Edgar Allan Poe — “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar”


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Commentary:

Characters:

  • (narrator) - Under development.

Setting:

Location - Under development.

Date - Under development.

Summary:

Under development. See also “Mesmeric Revelations,” to which the present story is closely related.


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Reading and Reference Texts:

Reading copy:

  • “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” — reading copy

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Historical Texts:

Manuscripts and Authorized Printings:

  • Text-01 — “The Facts of M. Valdemar’s Case” — 1845, no original manuscript or fragments are known to exist (but this version is presumably recorded in Text-02) — (A comment in Poe’s unfinished notes for The Living Writers of America suggests that at least one editor rejected the manuscript prior to it being accepted by G. H. Colton of the American Review.)
  • Text-02 — “The Facts of M. Valdemar’s Case” — December 1845 — American Review — (Mabbott text A) [Cullen B. Colton states that the manuscript was among those “either lost or stolen.” No trace of a manuscript is known, but it was common practice for such material to be destroyed during or after typesetting. Poe himself saw no particular importance in his manuscript once that version was set in type. The future value of these manuscripts was, of course, not recognized at the time.]
  • Text-03 — “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” — December 20, 1845 — Broadway Journal — (Mabbott text B)  (Changes made in this text are so minor that it suggests they were made in typesetting or in proof, so that no intervening form is implied.) (For Griswold’s 1850 reprinting of this text, see the entry below, under reprints.)
  • Text-04 — “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” — 1848 — manuscript revisions in “Whitman” copy of  Broadway Journal  (the one change is noted at the end of text B.) — (Mabbott text C)  (This is Mabbott’s copy-text)

 

Reprints:

  • “Valdemar’s Case” — 1845, December 20 — Baltimore Saturday Visiter (Noted in an article by Philip P. Cooke from the SLM, January 1848, no copy of this issue was known for many years. The story appears on the first page. Elsewhere in the same issue, J. E. Snodgrass comments on the December issue of The American Review, and states, “That there is something more and better than mere party politics in this journal, our first page will show. Its literary contents are of a high standard.” The date, and the editorial comment are given in The Poe Log, 1987, pp. 605-606.)
  • “The Facts of M. Valdemar’s Case” — about December 16, 1845 — unspecified Boston periodicals (Robert Collyer wrote to Poe on December 16, 1846, noting “Your account of M. Valdemar’s case has been universally copied in this city” (letter printed in the Broadway Journal, December 27, 1845). The specific reprints referred to by Mr. Collyer have been identified, but may include the following two items.)
  • “The Facts of M. Valdemar’s Case” — December 12, 1845 — Boston Courier (p. 1) (This reprint noted by K. Ljungquist, from a paper printed in Emersonian Circles, 1997, p. 193.)
  • “The Facts of M. Valdemar’s Case” — December 15, 1845 — Boston Semi-Weekly Courier (p. 4) (This reprint is noted by K. Ljungquist, 1997, p. 193n21.)
  • “The Facts of M. Valdemar’s Case” — December 18, 1845 — Boston Weekly Courier (p. 4) (This reprint is noted by K. Ljungquist, 1997, p. 193n21.)
  • “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” — December 1845 — The Spirit of the Times
    • “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” - Part I  (December 23, 1845)
    • “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” - Part II  (December 24, 1845)
  • “The Facts of M. Valdemar’s Case” — December 24, 1845 — The Daily Advertiser (Rochester, New York) (noted as reprinted “From the American Review for December.”)
  • “Mesmerism in America: Astounding and Horrifying Narrative” — January 4, 1846 — The Sunday Times (London)
  • “Mesmerism in America” — January 5, 1846 — The Morning Post (London)
  • “Mesmerism in America. Death of M. Valdemar of New York” — January 10, 1846 — The Popular Record of Modern Science (London)
  • “Mesmerism; In Articulo Mortis” (1846 [[H&C note “probably January or February”]]. The full title page states, all in capitals except for the price, “Mesmerism [[/]] ‘In Articulo Mortis’ [[/]] An [[/]] Astounding & Horrifying Narrative, [[/]] Shewing the Extraordiary Power of Mesmerism [[/]] in Arresting the [[/]] Progress of Death. [[/]] By Edgar A. Poe, Esq. [[/]] of New York. [[/]] London: [[/]] Short & Co., 8, King Street, Bloomsbury, [[/]] 1846. [[/]] Price Threepence]”) (printed as a separate edition)
  • “Mesmerism in America. Astounding and Horrifying Narrative” — August 19, 1846 — South Australian Register (Adelaide S. Australia), vol. X, whole no. 636, (begins on p. 1, col. 4, continuing on p. 2, cols. 1-2.) (This reprint is acknowledged as “by Edgar A. Poe,” and with the prefatory comment: “We copy the following astounding narrative from the American Magazine, a work of some standing in America, where it has caused considerable excitement. We place ii before our readers without comment, merely premising that credence is given to the story in America.”)
  • “The Facts of M. Valdemar’s Case” — August 18, 1849 — Boston Museum
  • The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” — 1850 — WORKS — Griswold merely reprints Text-03 — (Mabbott text D)
  • “Starling effects of Mesmerism on a Dying Man” — 1852 — Tales of Mystery and Imagination and Humour; and Poems, London: Henry Vizetelly; an undated edition appears about the same time, published by Charles H. Clark (pp. 47-57)  (This version continues the curious British tendency to change the title of this tale.)
  • “Starling effects of Mesmerism on a Dying Man” — 1855 — Tales of Mystery and Imagination, Halifax: Milner and Sowerby (pp. 42-52)
  • “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” — 1867 — Prose Tales of Edgar Allan Poe, first series (New York: W. J. Widdleton), pp. 121-130 (This collection is extracted from the 1850-1856 edition of Poe’s Works. It was reprinted several times.)
  • “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” — 1874 — Works of Edgar A. Poe, edited by J. H. Ingram, vol. 1, pp. 127-137 (This collection was subsequently reprinted in various forms)
  • The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar — 2012 — Biting Dog Press (This elaborately presented letterpress edition has a beautiful cover and matching box. The book is illustrated with wood engravings by George A. Walker. The 32 pp. book was printed in a limited run of 60 numbered copies.)

 

Scholarly and Noteworthy Reprints:

  • “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” — 1894-1895 — The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 2: Tales, ed. G. E. Woodberry and E. C. Stedman, Chicago: Stone and Kimball (2:322-334)
  • The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” — 1902 — The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 6: Tales V, ed. J. A. Harrison, New York: T. Y. Crowell (6:154-166, and 6:290-294)
  • The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” — 1978 — The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 3: Tales & Sketches II, ed. T. O. Mabbott, Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (3:1228-1244)
  • “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” — 1984 — Edgar Allan Poe: Poetry and Tales, Patrick F. Quinn (New York: Library of America), pp. 833-842

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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:

  • “The Facts of Another Case of Artificial Evidence” — December 25, 1845 — Daily Mail (Boston) (p. 2) — (a parody by “Philo Philbrick M. D.” whom Ljungquist identifies as Joseph M. Field. The parody is reprinted by Fields in The Drama in Pokerville, The Bench and Bar of Jury-Town, and Other Stories, Philadelphia: Carey & Lea, 1847, pp. 129-133.) (noted by K. Ljungquist, 1997, pp-196-197)
  • “[Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar]” — February 12, 1846 — in Dagligt Allehanda (attributed as by Mr. Poel) (An anonymous translation into Swedish, noted by Lars-Erik Nygren in E. A. Poe Review, Fall 2002, 3:124-125)
  • “La vèrité sur le cas de M. Valdemar” — (French translation by Charles Baudelaire)
  • “Mort ou vivant? Cas de M. Valdemar” — September 20-26, 1854 — Le Pays
    • “Mort ou vivant? Cas de M. Valdemar” — Part I  (September 20, 1854)
    • “Mort ou vivant? Cas de M. Valdemar” — Part II  (September 26, 1854)
    • “La vèrité sur le cas de M. Valdemar” — 1856 — Histoires extraordinaires, Paris: Michel Lévy frères
  • “La Verita sul Caso del Signor Valdemar” — 1876 — Racconti Incredibili, Milano, Italy: Tipografia Editrice Lombarda  (Italian translation, with several illustrations)
  • “[Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar]” — 1881 — Underliga historier (Stockholm)  (Swedish translation, noted by Anderson, p. 54)
  • “[Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar]” — 1882 — Valda noveller (Stockholm)  (Swedish translation, noted by Anderson, p. 54)
  • “Thatfachliches über die Magnetifierung des Herrn Valdemar” — 1890 — Seltsame Gesdichten, Stuttgart: Spemann  (Germanh translation by Alfred Mürenberg)
  • “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” — April 1926 — Amazing Stories, vol. 1, no. 1
  • “De Waarheid in ‘Het Geval Valdemar’ ” — about 1930 — Fantastische Vertellingen van Edgar Allan Poe, Haarlem: H. D. Tjeenk Willink & Zoon (Dutch translation by Machiel Elias Barentz, with elaborate illustrations by Albert Hahn, somewhat reminiscent of those by Harry Clarke)
  • “The Case of Monsieur Valdemar” — April 8, 1945 — a radio show broadcast on the Weird Circle show. (As was often the case with dramatic presentations of Poe’s works, the story has been modified.)
  • “The Strange Case of M. Valdemar” — 1956 — a reading by Nelson Olmsted on Edgar Allan Poe: Tales of Terror, issued on the Vanguard label (VRS-9007, rereleased as VSD-31)
  • “Edgar Allan Poe’s Valdemar” — March 14, 2000 — a radio show broadcast on NPR Playhouse, as part of the Radio Tales series. (As was often the case with dramatic presentations of Poe’s works, the story has been modified.) The show was produced by Winnie Waldron and Winifred Phillips. It debuted on XM Satellite Radio on November 1, 2003.
  • “The Mesmerist”— 2001 — a film featuring Howard Hessman and Neil Patrick Harris, directed by Gil Cates, Jr. (released on DVD in 2003 by Roxbury films.) This broadly comic farce is a recasting of Poe’s tale, so much so that little remains (and there are a few slight touches from “The Fall of the House of Usher” and “Morella”). As an adaptation, the original is scarecly recognizable, and thus it can hardly serve Poe’s plot, character, tone or idea. The quirky attempts at humor are generally so overwrought that it only rarely succeeeds even on its own terms.
  • “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” — 2009 — Audio book (unabridged), read by Chris Aruffo (part of a 4-CD set)

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Bibliography:

  • Anderson, Carl L., Poe in Northlight: The Scandanavian Response to His Life and Work, Durham, NC: Duke Unversity Press, 1973.
  • Carter, Steve, “A Possible Source for ‘The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar,” Poe Studies (1979), 12:36.
  • Colton, Cullen B., “George Hooker Colton and the Publication of ‘The Raven’,” American Literature, vol. X, no. 3, November 1938, pp. 319-330 (footnote 30 on p. 328 provides the comment about the manuscript)
  • Falk, Doris V. “Poe and the Power of Animal Magnetism,” Publications of the Modern Language Association (May 1969), 84:526-546.
  • 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.
  • Lind, Sidney, “Poe and Mesmerism,” Publications of the Modern Language Association (Dec. 1947), 62:1077-1094.
  • Ljungquist, Kent. P., “ ‘Valdemar’ and the ‘Frogpondians‘: The Aftermath of Poe’s Boston Lyceum Appearance,” in Emersonian Circles: Essays in Honor of Joel Myerson, ed. Wesley T. Mott, Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 1997, pp. 181-206.
  • Mabbott, Thomas Ollive, “English Publication of Poe’s ‘Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar,” Notes & Queries (Nov. 21, 1942), 183:311-312.
  • 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.
  • Weissbuch, Ted. N., “Edgar Allan Poe: Hoaxer in the American Tradition,” New York Historical Society Quarterly Bulletin (July 1961), 45:291-309.
  • Ware, Tracy, “The ’salutary Discomfort’ in the Case of M. Valdemar,” Studies in Short Fiction (1994), 31:471-480.
  • 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 Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar