed in the “Last Conversation of a Somnambule,” [the Record’s title for “Mesmeric Revelation”] is my own — original, I mean, with myself, and had long impressed me. I was anxious to introduce it to the world in a manner that should insure for it attention. I thought that by presenting my speculations in a garb of vraisemblance — giving them as revelations — I would secure for them a hearing . . . . In the case of Valdemar, I was actuated by similar motives, but in this latter paper, I made a more pronounced effort at verisimilitude for the sake of effect. The only material difference between the two articles is, that in one I believe actual truth to be involved; in the other I have aimed at merely suggestion and speculation. I find the Valdemar case universally copied and received as truth, even in spite of my disclaimer (quoted in the Record, 11 April).

[1846] APRIL. LONDON. Miss Barrett writes Poe, thanking him for the volume containing his Tales and The Raven and Other Poems. She expresses her “sense of the high honor” Poe has done her by dedicating his poems to her: “It is too great a distinction, conferred by a hand of too liberal generosity. I wish [page 632:] for my own sake I were worthy of it.” She also thanks him, “as another reader,” for “this vivid writing, this power which is felt! Your ‘Raven’ has produced a sensation, a ‘fit horror,’ here in England. Some of my friends are taken by the fear of it and some by the music. I hear of persons haunted by the ‘Nevermore,’ and one acquaintance of mine who has the misfortune of possessing a ‘bust of Pallas’ never can bear to look at it in the twilight.” Poe’s “Valdemar” is now “going the round of the newspapers, about mesmerism, throwing us all into ‘most admired disorder, and dreadful doubts as to whether ‘it can be true,’ as the children say of ghost stories” (W, 17:229-30).

[1846] APRIL. NEW YORK. Wiley and Putnam’s Literary News-Letter, published free of charge, advertises the cloth volume containing Poe’s tales and poems (Mabbott [1942], pp. xvi-xvii).

[1846] APRIL. In the Knickerbocker Magazine Lewis Gaylord Clark unfavorably reviews Simms’s novel Count Julian, alluding to Poe as a “small magazine ‘critic-ling’ ” and as “the besotted driveller who called CARLYLE an ass.”

[1846] APRIL. The Democratic Review contains an installment of Poe’s “Marginalia.”

[1846] APRIL. PHILADELPHIA. Graham’s Magazine contains “The Philosophy of Composition,” in which Poe describes the writing of “The Raven.”

[1846] APRIL. RICHMOND. The Southern Literary Messenger contains Philip Pendleton Cooke’s essay “Old Books and New Authors,” which argues that “Fairly, or unfairly, every new writer makes extensive use of old books.” Cooke quotes Poe’s review of the January 1846 Graham’s, found in the Broadway Journal for 27 December 1845, which suggested that “Emily: Proem to the Froissart Ballads” revealed an indebtedness to Richard Lovelace’s “To Althea, From Prison.” As the author of the poem in Graham’s, Cooke can testify that if there was imitation, it was unconscious. He observes that the verse “None sing so wildly well,” in Poe’s “Israfel,” bears a similarity to Byron’s line “He sings so wild and well,” from “The Bride of Abydos.” “Of course this was, as in my own case, an unconscious appropriation — or, if conscious, still perfectly innocent. The man who goes out of his way to avoid such trivial imitations, is over dainty to do manly work.”

[1846] 3 APRIL. PHILLIPS, MAINE. George W. Eveleth writes Poe: “I am not to believe that the three letters which have been addressed to you concerning the Broadway Journal have all failed to reach you. . . . If you did not get the letter [of 5 January] in which were enclosed three dollars for your [page 633:] paper, why have you not let me know it after having learned that I sent the money to you?. . . as it is hardly possible that every one of the letters which have been sent to you (two by myself, and one by our post master) miscarried, and as I have not heard a word from you, so it is probable that you have received them all, the money with them, and no thanks to me for it.” Eveleth has seen an editorial in the Philadelphia Saturday Evening Post for 14 March, “speaking of plagiarisms (another kind of swindling),” which referred to Poe as “late of the Broadway Journal”; from this he supposes that his correspondent has left this paper. “Well, am I going to receive my money back again, or any thing in recompense? It is not the money that I care about so much, although three dollars is something to lose. I was in hopes that I had found the opportunity of becoming a permanent subscriber to a publication conducted by my favorite, Edgar A. Poe Esq. It is for this that I care principally” (Eveleth, pp. 6-7).

[1846] 4 APRIL. LONDON. The Critic reviews The Raven and Other Poems: “In an early number [14 June 1845] . . . we presented . . . a very remarkable poem, entitled The Raven, which had been sent to us from America. It was its first appearance in England, and it attracted a great deal of notice, and went the round of the provincial papers.” Judging from the subjects Poe has selected for his poetry, he is still a young man: “If so, there is good stuff in him. He has the foundation of the poet, and industry and experience may raise a structure that will be an honour to his own country, and the admiration of ours.” The reviewer reprints three poems, “which are among the most favourable specimens of his genius contained in the collection.” “The Valley of Unrest” is unquestionably poetry; it reminds the reader “forcibly of TENNYSON.” Although “The Sleeper” is beautiful, it is “after the manner of COLERIDGE” and thus illustrates “the imitative character of American literature.” The third poem, “Dream-Land,” reveals Poe’s “power of painting.” More than half the book is devoted to “Poems Written in Youth,” which “serve, at least, to mark the great progress the author has made; otherwise they are not worth the paper on which they are printed.” This reviewer will be “glad to meet Mr. POE again, both in prose and poetry.”

[1846] 11 APRIL. The Popular Record of Modern Science informs its readers that “Mesmeric Revelation” and “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar,” which it had initially regarded as authentic, are only fictions. The Record quotes Poe’s recent letter discussing these stories, which was sent to “a gentleman” who wrote him at the editor’s request (Ostrom [1974], pp. 528-29).

[1846] 12 APRIL. SAINT LOUIS. The Daily Reveille reports: “A rumor is in circulation [page 634:] in New York, to the effect that Mr. Edgar A. Poe, the poet and author, has become deranged, and his friends are about to place him under the charge of Dr. Brigham, of the Insane Retreat at Utica. We sincerely hope that this is not true; indeed we feel assured that it is altogether an invention” (Moss [1968], p. 19, and [1970], p. 92).

[1846] 14 APRIL. NEW YORK. Poe receives three letters from Philip Pendleton Cooke, as well as the manuscripts of Cooke’s poem “The Power of the Bards” and his prose sketch “The Turkey-hunter in the Closet” (Poe to Cooke, 16 April).

[1846] CA. 15 APRIL. Poe sends Cooke’s poem to George H. Colton, editor of the American Review, and his sketch to William T. Porter, editor of the Spirit of the Times, a New York sporting journal (Poe to Cooke, 16 April).

[1846] 15 APRIL. Mrs. Mary E. Hewitt writes Poe. Not knowing his current address, she has had to entrust this letter to the Post Office, hoping that “by some favorable chance” he will receive it:

We [the bluestockings associated with Poe] were all exceedingly sorry to hear of your illness in Baltimore, and glad when we heard that you had so far recovered as to be able to return to our latitude, though it were to play hide-and-seek with your friends. Our charming friend Mrs. Osgood, and myself, indulge often in talking of you and your dear wife. Next to seeing those we remember, is the luxury of talking of them — and you know the power of the femenine [sic] organ at laudation, as well as its opposite.

All Bluedom misses you from its charmed circle, and we often ask when we are to have Mr. Poe back again among us. Will you not favor me with a reply, should this reach you? (Mabbott [1937], p. 120).

[1846] 16 APRIL. Poe writes Cooke at The Vineyard, Clarke County, Virginia, acknowledging receipt of three letters, “all at once,” on 14 April: “I have been living in the country for the last two months (having been quite sick) and all letters addressed to 85 Amity St. were very sillily retained there, until their accumulation induced the people to send them to the P. Office.” At present Poe is preparing sketches of the New York literati for Godey’s Lady’s Book: “Pending the issue of this series, I am getting ready similar papers to include American littérateurs generally — and, by the beginning of December, I hope to put to press (here and in England) a volume embracing all the articles under the common head ‘The Living Literati of the U S.’ — or something similar.” The forthcoming book will be prefaced by James Russell Lowell’s sketch of Poe, which appeared in Graham’s Magazine for February 1845: “This Memoir, however, is defective, inasmuch as it says nothing of my latest & I think my best things — ‘The [page 635:] Raven’ (for instance), ‘The Valdemar Case’, etc. May I ask of you the great favor to add a P.S. to Lowell’s article — bringing up affairs as you well know how. . . . If you are willing to oblige me — speak frankly above all — speak of my faults, too, as forcibly as you can” (L, 2:313-15).

[1846] 16 APRIL. Poe replies to Eveleth’s 3 April letter: “Your letters, one and all, reached me in due course of mail — and I attended to them, as far as l could.” Poe explains that he is “in no degree to blame” for failing to return Eveleth’s three dollars, because the person to whom the Broadway Journal was transferred, “and in whose hands it perished,” was responsible for handling subscriptions: “Of course, I feel no less in honor bound to refund you your money, and now do so, with many thanks for your promptness & courtesy” (L, 2:315).

[1846] 18 APRIL. BOSTON. Littell’s Living Age reprints the review of The Raven and Other Poems from the London Athenaeum of 28 February.

[1846] 18 APRIL. BALTIMORE. In the Saturday Visiter Joseph Evans Snodgrass comments: “EDGAR A. POE, according to a New York letter writer, labors under mental derangement, to such a degree that it has been determined to consign him to the Insane Retreat at Utica. — This will be a painful piece of intelligence to thousands.”

[1846] 18 APRIL. TREMONT, ILLINOIS. Abraham Lincoln writes Andrew Johnston in Quincy, Illinois: “Your letter, written some six weeks since [actually on 18 March or later], was received in due course, and also the paper with the parody [Quincy Whig of 18 March with ‘The Pole-Cat’]. It is true, as suggested it might be, that I have never seen Poe’s ‘Raven’; and I very well know that a parody is almost entirely dependent for its interest upon the reader’s acquaintance with the original. Still there is enough in the pole-cat, self-considered, to afford one several hearty laughs. I think four or five of the last stanzas are decidedly funny” (Lincoln, 1:377-79).

[1846] 18 APRIL. NEW YORK. Poe replies to an inquiry from James E. Root: “A complete copy of the B.J. [Broadway Journal] can be obtained of Mr. Cornelius Mathews, 400 Nassau St. N. Y up stairs — or, if you prefer it, enclose me the subscription price ($3.) and I will leave a copy for you at any place you shall designate in this city” (L, 2:713-14).

[1846] 18 APRIL. The Evening Mirror carries an advertisement for “Edgar A. Poe’s Opinions of the Literary People of New York,” which will appear in Godey’s Lady’s Book: “Look out for the first number on Monday, the 20th. Something piquant may be expected.” [page 636:]

[1846] 20 APRIL OR BEFORE. PHILADELPHIA. Godey’s for May contains “The Literati of New York City: Some Honest Opinions at Random Respecting Their Autorial Merits, with Occasional Words of Personality.” In this first installment Poe discusses George Bush, George H. Colton, Nathaniel P. Willis, William M. Gillespie, Charles F. Briggs, William Kirkland, and John W. Francis. His sketches are favorable, except that of his former partner: “Mr. Briggs has never composed in his life three consecutive sentences of grammatical English. He is grossly uneducated.” In the “Editors’ Book Table” Louis A. Godey calls attention to the series: “We are much mistaken if these papers of Mr. P. do not raise some commotion in the literary emporium.”

[1846] 20 APRIL. NEW YORK. Hiram Fuller reviews Godey’s in the Evening Mirror, praising Poe’s “Literati” as the article “calculated to make the most noise.” The “juxtaposition of names” in this installment “is quite amusing. But as personalities are always popular, we think this kind of gossip will prove a happy hit for the publisher — though the friends of the gentlemen discussed would have been puzzled to recognize the portraits had the names been omitted. . . . Mr. Poe makes sad mistakes in his attempts at minute description of personal appearance, height, figure, age, foreheads, noses, &c. But he always writes with spirit, and a commendable degree of independence, and we hope that next month, he will dish us up a lady or two, just by way of adding a plum to his pudding.”

[1846] 21 APRIL. The Gazette and Times notices Godey’s, condemning Poe’s “Literati” as “a piece of gratuitous and unpardonable impertinence” consisting of “ungentlemanly and unpardonable personalities, and intrusion into the private matters of living men.” The Gazette recalls that the “unfortunate writer of this paper” has recently “attracted some attention and compassion” because of his idiosyncrasies. He is “at present in a state of health which renders him not completely accountable for all his peculiarities.”

[1846] 24 APRIL. The Evening Mirror carries an advertisement for the magazine agent W. H. Graham, located in the Tribune Buildings:

EDGAR A. POE AND THE NEW YORK LITERATI. — The great excitement caused by the publication of No. 1 of the above remarkable papers, exhausted our supply of the May number of Godey’s Lady’s Book. We have this morning received a few more, and will be in the constant receipt of them until the extraordinary demand is fully supplied.

The June number will contain several more notices, and they will continue monthly.

[1846] 25 APRIL. The Daily Tribune carries the same advertisement. [page 637:]

[1846] 25 APRIL. PORTLAND, MAINE. Mary Neal replies to Mrs. Frances S. Osgood, whose letter of 27 February was not received until today: “I guess I do want a lock of Mr Poe’s hair! and I guess I am an admirer of his Raven; I think it is — I hardly know what word to use — it is strange grotesque and very beautiful; — but as I also want a line of his writing with a lock of his hair, I will enclose in this letter a note for him and then I shall be sure of having an answer; — don’t you think so?”

John Neal writes Mrs. Osgood on the verso of his daughter’s letter: “say to Mr Poe, that for old acquaintance sake, if for no other reason, I hope he will furnish my girl with a bit of the raven plumage and a word or two of writing” (MB-G).

[1846] 27 APRIL. PHILADELPHIA. Louis A. Godey replies to the magazine agents Burgess, Stringer & Co., 222 Broadway, New York, who have requested additional copies of the May Lady’s Book: “Your order will be attended to as soon as we can get the numbers ready to send, which will be in a day or two. Portions of the book we have been obliged to reprint” (New York Evening Mirror, 28 April).

[1846] 28 APRIL. NEW YORK. Poe replies to Jerome A. Maubey, whose letter has been forwarded to him from Philadelphia: “You have, evidently, supposed me editor of ‘Godey’s Magazine’ and sent me the poem (a very beautiful one) under that supposition. . . . I am not connected, at present, with any journal in which I could avail myself of your talents” (L, 2:317).

[1846] 28 APRIL. Poe replies to George F. Barstow and Fayette Jewett of Burlington, Vermont, who have written him that he has been elected commencement poet: “Will you be so kind as [to] express to the Societies of the University of Vermont, my profound sense of the honor they have done me, and at the same time my deep regret that a multiplicity of engagements, with serious and, I fear, permanent ill health, will not permit me to avail myself of their flattering invitation?” (L, 2:714).

[1846] 28? APRIL. Poe writes John Keese, a New York author and editor (Poe to Duyckinck).

[1846] 28 APRIL. Poe writes Evert A. Duyckinck, enclosing his letter to Keese: “May I ask of you the favor to look it over and then seal it and send it to him?” Poe also encloses the letter he received “from the Lit. Societies of the Vermont University.” He asks Duyckinck to insert a report in the Morning News or another paper, stating that he has been elected poet for the University’s “ensuing Anniversary in August next,” but cannot accept [page 638:] because of “continued ill health, with a pressure of engagements” (L, 2:316-17).

[1846] 28 APRIL. Poe writes Godey in Philadelphia, enclosing forty-seven autographs. He believes that he can supply autographs for almost all the authors to be discussed in his “Literati” articles: “You will see that I send an autograph of all included in the May No. with the exception of Dr Francis: — and him I will supply to-morrow. For the article intended for the June No. there are 3 signatures wanting — viz: Maroncelli, Verplanck, and Cheever; and unless you have these, or can get them at once, perhaps it will be better to leave out these names for the present.” Poe thanks Godey for “the prompt payment of the 4 drafts” (Ostrom [1974], pp. 529-31).

[1846] 28 APRIL. The Evening Mirror carries an advertisement for Burgess, Stringer & Co.: “THE DEMAND STILL CONTINUES for the May number of Godey’s Lady’s Book, containing No. 1 of Edgar A. Poe’s ‘Notices of the Literary People of New York.‘ ” These magazine agents quote Godey’s 27 April letter, which reveals that “we will be enabled to serve our customers as soon as the new supply is received.” The advertisement appears in the Daily Tribune on 29 April.

[1846] BEFORE 29 APRIL. Lewis Gaylord Clark attacks Poe in the “Editor’s Table” of the May Knickerbocker Magazine: “There is a wandering specimen of ‘The Literary Snob’ continually obtruding himself upon public notice; to-day in the gutter, to-morrow in some milliner’s magazine . . . . Mrs. LOUISA GODEY has lately taken this snob into her service in a neighboring city, where he is doing his best to prove his title to the distinction of being one of the lowest of his class at present infesting the literary world.” Clark asserts that Poe’s “Literati” sketches are “so notoriously false that they destroy themselves. The sketch for example of Mr. BRIGGS, (‘HARRY FRANCO,’) . . . is ludicrously untrue, in almost every particular.”

[1846] 29 APRIL. In the Evening Mirror Hiram Fuller reviews the Knickerbocker: “The way old ‘Knick’ touches up Poe is ‘a caution.’ By the way, we notice that the article on the ‘New York Literati’ in the April [May] number of Godey’s Lady’s Book has compelled the publisher to print a second edition. There is nothing in this country that sells so well as literary scandal.”

[1846] 29 APRIL? Poe sends Godey the autograph of Dr. John W. Francis (implied by Poe to Godey, 28 April, and by the autograph’s publication in the June Lady’s Book).

[1846] CA. MAY. FORDHAM. The Poe family moves to Fordham, a village some [page 639:] thirteen miles north of New York proper, where they rent a small cottage owned by John Valentine for $100 a year (Phillips, 2:1114-18, 1546-49; Quinn, pp. 506-07).

[Mrs. Whitman recalled that Poe told her “that he took Virginia out there in the spring of the year to see the cottage, & that it was half-buried in fruit trees, which were then all in blossom. That she was charmed with the little place, which was rented for a very trifling sum” (Whitman to J. H. Ingram, 21 April 1874, Miller [1979], p. 124).]

[1846] 1 MAY. NEW YORK. The Daily Tribune reports: “EDGAR A. POE. — By a concurrent vote of the Literary Societies of the University of Vermont, Mr. Poe has been elected Poet for their ensuing Anniversary in August next; but we are sorry to hear that continued ill health, with a pressure of engagements, will force him to decline the office.”

[1846] 1 MAY. PHILADELPHIA. Godey writes Poe (cited on Poe’s 28 April letter to him).

[1846] 3 MAY. LONDON. Wiley and Putnam deposit a copy of The Raven and Other Poems in the British Museum, for copyright (Mabbott [1942], p. xix).

[1846] 5 MAY. BOSTON. In the Evening Transcript Cornelia Wells Walter observes: “The Knickerbocker occasionally serves up in its ‘editor’s table’ rare bits of opinion which well answer the purpose of palpable hits for individuals.” She quotes Clark’s attack on Poe from the May number, adding: “This same individual [Poe] is famous for indulging in gross falsehoods, and these have become so common with him that whenever seen in print they are ever met by the reader, with the simple exclamation Poh! POE!”

[1846] 6 MAY. LONDON. Elizabeth Barrett Barrett writes Robert Browning at New Cross, Hatcham, Surrey: “Today I had a book sent to me from America by the poetess Mrs. Osgood. . . . her note was of the very most affectionate, & her book is of the most gorgeous, all purple & gold — and she tells me . . . that I ought to go to New York, only ‘to see Mr. Poe’s wild eyes flash through tears’ when he reads my verses” (Browning [1969], 2:683-84).

[1846] 7 MAY. BOSTON. Horace Greeley, who is visiting Boston, writes his friend William H. C. Hosmer, a poet in upstate New York:

Poe — who is a brilliant writer when neither too drunk nor too sober — and might be somebody if he were not an incorrigible rascal and vagabond — has published in the last Godey some sketches of New York literati, which are said to [page 640:] be pungent. I have not seen them, but they are exciting a sensation, so that every copy is bought up in the City [New York]. I have applied twice for one without success. Godey advertises that this series is to be reprinted and accompanied by another in his June number. I presume the reprint will appear in the edition of our City alone. Poe has run all out in New York, and gone South, but his writings will sell, for he has genius. I presume he ran in debt $1,000 during the time he stopped in our City, scandalized two eminent literary ladies [Mrs. Ellet and Mrs. Osgood], and came near getting horsewhipped or pistoled. He insulted the Bostonians grossly, having been engaged to deliver a Poem here, which he did rather drunk and the poem an old and poor one. That chap will be getting into scrapes all his life until the sexton gets him into one that he cannot get out of (Mabbott [1933], pp. 14-16).

[1846] 8 MAY. NEW YORK. The Evening Mirror carries a paid insertion, headed “A CARD,” signed by Louis A. Godey: “When during a recent visit to New York, the subscriber [Godey] informed Mr. Lewis Gaylord Clark that Mr. Poe had him ‘booked’ in his ‘Opinions of the New York Literati,’ he supposed that he was giving Mr. Lewis Gaylord Clark a very agreeable piece of information; as it must have been quite apparent to the gentleman himself, that his natural position was not among the literati, but sub-literati of New York.” This information seems instead to have put Clark “in a perfect agony of terror. His desperation is laughably exhibited in the insane attack he has made on Mr. Poe, in the Knickerbocker for May.” Godey has been “repeatedly advised” to discontinue Poe’s sketches; but this course “would be as indelicate and unjust towards Mr. Poe, as it would be ungrateful towards the public, who have expressed distinct and decisive approbation of the articles in that unmistakeable way which a publisher is always happy to recognize.”

[1846] 9 MAY. BALTIMORE. Snodgrass’ Saturday Visiter reports: “EDGAR A. POE has been elected Anniversary Poet, by the University of Vermont, but has been obliged to decline on account of continued ill health. He is sojourning in a retired part of Long Island, where he is still severely suffering from an attack of ‘brain fever.’ ”

[1846] 14 MAY. NEW ORLEANS. The Daily Picayune reports that Poe is “sojourning” on Long Island, “still suffering from an attack of brain fever. So says the correspondent of the North American” (Moss [1970], p. 92).

[1846] 15 MAY. WOODLANDS, SOUTH CAROLINA. William Gilmore Simms writes James Lawson in New York: “Hints have reached me that Poe had been dealing in mischief, &c. Duyckinck talks of strange doings, & I see by one of the papers that it was gravely thought to send P. to Bedlam” (Simms, 2:161-63). [page 641:]

[1846] 16 MAY. NEW YORK. In the Weekly Mirror Hiram Fuller reprints Poe’s sketches of William Kirkland and Dr. John W. Francis from the May installment of “The Literati.”

[1846] 18 MAY. The Evening Mirror carries Godey’s advertisement for the June Lady’s Book, which will contain both “Nos. 1 & 2 of Edgar Poe’s opinions of the New York Literati. . . . The demand has been so great that a reprint has become necessary.” Godey offers to repurchase copies of the May number at “25 CTS.” each.

[1846] 20 MAY OR BEFORE. PHILADELPHIA. Godey’s for June features the second installment of Poe’s “Literati,” with sketches of Anna Cora Mowatt, George B. Cheever, Charles Anthon, Ralph Hoyt, Gulian C. Verplanck, Freeman Hunt, Piero Maroncelli, and Laughton Osborn. This issue contains a supplement in which the first installment is reprinted, followed by facsimiles of the autographs of Hoyt, Francis, Colton, Gillespie, Willis, Bush, and Mowatt.

In the “Editors’ Book Table” Louis A. Godey acknowledges “several letters from New York, anonymous and from personal friends,” which asked him to moderate Poe’s sketches: “We reply to one and all, that we have nothing to do but publish Mr. Poe’s opinions, not our own. . . . Our course is onward. The May edition was exhausted before the first of May, and we have had orders for hundreds from Boston and New York which we could not supply.” Godey observes that “various persons” are attempting to turn public opinion against Poe: “We have the name of one person, — others are busy with reports of Mr. Poe’s illness. Mr. Poe has been ill, but we have letters from him of very recent dates, also a new batch of the Literati, which show anything but feebleness either of body or mind.”

[1846] 20 MAY. NEW YORK. In the Evening Mirror Hiram Fuller notices the publication of the June Godey’s: “we purpose giving in a day or two a thorough review of ‘Poe’s Literati’ . . . . The writer of course would not object to the same treatment which he so liberally deals to others.”

[1846] 22 MAY. The Evening Mirror reprints a pseudonymous poem, by “Mustard Mace,” from the Philadelphia Saturday Gazette:

Dictator Poe,

Of Scribblers’ Row!

(I name you so

Because you show

You’re fain to crow

O’er every foe

Who will not go [page 642:]

Your feet below.)

Beware lest you

A storm may brew

That harm may do

Yourself unto,

And you may rue,

And learn to sue

For quarter too. . . .

[1846] 23 MAY. BOSTON. Littell’s Living Age reprints Martin Farquhar Tupper’s review of Poe’s Tales from the London Literary Gazette of 31 January.

[1846] AFTER 23 MAY. Eliakim Littell writes Poe that Tupper’s review has been reprinted in the Living Age (Poe to E. A. Duyckinck, 29 June).

[1846] 25 MAY. Cornelia Wells Walter comments in the Evening Transcript:

EDGAR A. POE AND THE BOSTON LYCEUM. The 18th Annual Report of the Boston Lyceum has recently been given to the public, with a mention of the different literary exercises of the past year. THE POEM by Mr Poe is alluded to in a very proper manner, whilst explanatory of the causes which brought him personally before the Boston people. The report says, “the Board had invited this person on the strength of his literary reputation, and were not aware of his personal habits or the eccentricities of his character. For the merit or faults of his literary productions, he, of course, is alone responsible. The public were disappointed as well as ourselves in the poem, and his subsequent abuse of our city and its institutions, show[s] him to be an unprincipled man, while the venom which he ejected against us, only defiled himself.”

[1846] 25 MAY. NEW YORK. Poe writes T. Honland, complying with his “very flattering request for an autograph” (L, 2:317).

[1846] 26 MAY. In the Evening Mirror Hiram Fuller publishes a savage attack on Poe’s “Literati” articles, unsigned but written by Charles F. Briggs. Last month, through “advertisements and placards,” Louis A. Godey informed the public “that Mr. Poe was coming down, upon the New York literati, in a series of papers in a Philadelphia magazine.” This announcement caused quite “an uproar”: it is said that “the students in Dr. Anthon’s grammar school made a pilgrimage to Bloomingdale to gaze upon the asylum where Mr. Poe was reported to be confined . . . and a certain great writer on small subjects, in Ann street, had serious thoughts of calling him the American Tasso.” Although Godey has asserted that Poe’s articles “are creating a great sensation throughout the country,” the only sensation Briggs has observed “has been one of disgust.” Of the fifteen authors noticed in the first two installments, “not more than half were ever heard [page 643:] of before as literati.” Only the sketch of Nathaniel P. Willis “makes any show of ability of analysis, or of knowledge.” Alluding to Willis’ reputation as a dandy and as the intimate of English aristocrats, Briggs scoffs: “Mr. Poe thinks that Mr. Willis . . . gave the best evidence of possessing genius, by publishing a string of affidavits and certificates from my Lord knows who, in London, and the proprietors of certain tailors shops and boarding-houses in New York, in favor of his moral character.” Poe is “the last man in the country who should undertake the task of writing ‘honest opinions’ of the literati. His infirmities of mind and body, his petty jealousies, his necessities even, which allow him neither time nor serenity . . . all unfit him for the performance of such a duty.” Briggs concludes, “after the fashion of our Thersitical Magazinist,” by describing the author’s appearance:

Mr. Poe is about 39. . . . In height he is about 5 feet 1 or two inches, perhaps 2 inches and a half [actually 5 ft. 8 in.]. His face is pale and rather thin; eyes gray, watery, and always dull; nose rather prominent, pointed and sharp; nostrils wide; hair thin and cropped short; mouth not very well chiselled, nor very sweet; his tongue shows itself unpleasantly when he speaks earnestly, and seems too large for his mouth; teeth indifferent; forehead rather broad, and in the region of ideality decidedly large, but low, and in that part where phrenology places conscientiousness and the group of moral sentiments it is quite flat; chin narrow and pointed, which gives his head, upon the whole, a balloonish appearance, which may account for his supposed light-headedness.

The article is reprinted in the Weekly Mirror for 30 May (attribution demonstrated by Reece [1954], pp. 34-36, and Weidman [1968], pp. 163-64, 179; cf. Poe to E. A. Duyckinck, 16 June).

[1846] AFTER 26 MAY. Willis writes Poe, who has suggested that they respond to the article in the Evening Mirror: “Why reply directly to Mr. Briggs? If you want a shuttlecock squib to fall on the ground, never battledore it straight back. Mr. B’s attacks on me I never saw, & never shall see. I keep a good-sense-ometer who reads the papers & tells me if there is anything worth replying to, but nothing is that is written by a man who will be honor’d by the reply. A reply from me to Mr. Briggs would make the man. So will yours, if you exalt him into your mate by contending on equal terms” (W, 17:206).

[1846] 30 MAY. In the National Press George P. Morris reprints four paragraphs “from Mr. Poe’s Sketch of Willis in Godey’s Lady’s Book [for May]. It is able, as all Mr. Poe’s sketches are, but shows, in one or two points, that he does not quite understand Willis, especially as to the latter’s ‘pushing himself.’ If Poe had seen a little more of our friend, he would have known that Willis is rather remarkable for never seeking an acquaintance.” [page 644:]

[1846] SUMMER. FORDHAM. The health reformer Mrs. Mary Gove, later Mrs. Nichols, recalls:

We made one excursion to Fordham to see Poe. We found him, and his wife, and his wife’s mother — who was his aunt — living in a little cottage at the top of a hill. There was an acre or two of greensward, fenced in about the house, as smooth as velvet and as clean as the best kept carpet. There were some grand old cherry-trees in the yard, that threw a massive shade around them. The house had three rooms — a kitchen, a sitting-room, and a bed-chamber over the sitting-room. There was a piazza in front of the house that was a lovely place to sit in in summer . . . .

On this occasion I was introduced to the young wife of the poet, and to the mother, then more than sixty years of age [actually fifty-six]. She was a tall, dignified old lady, with a most ladylike manner, and her black dress, though old and much worn, looked really elegant on her. She wore a widow’s cap of the genuine pattern, and it suited exquisitely with her snow-white hair. Her features were large, and corresponded with her stature, and it seemed strange how such a stalwart and queenly woman could be the mother of her almost petite daughter. Mrs. Poe looked very young; she had large black eyes, and a pearly whiteness of complexion, which was a perfect pallor. Her pale face, her brilliant eyes, and her raven hair gave her an unearthly look. One felt that she was almost a disrobed spirit, and when she coughed it was made certain that she was rapidly passing away. . . .

The cottage had an air of taste and gentility that must have been lent to it by the presence of its inmates. So neat, so poor, so unfurnished, and yet so charming a dwelling I never saw. The floor of the kitchen was white as wheaten flour. A table, a chair, and a little stove that it contained, seemed to furnish it perfectly. The sitting-room floor was laid with check matting; four chairs, a light stand, and a hanging bookshelf completed its furniture. There were pretty presentation copies of books on the little shelves, and the Brownings had posts of honour on the stand. With quiet exultation Poe drew from his side pocket a letter that he had recently received from Elizabeth Barrett Browning. He read it to us. It was very flattering. She told Poe that his “poem of the Raven had awakened a fit of horror in England” (Nichols [1863], pp. 7-9; cf. description of cottage in W, 1:253-54).

[1846] SUMMER? [1846?] Poe commences a friendship with Father Edward Doucet, S.J., a faculty member at nearby St. John’s College, later Fordham University. Poe frequently visits the college campus (Quinn, p. 520; Phillips, 2:1240-44).

[John H. Hopkins recalled that Poe had words of praise for “his near neighbors, the Jesuit Fathers at Fordham College . . . ‘They were highly cultivated gentlemen and scholars,’ he said, ‘smoked, drank, and played cards like gentlemen, and never said a word about religion’ ” (Hopkins to Mrs. M. L. Shew, later Mrs. Houghton, 9 February 1875, Miller [1977], pp. 100-01).] [page 645:]

[1846] 4 JUNE. STATEN ISLAND, NEW YORK. Charles F. Briggs writes William Page in Boston:

I am thankful also for your generous offer to hammer Poe on my account. But I would hammer him myself if I cared anything about him. He is altogether the poorest devil (I beg the devil’s pardon) I ever knew. I was indebted to James [Russell Lowell] for an introduction to him and having his ideas in my mind all the while thought I had a great liking for him [Poe]. But, as I gradually discovered his poltroonish character and at last saw what a humbug I had imposed upon myself[,] my disgust was so strong that I could not tolerate him, and passed him without returning his how d’ye do when I saw him. This, together with the favors I had done him, and the instigations of some of the friends to whom I had introduced him and who had become my enemies by the lies which he told them about me, led to his making what [Robert] Carter told you was an attack upon me in Godey’s Lady’s Book. . . . The amount of the ill which he said of me was that I have a low narrow forehead, a Flemish taste in art and had never written three sentences of grammatical English (MiDAAA-P).

[1846] 6 JUNE. BALTIMORE. Snodgrass’ Saturday Visiter reviews Godey’s for June. Poe’s sketches “of the New York Literati” are attracting much attention, “especially in the city where the great noticed reside. The ‘Book’ is consequently in great demand.”

[1846] 9 JUNE. PHILLIPS, MAINE. George W. Eveleth writes Poe. He has acquired a copy of The Raven and Other Poems; he discusses appreciatively “The Raven,” “The Sleeper,” and “The Valley of Unrest” (Poe to Eveleth, 15 December).

[1846] 11, 12, 13 JUNE. PARIS. The newspaper La Quotidienne publishes a free translation of “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” under the heading “Un Meurtre sans exemple dans les Fastes de la Justice: Histoire trouvée dans les papiers d’un Américain.” This version is signed “G. B.”; Poe is not mentioned (Seylaz, p. 39).

[1846] 12 JUNE. NEW YORK? Poe writes his wife at Fordham: “My Dear Heart, My dear Virginia! our Mother will explain to you why I stay away from you this night. I trust the interview I am promised, will result in some substantial good for me, for your dear sake, and hers — Keep up your heart in all hopefulness, and trust yet a little longer . . . I shall be with you tomorrow P.M. and be assured until I see you, I will keep in loving remembrance your last words and your fervant prayer!” (L, 2:318).

[1846] 15 JUNE. NEW YORK. Poe writes his friend Joseph M. Field, editor of the Saint Louis Daily Reveille. He encloses Briggs’s attack on him from the 26 May Evening Mirror, asking Field “to say a few words in condemnation of [page 646:] it” and to correct the false impression of his appearance it conveys: “You have seen me and can describe me as I am. Will you do me this act of justice, and influence one or two of your editorial friends to do the same?” Poe believes that the New Orleans Daily Picayune, “which has always been friendly,” will act in conjunction with the Reveille. He composes several paragraphs discussing the reception of his writings in England, which he hopes Field will publish “editorially”:

A long and highly laudatory review of his Tales, written by Martin Farquhar Tupper, . . . appeared in a late number of “The London Literary Gazette”. “The Athenaeum,” “The British Critic,[”] “The Spectator”, “The Popular Record”[,] “Churton’s Literary Register”, and various other journals, scientific as well as literary, have united in approbation of Tales & Poems. “The Raven” is copied in full in the “British Critic” and “The Athenaeum”. “The Times” — the matter of fact “Times!” — copies the “Valdemar Case”. The world’s greatest poetess, Elizabeth Barrett Barrett, says of Mr Poe: — “This vivid writing! — this power which is felt! ‘The Raven’ has produced a sensation — a ‘fit horror’ — here in England” (L, 2:318-21).

[1846] 16 JUNE. FORDHAM? Poe writes a friend, presumably Evert A. Duyckinck. He composes a news item, requesting his correspondent to arrange for its insertion in the Daily Tribune or some other paper: “MR POE has been invited by the Literary Societies of Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pa. to deliver a poem at their approaching anniversary, but this invitation, as well as that of the University of Vermont, he is forced to decline through continued illness and a pressure of other engagements.” Poe asks: “Who is the ‘great writer of small things in Ann St’ referred to by Briggs in the article about me in the Mirror of the 26? Has anything concerning me appeared lately in Morris’ ‘National Press[’]? (L, 2:321, 715; Moldenhauer [1973], pp. 63-64).

[Briggs might have been referring to Poe’s friend George P. Morris, whose National Press was published at the corner of Broadway and Ann; but it seems more likely that he simply intended to suggest a hypothetical journalistic hack, several New York newspapers having their offices on Ann Street, including the Evening Mirror.]

[1846] 17 JUNE. SALEM, MASSACHUSETTS. Nathaniel Hawthorne writes Poe. He presumes his publishers have sent Poe a copy of Mosses from an Old Manse, his latest collection of tales: “ I have read your occasional notices of my productions with great interest — not so much because your judgment was, upon the whole, favorable, as because it seemed to be given in earnest. I care for nothing but the truth; and shall always much more readily accept a harsh truth, in regard to my writings, than a sugared falsehood.” Hawthorne nonetheless admires Poe more as a writer of tales than as a [page 647:] critic of them: “I might often — and often do — dissent from your opinions, in the latter capacity, but could never fail to recognize your force and originality, in the former” (facsimile in Gimbel, p. 171).

[1846] 19 JUNE. NEW YORK? Frances S. Osgood writes Elizabeth F. Ellet, protesting the rumors her correspondent has spread regarding her relationship with Poe. Mrs. Osgood denies sending him an indiscreet letter (Mrs. Ellet’s reply, 8 July).

[1846] CA. 20 JUNE. PHILADELPHIA. Godey’s Lady’s Book for July features the third installment of “The Literati,” containing sketches of Fitz-Greene Halleck, Ann S. Stephens, Evert A. Duyckinck, Mary Gove, James Aldrich, Thomas Dunn English, Henry Cary, and Christopher Pearse Cranch. Poe’s remarks on English are flippantly contemptuous:

No spectacle can be more pitiable than that of a man without the commonest school education busying himself in attempts to instruct mankind on topics of polite literature. The absurdity in such cases does not lie merely in the ignorance displayed by the would-be instructor, but in the transparency of the shifts by which he endeavours to keep this ignorance concealed. The editor of “The Aristidean,” for example, was not laughed at . . . so much for his excusable deficiencies in English grammar (although an editor should certainly be able to write his own name) as that, in the hope of disguising such deficiency, he was perpetually lamenting the “typographical blunders” that “in the most unaccountable manner would creep into his work.” Nobody was so stupid as to suppose for a moment that there existed in New York a single proof-reader — or even a single printer’s devil — who would have permitted such errors to escape.

With tongue in cheek Poe claims to be unacquainted with his subject: “I do not personally know Mr. English.”

[1846] 23 JUNE. NEW YORK. The Morning Telegraph, edited by S. DeWitt Bloodgood, publishes “Mr. English’s Reply to Mr. Poe.” After quoting Poe’s facetious statement that he is unacquainted, English explains that he knows Poe through “a succession of his acts;” all disreputable. One of these has proven “rather costly.” Alluding to the $30 Poe borrowed for the Broadway Journal early in October 1845, English asserts: “I hold Mr. Poe’s acknowledgement for a sum of money which he obtained from me under false pretences.” He gives another example of Poe’s financial dishonesty, referring to the unfounded rumor circulated by Edward J. Thomas around 20 June 1845: “A merchant of this city [Thomas] had accused him of committing forgery. He consulted me on the mode of punishing his accuser . . . I suggested a legal prosecution as his sole remedy. At his request I obtained a counsellor who was willing, as a compliment to me, to conduct his suit without the customary retaining fee. But, though so [page 648:] eager at first to commence proceedings, he dropped the matter altogether, when the time came for him to act, thus virtually admitting the truth of the charge.” English now recounts “a series of events . . . in January last,” which “provoked the exhibition of impotent malice” found in the “Literati” sketch of him. At that time Poe visited him in his lodgings, requesting a private interview:

Then he told me that he had vilified a certain well known and esteemed authoress [Mrs. Ellet], of the South, then on a visit to New York; that he had accused her of having written letters to him which compromised her reputation; and that her brother (her husband being absent) had threatened his life unless he produced the letters he named. . . . He then begged the loan of a pistol to defend himself against attack. This request I refused, saying that his surest defence was a retraction of unfounded charges. He, at last, grew exasperated, and using offensive language, was expelled from the room. In a day or so, afterwards, being confined to his bed from the effect of fright and the blows he had received from me, he sent a letter to the brother [probably to Mrs. Ellet herself] . . . denying all recollection of having made any charges of the kind alleged, and stating that, if he had made them, he was laboring under a fit of insanity to which he was periodically subject.

English characterizes Poe as a drunkard who is “thoroughly unprincipled, base and depraved . . . not alone an assassin in morals, but a quack in literature.”

[1846] 23 JUNE. English takes his “Reply,” printed in the Morning Telegraph, to Hiram Fuller. Assuring Fuller that the article is “to be published in every newspaper in the city” and that every word in it is true, he asks him to reprint it in the Evening Mirror (Fuller in the Mirror, 18 February 1847).

[1846] 23 JUNE. The Mirror carries English’s “Reply,” preceded by Fuller’s explanation: “THE WAR OF THE LITERATI. — We publish the following terrific rejoinder of one of Mr. Poe’s abused literati, with a twinge of pity for the object of its severity. But as Mr. Godey, ‘for a consideration,’ lends the use of his battery for an attack on the one side, it is but fair that we allow our friends an opportunity to exercise a little ‘self-defence’ on the other.” The “Reply” is reprinted in the Weekly Mirror for 27 June.

[1846] 24 JUNE. The Morning News reports: “Edgar A. Poe attacked Thomas Dunn English most ridiculously in a late number of Godey’s Lady’s Book, and Mr. English, in the papers of yesterday, replied in a most caustic and fearful article.”

[1846] CA. 24 JUNE. PHILADELPHIA. Louis A. Godey sends Poe a copy of English’s “Reply,” suggesting that portions of it might require a response (“Mr. Poe’s Reply to Mr. English,” 10 July). [page 649:]

[1846] 25 JUNE. The Public Ledger reports: “The New York Literati are by the ears again, and are saying all sorts of complimentary things of each other in the tartest possible manner.” When Poe attacked English in Godey’s, he “caught a tartar, for Mr. English is out in a terrific rejoinder.” Observing that this exchange is but “the first brush between the literary combatants,” the Ledger predicts that Poe “will muster his intellectual forces, and give his adversary another battle.”

[1846] 26 JUNE. NEW YORK. The Evening Mirror publishes a letter to its editor from “Justitia,” a correspondent in Troy, New York: “In inserting Mr. English’s card relative to Edgar A. Poe, you have ‘done the State some service. Mr. P. may consider his ‘position defined.’ ” In another column Hiram Fuller notices the July Godey’s, condemning “the insane riff-raff, which Mr. Poe calls his ‘honest opinions’ of the New York Literati.” His review appears in the Weekly Mirror for 4 July.

[1846] 27 JUNE. In his National Press George P. Morris comments: “The reply of Mr. English to Mr. Poe is one of the most savage and bitter things we ever read — so much so that we are obliged to decline the requests of several correspondents to publish it in these columns. We condemn all literary squabbles — they are in very bad taste; but when attacks are made, rejoinders will follow.”

[1846] 27 JUNE. PHILADELPHIA. In the Spirit of the Times John S. Du Solle reports that Poe made “an ungenerous attack” upon English in the July Godey’s, “and among other things asserted that he did not know Mr. E. The latter is back upon the literary meat-axe in a style which shows pretty conclusively that he knows Mr. Poe very well.”

[1846] 27 JUNE. NEW YORK. Poe writes the poetaster Henry B. Hirst in Philadelphia: “I presume you have seen . . . an attack made on me by English.” Poe asks for an account of Hirst’s reputed duel with English, as well as for information on English’s quarrels with the Philadelphia politician Sandy Harris and the Virginia congressman Henry A. Wise. “See Du Solle, also, if you can & ask him if he is willing to give me, for publication, an account of his kicking E. out of his office” (L, 2:321-22).

Evert A. Duyckinck [thumbnail]

[Illustration on page 650]
 
Evert A. Duyckinck

[1846] 29 JUNE. Poe writes Evert A. Duyckinck: “I am about to send the ‘Reply to English’ (accompanying this note) to Mr Godey — but feel anxious that some friend should read it before it goes. Will you be kind enough to look it over & show it to [Cornelius] Mathews?” The number of Littell’s Living Age containing Tupper’s review of Poe’s Tales “is 106 — so he [Eliakim Littell] writes me” (L, 2:323). [page 651:]

[1846] 29 JUNE OR LATER. Poe sends his “Reply” to Louis A. Godey, asking him to publish it in his Lady’s Book (Poe to Godey, 16 July).

[1846] 30 JUNE. SAINT LOUIS. Complying with Poe’s request in his 15 June letter, Joseph M. Field defends him in the Daily Reveille:

Certainly one of the most original geniuses of the country is Edgar A. Poe, and the only fault we have to find with him is, that he is wasting his time at present in giving his “honest opinions” touching his contemporaries — the maddest kind of honesty, in our opinion. Poe’s papers upon the “New York Literati,” published in Godey’s Magazine, have stirred up, as might have been expected, any amount of ill temper. The Evening Mirror takes the lead in the attack upon the author, who is very sick, by-the-bye, and unable to make battle, as is his wont. The Mirror, among other things, seeks to make Poe ridiculous by a false description of his personal appearance. We won’t stand this. Instead of being “five foot one,” &c, the poet is a figure to compare with any in manliness, while his features are not only intellectual, but handsome.

Field publishes the paragraphs Poe composed on his favorable reception in England, featuring excerpts from Miss Barrett’s April letter to him, and citing notices in eight British journals. The article is reprinted in the Weekly Reveille for 6 July (Moss [1968], pp. 19-20, and [1970], pp. 20-25; Heartman and Canny, p. 243).

[1846] CA. JULY. PHILLIPS, MAINE. George W. Eveleth writes George H. Colton in New York, requesting “a specimen number” of his American Review, preferably that for September 1845 containing the critique of Poe’s Tales. Colton sends Eveleth this issue as well as the current July 1846 number, requesting his aid in increasing the magazine’s circulation in Maine (Eveleth to Poe, 11 January 1848).

[1846] JULY. NEW YORK. The Democratic Review contains a brief installment of Poe’s “Marginalia.”

[1846] 8 JULY. Mrs. Elizabeth F. Ellet replies to a 19 June letter from Mrs. Osgood, which she has only “this moment” received, having been out of town. She discusses the letter from Mrs. Osgood to Poe which she saw at his residence and which prompted her to intervene in this innocent correspondence:

The letter shown me by Mrs Poe must have been a forgery, and any man capable of offering to show notes he never possessed [Mrs. Ellet’s own letters to Poe], would not, I think, hesitate at such a crime. Had you seen the fearful paragraphs which Mrs Poe first repeated and afterwards pointed out — which haunted me night and day like a terrifying spectre — you would not wonder I regarded you as I did. But her husband will not dare to work further mischief with the letter; — nor [page 652:] have either of us any thing to apprehend from the verbal calumnies of a wretch so steeped in infamy as he is now. . . .

Most fervently do I hope you may soon forget the whole painful affair . . . . What I have suffered — and the keen anguish of thinking how much pain I have been instrumental in causing to one of my own sex — to one whose genius and grace I have so much admired will be a lesson never again to listen to a tale of scandal. May Heaven forgive me — as you have — for having done so! . . .

It is most unfortunate both for you & me that we ever had any acquaintance with such people as the Poes — but I trust the evil is now at an end (MB-G).

[1846] BEFORE 10 JULY. PHILADELPHIA. Accepting the advice of friends, Godey decides not to publish Poe’s “Reply” in the Lady’s Book; instead he pays $10 to have it printed in the Spirit of the Times, the daily paper edited by English’s longstanding foe John S. Du Solle (Poe to Godey, 16 July).

[1846] 10 JULY. Du Solle’s [[Spirit of the]] Times contains “Mr. Poe’s Reply to Mr. English and Others.” Since Poe has been in “perfect seclusion in the country,” he would not have noticed Thomas Dunn English’s attack in the New York Evening Mirror of 23 June, except that Godey sent it to him and suggested a reply. Poe will not allow “any profundity of disgust” to induce him to violate the truth: “What is not false, amid the scurrility of this man’s statements, it is not in my nature to brand as false, although oozing from the filthy lips of which a lie is the only natural language.” Poe’s “weakness” [drinking] has been a calamity rather than a crime, and Dr. John W. Francis and other physicians can testify “that the irregularities so profoundly lamented were the effect of a terrible evil rather than its cause.” He will not deny English’s account of their conversation in January, “because every portion of it may be true, by a very desperate possibility.” Poe would have preferred to ignore English’s attack, except that two of the accusations are “criminal” and thus demand a rebuttal. He strenuously denies either that he obtained money from English under false pretenses or that he committed forgery. He prints a 5 July 1845 letter retracting the latter charge from Edward J. Thomas, the merchant involved. Poe proposes to demonstrate his innocence “in a court of justice”; he condemns English as a “wretch” who has attempted to stigmatize him as a felon. Hiram Fuller, the editor of the Mirror, is also at fault, having “prostituted his filthy sheet to the circulation of this calumny” (Moss [1970], pp. 49-59).

[1846] 10 JULY NEW YORK. In the Evening Mirror Fuller quotes one of the Philadelphia newspapers: “ ‘The New York Mirror has published one number without once referring to Poe’s Notices of the New York Literati. Who is it about this establishment winces so dreadfully? Can it be Mr. Harry Franco Briggs?’ ” Fuller replies: “We are not aware of harboring any body about our establishment who would be likely to ‘wince’ at anything which [page 653:] can emanate from Mr. Poe, who was once employed upon our paper, and of course is well known to us. . . . The gentleman whose name is unwarrantably used by our Philadelphia contemporary is not, nor ever was, attached to our establishment.”

[1846] 11 JULY. PHILADELPHIA. On its first page the Saturday Gazette reprints “Mr. Poe’s Reply to Mr. English and Others” from the Spirit of the Times. On the second page the editor Joseph C. Neal explains that “some of Mr. Poe’s friends in this city” asked him to copy the article: “Mr. E.’s letter was very severe upon the private character of Mr. Poe, and the latter retaliates in the same spirit. All this is, to our notion, in bad taste, yet we cannot well refuse the assailed an opportunity to exculpate himself. . . . Their friends will probably watch the progress of affairs with some interest, and the public, if it reads them, will enjoy a laugh for which they must jointly pay unless the victorious party — as is proposed in our war with Mexico — makes the vanquished foot the bill.”

[1846] 11 JULY. NEW YORK. The Morning News reports: “Poe has at last replied to the card of Mr. English, and it is a most terrific, [sic] absolutely bitterness and satire unadulterated. Poe states that he will prosecute the Mirror for publishing the card of Mr. E. This is rather small business for a man who has reviled nearly every literary man of eminence in the United States.”

[1846] 13 JULY. The Evening Mirror contains “A Card, in Reply to Mr. Poe’s Rejoinder,” signed by English: “In the ‘Times,’ a Philadelphia journal of considerable circulation, there appears a communication, headed — ‘Mr. Poe’s reply to Mr. English, and others.’ As it is dated ‘27th of June, and the newspaper containing it is dated 10th July; and as it appears in another city than this, — it is to be inferred that Mr. Poe had some difficulty in obtaining a respectable journal to give currency to his scurrilous article.” English excerpts numerous derogatory words from the article to give his readers an idea of its style. He comments: “Actuated by a desire for the public good, I charged Mr. Poe with the commission of certain misdemeanors, which prove him to be profligate in habits and depraved in mind. The most serious of these he admits by silence — the remainder he attempts to palliate; and winds up his tedious disquisition by a threat to resort to a legal prosecution. That is my full desire. Let him institute a suit, if he dare, and I pledge myself to make my charges good by the most ample and satisfactory evidence.”

[1846] 14 JULY. The Morning News reports: “T. D. English replies to Poe’s bulletin No. 2, in last evening’s Mirror. He dares Poe to a legal battle, and threatens to prove all the assertions made in his first official despatch.” [page 654:]

[1846] 14 JULY. PHILADELPHIA. The Public Ledger comments: “The war between the literati increases in violence. Mr. Poe, whose ‘Sketches of the New York Literati’ drew from Mr. English such a caustic attack, has replied in a manner equally biting and severe. We suggest a truce or treaty of peace among these ecclesiastics of the church literary; for Billingsgate is not the wide gate or the straight gait to Parnassus or Helicon, any more than to the White Mountains or Saratoga.” Critics should exercise better breeding, taste, and judgment “than is exhibited by vituperative personalities.” Bringing authors “before the public in relations exclusively private” violates the precepts of a gentleman: “It exposes the assailant to the imputation of envy, malignity, falsehood, and other vices of the heart, and to that of having exhausted his whole stock in the literary trade, and consequently of being driven to slander for raw material.”

[1846] BEFORE 15 JULY. FORDHAM? Poe writes William Gilmore Simms, who is visiting New York. He asks Simms to publish an article in a South Carolina newspaper which will correct the exaggerated account of his appearance given in the Evening Mirror of 26 May (Simms to Poe, 30 July; cf. Poe to J. M. Field, 15 June).

[1846] 15 JULY. NEW YORK. Simms sends the Charleston Southern Patriot a dispatch containing an accurate description of Poe (Patriot, 20 July).

[1846] 15 JULY. NEW ORLEANS. The Daily Picayune reports that Poe’s “Literati” articles have involved him in “personal differences of the most rancorous description. He has been assailed in terms of unmeasured severity, and not content with efforts to impugn his critical judgments and to ridicule his literary pretensions, his enemies have assailed his personal character, and dragged his private affairs before the eyes of the public. . . . With this no right-minded man can sympathize.” In any case, it is “quite idle” to question Poe’s abilities: “He has been one of the most successful contributors to our literary periodicals, and his tales have been extensively copied both here and in England. . . . That production of his which critics and his personal enemies have most frequently endeavored to deride is ‘The Raven,’ but the oft repeated efforts have been entirely harmless. . . . This single poem is a complete vindication of his possession of genius of the most sterling quality” (Moss [1968], p. 20, and [1970], pp. 65-66).

[1846] 16 JULY. NEW YORK. The Morning News reprints the Public Ledger’s editorial of 14 July, omitting only the first three sentences, which refer specifically to Poe and English. The News praises the article for “so much good sense . . . and such a brief yet wholesome rebuke administered to those who deserve it.” [page 655:]

[1846] 16 JULY. Poe testily replies to a letter from Louis A. Godey in Philadelphia. He regrets that Godey paid to have his “Reply” published in the Spirit of the Times; he could have had it printed “in a respectable paper” in New York without charge:

I am rather ashamed that, knowing me to be as poor as I am, you should have thought it advisable to make the demand on me of the $10. . . .

The man, or men, who told you that there was anything wrong in the tone of my reply, were either my enemies, or your enemies, or asses. When you see them, tell them so from me. I have never written an article upon which I more confidently depend for literary reputation than that Reply. Its merit lay in being precisely adapted to its purpose. In this city I have had, upon it, the favorable judgments of the best men. All the error about it was yours. You should have done as I requested — published it in the “Book”.

Poe has “put this matter in the hands of a competent attorney”; Godey’s charge of $10 “will of course be brought before the court, as an item” (L, 2:323-24).

[1846] 17 JULY. Poe writes John Bisco: “You will confer a very great favor on me by stepping in, when you have leisure, at the office of E. L. Fancher, Attorney-at-Law, 33 John St. Please mention to him that I requested you to call in relation to Mr English. He will, also, show you my Reply to some attacks lately made upon me by this gentleman” (L, 2:325).

[1846] BEFORE 20 JULY. Poe, accompanied by Mrs. Clemm, visits Hiram Fuller at the Evening Mirror office, corner of Nassau and Ann Streets (Mirror, 20 July).

[1846] 20 JULY. CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA. The Southern Patriot publishes a 15 July dispatch from its correspondent [Simms], who discusses literary affairs in New York:

Among the petty excitements common to authorship is that which Mr. Edgar A. Poe is producing by his pencil sketches of the New York Literati in Godey’s Ladies Magazine. He has succeeded most happily (if such was his object) in fluttering the pigeons of this dove cote. His sketches, of which we have seen but a few, are given to a delineation as well of the persons as of the performances of his subjects. Some of them are amusing enough. I am not prepared to say how true are his sketches, but they have caused no little rattling among the dry bones of our Grub street. Of Poe, as a writer, we know something. He is undoubtedly a man of very peculiar and very considerable genius — but is irregular and exceedingly mercurial in his temperament. He is fond of mystifying in his stories, and they tell me, practises upon this plan even in his sketches; more solicitous, as they assert, of a striking picture than a likeness. Poe, himself, is a very good looking fellow. I have seen him on two or three occasions, and have enjoyed a good opportunity of examining [page 656:] him carefully. He is probably thirty three or four years old [actually thirty-seven], some five feet, eight inches in height, of rather slender person, with a good eye, and a broad intelligent forehead.

[1846] 20 JULY. NEW YORK. Enoch L. Fancher prepares Poe’s declaration of grievances against Hiram Fuller and Augustus W. Clason, Jr., proprietors of the Evening and Weekly Mirror. Through his attorney Poe accuses these defendants of “wickedly and maliciously intending to injure . . . his good name, fame and credit” by publishing in both editions of the Mirror “a certain false, scandalous, malicious and defamatory libel over the name of one Thomas Dunn English.” This article contained two libelous statements: that Poe obtained money under false pretenses and that he committed forgery. The suit asks that the plaintiff, Poe, be awarded damages of $5,000 (Moss [1970], pp. 77-85).

[Moss explained this document: “Why Poe sued the owners of the Mirror and not English, or why he didn’t sue the owners of the Mirror and English, can only be conjectured. . . . Very likely his attorney had advised him that the proprietors of the Mirror had incurred a greater degree of culpability . . . and that typically one always sued the deeper pocket . . . . Perhaps, too, Poe wanted to be vindicated more than he wanted to avenge himself upon everyone implicated in the libel. If he could achieve this clearly by a legal victory in one case, there would be no point in bringing concurrent, consolidated, or subsequent suits against English and, for that matter, the owners of the Morning Telegraph who first published English’s reply” (p. 77).]

[1846] 20 JULY. In the Evening Mirror Fuller depicts Poe as a degenerate, without actually naming him:

A poor creature . . . called at our office the other day, in a condition of sad, wretched imbecility, bearing in his feeble body the evidences of evil living, and betraying by his talk, such radical obliquity of sense, that every spark of harsh feeling towards him was extinguished, and we could not even entertain a feeling of contempt for one who was evidently committing a suicide upon his body, as he had already done upon his character. Unhappy man! He was accompanied by an aged female relative, who was going a weary round in the hot streets, following his steps to prevent his indulging in a love of drink; but he had eluded her watchful eye by some means, and was already far gone in a state of inebriation. After listening awhile with painful feelings to his profane ribaldry, he left the office, accompanied by his good genius, to whom he owed the duties which she was discharging for him, and we muttered involuntarily, “remote, unfriended, solitary alone,” &c. &c. And this is the poor man who has been hired by a mammon-worshipping publisher to do execution upon the gifted, noble-minded and pure-hearted men and women, whose works are cherished by their contemporaries as their dearest national treasure. [page 657:]

The attack is reprinted in the Weekly Mirror for 25 July.

[1846] 21 JULY. The Morning News objects to Fuller’s article: “We are pained by having read a most inexcusable and vindictive editorial attack upon Mr. Poe and his personal, ay! his domestic relations. That gentleman may have discoursed coarsely of others, but that furnishes no reason for those that have been attacked to make blackguards of themselves, and to offend the public by a wanton display of backwoods vituperation. . . . It is a melancholy fact that the literary profession is divided against itself. Instead of being a fraternity, it is like the athletae of old. — Gladiator like, we meet that we may destroy.”

[1846] 22 JULY. Poe writes Thomas Holley Chivers in Oaky Grove, Georgia:

I had long given you up . . . when this morning I received no less than 6 letters from you, all of them addressed 195 East Broadway. Did you not know that I merely boarded at this house? It is a very long while since I left it, and as I did not leave it on very good terms with the landlady, she has given herself no concern about my letters . . . . I am living out of town about 13 miles, at a village called Fordham, on the rail-road leading north. We are in a snug little cottage, keeping house, and would be very comfortable, but that I have been for a long time dreadfully ill. I am getting better, however, although slowly, and shall get well. In the meantime the flocks of little birds of prey that always take the opportunity of illness to peck at a sick fowl of larger dimensions, have been endeavoring with all their power to effect my ruin.

Although Poe is “ground into the very dust with poverty,” he does not despair “even of worldly prosperity.” He encloses Joseph M. Field’s article from the Saint Louis Daily Reveille of 30 June: “You will be pleased to see how they appreciate me in England” (L, 2:325-27).

[1846] BEFORE 23 JULY. PHILADELPHIA. Godey’s Lady’s Book for August features the fourth installment of “The Literati,” containing Poe’s extensive sketch of Margaret Fuller and his shorter notices of James Lawson, Caroline M. Kirkland, Prosper M. Wetmore, Emma C. Embury, and Epes Sargent. He grants Miss Fuller possession of “high genius,” praising especially her critique of Longfellow published in the New York Daily Tribune on 10 December 1845: “In my opinion it is one of the very few reviews of Longfellow’s poems, ever published in America, of which the critics have not had abundant reason to be ashamed. Mr. Longfellow is entitled to a certain and very distinguished rank among the poets of his country, but that country is disgraced by the evident toadyism which would award to his social position and influence . . . that amount of indiscriminate approbation which neither could nor would have been given to the poems themselves.” [page 658:]

[1846] 23 JULY. NEW YORK. Hiram Fuller notices Godey’s in the Evening Mirror: “Mr. Poe’s habit of misrepresentation is so confirmed, and malignity is so much a part of his nature, that he continually goes out of his way to do ill-natured things, when nothing can be gained by it.” As an example, Fuller quotes the “lying insinuations about Mr. Longfellow” found in Poe’s sketch of Margaret Fuller. “He also speaks of ‘Professor Longfellow’s magnificent edition of his own works, with a portrait, meaning to insinuate that Carey & Hart’s edition of Longfellow’s Poems was published at the expense of the author.” The review is reprinted in the Weekly Mirror for 1 August.

[1846] 23 JULY. Poe’s declaration of grievances against Hiram Fuller and Augustus W. Clason, Jr., is filed in the Superior Court of the City of New York (Moss [1970], p. 77).

[1846] CA. 23 JULY. FORDHAM? Poe writes William Gilmore Simms in New York. He apparently inquires whether Simms has published a defense of him in a South Carolina paper (Simms to Poe, 30 July).

[1846] 24 JULY. NEW YORK. In the Evening Mirror Fuller comments: “EDGAR A. POE has commenced a suit against us for a libel contained in a Card of Thomas Dunn English, which was copied from the Morning Telegraph, and published in the Mirror as an advertisement. We do not hold ourselves responsible for Mr. English’s charges against Mr. Poe, but if the latter gentleman chooses to take the matter into Court, we shall not shrink from the trial. We are confident that his attorney cannot be aware of the testimony he will have to meet in the progress of the suit.”

[Fuller published English’s attack free of charge, not as a paid advertisement. The commencement of Poe’s suit was also reported in today’s Daily Tribune.]

[1846] 24 JULY. PHILADELPHIA. Rufus W. Griswold writes Evert A. Duyckinck in New York, asking to borrow his “Paris edition of Irving” when Poe returns it. “Speaking of Poe reminds me of the brutal article in the Mirror, [by English,] which it is impossible on any grounds whatsoever to justify in the slightest degree.” Although Griswold has “as much cause as any man to quarrel with Poe,” he would rather cut off his hand than use it “to write such an ungentlemanly card, though every word were true” (NN-D).

[1846] 25 JULY. NEW YORK. In his National Press George P. Morris praises the August Godey’s: “The notices of the New-York Literati, by Poe, which have excited so lively a sensation, are continued.” [page 659:]

[1846] 25 JULY. In the Evening Mirror Fuller facetiously attributes to Poe an unsigned filler on etiquette in the August Godey’s: “It does not bear his signature, but it was written by him, and is almost equal to . . . Chesterfield.” Poe’s excellent recommendations and prohibitions “should be immediately stereotyped, and hung up in all our primary schools and seminaries for young gentlemen. Think of the enormity of wearing white trowsers of a Sunday! or green spectacles on any day, or of touching any part of a lady but her fingers! But to use the word genteel, Good gracious! We didn’t know before that that was such a profane word. To get drunk, to curse and swear, to slander innocent women, to betray your friend, are trifles, in comparison with such an offence.”

[1846] 25 JULY. The Weekly Mirror commences its serialization of English’s unsigned novel 1844, or, The Power of the “S.F.” This roman à clef satirizes Poe and other prominent New Yorkers; the installments are reprinted in the Evening Mirror, beginning on 27 July.

[1846] 25 JULY. PHILADELPHIA. The Saturday Courier reprints “The Raven” in its poetry column “Our Classic Niche,” preceded by a sketch of the author:

EDGAR A. POE, Esq. The occupant of our “Classic Niche” to-day, is acknowledged by all his cotemporaries one of the most original and gifted geniuses of his times. . . .

Mr. Poe’s forte is in the mystical philosophy of nature, and his powerfully analytic and penetrating mind gives him the facility of revelling in the supernatural or forbidden fields of occult science. His most remarkable efforts, aside from “The Raven,” are his very numerous Prose Tales, some of which have elicited very high encomiums from the first British critics, and continue to attract no little attention at home. He is at present creating quite an excitement by his sketches of literary people of New York, now being published in Godey’s Lady’s Book, and which we hear are to be extended to embrace the whole Union, and the whole to be issued in book form, simultaneously here and in England, — with autographs.

[1846] 26 JULY. NEW YORK. The Sunday Mercury reports: “We hear that Poe has sued the Mirror in an action of libel, by which he seeks to recover damages for injuries sustained by the publication of Mr. Thos. Dunn English’s defence. This is about the most imprudent and most impudent thing of the kind we ever heard of. The Mirror will, of course, justify.”

[1846] 27 JULY. Fuller reprints the Mercury’s report in the Evening Mirror.

[1846] 30 JULY. William Gilmore Simms writes Poe at Fordham, replying to a note he received a week ago: [page 660:]

I surely need not tell you how deeply & sincerely I deplore the misfortunes which attend you — the more so as I see no process for your relief and extrication but such as must result from your own decision and resolve. . . . Money, no doubt, can be procured; but this is not altogether what you require. . . . Suffer me to tell you frankly, taking the privilege of a true friend, that you are now perhaps in the most perilous period of your career — just in that position — just at that time of life — when a false step becomes a capital error — when a single leading mistake is fatal in its consequences. You are no longer a boy. “At thirty wise or never!”

Simms has heard that Poe reproaches Louis A. Godey: “But how can you expect a Magazine proprietor to encourage contributions which embroil him with all his neighbours. These broils do you no good — vex your temper, destroy your peace of mind, and hurt your reputation. . . .

Change your tactics & begin a new series of papers with your publisher.” Simms encloses the Charleston Southern Patriot of 20 July, in which he has discussed “the matter” Poe “suggested in a previous letter” (Simms, 2:174-77).

[1846] AUGUST. The Knickerbocker Magazine contains Charles F. Briggs’s “City Articles: Number Two.” He condemns “the imbecile snarlings of the Zoilus of a Milliner’s Magazine,” who has recently accused him “of vulgarity and a Flemish taste” (cf. Briggs to William Page, 4 June).

[1846] 4 AUGUST. A preliminary hearing for Poe’s libel suit is held at the City Hall before the justices of Superior Court. Through their attorney Hiram Fuller and Augustus W. Clason, Jr., plead not guilty to the charges in Poe’s 20 July declaration of grievances. “Therefore the issue above joined is ordered . . . to be tried . . . before the Justices aforesaid on the first Monday of September” (Moss [1970], pp. 95-98).

[1846] 4 AUGUST. MILLWOOD, CLARKE COUNTY, VIRGINIA. Philip Pendleton Cooke answers Poe’s 16 April letter, explaining his tardiness: “I have been a good deal away from home, and whilst at home greatly drawn off from literature and its adjuncts by business, social interruptions, &c.” Cooke will be pleased to bring Lowell’s sketch of Poe up to date: “I, however, have not Graham’s Mag. for February 1845, and if you still wish me to continue the memoir you must send that number to me.” Some months ago he obtained Poe’s “Tales & Poems” and “read them collectively with great pleasure.” Of the poems he admires “The City in the Sea,” “Lenore,” “To One in Paradise,” and “The Raven”; he has more to say about the tales:

John [P.] Kennedy, talking with me about your stories, old & recent, said, “the man’s imagination is as truth-like and minutely accurate as De Foe’s” — and went on to talk of your “Descent into the Maelström,” “MS. found in a Bottle,” “Gold [page 661:] Bug;” &c. I think this last the most ingenious thing I ever read. Those stories of criminal detection, “Murders of the Rue Morgue,” &c., a prosecuting attorney in the neighborhood here declares are miraculous. I think your French friend, for the most part, fine in his deductions from over-laid & unnoticed small facts, but sometimes too minute & hair-splitting. The stories are certainly as interesting as any ever written. The “Valdemar Case” I read in a number of your Broadway Journal last winter — as I lay in a Turkey blind, muffled to the eyes in overcoats, &c., and pronounce it without hesitation the most damnable, vraisemblable, horrible, hair-lifting, shocking, ingenious chapter of fiction that any brain ever conceived, or hands traced (W, 17:262-64).

[1846] 9 AUGUST. NEW YORK. Poe replies to Cooke. He appreciates Cooke’s praise of his writings more than that awarded by other critics, because he feels that Cooke understands and discriminates: “You are right about the hair-splitting of my French friend: — that is all done for effect. These tales of ratiocination owe most of their popularity to being something in a new key. I do not mean to say that they are not ingenious — but people think them more ingenious than they are — on account of their method and air of method.” Cooke remains Poe’s choice to continue Lowell’s sketch. If he undertakes this project, he should mention the injustice done Poe by Wiley and Putnam’s editor Evert A. Duyckinck, who prepared the 1845 edition of his Tales: “He has what he thinks a taste for ratiocination, and has accordingly made up the book mostly of analytic stories. But this is not representing my mind in its various phases . . . . Were all my tales now before me in a large volume and as the composition of another — the merit which would principally arrest my attention would be the wide diversity and variety” (L, 2:327-30).

[1846] 14 AUGUST. WASHINGTON. Frederick William Thomas writes Poe. Mr. Heape, his “fellow-boarder and friend,” is coming to New York for a week. Thomas has asked Heape to bring him the manuscript of biographical sketches he placed in Poe’s keeping last year: “May I trouble you to leave it, directed to the care of Mr Heape, at the counting room of Fitch & co. No. 14. Wall street, within the week?” Thomas has “suffered a terrible affliction lately.” Two years ago his sister Fanny, whom Mrs. Clemm “remembers well,” went to India to be with her husband, “who is naval agent for the India Company in Calcutta.” Since she suffered from the climate, “her medical adviser recommended that she should return to the U States for her health.” Fanny and her two children, “a little boy & girl,” left Calcutta in February. In April the ship in which they had embarked ran aground and disintegrated: “my sister and her children were washed off and lost. Only 7 lives were saved of the whole ship company” (NN-Mss; cf. Thomas to Poe, 10 July 1845). [page 662:]

[1846] 24 AUGUST. Thomas writes Poe again, sending his letter to Philadelphia:

I wrote to you directing to New York some time since requesting you to send me my MS. by Mr Heap[e?] who would soon leave N York for Washington. To day I received a letter from Mr Heap, written from Philadelphia, in which he tells me that he was informed in New York that you had returned to Philadelphia to reside.

Will you be so kind, my dear Poe, as to leave the MS. for me at Mr Charles Field’s, Front St, near Pine, and Mr Heap will get it for me. . . . How I long to see you Poe — How is Mrs Clemm and your lady (MB-G).

[1846] BEFORE 27 AUGUST. PHILADELPHIA. Godey’s Lady’s Book for September features the fifth installment of “The Literati,” containing Poe’s favorable notices of Frances S. Osgood, Lydia M. Child, Elizabeth Bogart, Catharine M. Sedgwick, and Anne C. Lynch, as well as his flippant attack on Lewis Gaylord Clark. Although Clark edits the Knickerbocker Magazine, he is “known principally as the twin brother of the late Willis Gaylord Clark, the poet, of Philadelphia.” The Knickerbocker has able contributors, but it lacks individuality: “As the editor has no precise character, the magazine, as a matter of course, can have none. When I say ‘no precise character,’ I mean that Mr. C., as a literary man, has about him no determinateness, no distinctiveness, no saliency of point; — an apple, in fact, or a pumpkin, has more angles. He is as smooth as oil or a sermon from Doctor Hawks; he is noticeable for nothing in the world except for the markedness by which he is noticeable for nothing.”

[1846] 27 AUGUST. NEW YORK. Hiram Fuller notices Godey’s in the Evening Mirror: “Mr. Poe will go on with his pedantic sketches of our literati. His remarks on Mrs. Child are evidently well intended. He describes her personal appearance with a flippant inaccuracy: it is possible that he has never seen her. In scanning the verses of Mrs. Osgood he is quite at home. His remarks about Mr. Clark of the Knickerbocker are probably intended to be sarcastic, but sarcasm is Mr. Poe’s weakness.” The review is reprinted in the Weekly Mirror for 5 September.

[1846] 29 AUGUST. BALTIMORE. In the Saturday Visiter Joseph Evans Snodgrass reprints Poe’s sketch of Mrs. Child from “the Lady’s Book.”

[1846] SEPTEMBER. PARIS. The Revue britannique publishes “Une Descente au Maelstrom,” accompanied by a footnote: “Cet article est de M. Edgar Poe, auteur americain dont nous avons publié le Scarabée d’or.” The translation is signed with the initials “O. N.,” standing for “Old Nick,” the pseudonym of E. D. Forgues (Seylaz, p. 40). [page 663:]

[1846] SEPTEMBER. PHILADELPHIA AND NEW YORK. The Talisman and Odd Fellows’ Magazine refers to Poe as “the tomahawk man” and “the Comanche of literature” (Campbell [1933], p. 59).

[1846] 5 SEPTEMBER. NEW YORK. The Weekly Mirror contains the seventh installment of Thomas Dunn English’s novel 1844, or, The Power of the “S.F.” Poe makes his first appearance, as “Marmaduke Hammerhead,” at the “weekly conversazione” hosted by the “Misses Veryblue.” Two gentlemen bystanders discuss him:

“Do you see that man standing by the smiling little woman in black, engaged, by his manner, in laying down some proposition, which he conceives it would be madness to doubt, yet believes it to be known by himself only?”

“Him with the broad, low, receding, and deformed forehead, and a peculiar expression of conceit in his face?”

“The same.”

“That is Marmaduke Hammerhead — a very well known writer for the sixpenny periodicals, who aspires to be a critic, but never presumes himself a gentleman. He is the author of a poem, called the ‘Black Crow,’ now making some stir, in the literary circles.”

“What kind of man is he?” . . .

“Oh! passable; he never gets drunk more than five days out of the seven; tells the truth sometimes by mistake; has moral courage sufficient to flog his wife, when he thinks she deserves it, and occasionally without any thought upon the subject merely to keep his hand in; and has never, that I know of, been convicted of petit larceny. He has been horsewhipped occasionally, and has had his nose pulled so often as to considerably lengthen that prominent and necessary appendage to the human face.”

This installment is reprinted in the Evening Mirror, 8-9 September.

[1846] 7 SEPTEMBER. Poe’s libel suit against Fuller and Clason, scheduled to be heard in Superior Court today, is postponed until 1 February 1847 (Moss [1970], p. 105).

[1846] 10 SEPTEMBER. The Evening Mirror contains a filler alluding to Poe and his suit:

EPIGRAM

ON AN INDIGENT POET.

P— money wants to “buy a bed,” —

His case is surely trying;

It must be hard to want a bed,

For one so used to lying.

The verses are reprinted in the Weekly Mirror for 19 September. [page 664:]

[1846] 12 SEPTEMBER. The Weekly Mirror publishes a letter from “Ferdinand Mendez Pinto,” a fictitious American correspondent in Europe created by Charles F. Briggs. In this dispatch “Pinto” recounts an interview he purportedly had with Richard Henry Horne, whose Orion Poe had lauded in Graham’s Magazine for March 1844: “Horne enquired after Mr. Poe, and said that he had received from him a review of ‘Orion,’ in some wishy-washy Magazine — the name of which he had forgotten. I asked what he thought of Poe as a critic? He replied, ‘He is a very good critic for a lady’s magazine’ ” (Weidman [1979], pp. 105, 144-46).

[1846] 19 SEPTEMBER. The Weekly Mirror contains the ninth installment of English’s 1844, which depicts Poe (“Hammerhead”) staggering down Broadway:

The truth is that Hammerhead was drunk — though that was no wonder, for he was never sober over twenty-four hours at a time; but he was in a most beastly state of intoxication. His cups had given him a kind of courage; and though naturally the most abject poltroon in existence, he felt an irresistible inclination to fight with some one. Such a propensity can always be gratified in the city of New York, which is blessed with as pugnacious a population as any other city in the world. True to his purpose, Hammerhead accosted the first comer, and taking him by the button, said —

“Did — did — did you ever read my review of L — L — Longfellow?”

“No!” said the one addressed — a quiet, sober looking personage, “I dare say it’s very severe; but I never read it.”

“Well,” said Hammerhead, “you lost a gr — gr — eat pleasure. Your’e an ass!”

The installment appears in the Evening Mirror, 23, 26, 28 September.

[1846] OCTOBER. PHILADELPHIA. Godey’s Lady’s Book features the sixth and final installment of “The Literati,” containing sketches of Charles Fenno Hoffman, Mary E. Hewitt, and Richard Adams Locke. Poe observes: “Mr. Hoffman was the original editor of ‘The Knickerbocker Magazine,’ and gave it . . . an impetus which has sufficed to bear it on alive, although tottering, month after month, through even that dense region of unmitigated and unmitigable fog — that dreary realm of outer darkness, of utter and inconceivable dunderheadism, over which has so long ruled King Log the Second, in the august person of one Lewis Gaylord Clark.”

[1846] OCTOBER. NEW YORK. In the “Editor’s Table” of the Knickerbocker Clark reacts to Poe’s attack in the September Godey’s: “Our thanks are due to ‘J. G. H.,’ of Springfield, (Mass.,) for his communication touching the course and the capabilities of the wretched inebriate whose personalities disgrace a certain Milliner’s Magazine in Philadelphia; but bless your heart, man! you [page 665:] can’t expect us to publish it. The jaded hack who runs a broken pace for common hire, upon whom you have wasted powder, might revel in his congenial abuse of this Magazine and its EDITOR from now till next October without disturbing our complacency for a single moment. He is too mean for hate, and hardly worthy scorn.” From the Evening Mirror of 20 July Clark quotes Hiram Fuller’s “faithful picture” of Poe as a degenerate alcoholic, and he asks: “Now what can one gain by a victory over a person such as this?” In his “Literati” sketches Poe “professes to know many to whom he is altogether unknown.” Clark himself has seen Poe only twice: “In the one case, we met him in the street with a gentleman [Thomas Holley Chivers], who apologized the next day, in a note now before us, for having been seen in his company.”

[1846] OCTOBER. BOSTON. The North American Review contains a hostile criticism of William Gilmore Simms’s The Wigwam and the Cabin and Views and Reviews, both issued in Wiley and Putnam’s “Library of American Books.” In passing, the critic condemns several other volumes in this series, including the “Tales by Edgar A. Poe.” who belongs “to the forcible-feeble and the shallow-profound school.”

[1846] 3 OCTOBER. NEW YORK. The Weekly Mirror contains the eleventh installment of English’s 1844, which depicts Poe (“Hammerhead”) on a visit to the office of Horace Greeley (“Satisfaction Sawdust”):

Hammerhead . . . had drank sufficiently to make him quarrelsome. He took Sawdust by the buttonhole, and drawing him aside, requested — as the latter had predicted, the loan of some money. This was denied, and Hammerhead waxed indignant. . . .

“D—n you! I made you. You owe all your reputation to me. I wrote you up. I’ll criticise you — I’ll extinguish you — you ungrateful eater of bran pudding — you — you — galvanized squash.”

“Undoubtedly,” replied Sawdust, “and now let me go.”

He disengaged his coat from Hammerhead’s grasp, as he spoke, and the poet, fastening on a stranger, informed him that he was the great critic, Hammerhead, at that moment in want of a loan — of a shilling.

The installment appears in the Evening Mirror, 8-9 October.

[1846] 9-10 OCTOBER. BROOKLYN. In the Daily Eagle Walt Whitman reprints Poe’s “A Tale of the Ragged Mountains” (Mabbott [1978], 3:939).

[1846] 10 OCTOBER. NEW YORK. In his National Press George P. Morris admonishes Poe in a purported review of The Raven and Other Poems:

We take this work, not so much with a view to a particular examination of its merits, as for the purpose of saying to Mr. Poe, how much greater pleasure it gives [page 666:] us to meet him in his own proper field of poetical creation, than in the uncomfortable regions of criticism and controversy.

Mr. Poe is, unquestionably, a man of genius. Narratives which rivet the interest, and sway the passions, as powerfully as his do, indicate a vigour of imagination that might send its productions forward far along the line of future life. Many of these tales, we have no doubt, will long survive, as among the ablest and most remarkable of American productions. . . . To one who possesses the powers of close, logical reasoning, and of pointed and piercing sarcasm, the “torva voluptas” of literary and social controversy is often a fatal fascination. But a man who is conscious within himself of faculties which indicate to him that he was born, not to wrangle with the men of his own times, but to speak truth and peace to distant ages and a remote posterity, ought to make a covenant with himself, that he will be drawn aside by no temptation . . . .

As an analytical critic, Mr. Poe possesses abilities, in our opinion, quite unrivaled in this country, and perhaps on either side of the water. We have scarcely ever taken up one of his more careful critical papers, on some author or work worthy of his strength, without a sense of surprise at the novel and profound views . . . . But in the case of inventive genius so brilliant and vigorous as is shown in these poems, and in the tales to which we have alluded, we feel that even criticism of the highest kind is an employment below the true measure of its dignity, and, we may say, its duty . . . . A man who can produce such a work as “The Raven,” ought to feel that it was his office to afford subjects, and not models, to criticism.

[1846] 12 OCTOBER. PARIS. The newspaper Le Commerce publishes an abridged translation of “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” by the journalist and critic E. D. Forgues. This version is entitled “Une sanglante énigme” and signed with Forgues’s pseudonym “Old Nick”; Poe is not mentioned (Seylaz, p. 40).

[1846] 13 OCTOBER. PHILLIPS, MAINE. George W. Eveleth writes Poe. He has been reading Poe’s “Literati” articles, which the newspapers describe as “Satires.” Since he wants to collect “a choice library of American books,” he hopes Poe will be outspoken in these sketches: “I know not whose judgment than yours, if it be unbiased, is better for me to depend upon in my selection. . . . Are you going to notice all the Authors of our Country in your series?” Eveleth wonders whether Poe wrote the unsigned review of James Russell Lowell’s Poems in Graham’s for March 1844: “The idea with respect to Lowell’s merit as a poet, is the same that you have advanced — and the criticism is something in your manner, though not so lengthy and analytical as I should expect.” He asks when Poe will issue his own magazine: “I am earnest to receive it” (Eveleth, pp. 7-8).

[1846] 14 OCTOBER. PARIS. The newspaper La Presse accuses Forgues of plagiarism: “le feuilleton qu’il a publié dans le Commerce . . . est, à quelques mots près, entièrement pris et textuellement copié dans le feuilleton de La [page 667:] Quotidienne qui a para les 11, 12 et 13 juin dernier.” La Presse prints excerpts from Forgues’s translation of “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and that published by La Quotidienne in June (Seylaz, pp. 40-41).

[1846] 15 OCTOBER. The Revue des Deux Mondes contains Forgues’s laudatory twenty-page critique of the Wiley and Putnam edition of Poe’s Tales (Quinn, pp. 517-19; condensed translation in Moss [1970], pp. 143-54).

[1846] 15 OCTOBER. Forgues publishes a statement in two Paris papers, Le Commerce and Le National, explaining that his feuilleton was actually a translation: “Et la source de l’article en question n’est pas celle qu’indique La Presse. . . . Ainsi donc ce n’est pas dans La Quotidienne, mais dans les Contes d’E. Poe, littérateur américain, que j’ai pris quoi?” (Seylaz, p. 41).

[1846] AFTER 15 OCTOBER. M. de Girardin, editor of La Presse, refuses to publish Forgues’s statement declaring his innocence. Forgues consequently sues him for libel (Seylaz, p. 41).

[1846] 20 OCTOBER. L’Entre-Acte, a theatrical journal, humorously reports the controversy over Forgues’s feuilleton: “M. Old-Nick [Forgues] l’avait emprunté à un romancier américain qu’il est en train d’inventer clans la Revue des Deux-Mondes. Ce romancier s’appelle Pöe; je ne dis pas le contraire. Voilà donc un écrivain qui use du droit légitime d’arranger les nouvelles d’un romancier américain qu’il a inventé, et on 1’accuse de plagiat, de vol au feuilleton; on alarme ses amis en leur faisant croire que cet écrivain est possédé de la monomanie des orangs-outangs. . . . En attendant que la vérité se découvre, nous sommes forcés de convenir que ce PoĆ« est un gaillard bien fin, bien spirituel, quand il est arrangé par M. Old-Nick” (Griswold [1850], p. xix; Cambiaire, pp. 23-24).

[1846] CA. 20 OCTOBER. PHILADELPHIA. Godey’s Lady’s Book for November contains Poe’s tale “The Cask of Amontillado.” In the “Editors’ Book Table” Louis A. Godey responds to Clark’s attack on Poe in the October Knickerbocker: “ ‘H. G. J.,’ of Springfield, Mass., is respectfully informed that we cannot republish any article in our ‘Book,’ especially the one he refers to — biographical notice of L. Gaylord Clark. He is referred to the September number of our magazine, which he can either buy or borrow.”

[1846] 21 OCTOBER. NEW YORK. In the Evening Mirror Hiram Fuller favorably reviews Godey’s: “What adds particularly to the value of the magazine, is the absence of the rigmarole papers on the literati of New York city, which, we are happy to hear, for his own sake, Mr. Godey has determined to discontinue.” [page 668:]

[1846] 24 OCTOBER. The Weekly Mirror contains the fourteenth installment of English’s 1844, which describes the deterioration of Poe (“Hammerhead”): “The bloated face — blood-shotten eyes — trembling figure and attenuated frame, showed how rapidly he [Hammerhead] was sinking into a drunkard’s grave; and the drivelling smile, and meaningless nonsense he constantly uttered, showed the approaching wreck of his fine abilities.” Delirium tremens, “under which he had nearly sunk,” was rapidly followed “by confirmed insanity, or rather mono-mania. He deemed himself the object of persecution on the part of the combined literati of the country, and commenced writing criticisms upon their character as writers, and their peculiarities as men. In this he gave the first inkling of his insanity, by discovering that there were over eighty eminent writers in the city of New York.” The installment appears in the Evening Mirror, 31 October.

[1846] 31 OCTOBER. The Weekly Mirror contains the fifteenth installment of English’s 1844, which places Poe (“Hammerhead”) in the Lunatic Asylum at Utica, New York. John and Mary Melton, a newly married couple honeymooning in Utica, are permitted to visit him in his cell. Melton introduces his bride to “the celebrated writer” of “The Black Crow,” a poem, and The Humbug and Other Tales:

Hammerhead bowed, and went on to say — “Pray, take a seat, madam. Melton, my dear fellow, I am really glad to see you, indeed I am.” Here he took Melton aside, and said confidentially — “You haven’t such a thing as a shilling about you, have you? The fact is that I’m devilish hard up, till I get some money for the article I’m writing.”

Melton produced the required small coin, and Hammerhead continued “I’m engaged on a critique on Carlyle, and the transcendentalists. I’ll read a little to you, in order to show you how I use the fellows up.” Here he read in a sing-song tone of voice — “The fact is that Mr. Carlyle, is an ass — yet it is not in the calculus of probabilities to explain why he has not discovered, what the whole world long since knew. Perhaps — and for this suggestion I am indebted to the wit of my friend, M. Dupin, with whose fine powers, the whole world, thanks to my friendship, are acquainted — perhaps, I say, it could not be beaten into his noddle.”

The installment appears in the Evening Mirror, 2 November.

[1846] NOVEMBER. PHILADELPHIA. Graham’s Magazine contains an installment of “Marginalia.” Poe states, almost certainly erroneously, that the Paris Charivari copied “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and that the French novelist Eugene Sue drew upon the story for his Mysteries of Paris.

[1846] NOVEMBER. RICHMOND. The Southern Literary Messenger contains “The Priestess of Beauty: A Dramatic Sketch” by Miss H. B. MacDonald, who [page 669:] quotes with approval Poe’s definition of poetry as “a thirsting after a wilder beauty than earth can afford” (cf. Poe’s review of Horne’s Orion, W, 11:256).

[1846] NOVEMBER. NEW YORK. The Knickerbocker Magazine contains this unsigned doggerel satirizing Poe as Aristarchus, the prolific Greek grammarian and critic:

EPITAPH ON A MODERN “CRITIC.”
“P’OH PUDOR!”

HERE ARISTARCHUS LIES!” (a pregnant phrase,

And greatly hackneyed, in his earthly days,

By those who saw him in his maudlin scenes,

And those who read him in the magazines.)

Here ARISTARCHUS lies, (nay, never smile,)

Cold as his muse, and stiffer than his style;

But whether BACCHUS or MINERVA claims

The crusty critic, all conjecture shames;

Nor shall the world know which the mortal sin,

Excessive genius or excessive gin!

In the “Editor’s Table” Lewis Gaylord Clark praises the North American Review for October; he quotes a portion of its unfavorable critique of Simms, including the derogatory reference to Poe’s Tales.

[1846] CA. NOVEMBER. Mrs. Clemm tells Mary Gove that her daughter Virginia is “dying of want” and that Poe is “very ill” (Nichols [1855], p. 342).

[1846] CA. NOVEMBER. FORDHAM. Mrs. Gove visits the Poe cottage:

The autumn came, and Mrs. Poe sank rapidly in consumption, and I saw her in her bed chamber. Everything here was so neat, so purely clean, so scant and poverty-stricken, that I saw the sufferer with such a heartache as the poor feel for the poor. There was no clothing on the bed, which was only straw, but a snow white spread and sheets. The weather was cold, and the sick lady had the dreadful chills that accompany the hectic fever of consumption. She lay on the straw bed, wrapped in her husband’s great-coat, with a large tortoise-shell cat on her bosom. The wonderful cat seemed conscious of her great usefulness. The coat and the cat were the sufferer’s only means of warmth, except as her husband held her hands, and her mother her feet. . . .

As soon as I was made aware of these painful facts, I came to New York, and enlisted the sympathies and services of a lady [Marie Louise Shew], whose heart and hand were ever open to the poor and miserable. A featherbed and abundance of bed-clothing and other comforts were the first fruits of my labour of love. The lady headed a subscription, and carried them sixty dollars the next week. From the day this kind lady first saw the suffering family of the poet, she watched over them as a mother watches over her babe. She saw them often and ministered to the comfort of the dying and the living (Nichols [1863], pp. 12-13; details [page 670:] corroborated by Mrs. Shew, then Mrs. Houghton, to J. H. Ingram, 16 February and 16 May 1875, Miller [1977], pp. 108, 138).

[1846] 7 NOVEMBER. NEW YORK. The Weekly Mirror contains the sixteenth and final installment of 1844, in which English summarizes the fates of the novel’s major characters: “Hammerhead [Poe] is still in the mad house, writing as vigorously as ever.” The conclusion appears in the Evening Mirror, 6 November.

[1846] 8 NOVEMBER. THE VINEYARD, CLARKE COUNTY, VIRGINIA. Philip Pendleton Cooke writes Rufus W. Griswold, requesting assistance in finding a publisher for his volume of poetry, Froissart Ballads. “Mr. Poe holds himself ready to review my book — saying all that fairness will let him say in favor of it” (Griswold [1898], p. 191).

[1846] 18 NOVEMBER. NEW YORK. Poe signs a promissory note for $14.00, payable to Harnden’s Express Company from his account with Louis A. Godey (Moldenhauer [1973], p. 81).

[1846] 21 NOVEMBER. The National Press changes its name to the Home Journal; as of this date, the weekly is jointly edited by George P. Morris and Nathaniel P. Willis.

[1846] 23 NOVEMBER. Mrs. Mary L. Seward, a minor poetess, writes Mrs. Frances S. Osgood in Philadelphia, discussing Anne C. Lynch, Mary E. Hewitt, and other literati: “I have heard nothing of the Poe family except that they are in great poverty” (MB-G).

[1846] BEFORE 30 NOVEMBER. Mary Gove writes John Neal, discussing Poe (implied by Neal’s 30 November letter).

[1846] 30 NOVEMBER. PORTLAND, MAINE. Neal writes Mrs. Gove in New York: “How Mr. Poe may feel towards me, I do not know: we have had no correspondence for many years; but there was a time when he thought as highly of my doings, I believe, as any body, & was only prevented from dedicating his first volume of poems to me by my assurances that such a dedication would be a positive injury both to him and to his book. . . . Of Mr. Poe’s talents and genius, I have always thought & spoken highly: but of his liability to be influenced by personal feelings, for or against his fellow authors — although I have spoken — in private conversation, as a lamentable disqualification for the high duties which he is other wise remarkably well qualified to perform in the country of literature, I have never written a word, or never till now” (MB-G). [page 671:]

[1846] 30 NOVEMBER. STONEHAVEN, SCOTLAND. Arch Ramsay, a druggist, writes Poe:

As a believer in Mesmerism I respectfully take the liberty of addressing you to know, if a pamphlet lately published in London (by Short & Co., Bloomsbury) under the authority of your name & entitled Mesmerism, in Articulo-Mortis, is genuine.

It details an acc’t of some most extraordinary circumstances, connected with the death of a M M Valdemar under mesmeric influence, by you. Hoax has been emphatically pronounced upon the pamphlet by all who have seen it here, & for the sake of the Science & of truth a note from you on the subject would truly oblige (W, 17:268-69).

[1846] BEFORE DECEMBER? FORDHAM. Poe sends his critique “Tale-Writing — Nathaniel Hawthorne” to Godey’s Lady’s Book and his essay “The Rationale of Verse” to the American Review (Poe to Eveleth, 15 December).

[1846] DECEMBER. PHILADELPHIA. Graham’s Magazine features an installment of “Marginalia.” This issue also contains a squib signed with the initial “W.,” aimed at Poe’s “Philosophy of Composition” in the April number:

P—, THE VERSIFIER, REVIEWING HIS OWN POETRY

When critics scourged him, there was scope

For self-amendment, and for hope:

Reviewing his own verses, he

Has done the deed — felo-de-se!

[1846] DECEMBER. RICHMOND. In the Southern Literary Messenger the anonymous author of an essay on Shelley’s poetry quotes with approval this dictum from “The Philosophy of Composition”: “the death . . . of a beautiful woman, is unquestionably the most poetical topic in the world.”

[1846] DECEMBER. BOSTON. The Ladies’ Wreath reprints “The Raven” (Heartman and Canny, p. 218).

[1846] DECEMBER OR LATER. FORDHAM. Poe begins a pseudonymous letter to the editor of Graham’s Magazine, entitled “A Reviewer Reviewed: By Walter G. Bowen.” In it he quotes the squib on him from the December Graham’s; he then gives an adverse criticism of his own writings, identifying flaws in his reviews, tales, and poems. He briefly describes the favorable European reactions to his work in 1846, citing the praises accorded him by Martin Farquhar Tupper and Miss Barrett, and the reprints of “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” in London and “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” in Paris. Although the letter is never completed, Poe preserves the manuscript (text in Mabbott [1978], 3:1377-88). [page 672:]

[1846] 9 DECEMBER. PARIS. E. D. Forgues’s libel suit against M. de Girardin, editor of La Presse, comes to trial. A letter to Forgues from Amèdèe Pichot, editor of the Revue britannique, is read to the court: “Je vois que vous avez pris dans Poe une idée pour le Commerce.” Forgues testifies: “Ce n’est pas dans La Quotidienne que j’ai puisé, c’est dans Edgar Poe, littérateur américain. Avez-vous lu Edgar Poe? Lisez Edgar Poe.” M. Langlois, counsel for the defense, retorts: “Tout cela me parait charmant pour E. Poe. Grâce à M. Forgues, tout le money va savoir que M. E. Poe fait des contes en Amérique.” The case is dismissed (Gazette des Tribunaux, 10 December, quoted by Seylaz, pp. 41-42).

[1846] BEFORE 15 DECEMBER. NEW YORK. Mrs. Mary E. Hewitt learns of the Poe family’s straitened circumstances; she begins to collect money for them, bringing their plight to the attention of the city’s newspaper editors (Hewitt to Mrs. Osgood, 20 December).

[1846] 15 DECEMBER. The Morning Express reports:

ILLNESS OF EDGAR A. POE. — We regret to learn that this gentleman and his wife are both dangerously ill with the consumption, and that the hand of misfortune lies heavy upon their temporal affairs. — We are sorry to mention the fact that they are so far reduced as to be barely able to obtain the necessaries of life. This is, indeed, a hard lot, and we do hope that the friends and admirers of Mr. Poe will come promptly to his assistance in his bitterest hour of need. Mr. Poe is the author of several tales and poems, of which Messrs. Wiley & Putnam are the publishers, and, as it is believed, the profitable publishers. At least, his friends say that the publishers ought to start a movement in his behalf.

The paragraph is reprinted in the Evening Express this afternoon and in the Semi-Weekly Express on 18 December.

[1846] 15 DECEMBER. Poe writes George W. Eveleth in Phillips, Maine, apologizing for not having answered his letters of 9 June and 13 October: “For more than six months I have been ill — for the greater part of that time dangerously so.” He discusses “The Raven,” “The Sleeper,” and “The Valley of Unrest,” responding to Eveleth’s remarks on these poems in his 9 June letter: “Ten times the praise you bestow on me would not please me half so much, were it not for the intermingled scraps of censure, or objection, which show me that you well know what you are talking about.” Answering Eveleth’s question in the 13 October letter, Poe explains that he has discontinued his “Literati” articles: “I was forced to do so, because I found that people insisted on considering them elaborate criticisms when I had no other design than critical gossip. The unexpected circulation of the series, also, suggested to me that I might make a hit and some profit, as well as proper fame, by extending the plan into that of a book on American [page 673:] Letters generally . . . . You may get an idea of the manner in which I propose to write the whole book, by reading the notice of Hawthorne which will appear in the January ‘Godey’, as well as the article on ‘The Rationale of Verse’ which will be out in the March or April no: of Colton’s Am. Magazine, or Review.” Although Poe’s “grand purpose” in life is to issue his own magazine, the Stylus, he has postponed this project until he completes his book. He acknowledges the unsigned review of Lowell’s Poems in the March 1844 Graham’s (L, 2:331-34).

[1846] 15 DECEMBER OR LATER. James Watson Webb, editor of the Morning Courier, collects “fifty or sixty dollars” for Poe at the Metropolitan Club. Sylvanus D. Lewis, a Brooklyn lawyer, donates “a similar sum” after reading “the statement of the poet’s poverty” (R. W. Griswold in the Daily Tribune, 9 October 1849).

[1846] 16 DECEMBER. The Evening Mirror reprints the report of Poe’s illness from yesterday’s Morning Express. Hiram Fuller comments: “Mr. Poe is undeniably a man of fine talents, and in his peculiar vein has written stories unequalled. We have no doubt but that with a fair field for exertion, he could produce a series of tales in grotesqueness and force equal to those of the German Hoffman. His friends ought not to wait for publishers to start a movement in his behalf, and if they do not, we, whom he has quarrelled with, will take the lead.”

[1846] AFTER 16 DECEMBER. PHILLIPS, MAINE. Eveleth receives Poe’s 15 December letter, mailed on 16 December. He writes Louis A. Godey in Philadelphia, stating that Poe has told him his reason for discontinuing the “Literati” articles (Eveleth to Poe, 21 February 1847).

[1846] 18 DECEMBER. BROOKLYN. In the Daily Eagle Walt Whitman reports: “It is stated that Mr. Poe, the poet and author, now lies dangerously ill with the brain fever, and that his wife is in the last stages of consumption. — They are said to be ‘without money and without friends, actually suffering from disease and destitution in New York.’ ”

[1846] 19? DECEMBER. PHILADELPHIA. The Saturday Evening Post reports the illness of Poe and his wife. They are “without money, and without friends” (Eveleth to Poe, 19 January 1847).

[1846] 20 DECEMBER. NEW YORK. Mrs. Hewitt writes Mrs. Osgood in Philadelphia:

The Poe’s are in the same state of physical & pecuniary suffering — indeed worse than they were last summer, for now the cold weather is added to their accumulation [page 674:] of ills. I went to enquire of Mr Post [Israel Post, publisher of the Columbian Magazine] about them. He confirmed all that I had previously heard of their condition. Although he says Mrs Clem[m] has never told him that they were in want, yet she borrows a shilling often, to get a letter from the [post] office — but Mrs Gove had been to see the Poe’s & found them living in the greatest wretchedness. I am endeavoring to get up a contribution for them among the editors, & the matter has got into print — very much to my regret, as I fear it will hurt Poe’s pride to have his affairs made so public (MB-G).

[1846] BEFORE 23? DECEMBER. LOWELL, MASSACHUSETTS. Mrs. Jane Ermina Locke, a middle-aged poetess with a husband and five children, sends Nathaniel P. Willis her poem “An Invocation for Suffering Genius,” inspired by press reports of Poe’s illness (Poe to Willis, 30 December 1846, and to Mrs. Locke, 10 March 1847; Reilly [1972], pp. 206-09).

[1846] CA. 23 DECEMBER. NEW YORK. The Home Journal for 26 December contains Willis’ editorial headed “HOSPITAL FOR DISABLED LABOURERS WITH THE BRAIN.” Willis has long believed that there should be an institution to assist educated and refined persons who become disabled or impoverished. His belief has been strengthened “by a recent paragraph in the Express, announcing that Mr. EDGAR A. POE, and his wife, were both dangerously ill and suffering for want of the common necessaries of life. Here is one of the finest scholars, one of the most original men of genius, and one of the most industrious of the literary profession of our country, whose temporary suspension of labour, from bodily illness, drops him immediately to a level with the common objects of public charity.” Since Poe lives outside the city, Willis has not been able to determine how much of the report is true: “We received yesterday a letter from an anonymous hand, mentioning the paragraph in question, expressing high admiration for Mr. Poe’s genius, and enclosing a sum of money, with a request that we would forward it to him.” During former illnesses Poe has been “deeply mortified and distressed by the discovery that his friends had been called upon”; but since “a generous gift could hardly be better applied than to him,” Willis offers “to forward any other similar tribute of sympathy.”

[1846] 23 DECEMBER. Willis writes Poe at Fordham, enclosing his editorial, the anonymous letter mentioned in it, and apparently Mrs. Locke’s poem: “The enclosed speaks for itself — the letter, that is to say. Have I done right or wrong in the enclosed editorial? It was a kind of thing I could only do without asking you, & you may express anger about it if you like in print. . . . Please write me whether you are suffering or not, & if so, let us do something systematically for you” (W, 17:272).

[1846] 24 DECEMBER. FORDHAM. Poe writes Evert A. Duyckinck in New York: [page 675:]

“You remember showing me about a year ago, at your house, some English stanzas — by a lady I think — from the rhythm of which Longfellow had imitated the rhythm of the Proem to his ‘Waif.’ I wish very much to see the poem — do you think you could loan me the book, or (which will answer as well) give me the title of the book in full, and copy me the 2 first stanzas?” He also hopes to borrow George Gilfillan’s two-volume Sketches of Modern Literature, or at least “the vol. containing the sketch of Emerson.” Poe is taking good care of the Paris edition of Washington Irving and the magazine Arcturus; he asks “to keep them some time longer,” unless Duyckinck needs them (L, 2:334; cf. R. W. Griswold to Duyckinck, 24 July).

[1846] 24 DECEMBER. Poe writes William D. Ticknor, senior partner in the Boston firm Ticknor & Company. He is preparing a book tentatively entitled “Literary America,” which will offer a survey of the nation’s literature: “I wish, of course, to speak of Oliver Wendell Holmes, and as I can say nothing of him to which you, as his publisher, could object, I venture to ask you for a copy of his Poems, and any memoranda, literary or personal, which may serve my purpose . . . . Please send anything for me, to the care of Freeman Hunt Esq, Merchants’ Magazine Office, N. York” (L, 2:335).

[1846] 26 DECEMBER. NEW YORK. The Morning Express comments: “The Home Journal of this week contains an article about Mr. Poe, suggested by the paragraph in our paper, and to which we would call the attention of the public. It would appear from the article in question, that what we said of Mr. Poe’s condition was strictly true; and it also appears that Mr. Willis has received certain monies for his benefit, and that he is willing to act as agent in receiving more. We trust that the admirers of genius will remember the unfortunate but gifted author.” This plea is reprinted in today’s Evening Express.

[1846] 26 DECEMBER. In the Evening Mirror Hiram Fuller sarcastically endorses Willis’ proposed “hospital” for impoverished authors: “This is all very well; we approve of charity in any shape. But we propose to add to the building, an asylum for those who have been ruined by the diddlers of the quill. We think it quite possible that this apartment might be soonest filled, as we cannot now call to mind a single instance of a man of real literary ability suffering from poverty, who has always lived an industrious, honest and honorable life; while of the other class of indigents, we know of numerous melancholy specimens, of both sexes.”

[1846] 26 DECEMBER. BOSTON. The Bostonian, a weekly paper, comments: “Great God! is it possible, that the literary people of the Union, will let poor Poe [page 676:] perish by starvation and lean faced beggary in New York? For so we are led to believe, from frequent notices in the papers, stating that Poe and his wife are both down upon a bed of misery, death and disease, with not a ducat in the world . . . . This is really too bad to be looked for in a christian land, where millions! are wasted in a heathenish war, in rum, in toasting and feasting swindlers, robbers of the public purse and squandering thousands for dress and parade, in ungodly finery, jewelry and such profanity . . . . Christians for shame” (Moss [1970], pp. 126-27).

[1846] 27 DECEMBER. SAINT LOUIS. The Daily Reveille observes: “If Poe has made enemies, his misfortunes, unhappily, have afforded them ample revenge; and not all of them have had magnanimity enough to forego it. We still see his infirmities alluded to uncharitably.” The Reveille quotes the New York Morning Express of 15 December, whose “painful announcement” of Poe’s illness should be sufficient “to sweeten the bitterest disposition” (Moss [1968], p. 21, and [1970], p. 133).

[1846] 29 DECEMBER. NEW YORK. The Daily Tribune reprints the plea for Poe’s relief from the Morning Express of 26 December, appending this corrective comment: “We are glad to be able to state that the distressing accounts regarding Mr. POE, if they have not been from the first greatly exaggerated, are no longer applicable to his situation. He is steadily, though slowly, recovering his health, and is engaged at his usual literary avocations.”

[1846] 29 DECEMBER. BOSTON. Oliver Wendell Holmes writes William D. Ticknor: “I hope you will do whatever you can to favor Mr. Poe in the matter of which he spoke to you in his letter [of 24 December]. I suppose you will send him a copy of my poems and one of ‘Urania,’ and refer him for the little facts of my outward existence to the preface to my volume and to Mr. Griswold’s book. . . . I have always thought Mr. Poe entertained a favorable opinion of me since he taught me how to scan one of my own poems. And I am not ashamed, though it may be very unphilosophical, to be grateful for his good opinion” (Griswold [1898], pp. 220-21).

[1846] 30 DECEMBER. FORDHAM. Poe writes Nathaniel P. Willis: “The paragraph which has been put in circulation respecting my wife’s illness, my own, my poverty etc., is now lying before me; together with the beautiful lines by Mrs. Locke and those by Mrs. ——, to which the paragraph has given rise, as well as your kind and manly comments in ‘THE HOME JOURNAL.’ ” Since the private affairs of Poe’s family have been “thus pitilessly thrust before the public,” he must make a statement clarifying “what is true and what erroneous in the report alluded to.” It is true that his wife is [page 677:] hopelessly ill and that he himself has been “long and dangerously ill.” Because of his illness Poe has been in want of money, but he has never suffered from privation beyond his powers of endurance. The statement that he is “without friends” is a complete falsehood: “Even in the city of New York I could have no difficulty in naming a hundred persons, to each of whom — when the hour for speaking had arrived — I could and would have applied for aid.” Poe is now recovering his health: “The truth is, I have a great deal to do; and I have made up my mind not to die till it is done” (published in the Home Journal for 9 January 1847).

[1846] 30 DECEMBER. Poe replies to the 30 November letter from Arch Ramsay of Stonehaven, Scotland: “ ‘Hoax’ is precisely the word suited to M. Valdemar’s case. The story appeared originally in ‘The American Review’ . . . . The London papers, commencing with the ‘Morning Post’ and the ‘Popular Record of Science’, took up the theme. The article was generally copied in England and is now circulating in France. Some few persons believe it — but I do not — and don’t you.” Poe thinks that he may have relatives in Stonehaven, “of the name of Allan, who again are connected with the Allans and Galts of Kilmarnock”; his full name is “Edgar Allan Poe.” If Ramsay knows the Allans, Poe would be grateful for “some account of the family” (L, 2:337; facsimiles in Gimbel, p. 172, and Robertson, 2:234-35).

[1846] 30 DECEMBER. Poe writes Evert A. Duyckinck: “Mrs Clemm mentioned to me, this morning, that some of the Parisian papers had been speaking about my ‘Murders in the Rue Morgue’. She could not give me the details — merely saying that you had told her.” He encloses two letters he has received from Great Britain, Miss Barrett’s April letter and Ramsay’s 30 November letter. From “the Scotch letter” Duyckinck will learn “that the ‘Valdemar Case’ still makes a talk, and that a pamphlet edition of it has been published by Short & co. of London.” Poe requests an important favor: “It is, to make a paragraph or two for some one of the city papers, stating the facts here given, in connexion with what you know about the ‘Murders in the Rue Morgue’ . . . . If you think it advisable, there is no objection to your copying any portion of Miss B’s letter” (L, 2:336-37).

[1846] 31 DECEMBER. BOSTON. In the Evening Transcript Cornelia Wells Walter comments: “The ‘Bostonian’ has opened a subscription for the relief of Mr Poe, and so has the Home Journal of New York. This is all very proper; no object of humanity should be permitted to die of hunger, or to lay upon the couch of sickness without some ministering angel to relieve distress.” Miss Walter quotes the New York Daily Tribune of 29 December, which has stated that Poe is recovering his health. She offers a prescription for his [page 678:] continued well-being: “Reformation of habits and proper principle exerted to others is what is requisite to free him in future from the necessity of pity. . . . Let him remember how much of his pecuniary distress he has brought on through the indulgence of his own weaknesses.”

[1846] 1846. PHILADELPHIA. Carey & Hart publish Thomas Wyatt’s History of the Kings of France. The title page identifies Wyatt as the author of several earlier volumes, including The Conchologist’s First Book (cf. Poe to Eveleth, 16 February 1847).

Sarah Anna Lewis [thumbnail]

[Illustration on page 678, top]
 
Sarah Anna Lewis

[1846] 1846? NEW YORK? Poe writes Mrs. Sarah Anna Lewis, expressing admiration for her poem “The Forsaken,” which he has seen “floating the round of the Press.” He subsequently meets this young poetess (Mrs. Lewis to J. H. Ingram, 15 April 1879, Miller [1977], pp. 200-01; cf. Poe’s praise of the poem, W, 13:158-61, 217-19, 225).

[1846] 1846? The attorney Sylvanus D. Lewis, Sarah Anna’s husband, recalls: “Shortly after I moved here [Brooklyn], in 1845, Mr. Poe and I became personal friends. His last residence, and where I visited him oftenest, was in a beautifully secluded cottage at Fordham, fourteen miles above New [page 679:] York. It was there that I often saw his dear wife during her last illness, and attended her funeral. It was from there that he and his ‘dear Muddie’ (Mrs. Clemm) often visited me at my house, frequently, and at my urgent solicitation, remaining many days” (Lewis to S. S. Rice, 11 October 1875, Rice, pp. 86-87).

[1846] LATE 1846? LONDON. “The Gold-Bug” is issued as a pamphlet by A. Dyson, Paul’s Alley, Paternoster-Row (Heartman and Canny, pp. 114-15).

[1846] LATE 1846? FORDHAM. Augustine O’Neil, a notary public, sees Poe at the train station:

I once went down to the City in the same train and waited a considerable time for the car on the same platform. I had ample opportunity to observe him [Poe]. . . . He was very neatly dressed in black. He was rather small, slender, pale and had the air of a finished gentleman. . . . I once saw him and his wife on the Piazza of their little cottage at Fordham. There was much quiet dignity in his manner. In my opinion neither Shakespeare nor Byron could have been handsomer and I am not a woman that I should be impressed by beauty in a man. . . . Poe must have been at that time about thirty-six years old, but he looked to be forty. His exterior was very pleasing. There was nothing forbidding in his manner. He simply looked like one who had a decent self-respect (Birss, p. 440).

[1846] 1846 OR 1847? Eliza White, daughter of Thomas Willis White, visits the Poe cottage. “She [Eliza] passed many months with us at Fordham, before and after Virginia’s death, but he [Poe] never felt or professed other than friendship for her” (Maria Clemm to Mrs. Whitman, 22 April 1859, Harrison and Dailey, p. 448).

 


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Notes:

None.


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[S:1 - TPL, 1987] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Bookshelf - The Poe Log (D. R. Thomas and D. K. Jackson) (Chapter 09 [Part 01])