Edgar Allan Poe — “The Angel of the Odd”


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Commentary:

Characters:

  • Narrator (unnamed) - The narrator of this story is the chief antagonist. Responding to an apparently absurd story in a newspaper, complains about the contemptible hoaxing perpetrated mostly for the sake of providing interesting reading material. By asserting “to believe nothing henceforward that has anything of the ’singular’ about it,” he earns the unwanted attention, and wrath, of the title character, and thus endures a series of “singular” events until he repents.
  • The Angel of the Odd - The chief protagonist of this story, this angel speaks with a humorous German accent, and is suitably made up of various bizarre items, all of which are, essentially, containers for alcoholic drink. His body is a rum cask. His arms are long wine bottles (with the necks facing out to serve as hands), and his legs are kegs. His head is a Hessian canteen, with a funnel on top, like a hat. Whether he is real or merely a figment of the narrators imagination (or drunken hallucination) is uncertain, although the narrator clearly thinks that he is real.
  • Auguste Grandjean - A wig maker, at least by implication. Only his last name is given in this story, but he was a real person. Grandjean’s “Oil of Archangels” is mentioned in Poe’s tale “Loss of Breath” (added to the version published in the Broadway Journal in 1845). On February 28, 1844, Auguste Grandjean, of New York, applied for a patent for a chemical composition for dyeing hair. According to T. O. Mabbott, the New York directory for 1844 lists his business address as 1 Barclay Street.
  • A rich widow (unnamed) - This very minor character has no lines of dialog. In the middle of the story, the narrator appeals to her for her hand in marriage, an offer that she reluctantly accepts until he loses his wig.
  • Another woman (unnamed) - Another very minor character, with no lines of dialog. Failing to obtain the hand of the widow, the narrator approaches her as “a less implacable heart.” Again, his intentions are thwarted, this time by a speck in his eye, which temporarily blinds him and causes him to appear to ignore her. Angered by this perceived slight, she leaves.

Setting:

Location - Under development.

Date - Under development.

Summary:

Under development.


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Reading and Reference Texts:

Reading copy:

  • “The Angel of the Odd” — reading copy

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Historical Texts:

Manuscripts and Authorized Printings:

  • Text-01 — “The Angel of the Odd — An Extravaganza” — probably June-August 1844, no original manuscript or fragments are known to exist (but this version is presumably recorded in Text-02) (Poe does not mention the tale in his letter of May 28, 1844 to J. R. Lowell, which includes a list of recently completed works.)
  • Text-02 — “The Angel of the Odd — An Extravaganza” — October 1844 — Columbian Magazine — (Mabbott text A)
  • Text-03 — “The Angel of the Odd” — after 1844 — presumed revised copy of Text-02 — (There are a few changes recorded in Griswold’s text, Text-04, which seem more than editorial in nature. Because the changes are minor, a wholly new manuscript is unlikely. Poe probably marked a copy of the printed form of the tale as it appeared in the Columbian Magazine.)
  • Text-04 — “The Angel of the Odd” — 1856 — WORKS — (Mabbott text B) (This is Mabbott’s copy-text.)

 

Reprints:

  • “The Angel of the Odd” — 1867 — Prose Tales of Edgar Allan Poe, second series (New York: W. J. Widdleton), pp. 455-464 (This collection is extracted from the 1850-1856 edition of Poe’s Works. It was reprinted several times.)
  • “The Angel of the Odd” — 1874 — Works of Edgar A. Poe, edited by J. H. Ingram, vol. 2, pp. 509-519 (This collection was subsequently reprinted in various forms)

 

Scholarly and Noteworthy Reprints:

  • “The Angel of the Odd” — 1894-1895 — The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 4: Tales, ed. G. E. Woodberry and E. C. Stedman, Chicago: Stone and Kimball (4:145-157) (This collection was subsequently reprinted in various forms)
  • The Angel of the Odd” — 1902 — The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 6: Tales V, ed. J. A. Harrison, New York: T. Y. Crowell (6:103-115, and 6:282)
  • The Angel of the Odd” — 1978 — The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 3: Tales & Sketches II, ed. T. O. Mabbott, Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (3:1098-1112)
  • “The Angel of the Odd” — 1984 — Edgar Allan Poe: Poetry and Tales, Patrick F. Quinn (New York: Library of America), pp. 756-765

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Comparative Texts:

Instream Comparative Texts:

  • None.

 

Plain Text Files for Juxta:

  • None.

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Associated Material and Special Versions:

Miscellaneous Texts and Related Items:

  • “L‘Ange du bizarre” — (French translation by Charles Baudelaire)
  • “L‘Ange du bizarre” — February 17, 1860 — La Presse
  • “L‘Ange du bizarre” — February 1863 — Le Monde illustré
  • “L‘Ange du bizarre” — 1865 — Histoires grotesques et sérieuses, Paris: Michel Lévy frères
  • ”The Angel of the Odd” — 1963 — This tale was announced as a title of a forthcoming movie to be directed by Roger Corman and produced by American International Pictures. The film was not made (see Smith, p. 144).

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Bibliography:

  • Bandy, William T., “More on ‘The Angel of the Odd‘,” Poe Newsletter (June 1970), 3:22. (This journal was later renamed Poe Studies / Dark Romanticism.)
  • Gerber, Gerald, “Poe and ‘The Manuscript‘,” Poe Studies (June 1973), 6:27
  • Gerber, Gerald, “Poe’s Odd Angel,” Nineteenth-Century Fiction (June 1968), 23:88-93
  • Heartman, Charles F. and James R. Canny, A Bibliography of First Printings of the Writings of Edgar Allan Poe, Hattiesburg, MS: The Book Farm, 1943.
  • Mabbott, Thomas Ollive, “The Origins of ‘Poe’s Angel of the Odd’,” Notes & Queries (Jan. 3, 1931), 160:8
  • Mabbott, Thomas Ollive, ed., The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe (Vols 2-3 Tales and Sketches), Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1978.
  • Richard, Claude, “Arrant Bubbles: Poe’s ‘The Angel of the Odd‘,” Poe Newsletter (October 1969), 2:46-48. (This journal was later renamed Poe Studies / Dark Romanticism.)
  • Smith, Don. G., The Poe Cinema, Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 1999.
  • Wyllie, John Cooke, “A List of the Texts of Poe’s Tales,” Humanistic Studies in Honor of John Calvin Metcalf, Charlottesville: University of Virginia, 1941, pp. 322-338.

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[S:0 - JAS] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Tales - The Angel of the Odd