Text: Burton R. Pollin, “Pym (Headnote),” The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe — Vol. I: Imaginary Voyages (1981/1994), pp. 281-363 (This material is protected by copyright)


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[page 281, continued:]

[[Notes and Commentary]]

13.1A ill]  “Wind and wave” may be a trace of a line from “The Lotus-Eaters” of Tennyson (1832), a poem that Poe early knew and admired: “Surely, surely, slumber is more sweet than toil, the shore / Than labour in the deep mid-ocean, wind and wave and oar.” In “MS. Found in a Bottle” Poe writes of “a warring of wind and ocean.”

13.2A it]  The trio now add a new fillip to the water-catching, a weight in the middle, for in 12.10 they managed to collect a half gallon without it. The idea may have come to Poe from “Famine on . . . Le Jacques” (ML, p. 108): “Whenever it rained, cloths were spread, with a bullet in the middle, to catch the water.”

13.2B otherwise]  For “two-reef” the more correct nautical term would be “doublereef,” and although fishermen used to speak of a “breeze” or, when heavier, “a breeze of wind,” a ship will have double-reefed topsails in a moderate gale, according to the Beaufort scale. With such a wind, it would be a “sea,” not a “swell.” A “sea” is generated by an immediate or nearby wind, while a “swell” is the result of a distant storm or heavy wind. The former will have cresting or breaking tops, while the latter will be just long “rollers.”

13.3A ourselves]  The listing of the vessel would have little to do with their tying themselves on, since the “rough” sea would require that precaution on the wreck in any event. This seems simply an awkward way of telling us about the shifting of the cargo which will overturn the vessel soon.

13.3B him]  “Northward” means toward the north, but winds are called by the direction from which they blow; Poe should have written “northerly.” On July 25, the declination of the sun is about 19 1/2 degrees north. Since he is not astounded that it is past their zenith, the wreck must still be north of the sun, putting them in at least 20 degrees north latitude — some 1,200 nautical miles from the “near vicinity of the equator.”

We wonder at Peters’ proximity to the tail of the fish, if the “companion-hatch” is that of the cabin in the stern of the ship, while the smaller hatch of the forecastle is near the windlass in the bow; yet, in 12.B Poe seems to be differentiating the cabin hatch from the smaller three-foot square hatch. This is relevant because the sea-lurch and subsequent rise of the hull seem to detain the now “floundering” shark over the hatch, as though he were partly caught within the opening. The broken remnants of the cabin hatch might have prevented his immediate escape, but, he says, there are none for the forward hatch. Does the “at length” imply a few minutes of the fish’s entanglement or detention on the ship in or over the hatchway, partially in the forecastle? Moreover, lashed as they are to the windlass, how could they have approached his glancing tail, by which alone they could have captured him (see 13.8)? These are details that seem to underscore the plausible and yet suggest humor.

13.4A despair]  The “abating” of the wind and of the sea has become almost a formula in Pym by this time (see 8.15 and 9.3). Poe’s explanation for the “loss” of the “contents” is ingenious but inadequate, since there is no particular reason for the breakthrough of the partitions, presumably by heavy objects from the cargo. After the more severe storms of the past, this would be highly unlikely “during the night.”

13.5A day]  With the companionways and the chopped hole available for dipping, [page 282:] why must they jeopardize themselves with the sharks, save to remind the reader of this danger for future events? Since “northward” and “westward” indicate directions of winds, Poe should have written “out of” or “from” these points. In 24.3 he makes the same error (“wind from the northward”).

13.6A wind]  Without giving any particularly valid reason for the shift, Poe means that the hulk is listing and gradually increasing her angle of heel until she lies on her side (see para. 13). The “main chains” at the lower end of the shrouds of the mainmast would presumably aid with the fastening, however executed, of the jars and tortoise, with no bagged-up sheet or blanket mentioned.

13.7A water]  “Symptoms of mortification” refer to gangrene, once called “spreading gangrene” or more recently “gas gangrene.” Whether we accept Poe’s date of July 14 or a more accurate July 10, in 2.9, the lacerations of the arm were suffered over two weeks earlier. Poe knew from his army experience that infection from stabbing or punctures (via bacteria, such as olostridium welchii or perfringens) would evince early symptoms and would develop much before two weeks — two days, according to Frederick Tice, ed., Practice of Medicine (New York, 1974), chap. 25, pp. 1-16. “Apathy and subnormal temperature” (as in 13.11) and the blackening of the areas involved (see 13.10) are characteristic. Yet Poe intermixes the slyly discordant; applying vinegar for relief is a dubious proceeding, suggested by Morrell’s Narrative, which tells of thus bathing the limbs of the fever-stricken crew, in whom the blood had settled under the toenails and the legs were cold above the knees, but with “no benefit” (pp. 343-44). Moreover, says Tice, the apathy increases as the infection progresses, while here, from July 29 to his death on August 1, the pains of Augustus increase. Several of his symptoms correspond to those in the article on “gangrene” in Rees’s Cyclopaedia, vol. 15.

13.8A noose]  This “noose” may come from the “Loss of the Brig Polly” (RS, p. 348) : “The next food which they obtained was a large shark caught by means of a running bow-line.”

13.8B morning]  The “putrid” water may have been suggested by “Shipwreck of the . . .Batavia,” in MC (Philadelphia, 1806), 2:150: “They had very little water, and that little became daily more and more putrid.” Of course, Augustus’ gangrenous condition is unaffected by “want of proper nourishment” as Pym says. If the others were so convinced, however, their postponing the killing of the tortoise until morning is entirely unaccountable — in fact, a kind of homicide exercised toward a friend. Moreover, if he has “no acute pain” (see 13.7) the prayer for death seems unmotivated.

13.9A days]  The idea of “pickling” surplus meat to avoid starvation may have come from the passage in “The Loss of the Peggy,” quoted in 12.9B.

The tortoise is now male, although female in 12.18, where she was “probably sixty-five or seventy pounds.” Are we to conclude that appearances had deceived Pym at that time as the mere ten pounds of meat would indicate? The details of domestic economy and his prudence are entirely in the verisimilar spirit of Robinson Crusoe. Poe is correct about stretching the ten pounds of meat thus for fourteen days, although so small a portion is pickled that at best he might have assumed putrescence in part of the seven pounds, intended for the first nine days. The ration may have been suggested by “Loss of an English Sloop” (MC [New [page 283:] Haven, 1834], p. 125): “It was agreed that each person, well or ill, should be confined to a quarter of a pound of beef and four onions a day, as long as they lasted.”

13.9B lasted]  By holding the sheet a bit slackened toward and into Augustus’ mouth, Pym and Peters might quench his thirst, since the sheet is initially very dry as we infer from 13.2-8. The apparent continuous drinking of the water here appears to be contradicted by the last words of 13.10 concerning his difficulty in “swallowing any liquid.”

13.10A difficulty]  This rapidly progressing emaciation is not characteristic of gangrene, and we have not been told that Augustus has refused his share of the meager supplies. Poe probably derived the shrunken weight from the perennially popular volume by James Riley, An Authentic Narrative of the Loss of the American Brig Commerce Wrecked in the Western Coast of Africa, in the Month of August, 1815, with an Account of the Sufferings of her Surviving Officers and Crew, Who were Enslaved by the Wandering Arabs (New York, 1817; reprinted 1818, 1820, 1828, 1850, 1859). The wording of this title may have entered into that of Pym as well. The result of their captivity is this: “Many of my bones, as well as of my ribs, had been divested entirely, not only of flesh, but of skin, and had appeared white like dry bones when on the desart. . . . The weight of my companions was less than I dare mention, for . . . it would not be believed that the bodies of men retaining the vital spark, should not weigh forty pounds” (p. 302). Despite accusations of gross exaggeration throughout the narrative, which had been urged and sponsored by James Monroe after Riley’s return, over a million copies were sold (see Sufferings in Africa: Capt. Riley’s Narrative [New York, 1965], Introduction by Gordon H. Evans, pp. vi-xv). The United States Gazette of April 10, 1840, mentioned the starvation details as generally disbelieved in its obituary notice of Riley. It is perhaps poetic justice that the notice of Pym in Alexander’s Weekly Messenger, August 22, 1838, links Riley’s name to the author’s.

13.11A vermin]  The conjunction of “hot sun” and putrid water is reminiscent of one of Poe’s underlying sources, The Rime of The Ancient Mariner: “All in a hot and copper sky, / The bloody Sun, at noon. . . Water, water, every where, / Nor any drop to drink. / The very deep did rot / . . .” (pt. 2). See Charles E. Gibson, The Story of The Ship . . . (London, 1958), p. 139, for the need for most seamen then to learn to drink water with “wriggling organisms,” because of the use of casks; but would they develop in Pym ’s jug?

13.11B grasp]  Bezanson, Essays in Literary History, p. 166, points out that August 1 is the name day of Augustus (perhaps underscored by the high noon hour of his death) and regards it as part of the expiation for the cannibalistic “sacrifice,” made to the sharks, instrumentalities of “the gods.” (This does not apply to Pym and Peters.) Marie Bonaparte, The Life and Works of . . .Poe, trans. John Rodker (London, 1949; New York, 1971), pp. 325-27, aptly points out that Poe’s brother died of consumption, probably greatly emaciated, with sunken eyes, on August 1, 1831 (q.v. in A. H. Quinn, Poe, p. 188), and she interprets it as Poe-Pym eliminating his rival, Henry-Augustus, who had in life urged him to run away to the sea, with punishment falling on the brother. The loss of the leg is, to her, symbolic castration while the sharks represent the much feared “dreadful teeth of the mother.” One may wonder at Poe’s stress upon the leg, [page 284:] when the arm had originally been mortified, but there is a general decay of the whole body in a miraculously rapid eight hours. It took Valdemar seven months to reach this state, but he was preserved by mesmerism.

13.11C sound]  Perhaps the most horrifying single detail of the whole book is this separation of the putrefied limb, and the phosphorescent glow which serves only to “discover” the frightful sharks. Phosphorescence also occurs in part 2 of The Ancient Mariner: “The water, like a witch’s oils, / Burnt green, and blue and white,” and in “MS. Found in a Bottle” (1:139). The illumination of /sea water is due to the protozoa Noctiluca miliaris, different from that which illuminates some dead animal substances, such as fish, lighted by Pseudomonas lucifera; see A. S. E. Ackerman, Popular Fallacies (4th ed., London, 1950; 1st ed., 1909), p. 617. Poe seems to believe that all putrescent matter is phosphorescent. In “Premature Burial,” from “each [grave] issued the faint phosphoric evidence of decay,” and “Marginalia” no. 58 speaks of “the phosphorescent glimmer of rottenness.” The doctors whom I have consulted deny ever having seen putrescent limbs aglow. Poe is being horribly fanciful in the idea of hearing sharks clash their teeth a mile away. L. M. Cecil, TSLL, Summer 1963, 5:235-36, regards Augustus’ death as a sign of Poe’s abandonment of his original plan and intention, despite the many hints of talks with Augustus during the nine years, 1827 to 1836; soon, in chap. 14, we shall be veering away from the Pacific for the South Pole aboard the Jane Guy.

13.12A sharks]  For the wine which adds “fuel to the flame,” Poe is repeating the suffering of 11.6 and 11.8, and for that from drinking sea water, see 11.2 above. Poe is probably relying largely upon the extensive use of the horrors of shark attack in the “Loss of the Magpie,” MC (New Haven, 1834), pp. 209-24, which involves the repeated efforts of twenty-two crew members to right and bail out the ship’s boat in shark-infested waters, with only two surviving. Regarding the shark’s swimming after being axed — V. M. Coppleson, Shark Attack (Sydney, 1958), p. 14, cites instances of disemboweled sharks and others with axes in their heads and spears through their bodies, who swam about. This would apply to solitary sharks, but Poe seems not to realize or know that once a shark is wounded, he will be attacked and devoured by the others.

13.13A sleep]  The provision of spikes for lashing the provisions, being in none of the chronicles that I have seen, seems to be Poe’s own ingenious contrivance for emphasizing their perilous position.

13.14A us]  Since the hulk is lying almost awash to begin with, there is nothing to cause any rollover. The cargo and ballast having shifted before her dismasting, she would continue to rest in her new position of stability. Poe is ingenious in his ropes hanging from the spikes, even though they prove unavailing, and uses correctly the substantive “heel” to mean “act of inclining to one side.” He contradicts himself in the last sentence, for if they are “hurled . . . into the sea” they would be thrown off the “skin,” so to speak, and could not be twelve or eighteen feet deep in the water; moreover, they would be alongside, not under, the “huge hull.” Only if they had maintained a grasp on the side of the deck or the bend of the bottom could they be under the hull. Finally, we are not told the length of the ropes, which would have to extend across the total width. Hence there is no reason for them to be unable to maintain their hold and to float free out from [page 285:] the submerged deck of the ship. Of course, this kind of accelerating turning could be produced by no objects containable within a ship’s hold to begin with. 13.15A about] Without knowing the cause of the turning it is impossible to evaluate Poe’s presuppositions about the “rebound” of the hull and about the “whirl of the water upward.” One would also have to know the exact rate of acceleration. Poe is ingenious in supposing a surge in the opposite direction that would sweep up the excessively submerged Pym (see 13.14). It is difficult to account for the sixty feet of distance and the “strong whirlpools,” which could not be caused by the described action of the ship. The distance renders the danger of shark attack greater. His detail of flotsam and jetsam is implausible, for there would be no time for hatch covers to become detached and for a large, buoyant cask to find its way out.

13.16A spikes]  Details about sharks probably came from the MC “Loss. . .” (see 13.12) where the officer orders his men holding on to the gunwale to “keep splashing in the water with their legs, in order to frighten the monsters” and at first the sharks “swam in amongst the men. . . . leaping about and rubbing against their victims” (p. 213). Pym’s safety is owed to his splashing, he says, although his utter exhaustion would certainly prevent this inefficient swimming, almost impossible of performance. While in Poe’s day splashing was widely held a deterrent, any experienced mariner could assert that it was the best way of attracting sharks. The British Shallow Water Unit at Nassau now recommends that “splashing be avoided . . . and that all swimming movements be made smoothly and easily,” according to P. W. Gilbert, Sharks and Survival (Boston, 1963), p. 384. See also J. and P. Cousteau, The Shark (Garden City, 1970), pp. 66, 237, on splashing. Paradoxically Peters swims “from the opposite side of the hull” although he would have been flung by the whirl of the water to the same side as Pym.

13.17A difference]  The last sentence of this paragraph of Poe’s “autorial comment” (for this phrase see 8.8C) appears to be a later insertion, probably after his near completion of the book, since the “stoical philosophy” of Peters was exerted only in chap. 23 bis, although at that time Pym does not “bear up with fortitude” at the descent down the cliff.

13.18A before]  Several of the mariner’s chronicles provide barnacles for the salvation of shipwrecked men; probably Poe was using “The Brig Polly”: “Their only sustenance now, was barnacles gathered from the sides of the vessel which were eaten raw . . . (RS, p. 348). In the “Loss of the Brig Sally,” the shipwrecked men look for barnacles, in vain, the ship “being lately cleaned” (RS, p. 337). In fictional fact, this is true of the Grampus which, out only a month and a half could not be “thickly covered with large barnacles.” If any had formed, they would be far too small to serve as food. According to Edouard A. Stackpole, The Sea Hunters, p. 153, barnacles begin to accumulate on a noncopper-sheathed hull after six months. Moreover, they could not easily be detached and opened by the tool-less Pym and Peters. Is it ironic for Poe to refer to “ease” on a bed of barnacles? His making them grow “from within two or three feet of the bends,” where the bottom rounds up, is to prevent the reader’s asking why they had not discovered the barnacles earlier when the ship had been floating at a marked inclination and when they drove in the spikes below the waterline (13.13). Ironically Poe speaks about provisions for a month and yet has them rescued within three [page 286:] days. Moreover, one questions the ease of maintaining a position on a sloping ship’s bottom, without any projection, surrounded by sharks, and rolling or pitching.

13.19A moment]  Poe forgets that he had always mentioned only one sheet in 12.10, 13.2 and 13.9.

Poe means “expecting” by the word “hoping.”

13.20A sleep]  As in 11.14, a vessel lying so low in the water would not be affected by any kind of breeze, and certainly not through a vast quantity of seaweed. From the “Loss of the Brig Polly,” extensively cited at the end of this chapter, come the crabs and also the barnacles: “While they lived upon their shark, the barnacles were growing larger and more nutritive. They likewise found many crabs among the sea-weed which often floated around the wreck, which were very pleasant food.” Later “the barnacles were all gone, and no friendly gale wafted to their side the sea-weed from which they could obtain crabs or insects” (RS, p. 248). Ingenious, if questionable, is the greatly reduced thirst through bathing.

13.21A day]  In the “Loss of the Sloop Betsy” the mariners in the ship’s boat, five days without water, “tried to get some rain water by wringing the trousers which served us for a sail, but . . . the trousers . . . were quite impregnated with salt” (RS, p. 125). Poe chooses to ignore this drawback. The adjective “grateful” meaning “agreeable” is repeated from 13.2.

13.22A crew]  The nautical use of “rakish” is new (the first instance given is 1824) -“having an appearance of smartness and fast sailing, frequently with suggestion of suspicious or piratical character” in the OED; compare Poe’s sentence with Marryat, Jacob Faithful, chap. 39: “A low schooner, sir, very rakish indeed, black sides,” and, especially, J. F. Cooper, Notions of the Americans (Philadelphia, 1828), 1:42: “low, graceful, rakish, little schooner, in waiting to give us a pilot.” Poe’s combined form, “rakish-looking” precedes the OED’s first use of 1861. Does Poe imply, for a momentary alarm to the reader, in the word and in the “black ball” an approaching pirate ship? This hint is reinforced by the reference to “fiendish barbarity” in the next sentence. On the other hand, the famous Black Ball Line of packet ships was the first to make regular transatlantic trips between New York and Liverpool, starting in 1817, named as such in 1818 (see DAB for Charles and Benjamin Marshall, whose ships had a large black disk or ball painted on their foretopsails). The Liverpool origin of the Jane Guy suggests Poe’s awareness of this line. Ingraham’s description of the pirate ship in Lafitte, which Poe reviewed in the August 1836 SLM, may have contributed to this paragraph and also to 14.1: “a long, low, black schooner. . . sharp in the bows” (p. 55).

13.22B (footnote) fate]  It is not unusual for Poe to half-acknowledge his sources as he will do with Morrell and Reynolds, in Pym (15.10, 16.6, 16.10, 20.3), and, later, in “The Descent into the Maelstrom” (for the Encyclopaedia Britannica). His footnote is taken almost verbatim from “Loss of the Brig Polly,” a chronicle of 1811, which appeared in RS and the 1834 ML and two editions of MC (Boston and New Haven). In saying that the fate of the Polly is “so remarkably similar to our own” he also implies his borrowing details about barnacles and crabs, and, earlier, fishing up useful objects from the ship. In reality, there are marked differences between the cruises of each ship. His changes in adapting passages, both deliberate and by erroneous transcription, [page 287:] can be seen by comparing the texts: ¶“The Brig Polly, of one hundred and thirty tons burthen, sailed from Boston, with a cargo of lumber and provisions, on a voyage to Santa Croix, on the 12th of December, 1811, under the command of Capt. W. L. Cazneau — with a mate, four seamen and a cook; Mr. I. S. Hunt, and a negro girl of nine years of age, passengers. Nothing material happened until the 15th, when they had cleared cape Cod, the shoal of Georges, and nearly, as they supposed, crossed the gulf stream, when there came on a violent gale from the south-east, in which the brig labored very hard, which produced a leak. . . when about midnight she was upset. . . . In about half an hour the mainmast went by the board, and soon after, the foremast, when she righted, though full of water. . . . In this situation they remained, without fire . . . twelve days” (RS, pp. 345-16). There follows a detailed description of their eating barnacles and shark, for which they fished with the bait of the dead members of the group, from December well into June. ¶“They had now drifted about two thousand miles, and were in latitude 28 North, and longitude 13 West, when . . . they saw three ships bearing down upon them. . . . The ship[,] which hailed, proved to be the Fame, of Hull, captain Featherstone, bound from Rio Janeiro home. . . . Humanity immediately sent a boat, which put an end to the dreadful thraldom of captain Cazneau and Samuel Badger, the only surviving persons. . . . after a series of distresses from December 15th to the 20th of June, a period of one hundred and ninety-one days. . . . They were cherished, comforted, fed, clothed, and nursed until the 9th of July, when they fell in with captain Perkins, of the brig Dromo,. . . who . . . safely landed them in Kennebunk” (p. 349). The last paragraph of the note is transcribed verbatim by Poe (from pp. 349-50) save for minor changes in punctuation. We note the misspelling for Cazneau, Dromo, and Kennebunk; the fact that Poe completely overlooks all their efforts to provide means of sustenance during the long period; and minor changes such as his making the Negro girl, a passenger, the slave of Mr. Hunt and italicizing various phrases, none of them printed thus in the text. “Surviving persons” has become “survivers,” an allowable variant used also in the title of Pym, and in 4.4.

13.22C Pacific]  The word “deceived,” key to so much of the action and setting of the book thus far, is here used almost ironically, since it is the fictional pleasant truth which displaces their false notion. “Hauling her wind” is said of a vessel when she changes course to sail closer to the wind, while “bear up” is the opposite of “veer away” or “fall off.”

There are many possibilities for Poe’s derivation of the “Jane,” apparently named in the novel for Captain Guy’s wife. It may first have been Jane Grey, after the unfortunate nine-days’ queen of England (see figure 4 for the underscored name on the copyright document). The surname, meaning stuffed figure or effigy, leading to the verb “to mock,” from “Guy Fawkes,” may allude to the bland, gullible personality of the captain. G. R. Thompson, Poe’s Fiction (Madison, Wisconsin, 1973), p. 180, appearing to think the ship also an hermaphrodite brig, like the death ship of chap. 10, says that she is paradoxically named, i.e., male and female. The name Jane may derive from Benjamin Morrell’s Narrative of Four Voyages which intimately enters into the rest of Pym. Morrell tells of his being captain of the Jane Maria (pp. xxvi-xxvii) and also of his taking his wife Abby Jane to the Massacre Islands on the fourth [page 288:] voyage; she also lent her name to an account of the voyage for Harper and Brothers: Narrative of a Voyage to the South Atlantic Ocean (1832), written by Samuel Knapp from notes furnished by Morrell (q.v. in Eugene Exman, The Brothers Harper, p. 30). Morrell also alludes to the schooner Jane of “Governor” or Corporal Glass of Tristan da Cunha (p. 355) without naming the vessel, as did other accounts available to Poe, who uses this passage for 15.7; similarly, for Captain James Weddell’s Antarctic explorations of 1822 on the Jane mentioned in Morrell (p. 68) and used by Poe in 15.9 and 16.5.

14A [note to the chapter numeral]  From this point on Poe will be relying heavily upon Benjamin Morrell’s Narrative of Four Voyages for his descriptions of the South Atlantic and Pacific islands presented as unknown Antarctic Islands. Poe’s close paraphrase of Morrell in a small portion of his extensively related text was first indicated by George Woodberry, ed., The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, 5:434-38; the popularity ‘of Morrell’s book, published also by Harper and Brothers in 1832, makes it surprising that none of the contemporary critics pointed out these borrowings. J. Ridgely and I. Haverstick justly note that a mature Pym and a nonhybrid Peters now begin a somewhat erratic cruise from August 7 until December 12, which follows the route of voyages made by Captain Morrell and which veers to a definite voyage to the Pole only with chap. 16 below. Morrell’s text is itself filtered through the ghostwriting of Samuel Woodworth, a journalist, so that its seamanship and accuracy can often be challenged (see the full account in SAF, Autumn 1976, 4:157-72).

14.1A burden]  These first two paragraphs are drawn almost entirely from passages in Morrell’s Narrative on p. 433 and, possibly, p. 461:

A ship intended for this trade should be from three hundred to three hundred and fifty tons burthen; built of good materials, of a light draught of water, and a fast sailer. She should also be built on a different construction from any other vessel, and rigged into a barque. She should be well armed, with at least ten double fortified twelve-pound carronades; and two long twelves, and manned with an effective crew of forty or fifty able-bodied men, with a select first-rate set of officers, besides several medical and scientific men. She should also be provided with four brass blunderbusses for each top, with water-tight arm-chests, for the same purpose. Her anchors and cables should be of more than double the usual weight and strength of those intended for any other trade. . . . Above all, she should be placed under the command of a man who is qualified for the business; one who is familiarly acquainted with the peculiar navigations of those seas, and who will study the health and comfort of his men, and the permanent welfare of the natives. (p. 433)

Morrell repeats this paragraph, slightly abridged, on p. 461 with a sentence that may have given a word to Poe: “The commander should be a first-rate navigator.” Note a few of Poe’s changes; “ten . . . carronades” become “ten or twelve” and “forty or fifty. . . men” become “fifty or sixty” — evincing his method of alteration, used for the tortoise passage in 12.17. The hyphen omitted (see below) from “twelve-pound” in Poe’s source, so sorely needed in the juxtaposition of the double “twelve,” is arbitrarily and silently supplied in the texts of the 1838 London edition, and of Griswold, Woodberry, and Harrison.

14.1B ships]  “Draught” (or draft) refers to how deeply the vessel sits in the [page 289:] water. In this case, she might have been “long legged” as they call it, sitting too deep to cross the coral reef entrances to the island lagoons, although Poe describes no such difficulty in the islands of Tsalal. As for “bark-rigged” — a vessel of that tonnage would be about 120-130 feet long by 28-30 foot beam by about ten feet in depth of hold, so that she would draw about twelve feet. A bark would be more easily handled with a smaller crew than fifty or sixty. She would be a bit large for a schooner or a brig. Her deficiences as a “rough sea-boat” are mentioned only here and in 14.6. In both places it signifies “a vessel considered in reference to her behaviour at sea” (OED, which does not give Poe’s fused compound of 14.6). Morrell’s source passage does not give the word, a fact which hints that up to this chapter Poe was planning a final shipwreck of the ship, paralleling that of the Grampus. The final sentence of 14.6 probably indicates abandonment of this idea.

14.1C desired]  The armaments described make her heavier-gunned than a privateer of similar size, a most unlikely arrangement. No trading vessel would carry this number of “able-bodied men.”

The “top” is the platform built on the crosstrees at the lower masthead.

14.2A articles]  The experienced Captain Guy, although entrusted with such powers and financial responsibility, lacks “energy” and “enterprise” such as a good trader must have. (Yet in 16.11 Guy expresses his “resolution of pushing to the southward.”) The “discretion” will allow Poe to improvise both route and activities for the ship’s crew later in the book — an indication that to this point Poe had not blocked out his plot. The idea and language come from Morrell’s “Introductory Sketch” concerning his sharing with Captain Johnson the command of the Henry and Wasp for a two-year South Seas voyage: “Both commanders were vested with discretionary powers to prosecute new discoveries, and to trade for the benefit of all concerned. Each vessel was . . . supplied with every thing . . . by James Byers, Esq., one of the owners” (Narrative, p. xxvii). The items for trade (with a counterpart in a trading list in “Rodman,” 2.11) come from Morrell’s book: “For such an enterprise, the necessary articles of traffic are, beads, looking ;glasses, tinder-works, axes, hatchets, adzes, saws, planes, chisels, gouges, gimlets, files, rasps, spoke-shaves, hammers, knives, scissors, razors, needles, thread, different kinds of crockery-ware, cheap chintz, and calicoes of bright gaudy colours, and all sorts of trinkets. These articles should be selected by a man who has a thorough knowledge of the trade” (p. 433), Note Poe’s transfer of “trade” and “traffic” elsewhere in these paragraphs. Morrell’s list, repeated by Poe, includes an obscurity, “tinder-works,” which is not given in dictionaries, but may be assumed to refer to materials for striking a flame. “Spokeshaves” are drawknives with a handle at each end of the blade, used to plane a curved surface, such as that of a spoke. Borrowed from Morrell, it sounds rather too specialized for such trade.

14.3A reason]  Captain Guy’s stopping at Sal in July probably comes from a brief description of Morrell’s stopping on his “Third Voyage” (of 1828) : “We left St. Nicholas . . . the 23d of July . . . and on the following morning, at four o‘clock, were close in with the island of Sal . . . which . . . derives its name from its great number of salt-ponds. . .” (p. 262). The mid-portion is a close paraphrase of a nearby passage: “Ships bound from Europe to the Cape of Good Hope, or by that route to the East Indies, generally take their departure [page 290:] from one of the Cape Verd Islands, and then steer south-west, stretching over towards the coast of Brazil so as to cross the equator between the meridians of 28 and 30 west longitude. This apparently round-about course is adopted to avoid the tedious calms and adverse currents which continually prevail on the coast of Guinea. . . . Though this western course involves the greatest distance, it always proves to be the shortest in the end, as they who adopt it never lack westerly winds to waft them to the Cape of Good Hope” (pp. 257-58).

Captain Guy, for several chapters, is an avatar of Benjamin Morrell who does advance reasons for his “stoppage” at Kerguelen’s Land in January 1822: “As the season was not yet sufficiently advanced to permit our proceeding farther south . . . and it being necessary to repair our sails and rigging. . . . I concluded to steer for Kerguelen’s Land” (p. 61), about which paras. 14.7-19 tell much more. Captain Guy has absolutely no reason at this point to head for Kerguelen’s Land, far to the south of his “South Seas” destination, namely, the islands of the Pacific, probably north of Australia.

14.3B degrees]  Morrell does not mention Cape St. Roque (Cabo de Sao Roque), the most easterly point of Brazil and therefore of South America, latitude 29° 15’ South, longitude 35° 15’ West. But Poe might have picked up the place name from Symzonia: A Voyage of Discovery by Captain Adam Seaborn (New York, 1820; facsimile reprint, Gainesville, Florida, 1965), usually thought to be by John Cleves Symmes (see Introduction) and recently alleged to be by Nathaniel Ames (by H. J. Lang and B. Lease, New England Quarterly, June 1975, 48:241-52). The narrator, who has underwritten the expedition on the steamship Explorer to enter the world within the earth at the South Pole, declares: “I therefore stood straight for Cape St. Roque. . . . On the sixteenth day after leaving port, we saw the land of Cape St. Roque in South America. . .” (p. 21).

They were apparently drifting westerly. There being sixty nautical miles to one degree of latitude, twenty-five degrees would be 1,500 miles. But the course of the Jane Guy is not very logical. In the areas of good winds, working the westerlies out of St. George’s Channel, through the Western Approaches, then running before the Northeast and “Portuguese” trades, she ran the 1,860 odd miles from Liverpool to the Cape Verde Islands in fifteen days. Then through an area of calms and light airs along the equator, and bucking the South Equatorial Current, she made some 1,400 miles from the Cape Verdes to Cape St. Roque in only four days.

14.4A reality]  The sentence about “dreadful suffering” and “frightful dream” may have been suggested by a passage after the rescue from the raft of “The Medusa” (ML, p. 356) : “At the moment in which I am recalling the dreadful scenes to which I have been witness, they present themselves to my imagination like a frightful dream. All those horrible scenes from which I so miraculously escaped, seem now only as a point in my existence.” Another possibility is Morrell’s Narrative, p. 377, in which the captain-narrator slumbers and dreams “confused and undefinable images of difficulties and dangers . . . and . . . passed through weeks and months of fruitless toils, strange incidents, and unheard-of disasters.” But finally there is order to the “visions” and a deceased friend appears who warns him of “Breakers ahead, sir.” At this he awakes: “My dream had become a frightful reality. . .” (p. 377).

14.4B agony]  The denial of the memory of painful feelings goes counter to [page 291:] Pym’s assertion concerning the lottery and “fearful repast” (12.7): “whose stern recollection will embitter every future moment of my existence.” Both Pym and Peters are transmogrified at this point in the tale, Pym being intent on discovery and scientific knowledge and Peters losing his indigenous quali ties of caprice and ferocity.

14.5A precautions]  By close paraphrase and copying Poe derived 14.5 and 14.1 from Jeremiah Reynolds’ Voyage of the United States Frigate Potomac, pp. 61-62. A review in the June 1835 SLM, 1:594-95 (ascribed to Poe by T. O. Mabbott, 1:288) would have pointed Poe’s attention to this work, which achieve( four editions in four months. J. V. Ridgely, PS, 1970, 3:5, asserts that Poe’ use of passages from it in Pym proves his writing of the review, the month before his editorship, but I find the style uncharacteristic. The indebtedness here of Poe to Reynolds’ Voyage has also been traced by Daniel J. Tynan PS, December 1971, 4:35-37.

A passage from Rio Janeiro to the Cape of Good Hope . . . cannot be expected to abound with novelty or interest. The logbook tells . . . south of latitude 29°, of falling in with whaleships, and every day encountering the right, or black whale, so called in contradistinction to the sperm-aceti whale. . . .

In approaching the Cape of Good Hope, but more frequently to the south and east of that promontory, navigators have often to encounter storms from the northward, which rage with great violence. With these winds, the sea always run; high, and one of the most dangerous features in the character of such gales, is the sudden, and often instantaneous, change which occurs from the wind breaking out, with equal or even augmented fury, from another and nearly opposite quarter. The experienced navigator of these seas, therefore, always keeps a bright lookout during the prevalence of such gales, to the south west. However strong the squall may be raging, however rough the sea may be rolling, or copiously the rain may be falling, yet, a bright spot in the west, or south-west, is a sure indication of a sudden change of wind. . . . (p. 61)

Poe modifies Reynolds’ original text with inadequate expertise. The “chopping around of the wind” would occur only with a cyclonic type of storm, such as a typhoon or hurricane, as the storm moved and as the center or “eye” passed over the vessel’s position; hurricanes do not occur in those latitudes. For a hurricane, the “bright spot . . . change” does not apply, but with any regular “storm,” a lightening of the weather to windward is recognizable and, if the barometer is rising, predicts an improvement.

14.6A gale]  The passage cited below from The Voyage of the Potomac by Reynolds is the source of almost all the ideas and a great deal of the wording of Poe’s paragraph.

The morning opened with strong gales from the north-west which increased in violence until the afternoon. Sail after sail was taken in, or reefed. . . . The sea was exceedingly high, rough, and unpleasant; and the ship rolled and laboured heavily. The white spot was seen in the south, but experience alone could tell the power it contained. In an instant the gale from the north ‘let go its hold;’ the little canvass that remained spread flapped loosely on the yards; and, ere there was time for thought or action, a gale from the southwest struck the vessel with such power, [page 292:] and with a change so sudden, that it required the utmost exertion of professional skill to prepare her to meet the fierce encounter. . . .

The high and combing waves, running quick from the northeast, thus met and arrested in their course by violent gusts from the southwest, created upon the whole extent of the ocean’s surface, at least as far as the eye could reach, sheets of flying foam, as the water was carried from the cap of each rolling billow in masses to leeward. (pp. 61-62)

Concerning sentence 2-a sudden white squall will not build up such a single, tremendous sea as he implies, but will make a series of short and nasty “chops.” For a similar, longer description, see Pym, 8.12-17. In the same storm, she is thrown on “her beam-ends,” 8.12, and every “sea” “made a complete breach over us,” 8.14 (see the sources given in the related notes). A “cross sea” refers to the “waves” of a recent disturbance, which come from a different direction and run on top of the heavier swells remaining from a previous storm. In speaking of “the little head-sail,” which is not exactly in Reynolds, Poe errs, for these are the jibs and staysails which are set on various stays stretching from the mast to the bowsprit and the jibboom; they could not “flap against the mast.” Delving into his “MS. Found in a Bottle,” Poe reuses a graphic phrase: “A wilderness of foam hurled us upon our beam-ends,” although he may there be straining the capacity of “foam” (see also 9.1 above). The word means “chaos” or “confusion” as in “The Assignation”: “A wilderness — a chaos of beauty was before me,” and in “The Descent into the Maelstrom”: “a wilderness of surge.”

14.7A water]  Woodberry, Works, 5:434-35, first showed that this paragraph is derived entirely from two passages in Morrell’s Narrative, p. 61: “Marion’s Island, with its neighbour Prince Edward’s, will be left on our larboard quarter, in lot. 46’ 53’ S., long. 37’ 46’ E.; as will also Possession Island, and a cluster near it called Crozet’s Islands, in latitude 42’ 59’ S., long. 48° 0’ E. A few hours’ sail will then bring us to Kergulen’s Land, or Desolation Island, in the Southern Indian Ocean, bearing south-east from the Cape of Good Hope, distant about eight hundred leagues. . . . We arrived at Kergulen’s Land, or Desolation Island, on Tuesday, the 31st of December; and at 9 P.M. came to anchor in four fathoms of water, in Christmas Harbour. . . .” It should be observed that Poe has corrected Morrell’s misspelling of Kerguelen but has initiated his own error in calling it “Kerguelen’s Island,” q.v. in 14.10. There may be a trace of “Desolation Island” in “DESOLATION” given to the swampy, unpeopled land of “Silence,” published at the end of 1837.

14.9A procured]  Paragraphs 8 and 9 are a close paraphrase, sometimes a verbatim transcription, of the following passages from chap. 4 (first voyage) of Morrell’s Narrative pp. 62-63, the material in Pym corresponding to the lettered passages: para. 8: “This island . . . well deserves” / Morrell, A; “Upon approaching, the land . . . acrid taste” / Morrell, G and H; para. 9: “The face of the country . . . snow” / Morrell, F; “There are several harbours . . . arch” / Morrell, B (first sentence) and D; “Passing in here . . . easily procured” / Morrell, B and D.

A. Kergulen’s Land, otherwise called Desolation Island, was first discovered in [page 293:] 1772, by M. de Kergulen, a French navigator, who mistook it for a southern continent, and so reported to his government; who sent him back in the following year to give his new discovery a critical examination, survey its coasts, &c. He now discovered his mistake, and at the same time some small islands in the vicinity of the large one. Three years afterward Captain Cook fell in with the same islands, but considered them of little importance. It was he who named the principal one the “Island of Desolation”. . . .

B. Its safe and commodious harbours, with abundance of fresh water, are alone sufficient to redeem its reputation.

Christmas Harbour is the first that is met with on the east or north-east side of the island after passing Cape François, which forms the northern side of this haven, at the head of which is Wasp’s Harbour. The latter is a small basin, completely land-locked within itself, into which you can carry four fathoms of water. Here you may anchor in from ten to three fathoms, clay bottom; and here a ship might lie with her best bower ahead at all seasons, the year round, in perfect safety. To the westward, at the head of this basin, is a small fresh water river of an excellent quality, from which a ship may fill any quantity, and warp it along-side with one hundred fathoms of line. . . .

C. On the islands at the mouth of the bay are rookeries of the albatross, &c. There are also to be had here some Port Egmont hens, sea-hens, cape-pigeons, blue petrels, ducks, teal, and the Nelly, most of which are palatable, if taken when they are young.

D. Christmas Harbour may be known from any other harbour in the island by the projecting point of Cape Frangois, which terminates in a high rock, perforated quite through, so as to form a natural arch, like that of a gateway or bridge. The outer harbour is only open to easterly winds, and is sheltered by a number of islands about six miles from the anchorage, which protect it from any sea that could injure a ship. . . .

E. The entrance of the harbour is in lot. 48° VV S., long. 69° 6’ E.

F. Many of the hills on this island, though of moderate heights, were covered with snow, notwithstanding that the season was now midsummer, January, corresponding to our July.

G. Yet still, in approaching the Harbour, the sunny declivities of the snow-crowned eminences present many cheering spots of living verdure. This appearance, however, is a promise to the eye soon to be broken to the hope: for it is not the grassy robe which nature wears, in almost every other section of her dominion. The illusion is caused by a small plant resembling saxifrage, which grows upon the hills in large swelling tufts, on a kind of rotten turf. Near the base of the hills, in a boggy kind of soil, is another plant plentifully scattered about, which grows to the height of nearly two feet. It presents the appearance of a small cabbage that is shooting into seed, and has the watery acrid taste imputed to it by Mr. Anderson (Captain Cook’s surgeon). . . .

H. The coarse grass near the harbour, the moss, the lichen, &c., are all correctly described. . . . [page 294:]

Morrell omits Kerguelen’s nobility, about which Poe could easily find out from standard reference works. In 14.9 he changes Morrell’s Wasp’s Harbour to Wasp Bay, a place name that no gazetteer of the period in any language or map of any period has shown. It is not mentioned by Cook nor is it to be found in any of the histories and accounts of this French possession, so that I conclude it to be the name of Morrell’s ship given to a harbor formed by Cape Frangois. Morrell took delight in naming places after friends of his, even though several had already been named by earlier explorers, and none of his names has entered standard gazetteers or maps.

Poe improves Morrell’s grammar, in G (first sentence), but commits his own error in 14.9: “Passing in here, good anchorage may be found. . . .” Poe’s method of piecing together passages of Morrell’s Narrative is exactly that used by Morrell or his ghostwriter, Woodworth, for passages F and G are taken almost verbatim from the account of Cook’s surgeon and amateur botanist, Anderson, which is quoted in Rees’s Cyclopaedia, the possible immediate source; Morrell does admit to “supplying his deficiency in the science of natural history” from Anderson’s “remarks” (p. 63); with no less grace does Poe allude to Morrell in 15.10.

14.10A abound]  This sentence is a close paraphrase from Morrell: “Of animals, besides those before mentioned, there are a few seal of the fur and hair kinds, and numbers of sea-elephants” (Narrative, p. 63).

14.10B respects]  This entire paragraph required the splicing of passages from pp. 63 and 64, concerning the Kerguelen’s Land fauna (seen in February 1823) and the penguins of Falkland Islands, visited October 1822 (p. 50). Four subspecies of penguin are mentioned in each area, but the descriptions are full only for the royal penguin, common to both, while we are never told the name of the fourth type in Kerguelen’s Land. Poe furnishes Morrell’s description of the first type, and merely transplants by name those of the earlier habitat visited (the Falkland Islands) to the later (Kerguelen’s Land). Probably to avoid charges of arrant plagiarism, Poe changes details: “yellow” becomes “gold,” and “rose” becomes “pink or bright scarlet,” possibly suggesting the scarlet teeth of the strange animal of 18.1.

Of the feathered race on this island penguins are the most numerous, and of these there are four different kinds. The largest is the royal or king-penguin, so called from its size, beauty of plumage, and irrepressible pride: in these respects it much resembles the peacock. The head is of a glossy shining black, the upper part of the body of a leaden gray, the under part of the purest white, and the feet in colour correspond to the head. Two broad stripes of a fine bright glossy yellow descend from the head to the breast; the bill is long, and of a rose colour. As they march along with a great deal of self-complacency, they will frequently look down their glossy front and sides to contemplate the perfection of their exterior brilliancy.. .. (p. 64)

The feathered tribes are very numerous on these lonely isles of the southern hemisphere, both in the South Seas and in the South Pacific Ocean. Of penguins there are four kinds which resort to the Falkland Islands; viz. king penguin, the macaroni, the jackass, and the rookery. The first of these is much larger than a goose; the other three are smaller, differing in appearance in several particulars. [page 295:] They all walk upright as their legs project from their bodies in the same direction with their tails; and when fifty or more of them are moving in file, they appear at a distance like a company of juvenile soldiers. They carry their heads high, with their wings drooping like two arms. (p. 50)

The “lilach” spelling of “lilac” is given as a nineteenth-century variant by the OED and also can be found in the 1922 Webster New International Dictionary. Morrell briefly describes, on p. 64, a second, unnamed penguin and a third or “bicrested” type, but omits the fourth entirely.

14.12A whatever]  Paragraphs 11 and 12 are a blending of two separated passages in Morrell’s Narrative (pp. 63-64). R. L. Rhea, TSLL, 1930, 10:144, finds eleven of Poe’s fifteen bird names in three pages of Cook’s 1784 Voyage to the Pacific Ocean and concludes wrongly that that is Poe’s source, ignoring the identical correspondence of all of them in the two passages from Morrell, given below. Poe’s eighteenth-century spelling of “petrel” (perhaps taken from Reynolds’ Address, q.v. in 16.3A below) is the only nineteenth-century instance given by the OED for a word thought by Dampier to be derived from the likeness of movement to St. Peter’s walking on the water — emphasized by Poe’s paragraph. It is possible that Morrell’s explanation of “carnivorous” may have suggested to Poe the carrion-eating gull (related to the petrels) in 10.5. The first source passage is para. C, given in 14.9A above; the second, nearby in Morrell’s book, follows below:

The shags here of two kinds. . . . Here are also sea-swallows, terns, common seagulls, Mother Carey’s chickens, and Mother Carey’s geese, or the great petrel: this last-named bird is as large as an albatross, and is carnivorous, feeding on the carcasses of dead seals and birds. It is sometimes called the osprey-petrel, or breakbones. It often sails close to the surface of the water, with its wings expanded, yet without appearing to move them. They are very tame, and not unpalatable food. (p. 64)

14.13A birds]  These six paragraphs (13-18) are derived almost totally from Morrell’s Narrative (pp. xxix and 50-53), by close paraphrase and by summary. Poe’s contribution is chiefly merely abridging the overly verbose text. (Poe seems to have forgotten the “fierce large” bird of 14.13 when he domesticates the albatross as a pitch-black bird in 19.3). Poe changes details slightly; e.g., “four or five acres” become “three or four acres,” a nest eight or ten inches high becomes “a foot high and two in diameter.” Morrell includes a passage (pp. 52-53; not quoted) concerning the egg-stealing “rook” and also implies that three others may live in the “rookery” — material which Poe just as illogically offers in 14.18, after his description of the close and economical regularity of the constructions (14.14-16). Note Morrell’s (and Poe’s) vagueness about how the lines are traced (14.14) and the paths formed (14.16), although presumably of nonrubbish stones (see 14.15A).

The next most remarkable bird to be found on these shores is the penguin’s intimate associate and most particular friend, the albatross. This is one of the largest and most formidable of the South Sea birds; being of the gull kind, and taking its prey upon the wing. Like many other oceanic birds, the albatross never [page 296:] comes on land except for the purpose of breeding; when the attachment that exists between it and the penguin is evinced in many remarkable instances; indeed it seems as firm as any that can be formed by the sincerest friends. Their nests are constructed with great uniformity near to each other; that of the albatross being always in the centre of a little square, formed by the nests of four penguins. (p. 50)

* . . . The word rookery, which properly means “a nursery of rooks,” has been applied by all our South Sea navigators to the breeding encampments of various oceanic animals, such as seal, penguins, &c. . . . I shall use the term rookery as it is understood by South Sea sailors — “a spot selected by certain animals for the purpose of bringing forth their young.” (footnote to the word “rookeries” in Morrell’s Introduction, p. xxiv)

When a sufficient number of penguins, albatross, &c. are assembled on the shore, after a deliberate consultation on the subject, they proceed to the execution of the grand purpose for which they left their favourite element. In the first place, they carefully select a level piece of ground, of suitable extent, often comprising four or five acres, and as near the water as practicable; always preferring that which is the least encumbered with stones, and other hard substances, with which it would be dangerous to have their eggs come in contact. As soon as they are satisfied on this point, they proceed to lay out the plan of their projected encampment; which task they commence by tracing a well defined parallelogram, of sufficient magnitude to accommodate the whole fraternity, say from one to five acres. One side of this square runs parallel with the water’s edge; and is always left open for egress and regress; the other three sides are differently arranged.

These industrious feathered labourers next proceed to clear all the ground within the square from obstructions of every kind; picking up the stones in their bills, and carefully depositing them outside of the lines before mentioned, until they sometimes, by this means, create quite a little wall on three sides of the rookery. Within this range of stones and rubbish they form a pathway, six or eight feet in width, and as smooth as any of the paved or gravelled walks in the New-York Park, or on the Battery. This path is for a general promenade by day, and for the sentinels to patrol at night.

Having thus finished their little works of defence on the three land-sides, they next lay out the whole area in little squares of equal sizes, formed by narrow paths which cross each other at right angles, and which are also made very smooth. At each intersection of these paths an albatross constructs her nest, while in the centre of each little square is a penguin’s nest; so that each albatross is surrounded by four penguins; and each penguin has an albatross for its neighbour, in four directions; in this regular manner is the whole area occupied by these feathered sojourners, of different species; leaving, at convenient distances, accommodations for some other kinds of oceanic birds, such as the shag, or green cormorant, and another which the seamen call Nelly.

Although the penguin and the albatross are on such intimate terms, and appear to be so affectionately and sincerely attached to each other, they not only form their nests in a very different manner, but the penguin will even rob her friend’s nest whenever she has an opportunity. The penguin’s nest is merely a slight excavation in the earth, just deep enough to prevent her single egg rolling from its primitive position; while the albatross throws up a little mound of earth, grass, and shells, eight or ten inches high, and about the size of a water-bucket, on the summit of which she forms her nest, and thus looks down upon her nearest neighbours and best friends. [page 297:]

None of the nests in these rookeries are ever left unoccupied for a single moment, until the eggs are hatched and the young ones old enough to take care of themselves. The male goes to sea in search of food until his hunger is appeased; he then promptly returns and affectionately takes the place of his mate, while she resorts to the same element for the like purpose. In the interchange of these kind offices, they so contrive it as not to leave the eggs uncovered at all; the present incumbent (say the female) making room for the partner of her cares and pleasures on his return from the sea, while he nestles in by her side until the eggs are completely covered by his feathers. By this precaution they prevent their eggs being stolen by the other birds, which would be the case were they left exposed; for the females are so ambitious of producing a large family at once, that they rob each other whenever they have an opportunity. . . . (p. 52)

To stand at a little distance and observe the movements of the birds in these rookeries, is not only amusing, but edifying, and even affecting. The spectacle is truly worthy the contemplation of a philosophic mind. You will see them marching round the encampment in the outside path, or public promenade, in pairs, or in squads of four, six or eight, forcibly reminding you of officers and subalterns on a parade day. At the same time, the camp, or rookery, is in continual motion. . . . At the same time, the air is almost darkened by an immense number of the albatross hovering over the rookery like a dense cloud, some continually lighting and meeting their companions, while others are constantly rising and shaping their course for the sea. . . .

All this, and much more that might be mentioned, is truly interesting and affecting to the contemplative and sympathetic spectator. . . . A moral philosopher could not, perhaps, be more usefully employed, for a few days, than in contemplating the movements and operations of a South Sea rookery, and marking the almost incredible order and regularity with which every thing is performed. (pp. 51-53)

14.13B navigators]  See 2.1A for Poe’s use of the word to mean “seaman.” While “navigator” is commonly used for one who charts the path of the ship and is acquainted with nautical astronomy, it can also designate the captain of a vessel, as in 14.1, and “one who conducts explorations by sea” (OED) as here and in 16.3, 16.5, and 17.2, the meaning given it by Morrell in his introduction, which was the origin of this instance.

14.15A stone]  The word “rubbish” for stones does not quite suit the standard idea of “waste or refuse material” usually discarded by man (OED). Poe probably derives his use from a rather careless reading of Morrell, who tends to impart human qualities of ratiocination to the penguins; see the paragraph in which Morrell specifies the “rubbish” as the stones “deposited” by the nestbuilders “outside of the lines,” whereas Poe refers to the material as initially rubbish in a sentence which is syntactically ambiguous in its lack of an “it” or “them” before “stone by stone” and in its use of “them.” This passage probably led Poe to apply “rubbish” to the stones in the gorge (20.12) and to the “loose earth” burying the three men in the avalanche (21.3-4).

14.18A rookery]  Much of what is described by Morrell and therefore by Poe, concerning the laying out of the area and building of the nests in geometric squares, is completely fanciful. Morrell or his ghostwriter Woodworth must have adopted an account which I have not yet found. Modern works on the penguin, of course, lend no support to this geometrical barracks-ground and even the natural histories and encyclopedias of Morrell’s day give only passing support [page 298:] to such a fantasy: e.g., Nicholson’s British Encyclopaedia (3d American ed., Philadelphia, 1819), vol. 1 (no pages), article on “Aptenodytes,” has the penguin of the Falkland Islands live “in tolerable harmony” with the pelican and other South American birds in “towns” from which they have driven away the precedent albatrosses, with an earlier hatching season. It is only the soldierlike walking that seems to have any slight basis in fact. John Frost’s Grand Illustrated Encyclopedia of Animated Nature (New York, 1856), p. 307, says: “They are arranged, when on shore, in as compact a manner and in as regular ranks as a regiment of soldiers.” Modern scientific studies do not speak of the geometric encampments at all, simply of the occasional drill-like formations of the Adelie penguins by the thousands (G. Murray Levick, Antarctic Penguins [London, 1914], pp. 108-11, and National Geographic Magazine, September 1952, 102:428).

14.18B intellect]  Poe’s last sentence is perhaps evoked by the end of Morrell’s description (cited above), concerning a “sympathetic spectator” and also “a moral philosopher.” Morrell himself (or Woodworth) may have derived this and other passages from Symzonia, chap, 2 (see 14.3 above), in which the visitors to the Utopian world within the Pole sojourn at the Falkland Islands; there while engaged in “the contemplation of these orderly, discreet, and beautiful amphibia” (p. 34) which are assumed to come from the Pole, they wonder at their “spirit of reflection” without insisting upon the rationality of the birds.

14.19A Patterson]  An appropriate original for this “chief mate,” never mentioned by name again, could be Daniel Todd Patterson (1786-1839), naval officer who conducted a raid against Jean Laffite in Louisiana, 1814, and provided Jackson with naval support in the battle of New Orleans. Both are “personages” in Ingraham’s novel Lafitte, which Poe reviewed in the August 1836 SLM.

14.19B him]  It is possible that Poe derived his idea about the message in the bottle directly from A Voyage to the Pacific by James Cook and James King (London, 1784), but more likely that it came from the excerpt in Rees’s Cyclopaedia article on Kerguelen’s Land, which reads: “On the 27th many of the ship’s crew went on shore. . . . They brought with them a quart bottle, which was found fastened with wire to a projecting rock on the N. side of the harbour. This bottle contained a piece of parchment . .. [on which] Captain Cook, as a memorial of having been in this harbour, caused to be written . . . this inscription. . . . The bottle, having been covered with a leaden cap, was placed on a little eminence on the N. shore of the harbour. . .” (vol, 19). Poe makes the little “eminence” into “one of the highest peaks,” disregarding the fact that he has followed Morrell’s directions, in 14.9: “Their tops are perpetually covered with snow.” The idea of leaving messages in bottles is an old one; Delano, in his Narrative of Voyages and Travels, calls them the whalers’ “post office,” and earlier Bernardin de St. Pierre speaks of their use (see my article in Romance Notes, 1971, 12:1-8). Poe’s “MS. Found in a Bottle” showed his awareness of this device, and it is likely that he was toying with the idea of a similar retrieval of the narrative of Pym, presaging it in this paragraph.

14.19C off]  The paragraph is partly derived from the last two paragraphs of Morrell’s chap. 3, in turn based on James Cook and James King, A Voyage to [page 299:] the Pacific, or on those portions cited in Rees’s Cyclopaedia articles on Kerguelen, Cook, et al. Poe now gives Captain Guy a young nephew, who enters and exits (in the same paragraph) as mysteriously as Tiger.

December 31st. — We arrived at Kergulen’s Land, or Desolation Island, on Tuesday, the 31st of December; and at 9 P.m. came to anchor in four fathoms of water, in Christmas Harbour, where we proposed to pass the remainder of the Christmas holydays, which, in the southern hemisphere, occur at midsummer.

January 1st, 1823. — At 4 A.M. I took the boats, with the second officer, and went in search of seal, leaving the first officer and three men to take care of the vessel and repair her sails and rigging, which were very much out of order from the almost continual gales of wind we had experienced since our departure from the Falkland Islands on the 2d of November.

In our search for seal we were occupied more than a week, rowing and sailing round the island, and examining every beach; but our labours were not crowned with any great success. We did not see in our whole survey more than three thousand fur-seal, of which we took two hundred. On the west side, however, we saw about four thousand sea-elephants, and about fifteen hundred on the cast side. On the former side we found many excellent harbours. We returned to the vessel on Friday, the 10th. (pp, 61-62)

15A (chapter numeral)]  All the significant details and most of the language of this chapter come from passages in Morrell’s Narrative, chiefly the “Fourth Voyage,” chap. 2, describing Tristan da Cunha, visited November 1829 (two years after Pym’s supposed visit). For no comprehensible reason they are “retracing” their way to the West, although in 14.2-3 they were bound for the South Seas via the Cape of Good Hope, which they are rounding in 14.5. Chapter 14 (7-9) is devoted to their stay at Kerguelen’s Land, in the South Indian Ocean; has Captain Guy changed his mind abruptly or has Poe forgotten where he had the ship headed in the preceding chapter? The first paragraph is merely 14.7 in reverse, plus a few details from the new source in Morrell’s Narrative, given below. This section of the Narrative was probably lifted entirely from some earlier account of the three islands. In these four pages of Morrell, there are also traces of the fauna, geology, and geography in the later Tsalal episodes, as will be mentioned below.

Poe made many changes, seemingly intended both to tighten the wording of Morrell and to conceal his borrowings, so that all of Morrell’s text that entered into Pym will be given below, with a lettering of the separate passages requiring discussion in subsequent notes — a few in later chapters; the order of the original is preserved, with suspension points indicating omissions, both major and minor. Following the text is a table to show the correspondence between Poe’s text and the lettered paragraphs of Morrell’s Narrative.

A. Tristan D‘Acunha is the largest of three islands in the South Atlantic ocean; in latitude 3‘1° 8’ south, long. 12’ 8’ west; about fifteen hundred miles eastward from the mouth of Rio de la Plata, in South America, and about the same distance west-by-south from the Cape of Good Hope. It is fifteen miles in circumference, and is so much elevated, that it can be seen, in clear weather, at the distance of twenty-five leagues. The three islands together form a [page 300:] triangle, of which Tristan is the north-east point. The other two islands were named by the French, in 1767; the most westerly being called Inaccessible, and the other, which is the smallest and most southerly, Nightingale Island.

B. A part of the island, towards the north, rises perpendicularly from the sea, to the height of a thousand feet or more. A level then commences, extending towards the centre, forming what seamen term table-land; above which rises a conical mountain, not unlike in appearance the Peak of Teneriffe, as seen from the bay of Santa Cruz. Trees grow half-way up this sugar-loaf eminence, but above that it consists of bare and rugged rocks, frequently hidden by the clouds; with a summit which is covered with snow during the greatest part of the year, notwithstanding that no snow falls on the coast.

C. There are no shoals or other dangers about the island, which is of circular shape, with bold shores and deep water.

D. On the north-west side of the island is a bay, with a fine beach of black sand, where boats may land with southerly winds. . . .

E. Here are two cascades of excellent water, in sufficient quantity to supply a large fleet; and the casks could be filled by means of a long hose, without moving them from the boats. A plenty of fish may be caught with hook and line, among which are an excellent kind of large perch, some weighing six pounds, crawfish, and a fine species of the cod.

F. Inaccessible Island, which forms the western point of the triangle, lies in latitude 37° 171 south, long. 12° 241 west. It presents a high bluff, of forbidding appearance, which may be seen at the distance of twelve or fourteen leagues. It is about six miles in circumference, with a high flat top, barren, steep, and apparently inaccessible; some scattered shrubs only are to be on it.

G. Nightingale Island, the smallest of the group, forms the southern point of the triangle, and lies in latitude 37° 261 south, long. 12° 12z west. It is descried at the distance of seven or eight leagues, appears irregular, with a hollow in the middle, and a small rocky islet at its southern extremity. Captain Patten, of the ship Industry, of Philadelphia, mentions “a high reef of rocks, or rocky islets, off the south end of the smallest island;” and M. d‘Etchevery, a French navigator, says, “It has on the north-east point two islets, separated from it about fifty paces, and which have the appearance of an old ruined fort.”

H. This group was first discovered by the Portuguese in their earlier navigations in these seas, and was further explored and described by the Dutch in 1643, and by the French in 1767. The islands are all of a circular shape, and consist of very high land, with clear open passages between them. They are about three and five leagues apart.

I. Their shores are frequented by hair and fur-seal, sea-lions, sea-elephants, penguins, and albatross. Whales abound in the offing, and I saw several swordfish near the coast.

J. Captain Patten, mentioned above, resided for seven months on Tristan, the largest of these islands, with a part of his crew, for the purpose of collecting [page 301:] seal-skins; during which time he obtained five thousand six hundred, for the Chinese market; and could, he says have loaded a large ship with oil in three weeks. . . . He says that during his stay here, “the prevailing winds were from the northward and westward . . . . It generally blows fresh, and frequently very hard, from the north-west. . . . The weather is very subject to be thick and hazy, attended with much rain.

K. He tells us “the trees do not grow high, but their branches bend down and spread on the ground. . . .

L. A great deal of drift-wood is found on the east side of the island, but none to the westward. Abundance of wild celery, sour dock (sorrel), and wild parsley is met with.”

M. With respect to animals, the number and variety have been considerably augmented since Captain Patten was here in 1791, when there were no quadrupeds to be met with on the island, “except some goats, left there by former navigators, which were very wild.” There are now bullocks, sheep, goats, hogs, dogs, and rabbits. “Neither vermin nor venomous creatures of any description,” says he, “were observed. . . .

N. A bird like a partridge, but of a black colour, which cannot fly, is easily run down, and is very well flavoured. .. .”

O. Captain Colquhoun, of the American brig Betsy, touched at Tristan, and planted potatoes, onions, and a variety of other seeds, which grew and multiplied.

P. Captain Heywood was at this island in 1811, where he found three Americans, who proposed remaining a few years, in order to prepare seal-skins and oil, and sell the same to vessels that might touch there. One of these enterprising Yankees was named Jonathan Lambert, who by a curious and singular edict declared himself sovereign proprietor of these islands. “In a short time he cleared about fifty acres of land, and planted various kinds of seed, some of which, as well as the coffee-tree and sugar-cane, were furnished by the American minister at Rio Janeiro. The seeds sprang up, appeared very promising, and the general aspect was that of a valuable and important settlement. The whole was, however, abandoned, and final possession afterward taken in the name of the British government, by a detachment from the Cape of Good Hope.” This was in the year 1817.

After all this, however, the island was again evacuated, and given up as a British establishment, when several families voluntarily went to it, and took up their abode on it, entirely independent of control from that government.

R. “The Berwick, Captain Jeffrey, from London to Von Dieman’s Land [Poe correctly writes ‘Diemen’s’], sent her boat ashore on the 25th of March. The sailors were surprised at finding an Englishman of the name of Glass, formerly a corporal in the artillery, and the rest of the above-named population. Glass gave a very favourable account of the island, and declared that if they had but a few more women, the place would be an earthly paradise. He is a sort of governor at Tristan d‘Acunha, by appointment of the rest, on account of his military character; and he trades in a small schooner to the Cape of [page 302:] Good Hope, with the oil of the sea-elephant and the skins of the seal, which they catch in great abundance.”

S. At the time that we touched at this island, on the 15th of November, 1829, we found seven families, living very comfortably under the administration of Governor Glass, having for sale a plenty of bullocks, cows, sheep, hogs, goats, rabbits, and poultry; also potatoes, cabbages, beets, parsnips, carrots, onions, and pumpkins; together with butter, cheese, eggs, and milk; all of which can be had at short notice, on moderate terms, and in any quantities. . . .

T. In 1811, on the 8th of January, it was visited by Captain Heywood, in the Nereus. . . .

The summit of this island, according to Captain Heywood’s calculation, is four thousand three hundred and eighty feet above the level of the sea; the surface being mostly covered with a light coat of mossy grass. In some places were a few small bushy trees, like those of Tristan d‘Acunha. “The cliffs rise precipitously from the sea, and from their fissures issue several beautiful cascades of water.” On the north side of the island, a little to the eastward of one of the rocky islets which adjoin that side of the main island, is a small cove, in which boats may land with perfect safety, when the wind blows from any point south of northwest or east. Here water may be obtained with ease. by running the vessel close in to the front of the cove, where she can anchor in twelve or fourteen fathoms, with the huts at the head of the cove bearing south-south-west, and the north and easternmost islet bearing about northwest. There is a safe passage between these islets and the main island, with fifteen fathoms of water, over a rocky bottom.

There is a rock near the northeast point of the island, which exactly resembles a church, having an elevated spire on its western end. (Narrative, pp. 352-55)

paragraph and passage in Pym

1: On the twelfth . . . fifteen days

1: the islands of Tristan . . . 12’ 8’ W.

2: this group . . . properly so called.

2: This is . . . ninety miles

°: A part . . . of the year.

”: There are . . . water deep.

2: On the northwestern . . . hook and line.

3: The next island . . . stunted shrubs

4: Nightingale Island . . . separates it.

5: The shores. .. in their vicinity.

5: Owing to the cast . . . early period.

5: In 1790. .. in three weeks.

Upon his arrival . . . subsequent navigators. 6 I believe . . . to be met with.

7: In 1811 . . . Cape of Good Hope.

7: They did not . . . of the government

7: On the twenty-fifth. . . a small schooner

7: At the period . . . were abundant.

7: Having come to anchor . . . conveniently.

7: Captain Guy. . . somewhat hazy.

Letters of passages above in Morrell’s Narrative used for passages in Pym .

See 14.7A which gives the passage from p. 61. A

H A B C D F

G and A I

H

J and G M

O and S T and P

Q R

S

E (end of passage) J (end) [page 303:]

15.1A 12’ 8’ W.]   The Encyclopaedia Britannica (11th ed.), 27:294, locates the summit of the largest at 27’ 5’ 50” S., 12’ 16’ 40” W. Since they were discovered by Tristao da Cunha in 1506, they are usually and more correctly known as Tristan da Cunha Islands; Poe is following Benjamin Morrell’s diction.

Beginning with 15.1 Poe frequently indulges in the redundant phrasing of a preposition plus a suffix “ward” tacked on to compass point directions of “east,” “south,” “west,” and “north” in expressions denoting motion, as here: “to the westward” and “to the northward.” The instances multiply to such an extent that it may be assumed that he is being influenced hereafter by his readings and borrowings. A close examination of the texts of Morrell’s Narrative of Four Voyages and Jeremiah Reynolds’ Address indicates the probable source of Poe’s locutions, which can be found in the following paragraphs: 15.7, 10; 16.2-3, 6, 8, 11; 17.3-5, 7-8, 10, 12; 18.1, 8; 20.2; 23.2, 11; 23 bis.5; 24.1, 3, 6, 8, 12. In the sections of Morrell’s Narrative used in chap. 15 of Pym, we find examples (e.g., p. 65: “We steered a little to the southward” and “We continued steering to the westward”) and in chap. 16, of Reynolds’ use of it (on pp. 92-3, 95) used by Poe in 16.2-4, 9-11, Earlier (and also later) than 15.1 Poe has occasionally regarded “eastward” etc. as mere directions of the compass like “east” and “north,” which are capable of being the object of the preposition “from” (q.v. in 7.1-2, 13.2, 14.5); likewise, the motional force is weak or missing in a few instances with “to”: “descried a sail to the eastward” (13.22); “We were to the westward” (14.5); “To the westward. . . is a small stream” (14.9); and “land to the westward” (14.11-9). However, there are earlier instances of his use of the construction; in “MS. Found in a Bottle” of 1833 (Tales, 1:136, 138-39), there are three with the last showing motional force. In “Hans Pfaall” ten paragraphs have the construction but only the four which are starred clearly indicate motional force: 32*, 36, 43, 47, 51, 53, 54, 58*, 61*, and 62*. In subsequent writings about travel and exploration, Poe used the locution proportionately less than in Pym and “Hans Pfaall” with only five instances in “Julius Rodman” of 1840 (1.7, 1.21, 2.17, 3.5, 4.10), the first three of which are nonmotional.

15.2A wind]  The black sand of the beach, found in the Narrative, may have suggested the nigritude of even the geology in Tsalal.

15.3A shrubs]  Poe adds an uncustomary article before the name Inaccessible, and changes Morrell’s “six miles in circumference” to “seven or eight.” This “precipitous” island may have suggested the plateau on which Pym and Peters are stranded in Tsalal (see 18.2, sentence 2). “Ledge” replacing Morrell’s “reef” is strangely used in this context. It is used for “shelf” of rock in 23 bis.1.

15.4A it]  In changing Morrell’s text “with a hollow in the middle,” Poe loses clarity in the last sentence; probably “separates” should have been “divides.” In the word “steril” (also in 17.12) Poe is following nineteenth-century usage (with a last citation for 1836 in the OED), probably borrowed from Morrell’s regular practice (see Narrative, p. 263; cf. also Reynolds’ Voyage of the Potomac, p. 481: “steril soil”).

15.5A vicinity]  Poe adds varied “oceanic birds” to the mammals of Morrell’s text and strikes the truth since the three islands are richly stocked with nesting sea birds, although with only three land birds. Poe derives the abundant whales from Morrell and changes the statement to the more homely “Whales are also plenty,” probably derived from “a plenty of fish” in passage E, which has also [page 304:] caused him to say, in 15.2, “Plenty of . . . water. . . .” He perhaps wished to avoid using “abound” for “whales,” as did Morrell, since the first sentence used this verb, and the paragraph ends with it; 15.6 also gives us “an abundance.”

15.6A with]  Here Poe expands the texts of Morrell a bit, in order to create a separate paragraph. The “vegetables” in “abundance” are repeated in 15.7, along with the “refreshment.” This standard term for stores to replenish depleted larders suggests, perhaps, Poe’s reading about Tristan da Cunha elsewhere, for Jonathan Lambert (see 15.7) proposed the name “Islands of Refreshment” in his proclamation of July 18, 1811, in the Boston Gazette, and stressed his thus servicing passing vessels, q.v. in J. Brander, Tristan Da Cunha (London, 1940), pp. 52-54. Poe’s cautious opening — “I believe” — stems from Morrell’s failure to date Colquhoun’s advent in the Betsy, which might have occurred between 1791 and 1811 (the date of Heywood’s visit, as in 15.7). Poe assumed that Lambert must have been living on Tristan long enough to require the precedent visit of Colquhoun to be closer to 1791, but in reality Lambert arrived only in 1810, as Brander indicates (p. 50). No account of the island aside from Morrell’s appears to mention Colquhoun.

15.7A Hope]  Morrell’s rather freely handled data lead Poe astray in details, especially since he fails to identify his source in passage P above. Poe wishes to modify his source, in any event, as in the “fifty acres” (now become sixty) and the varied crops (now limited to two). Morrell speaks of the abandonment by the “three Americans,” but only Lambert was clearly American, according to Brander (p. 50) and the Reverend William F. Taylor, Some Account of the Settlement of Tristan D‘Acunha (London, 1856), pp. 5-7. The 1817 detachment found one of the three still surviving.

15.7B schooner]  Poe’s error about Corporal Glass is so obvious as to suggest its being deliberately made; Glass was left behind when the artillery detachment withdrew, nullifying the “two or three English families took up their residence there.” He is, of course,*using Morrell’s “several families voluntarily went to it,” disregarding Glass’s remaining, and adding English nationality to them. Apparently two masons from the artillery garrison also stayed behind with Glass, marrying native women from St. Helena in the 1820s (see Taylor, pp. 10-16, and Encyclopaedia Britannica, 27:295). Poe changed Morrell’s “twenty-one men” to “twenty-two” and gave the population the occupation of “sealers” when “agriculture’ and fishing were prominent, as later details in the paragraph make clear. The schooner, in fact, was named the Jane, as other contemporary accounts might have told Poe (as a hint for the Jane Guy), Morrell omitting this fact.

15.7C Island]  Poe’s figure of “fifty-six persons” seems to be inferred from Morrell’s “seven families” (at eight to a family); his separate group of “seven” is sheer invention, since Inaccessible, with four square miles of volcanic rock and sheer cliffs, could support no settlement; the survivors of the wrecked East Indiaman The Blenden Hall, in 1821 (Taylor, pp. 21-22), and two hardy German brothers, 1871-1873, made the sole attempt to colonize (see Encyclopaedia Britannica, ibid.).

15.7D ivory]  The purchase of “some ivory” is entirely Poe’s addition to Morrell’s source-text and seems puzzling. Only from the Arctic regions is there any maritime ivory, properly speaking: walrus tooth and narwaal tusk. In his August [page 304:] 1836 SLM review of the Report of the Committee on Naval Affairs (of March 21, 1836) Poe refers to “the valuable ivory” that the seal “affords”; in his January 1837 SLM review of Reynolds’ Address, he speaks of “the ivory sea elephant tooth.” The first instance probably shows the origin of his view, for Reynolds, therein, discussing the value of the proposed exploring expedition, offers “the ivory sea elephant tooth trade” as the fifth of his seven listed benefits; Reynolds offers it as a “future” commodity, correlated with sea elephant oil — another Poe source. No contemporary encyclopaedia, such as Nicholson’s or Rees’s, mentions the “ivory” of the seal as a commercial product. It may be that the reference to “whales” in this area (15.5) has led to the statement, for the sperm-whale or cachalot has over two dozen conical teeth about six pounds each, known as whale ivory and much prized for scrimshaw, according to Frances D. Robotti, Whaling and Old Salem, p. 50, and Elmo Paul Hohman, The American Whaleman, p. 4; the latter finds it of little commercial value, contrary to Poe’s implication.

15.7E existed]  The last sentence errs in giving November for December. In 15.1 the Jane Guy sailed from Christmas Harbour on November 12 and “made” Tristan da Cunha in fifteen days, staying a week. The reason for this blunder (precisely like one reprehended at the end of his 1837 SLM review of Astoria) was Poe’s failure to change the date in his source, Morrell’s Narrative. H. Beaver in his Pym, p. 260, also noted the error in date. Having left the Falkland Islands, Morrell resolves to search for the Auroras on his way to Kerguelen: “November 2d. — Being now supplied with . . . every thing necessary for a voyage of discovery, except fuel. . . . preparations were made for a cruise in search of the Aurora Islands. . . . We got under way . . . shaping our course towards the south and east, with the wind from the south-west and fair weather” (p. 56). In “respecting . . . existed,” Poe also tangentially hints at another long sentence, serving as an introduction to Morrell’s digression on the Aurora Islands: “It being more than probable that some of my readers have never heard of these celebrated islands, as it is quite problematical whether any one has ever seen them, this may be a proper place to give some account of the circumstances which have led so many navigators to waste days and weeks in search of them” (p. 57, same date). Poe is consistent about his erroneous dating, with a lapse of “three weeks” in 15.10, to bring him up to December 12 in 16.1. Hence, the entire voyage required one month more than the stipulated number of nine. Baudelaire noted the error and silently corrected the date to December, thereby necessitating a footnote for 16.1, at December 12: “Evidently an error of date” (Pym, J. Crépet, ed., pp. 159 and 162).

15.8A 15” W.]  Poe derives all the details and most of the wording from Morrell’s Narrative, p. 57. Poe’s major changes are these: (1) He omits a scrap of poetry from the Tempest concerning the naming of the islands by the captain of the ship and a parenthetical identification of the Malninas as the Falkland Islands. ,(2) He shifts the order of data, the original indicating that the published paper of 1809 is also the source of the information about Oyarvido and his ship. (3) He separates the footnote material from its position as part of the main text in Morrell and converts the “ship” Pearl into a brig.

15.9A dispute]  By repeating the idea of dispute over the reality of the Auroras Poe hopes to lead the reader to accept the unmotivated shift in Captain Guy’s [page 306:] purpose, from trading to scientific investigtion [[investigation]]. Poe tries to add nautical language — “close in with their shores” which should be “close in to their shores.” The whole paragraph is adapted from the Narrative of Morrell, with the direct discourse made indirect: “In consequence of the credibility of such documents, published by authority of the Spanish government, my worthy friend Captain James Weddel, of the English navy, made a strict search for these islands in 1820, sailing for that purpose from St. John’s, in Staten Land, on the twenty-seventh of January. In concluding the account of his cruise, he says, ‘Having thus diligently searched through the supposed situation of the Auroras, I concluded that the discoverers must have been misled by appearances; I therefore considered any further cruise to be an improvident waste of time“’ (pp. 57-58). Here Poe transcribes Morrell’s false spelling of the name of Weddell, although in 16.5, when he is following another source, he spells it correctly.

15.10A course]  This paragraph is a reworking of Morrell’s (pp. 56-57), given below; Poe corrects Morrell’s easterly direction to a westerly one:

We continued on our course, between the south and east, with fresh winds from W. S.W., to W. N.W., attended with snow and hail-squalls, and a long regular seaswell running from S.W. by W. On the 6th we crossed the spot which the Aurora Islands were supposed to occupy, without meeting any indications of land. After running to the east, in the parallel of 52° 45’ S., as far as 43° 50’ W., we stood to the north, to latitude 52° 30‘, when we took the wind from the south-east, and made a west course, keeping in the last parallel by double altitudes, every opportunity, both morning and evening, and meridian altitudes of the moon and different planets. We continued making a west course until we were in long. 50° 22, W., when we steered to the south until we were in latitude 53° l0‘, and ran down in that parallel to the long. of 40° 0’ W., keeping one man at the masthead day and night. All our labours, however, were unsuccessful. These tantalizing Auroras still eluded our search, and were nowhere to be seen. We therefore reluctantly made up our minds that no such land existed in the location assigned to it. . . . Captain Johnson and myself having each made a similar search with equal fidelity and with no better success, were both compelled to adopt the same opinion. The reputed discoverers must have mistaken three floating icebergs with earth attached to their side, and covered with snow on their tops, for so many islands. (pp. 56-58)

15.10B altitudes]  One may doubt that Poe understood the old method of finding one’s chronometer error by observation of the same body (e.g., the sun) at the same altitude on both sides of the observer’s meridian shortly before and after its meridian transit. He is probably referring to two altitudes of the sun and taking the mean to work a longitude sight.

15.10C Georgia]  Morrell’s next paragraph, p. 58, mentions the “island of South Georgia” which is in lot. 54° S, long. 38° W, somewhat east of the Falkland Islands. By ‘diagonal courses” he probably means alternating his route, northwesterly and southeasterly, etc.

15.10D day]  His reference to “haze” is a repetition of 15.7, which comes from Morrell. By suppressing Morrell’s naturalistic interpretation of the Auroras, given above, Poe faintly implies mysterious origin for them.

15.10E own]  Here Poe derives the data about Johnson from Morrell’s Narrative (p. 53), whose aid he at last acknowledges, although indirectly: “The schooner [page 307:] Henry, Captain Johnson, who had been vainly cruising for six weeks in search of the Aurora Islands,* [*note: The history of these imaginary islands will be found on a subsequent page.] returned to New Island on Wednesday, the 23d.” For a full treatment of “The Auroras and Other Doubtful Islands,” see Rupert T. Gould, Oddities (New York, 1928), pp. 191-247, with special reference to Morrell’s search. Gould concludes them to be an almost incredible confusion for the Shag Rocks, six degrees of longitude distant (p. 246); in this he is anticipated a century earlier by the writer of the Preface of Dumont d‘Urville, Voyage au pôle sud (Paris, 1841), l:xii, who specifically mentions preferring Weddell’s disproof of the islands to that of Morrell, in whose word he lacks “entire confidence.” Among true men of science Morrell never had much reputation (see B. Pollin, SAF, 4:157-72).

16.1A 20’ W.]  Captain Guy’s “original intention” and discretionary power, in 14.2, were only to cruise for cargo, not to make discoveries. J. V. Ridgely and I, S. Haverstick (pp. 74-75), correctly point out that only here does the theme of polar exploration enter into the book, indicating new interest in the South Seas expedition long promoted by Jeremiah Reynolds. Poe’s enthusiastic support of Reynolds’ efforts had been expressed in his January 1837 SLM review of Reynolds’ Address on the Subject of a Surveying Expedition to the Pacific Ocean and South Seas. Delivered in the Hall of Representatives on the Evening of April 3, 1836. Once again he can praise Reynolds the expert (16.3) while covertly acknowledging that virtually the whole of the chapter will be a close paraphrase of passages (pp. 90-96). As Robert L. Rhea, TSLL, 1930, 10:135-43, shows, via parallel texts, “some seven hundred words“-the significant ones-out of fifteen hundred are taken over by Poe for paras. 2-4 and 9-11. Save for the direct quotation, the original needs to be quoted below for various stylistic and factual changes made by Poe.

16.1B possible]  Poe now wished to deflect the Jane Guy from the original path to the South Seas into the polar regions; having devoted so much space to Morrell’s descriptions of Kerguelen’s Land and Tristan da Cunha, he needed a transition into the material on polar explorations. Hence he invents another case of missing islands absurdly indicated by Glass, off in Tristan, and again derives his idea if not language from Morrell. The last voyage mentioned in 15.10 was by Captain Johnson of the Henry, in 1822, as related by Morrell in his “First Voyage.” In Morrell’s “Fourth Voyage” Poe found a paragraph on Captain Johnson (p. 363) which he diluted into a second geographical mission. Morrell tells of the rich cargo brought back by Johnson in 1823 and his return cruise in 1824-1825 from which he failed to come home. The Henry’s location and Morrell’s personal interest suggested Poe’s paragraph: “The Henry left New-Zealand . . . in search of new lands, between the sixtieth and sixty-fifth degrees of south latitude; and as he has never been heard of since leaving New-Zealand, it is very probable that he made discovery of some new island near the parallel of 60, on which the Henry was shipwrecked. I have no doubt, that if a vessel should cruise in that direction, she would fall in with islands abounding with fur-seal; and possibly find Captain Johnson” (p. 363),

16.2A northward]  Poe uses close paraphrases and a slight abridgment of a passage from Reynolds’ Address, pp. 90-92: [page 308:]

In the year 1772, Captain Cook, in the Resolution, accompanied by Lieutenant Freneau, in the Adventure, embarked on his first voyage in search of a southern continent. Having, in December, attained the fifty-eighth degree of south latitude, in longitude 26° 57’ east, he fell in with narrow fields of ice, running, north-west and south-east, from six to eight inches in thickness, and appearing to have been formed in bays or rivers. This ice was in large flat pieces, and, in some instances, packed so closely, that the vessels, with difficulty, passed through it. Here were seen great numbers of penguins, which, with other coinciding circumstances, induced the supposition of land being in the vicinity. This opinion was afterwards shown to be erroneous, the ice proving to be unattached to any shore. In latitude 61° 12‘, the voyagers met with considerable ice-islands, many of which were passed unseen, by reason of the thick haze. Three degrees further south, in longitude 38° 14’ E., they had milder weather, with gentle gales, for five days; thermometer thity-six [[thirty-six]], and prevalent winds east and east by south. In January, 1773, they crossed the Antarctic circle in latitude 66° 36’ 301‘‘; and, on reaching latitude 67° 15‘, found the ice closed the whole extent, from east to west-southwest, and no indication of an opening. This immense area was filled with ice of different kinds, high hills, broken masses compactly pressed together, and field ice. A float of the latter, to the south-east, appeared sixteen or eighteen feet above the water, and its extremities could not be seen from the mast head. As the summer of that region was nearly half spent, and it would have taken some time, even if practicable at all, to get round the ice, Captain Cook determined to retrograde. He accordingly sailed to the northward. . . .

Poe adds two inches to the “six to eight” for the thickness of the ice and two feet to the “sixteen or eighteen feet” of height far the iceberg; he performs the operation of adding “three degrees further south” and talks about “the sixty-fourth parallel”; finally, he reduces the last two sentences to one, rather more terse. In sentence one Poe has altered the erroneous “Freneau” to the well-known “Furneux.”

16.3A westward]  Poe uses close paraphrase and a slight abridgment of a passage in Reynolds’ Address, pp. 91-92, and ends the paragraph with a quotation from the text (p. 93):

On the 26th of November, 1773, Captain Cook left New Zealand, on his second search for southern lands. In latitude 59° 40’ he met with a southerly current. In December, being in latitude 67° 31‘, longitude 142° 54’ W., the cold was intense, with a hard gale and a heavy fog; thermometer thirty to thirty-one at noon. Continual daylight except when obscured by the thick vapours. Albatrosses, penguins, and peterels, in great numbers here. In latitude 70° 23‘, the navigators met with islands of ice, three or four miles in circumference, and, shortly thereafter, observed that the clouds in the southern horizon were of a snowy white, and of unusual brightness, appearances which were known to announce the approach to field ice. On reaching latitude 71° 10‘, in longitude 106° 54’ W., the extreme point of their voyage, they came upon the edge of an immense frozen expanse, which filled the whole area of the southern horizon, and illumined the air to a considerable height with the rays of light from its surface. In the back ground the ice rose in ridges, like chains of mountains, one above another, till lost in the clouds. Of these ridges they counted ninety-seven. The outer, or northern edge of this gigantic field, was broken ice, firmly wedged together, and impassable. This fringe was about a mile in breadth, and within it was the solid ice, which was low and flat, with the exception of the mountains before alluded to. It was Captain [page 309:] Cook’s opinion, that this mighty mass of crystallization extended to the Pole; or was joined to some land southward. . . .

Poe corrects the dangling participle in “being in latitude . . . intense,” but changes none of the facts or figures. He preserves the old spelling for “peterel” as he did earlier (14.12), but he makes minor changes in the citation from Reynolds (p. 93): twice “further” is changed to “farther,” “64°” is spelled out, a comma is dropped between “westward” and “further” and a semicolon after “January.” In quoting the fact about ice-blink (“clouds . . . of a snowy whiteness”) he points attention to the phenomenon, perhaps with reference to later developments in the book, including the very end. Since it was clear to Poe that Cook’s conclusion about seeing a continent was erroneous, the statement may have been responsible for Poe’s misconception about the height of icebergs in 17.5.

16.5A south]  Paragraphs 4 and 5 represent close paraphrase with some abridgment of a passage in Reynolds’ Address, pp. 93-94, given below. Poe misspells the correctly printed Kruzenstern, as Kreutzenstern, perhaps unconsciously influenced by Kreutzner, the name of a character in Theodore Fay’s Norman Leslie, which he mentioned in his December 1835 SLM review of the novel; his spelling Lisiansky as Lisiausky appears to be an uncorrected typographical blunder, especially since he must have seen Lisiansky Island mentioned in the second chapter of the third voyage of Morrell’s Narrative. In 16.5 Poe adds two inferential details to those of Reynolds, about flacks of birds and the masthead. It is amusing that in Poe’s November 1843 Graham’s Magazine review of A Brief Account of the Wilkes Expedition, he speaks of Weddell as having “made as far as 84°“-an error of ten degrees perhaps influenced by his own tale of Pym (see the subtitle).

Captains Kruzenstem and Urey Lisiansky who were sent out to circumnavigate the globe by Alexander 1, of Russia, in 1803, did not reach a higher degree of south latitude than 59° 58’ in longitude 70° 15’ W., when they met with currents setting strongly towards the east. In this latitude, Kruzenstem speaks of whales being in great abundance, but does not mention having seen any ice — this was in March.

Had Kruzenstern continued his course south, he would have made the southwesterly portion of the Shetland Islands, and afterwards Palmer’s Land. Had he been earlier in the season, he must have encountered ice. The winds prevailing as they do, from the southward and westward, had carried it, aided by currents, into that icy region, bounded on the north by Georgia, east by Sandwich Land and South Orkneys, and west by the South Shetland Islands.

The testimony of Weddell, who pierced to the highest parallel of south latitude known to have been attained by man, is decidedly at variance with the opinion of Captain Cook, respecting the extent of impenetrable ice to the South Pole. Mr. Weddell, although his two frail barks were often beset by towering icebergs, and placed in imminent danger, does not appear to have encountered, indeed his vessels could not have withstood, the impediments opposed to northern navigation in similar latitudes. Nothing can be more encouraging than this gentleman’s statements, to those who hold the belief that the Pole can be attained. He records the extraordinary facts that, after having been almost hemmed in by ice in far lower parallels, in latitude 72° 28‘, not a single particle was to be seen; and, that in the unprecedently [sic] high latitude of 74° 15“, no fields, and only three islands, of ice were visible. Flights of innumerable birds were here seen. [page 310:]

Weddell, discourages the idea of land existing in the polar regions of the south, and the facts he has given us are calculated to strengthen such a supposition. He distinctly states that he saw unknown coasts south of the Shetlands, tending southerly in about latitude 64°; although from that point to the highest to which he explored, he recognised no other indications of land.

16.6A sight]  This paragraph is taken almost verbatim from Morrell’s Narrative, p. 64-65, for the dates indicated, with a few alterations. For February 1, Morrell says: “We steered a little to the southward until we crossed the antarctic circle, and were in latitude 69’ 11’ S., longitude 48’ 15’ E.” Poe has produced an impossible position by leaving out part of the directions, has omitted the italics, and capitalized one word. Baudelaire silently altered the position in the text from “E.” to “sud.”

16.7A water]  The paragraph is accurately transcribed save for minor points, such as hyphens in “ice-islands” and “field-ice,” lowercase for “Antarctic,” and a paragraph only at the point where Poe shows an omission. Given this position, Morrell would have found himself well beyond the edge of Enderby Land on the Antarctic continent. Crépet, in his notes to Baudelaire’s translation of Pym, p. 303, mentions Sir Douglas Mawson’s ironic praise of Morrell as a navigator who could cross mountains.

16.8A experience]  The paragraph comes directly from Morrell, p. 67, and merely omits other reasons for the retreat, such as lack of nautical and mathematical instruments and of the scientists needed on “discovery ships.” Here Poe reveals the source of his own subtitle promise of striking events “in the eighty-fourth parallel of southern latitude . . . with . . . discoveries still farther south.” He was [early trying to attach the authority of the widely read book by Morrell to Pym’s polar-area adventures, since American criticism of the Narrative had not been skeptical of this detail. Note Poe’s silence on the date (1832) of Morrell’s “journal” publication, lest the reader wonder about the odd sequence of events, requiring that Pym inform himself of the two American accounts of polar explorations during the brief period when he was “at home” preparing his book for the SLM and Harper’s. R. Forclaz, Le Monde d‘Edgar Poe, p. 265, objects to expeditions of the 1830s here, forgetting the writing in 1836 (in theory).

16.10A society]  Both paragraphs 16.9 and 16.10 are largely verbatim quotations rom three paragraphs of Reynolds’ Address (pp. 94-95). The dates, positions, and names are all identical save for the misspelling of Van Diemen’s Land, corrected by Poe (the old name for Tasmania), and the reversed numbers in 47° 13‘, for February 28, which should be 47’ 31’ E. Evasively Poe embeds two purported quotations in paragraphs that are predominantly quoted. Pym’s promising “to testify,” this time not to Morrell’s but to Reynolds’ objection to the Royal Geographical Society’s conclusion, shows how reputable an authority Pym is to become. Poe also “supports” by his transcription Reynolds’ misspelling of Captain John Biscoe’s name (Baudelaire in his translation corrected this, probably through consulting John Biscoe, Journal of a Voyage towards the South Pole, 1830 to 1832 [Edinburgh, 1834]) and his reversal of the “brig Tula” and he “cutter Lively.” Poe is more cautious than Reynolds in changing “continent” to “country,” whatever he means by the latter. His giving Enderby’s city as Liverpool, rather than London (2.2), implies that he had not then combed the [page 311:] Address of Reynolds for Pym material, even though a few elements may have been used then (cf. Barnard’s name, 1.1, and trials later; Morrell summarizes Barnard’s story and refers the reader [Poe included] to his narrative, Narrative of the Sufferings, pp. 55-56). Poe like Reynolds ignores the important Russian polar expedition of two ships under Bellingshausen and Lazaroff (1819-1821). For the original passages in Reynolds, given verbatim, see Robert L. Rhea, TSLL, 1930, 10:135-46.

16.11A southward]  This paragraph is closely derived from a passage in the Address (p. 96) and serves to imbue the “deficient” (14.2) Captain Guy with the “resolution” of the indefatigable and ardent advocate of polar exploration by implication the “wide field” which is now known to exist betokens considerable anachronism:

In tracing on a chart the few attempts which have been made to reach a high latitude, it will be seen that the circumnavigation of the southern hemisphere will not, at most, bear an average of more than 58° south latitude, — which leave with the exception of Weddell’s track, about 900° of longitude, in which the Antarctic circle has not been crossed!

With such a wide field before us, and such a noble theatre whereon to contend for mastery with the nations of the earth; . . . we confidently indulge the hope that this measure will be sanctioned without further delay.

17.1A 25’ W.]  Apparently Poe is duplicating more or less the position of Captain Cook, reported in 16.2, when he made the first recorded crossing of the Antarctic Circle on January 17, 1773, even though this is in flat contradiction of the negative conditions for further sailing south in January there indicated.

17.1B thirty-five]  This is adapted from a passage in Morrell’s Narrative (p. 65), in which he is beginning his insistence upon the warming of water and air, the further south the explorers journey: “In this latitude there was no field-ice, and very few ice-islands in sight. We likewise discovered that the winds in this latitude blow three-fourths of the time from the south-east, or the north-east, very light, and attended with more or less snow, every day; and that the westerly winds were accompanied with severe hail-squalls.” Note that Poe has changed “hail squalls” to “rain squall.” Morrell’s season is February (of 1823), only one month later than Poe’s. Poe hopes for authenticity by matching Pym’s voyage with Morrell’s.

17.2A foresail]  In the Introduction to his Narrative, Morrell describes his experience as mate aboard the Wasp in 1821, when it was almost icebound. Poe relies on three short passages (pp. xxii-xxiii) for the situation and some of the language here:

We became completely enclosed in the centre of a vast field of ice; and before we could rescue the vessel from this unpleasant and perilous situation it came on to blow a smart gale from the S.S.W., nearly dead on-shore. . . . The violence of the wind had raised a heavy and dangerous sea, which caused these large cakes of ice, about six feet in thickness, to surge against the schooner with alarming force. This rendered our situation extremely critical; and we made several bold attempts to force the vessel through the ice into clear water, which was now only about three hundred yards from us. . . . All the heavy canvass in the vessel was spread to the gale. . . . Every sail was therefore taken in, except the head of [page 312:] the foresail; by which time we were in clear water, where we hove the vessel under two reefs in her foresail. . . .

Poe’s — and Morrell’s — seamanship seems a little questionable here: An ice field will kill any sea, although there might be a swell, and wind over the surface would affect the whole field. As the vessel would present more surface for the wind to work against, the vessel would be pushed against the ice to leeward instead of as .stated. Poe’s expression “took in sail by degrees” is pleonastic, the last phrase being unnecessary and unlikely to be used. The word “flakes” (with “cakes” above) is not as common as “ice-floes,” although it is cited by the OED for Scoresby, in 1820, the final date given. Poe derives most of his ideas on Antarctic ice from Morrell (see 17.5 and 6 below) who uses “cakes” but not “flakes.” Without any differentiation, in 17.2-8, Poe uses “cakes,” “flakes,” “ice islands,” “icebergs,” “expanse of firm ice,” “field ice,” “field,” and “mountains of ragged ice.” Much depends, one surmises, on the wording of his immediate source.

17.3A hour]  The account of the sounding gear is borrowed from Morrell’s Narrative: “We likewise tried the current, and found it setting due north, at the rate of about the eighth of a mile in an hour. . . . Our sounding gear for trying the current consisted of a very large pot of fifteen gallons’ capacity, and a line of one hundred and fifty fathoms in length” (p. 65). Baudelaire properly and silently corrected this to “south” (p. 169, Crépet, ed.; see 17.8 below). Poe arbitrarily added fifty fathoms to the sounding line of Morrell’s vessel the Wasp; the line would have to be two hundred times six or twelve hundred feet long, to which another hundred feet would be added for the assumed angle of drift. Without special equipment provided in advance, would the Jane Guy have 1,300 feet of rope of a handy size available, aside from unreeving much of her lighter running rigging and tying the ends together? That line, dry, would weigh over two hundred pounds. As for the efficacy of the method-while the pot would create some drag and show the set of the current, a fixed base for measuring the speed would be essential. William Stanton, The Great United States Exploring Expedition (Berkeley, 1975), p. 86, briefly describes the correct procedure (of Wilkes), which involves using two air-tight kegs, one heavily weighted and attached to the other floating. Of course, Morrell advocated this method — not Poe. The temperature is said to rise, being 47’ and then 51° in 17.8, according to Morrell’s principle: “I . . . have uniformly found the temperature of the air and the water to become more and more mild the farther I advanced beyond the sixty-fifth degree of south latitude, and that the variation decreases in the same proportion” (p. 67).

17.3B azimuth]  Poe here has a lighthearted joke, for his quotation from Morrell (Narrative, p. 67), used in 16.7 with slight variations, is now part of Pym’s “real” account.

17.4A Northwest]  Baudelaire noted and silently corrected Poe’s error of 73’ 15’ E. (for S.), probably derived from Weddell’s 74’ 15’ S., given by Morrell as his furthest position (p. 68). Poe’s use of “firm ice” and “floe” is ambiguous or confusing here. Clearly his “firm ice” is indeed a rather large “floe,” that is, a very flat mass of ice. He, too, vaguely hints of a differentiation between field ice, floes, and icebergs, following the lead of Morrell in the Narrative (p. 65), [page 313:] quoted in part in 16.6 and given in my note 17.113. He even adapts the same passage a second time for the snow storm alternating with “hail squalls” and also uses something from the next page of the Narrative: “Being hemmed in . . . by field-ice. . . .In a thick snow-storm, we made our escape into an open sea, entirely free of ice. . . . The sea was now entirely free of field-ice, and there were not more than a dozen ice-islands in sight” (p. 66). This last sentence was thriftily quoted from this very passage by Poe in 16.7. The idea for the “flocks of the albatross” likewise comes from a nearby paragraph in the Narrative: “On the following day saw many birds of different kinds, such as the albatross . . .besides a variety of others that are common among the ice-islands” (p. 65). Poe was creatively aware of the albatross in his earlier poems: Al Aaraaf, ii, 107: “Like the lone albatross”; and “Fairyland,” I. 34: “Or a yellow Albatross.” “Warping their way” means to move a vessel manually by heaving on lines led ashore, to a pier or, in this case, to the ice. Since they were sailing “along the edge of the floe” before coming to a passage a mile wide, it is hard to see why they did not merely sail through it. Southern icebergs are mainly tabular, and are often fifty to sixty miles in length (see F. J. Monkhouse, A Dictionary Of Geography [London, 1970], p. 182).

17.5A fog]  Heights, even of icebergs, are never given in fathoms; moreover, no mundane berg could be 2,400 feet high. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica (Boston, 1974), 9:156, the tallest icebergs known were measured at 447 and 527 feet. Even in Poe’s day, the man whose knowledge Poe greatly respected, M. F. Maury, limited them to “300 to 600 feet,” in The Physical Geography of the Sea (Cambridge, 1963; reprint of 1855 1st edition), p. 30. It is probable that Poe was misled by Morrell’s erroneous but widespread notion (see Rees’s Cyclopaedia, article on “Ice” in vol. 18) of the buildup of a “crust” of melting snow-water “until, after the lapse of perhaps several centuries, the icy mass rises at last to the size of a mountain, and becomes an iceberg. . . . Having grown to near one thousand feet in height, it is . . . precipitated into the ocean” (p. 68). Poe would have been more restrained had he reflected on the submerged nine-tenths of the berg (thought to be three-fifths then, according to Morrell, who also mentions “ice-lands . . . more than five hundred feet” high in the same passage (p. 67). Poe probably owes his “streams” to Morrell’s description of the snow on the bergs which melts under the direct summer rays into “streams and rivulets” (p. 68).

17.6A circle]  Poe has apparently forgot that in 2.2 he spoke of Lloyd and Vredenburgh as the Nantucket shipping firm outfitting the Grampus; here he seems to give a Knickerbocker provenance to the New York native, on board the Liverpool schooner. The weather conditions, especially the hail squalls, seem again to derive from the passage in Morrell’s Narrative (p. 65) already used by Poe for 17.4. Descriptions in the narratives of explorers, such as Captain Cook (see, for example, his Journal of January 30, 1774), could give Poe the idea for packed field ice or “hummocked ice” which may attain considerable height and entitle it to be called a “floe-berg” (see Chambers’s Encyclopedia [London, 1959], 7:358). The likelihood of any quantity of driftwood, floating by, behind the ice of these high latitudes is slight, but Poe here wishes to give the impression of nearby land, as he goes further south.

17.6A circle]  His idea comes from Morrell’s Narrative, p. 65: “We continued [page 314:] our course for Sandwich Land, hoping to find among those barren islands some drift-wood, as well as seals.” Later Dr. Karl Fricker would deride Morrell for hoping to find such fuel without any discoverable source, Antarctic Regions (London, 1900), p. 63. Poe derives his birds from passages in Morrell that he has already used (14.11) : the nameless bird of “blue plumage” corresponds to the new species that the explorers, such as Cook, always described in detail. Morrell, too, refers to his eating a nameless “white bird” described by Cook’s surgeon, and he himself rather imaginatively describes a colorful one of pigeon-size with a bird-of-paradise tail (pp. 64 and 66). As for the last sentence — latitude, per se, has nothing to do with variation, so that the vessel’s position in relation to the Antarctic Circle is of no account. Variation (of the compass) is caused by the difference in location of the magnetic and geographic pole. Poe is echoing Morrell (see quotation in 173A).

17.7A entrance]  Poe is repeating his exaggeration of 17.5, since he obviously refers to icebergs, not a distant mainland.

17.8A pole]  Poe has changed the current of Morrell’s text, which is always “northerly” and “with the same velocity” (p. 65). Clearly Poe, accepting Morrell’s credibility, can have slight intrinsic faith in the current leading to Symmes’s polar hole, save for his narrative purposes. Poe’s current will increase to a mile an hour in 18.1, and his temperature likewise. This is the last temperature reading given throughout the rest of the story, save for the unpleasantly and mysteriously “hot” water of 24.6 and 9. In his data he is topping the highest figures given by Morrell in the passage quoted in 16.7 and also going a little beyond the authentic latitude of Weddell in 16.5, while he approaches the sanguine imaginary goal of Morrell — the eighty-fifth parallel. In spirit and language Pym now reflects Morrell concerning “a bold advance directly to the south pole. The way was open before me, clear and unobstructed; the temperature of the air and water mild; the weather pleasant; the wind fair” (p. 67). In “MS. Found in a Bottle” (1833) the narrator, similarly far “to the southward,” is amazed to meet none of “the usual impediments of ice,” a sign perhaps that very early Poe knew Morrell’s book or took the notion of a warm Antarctica from Symmes’s theory. This theory must also have entered another recent stimulus for Pym, namely, J. F. Cooper’s satirical novel The Monikins (1835), in which a wealthy Englishman hires an old sealing captain from Stonington (B. Morrell’s home) to return a party of highly civilized monkeys to their South Polar island home higher than 78° latitude, in a special “steam climate” beyond the encompassing ice fields. Poe was well acquainted with Cooper’s works, but does not mention this controversial book, as Kuno Schumann also notes in Edgar Allan Poe: Werke (Olten, 1974), 2:1080. See, however, Tales, 1:259-60, for the implication that Poe knew this work by Cooper.

17.9A eating]  The episode of the gigantic bear might have been a combination of hints from encounters with fierce and enduring grizzlies in Astoria (chaps. 26 and 47) or from the contest with polar bears who fought with “vigor and fury” in articles in MC (New Haven, 1834), pp. 109-17, “Sufferings and Extraordinary Adventures of Four Russian Sailors,” and, more likely, “The Polar Bear,” pp. 414-18, which gives several polar bear stories, one of which, by Scoresby, concerns a beast’s routing from a ship’s boat all the rowers, who “hung by the gunwales” while the beast sat within until shot from another boat. The narrator [page 315:] of Symzonia (1820), p. 65, finds inside the South Polar realm the tracks of a “white polar bear as big as an elephant.” A traditional place of encounter in the Arctic was an ice floe, and here Poe, having cleared the sea of ice, is obliged to restore a floe as transport from some distant island. Elements in the account are tinged with a seemingly deliberate caprice: the sending out of two boats to examine a single “large animal”; a succession of shots which “took effect” but did not discourage the monster, who swam with “open jaws” toward men who are not ready with a “second shot” and allow him virtually to enter the boat (a ten-foot Arctic bear weighs 1,500 pounds according to Collins Encyclopedia of Animals, p. 286; would not one of at least 3,000 capsize the boat?); a seizure of a man by the back (by jaws or claws?) which does not kill him; Peters’ managing to reach the “spinal marrow at a blow” — an impossibility, agrees Mr. James Doherty, Curator of Mammals of the Bronx Park Zoo — and being, although on his back, somehow under the bear as his lifeless body drops from the gunwale; and single-handedly (and unnecessarily) managing to “secure” an enormous carcass for towing. Pym’s conversance with the Arctic bear must have come years later, so that his is a retrospective comparison. In this the first of the “singular” creatures of Antarctica, we find the red and white color scheme that will figure again (see 18.1) and the “combining power” of the imagination which draws its components from the familiar, as Poe said in his review of Alciphron in the January 1840 Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine.

17.10A bow]  Poe probably derived the sentence from Morrell’s Narrative, voyage 4, chap. 4, beginning with “new discoveries”: “The cheering cry, from the mast-head, of ‘Land, ho!-land, ho! under our starboard bow!’ brought every soul upon deck.” Morrell is entering the Caroline Islands, on his way to the Massacre Islands, as he calls them, or part of the Solomons, which will be the prototype for the island of Tsalal later, this borrowing showing how carefully Poe studied this whole section. Morrell’s island here is five miles around, and Poe’s is three; both are low and need to be named (see below).

17.10B pear]  Poe can scarcely regard the cactus, apparently, as normal vegetation, although the prickly pear or opuntia is a family of hundreds of varied species. Its association as food with the Galápagos tortoise, in view of the next paragraph (also see 12.17), perhaps motivated this detail.

17.10C cotton]  Pym’s later unrecorded experience must have taken him to the sunny South for this comparison. Perhaps Harry Levin, in The Power of Blackness, p. 115, was the first to suggest the image as symbolically linking the whole of Tsalal with Poe’s southland, even though Poe deliberately segregates this land from Tsalalian awareness (24.5). The introductory phrase “from the northward” may seem to justify the inference. The “bottom of the bay” would be the shore along the lower end, adjacent to the entrance.

17.11A longitude]  Poe’s “southern extremity” may reinforce the “cotton” image of 17.10 or merely point to the human habitations of Tsalal further south. The carved canoe-prow may derive from the coastal Indian canoes in Astoria, chap. 8, of which the “bow and stern are decorated with grotesque figures of men and animals. . . .” The tortoise-figure may refer, as indicated, to the prickly pear vegetation — although the animal there had become extinct. Poe might also have read William Bligh’s A Voyage to the South Sea (London, 1792), pp. 210-11, with his discovery on a small, unnamed island of an old canoe, [page 316:] half buried in the beach” with a “prow rudely carved, in resemblance of the head of a fish.” Captain Guy, whose partner’s name (see 14.2) must be given to the islet (spelled Bennett in 24.5), resembles Benjamin Morrell, who speaks of Cape Bennett in the Auckland’s Group (Bennett is listed by no gazetteer that I have searched, either contemporary or modern); Morrell’s Narrative is rich in personal names given to geographical locations that are preserved nowhere else (Barnard’s Harbor, p. 55; Westervelt’s Group, p. 368; Bergh’s Group, p. 381; and Sliddy’s Shoal and Sliddy’s Group, pp. 388-89).

17.12A crew]  The previous highest penetration was that of James Weddell, 74’ 5’ S., already presented in 16.5, the date taken from Morrell. The “mild” and pleasant” temperature is repeated from 17.8, in turn taken from Morrell.

The “thin vapour in the southern horizon” obviously preludes the footnote to 23.5. It may be an afterthought added to this chapter when 23.5 was being written. The shortage of fuel in Morrell (p. 67) is linked with a shortage of water and of proper instruments. Poe prefers to link it with the onset of scurvy, the affliction of seamen on long voyages. Unfortunately, only two months earlier the Jane Guy had taken on “refreshments” at Tristan da Cunha; four to seven months of deprivation of vitamin C foods are needed for symptoms — a cause which Captain Cook had proved and which Rees’s Cyclopaedia of 1818 (vol. 32) presents as widely accepted. (See also McGraw Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology [N. Y. 1960], pp. 89-90). Poe may have been following Morrell’s Narrative: “High southern latitudes are thought to produce the scurvy on board of ships. . .” (p. 94).

17.12B attention]  Pym here becomes a full-fledged, scientific-minded, convincing adviser to Captain Guy, persuading him even of a paradox, that the “steril soil” (see 15AA) of Bennet’s Island would not characterize “land of some description” — presumably a continent on the way to or near the pole, although how could a ship then reach the pole? Generously, Camille Mauclair, Le Gènie d‘Edgar Poe (Paris, 1925), p. 120, judges that the youth “aged by moral and physical torture,” within weeks expresses himself like a man. It also seems as though Poe is still toying with a conclusion in the style of “MS. Found in a Bottle,” based on the theory of Symmes, serving as the revelation of the “secret.” The language here reflects that of Morrell’s Narrative, that Weddell might have “laid open . . . the mysteries of the south pole” (p. 68). Does the last sentence indicate a first-draft plan by Poe to thrust Pym into the polar region or beyond the “opening“? Likewise, does the first clause concerning “bloody events which immediately arose” indicate a later insertion into this paragraph, with a carelessness about the two-week interlude before the general massacre of the crew? For “steril” see 15.4A.

18.1A fifty-three]  On January 14 (17.8), there was a difference of thirteen degrees between the temperature of the air and the water, and a little later the air was fifty-one. It may be assumed that it is now in the seventies, although Poe is not again so specific as previously about weather data. He will be concerned over the introduction of subtropical species, such as the “biche-de-mer,” and of describable familiar fauna and flora on land. Some readers might remember that the land inside the pole in Symzonia was presented as exceptionally warm, although the primary source of Poe’s idea was Morrell’s insistence upon the increasing warmth the further south he sailed, which Poe cited in 16.7. The footnote is [page 317:] derived, in part, from Morrell’s prefatory “Advertisement”: “I could not remain long enough to enable me to make surveys, determine soundings, or collect materials for accurate descriptions. . . . All the courses and bearings in the work have been made by compass, and . . . the dates are according to nautical time.” While there is a slight ambiguity in Poe’s “first portion” it may be assumed that he refers to chaps. 1-17 and now implies that more accuracy may be expected. On the other hand, in 23.7 (q.v.) he speaks of his “memoranda of many subjects” as though they are the only notes taken and as dating chiefly from the later events on Tsalal. His desire for verisimilitude dictated the warning about the long polar day, a fact that he would forget in “The Descent into the Maelström,” where it suited his purpose to talk about the early-evening moonlight near upper Norway in summertime. In his October 1837 New York Review article on Stephens’ Incidents of Travel Poe noted, at the very end, that the author “professes to have compiled his narrative merely from ‘brief notes and recollections,’ admitting” therefore, “probably . . . errors regarding facts and impressions.” This self-exculpation may have suggested to Poe this footnote as well as the evasive journal reference in Preface.1; both of these could have been added to his manuscript for Pym after Stephens’ book became available to him early in 1837 before the publication of Pym in 1838 (see Intro., p. 24).

18.1B trivial]  The constant increase in the current to its present rapidity, noted on January 14 and 16, is an “emotional . . . pull to the south,” says Bezanson, p. 168, following H. Levin, The Power of Blackness, p. 120, and preludes the “slide . . . beyond reality . . . into a world where Poe can have his own latitude.” But he will not cease to use a “factual tone” even though “what is being described is absurd,” as G. Rans declares, Edgar Allan Poe (Edinburgh, 1965), p. 92; the animal of this paragraph attests to this. Are we to assume that the sudden sensitivity to ridicule, coming from the chronologically juvenile Pym, is linked to Guy’s name?

For the source of the “right whale” see 14.5, and for a possible source of the albatross, note Morrell’s Narrative description of the rookery with “an immense number . . . hovering . . .1ike a dense cloud” (p. 53).

18.1C claws]  Via the touches of “red” in the berries and animal, Poe may be following the sequence that began with “blood” in Augustus’ note (3.5) and now augured “bloody events” in 17.12. “Singular” will be an adjective applied to almost every new phenomenon of Tsalal. Poe has approached this melange of animal life via the more recognizable bear of 17.9 (q.v. above), with fewer discordant components; here only the long low body and short legs remind us of a badger, but more discrepancies are included, especially the scarlet claws and teeth. Poe deliberately uses an ambiguous “peaked” for the tail — thin or pointed, like a peak — and also “flapped” for the ears. Compare Poe’s invented “pechingzies, with ears of such length” that one can serve as a bed and the other as a counterpane, in “Marginalia,” no. 35, Democratic Review, November 1844. The corallike claws continue the suggestion of subtropical ambience, important in view of the large amounts of material that Poe will borrow from Morrell’s “Fourth Voyage” to the Solomon Islands. J. F. Ligon, “On Desperate Seas: A Study of Poe’s Imaginary Journeys” (Ph.D. diss., University of Washington, 1971), p. 209, concerning this beast and the shark, speaks of Poe’s insight into Tennyson’s later view of a hostile nature “red in tooth and claw.” [page 318:]

18.2A islands]  “The dark colour” of the sea, which preludes the darkness of Tsalal suggests “the wine-dark sea” of Homer. For these “islands” Poe derives many hints from Morrell’s “Massacre Islands,” as he calls his “discovery” in the “Fourth Voyage,” (chap. 5) — in reality part of Solomon’s Archipelago or the Kilinailau Islands, as they were identified by Colin Jack-Hinton, in discussing Morrell’s voyages, The Search for the Islands of Solomon (Oxford, 1969), p. 342, n. 1 (see my study of Morrell and Poe in SAF, Fall 1976, 4:157-72).

18.2B island]  The “precipitous” shore is mentioned here for the only time in the book although a sudden lift to the land creates the plateau forming the scene of several later chapters (cf. the “bold” shores and trees of Tristan in 15.2). A “high surf” with “strong ripples” seems rather anomalous. Poe is combining elements from the Narrative, pp. 394-95: “The man on the top-gallant yard saw land and breakers at the same time . . . a group of small low islands . . . entirely surrounded by a coral reef, with . . . two narrow openings. . . . The boats returned, with the encouraging information that the reef was literally covered with biche-de-mer [the old spelling for “biche” — see 20.2A]. . . . [We] came to anchor within one mile of a small island on the north-east side of the group, in fifteen fathoms of water, over a coral bottom.”

18.2C appearance]  Most of the details of the natives in chap. 18 are now taken from Morrell’s first visit to the Massacre Islands. Morrell indicates that the natives, “as dark-skinned as Africans, and almost totally naked,” soon come to the moored ship in their light canoes, curious, timid, and astonished. He “displayed a white flag,” as token of amity, held up bright beads, and invited them aboard (p. 395). Morrell records no native words similar to those of Tsalal. J. V. Ridgely, in PS, June 1930, 3:56, regarding the vowel sounds and reduplication as characteristic of Malayo-Polynesian languages, has suggested some conjectural translations of words uttered by Poe’s natives, using as his basic text Tregear’s Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary. He offers, for “Anamoo-moo,” hana (to shine, to glow) plus mumu (to collect together, a swarm; hence, a collection of shining objects), and for “Lama-Lama,” lamalama (many lights, much light). There are difficulties, including Poe’s word for this language — a loud “jabbering” — which he was to apply to the orang-outang in “Murders in the Rue Morgue”: “the fiendish jabberings of the brute.” Poe knew that this language would forever remain nonsense to his readers. Why then seek for such arcane words supplied by Anthon or Reynolds, as Mr. Ridgely supposes? Following the Egyptian and Semitic clues of the final “Note,” and the names of the Tsalalians, Sidney Kaplan, in his “Introduction” to Pym (New York, 1960), p. xviii, thinks that they speak a kind of Hebrew too.” “What ship is this? What evil sent by God upon the water?” Richard Wilbur, Introduction, p. xv, reports that his “experts” find meaning only in the second word: “Prithee, why,” according to Jesus’ “Lama” in Matthew 27:46. The expert whom I consulted, Dr. Moshe Carmilly, finds the following “hints” for this phrase in the 1836 Boston Gesenius Lexicon, which Poe used for chap. 23 and the final “Note.” For “Anamoo” there is “Achna” (or “anna”): interjection of entreaty, such as “Ah now! I pray thee” (p. 78); also “oniya” — a noun of unity corresponding to the collective noun a “ship,” spoken generally of any large merchant ships in the plural (p. 79); or “ana” meaning “to approach,” “to come to meet.” “Moo” may be traced, rather dubiously, to “mu” for “what” or “mu” [page 319:] for “water” (p. 550). Both of these would seem to be supererogatory or repetitious of the first element “ana” or of the “lama,” meaning “why.” Both words, the expert informs me, subscribe to a tendency found in Semitic tongues, to reduplicate the last syllable for changes in meaning, as in “Adam-dam” for “reddish” or “Irag-rag” (“Yerak-rak”) for “greenish.” Two words occurring later in Poe’s text demonstrate this usage: “Nu-Nu” and “Tekeli-Ii.”

18.3A egg]  A paragraph in “The Wreck of the British Ship Sidney” (RS, p. 244), which contributed more definitely to a later description (19.4A), may have suggested the second sentence to Poe, in its New Caledonian native “men . . . tall and well made . . . with the form and features of Europeans.” The clothes made with the hair inside may have been suggested by Morrell’s reference to the loose clothing of Hottentots, “the hair-side next to the bodies” (Narrative, p. 298) or by the savages’ dress made of “the skins of birds, having the feathers inside” in “Captain Parry’s Second Voyage” (ML, p. 400). Morrell describes spears and war clubs which appear like “black ebony” (p, 400) and, for an earlier voyage, the slings of the Indians of the Straits of Magellan (p, 96). In Barrow’s Description of Pitcairn’s Island (pp. 17-18) could be found the cargo of round stones used for a sling-shot attack upon the ship. Joseph Hart’s Miriam Coffin, p. 135, describes an attack by South Seas natives armed with clubs, slings, and javelins.

The 1838 text for the third sentence (sic) reads “frame. Their” and therefore converts “Their complexion . . . hair.” into a sentence fragment. This is copied, unchanged, in the London 1838 edition and by Griswold and by Woodberry, although Harrison silently and unsatisfactorily adds “was” after “complexion” (a remedy repeated in S. Kaplan’s edition with brackets). Baudelaire ingeniously drops the “with” and adds “was” to create a parallel construction: “Leur teint etait d‘un noir de jais, et leurs cheveux, longs, epais et laineux.” Since such a fragment is alien to Poe’s habits and occurs in the 1838 text at the end of the line where the period is more easily overlooked in the proofreading, I must regard the whole as an error and convert the period to a comma, thus reading the phrase as an absolute construction.

18.4A distance]  Morrell, in the prototype episode, did not leave the firmer safety of his ship for small boats among those of the natives (pp. 395-96); he records only one native word, which meant “fine!” By contrast Poe introduces an ambiguity into his two words by making them seem to apply first to the white boat-party and then to the schooner, thereby seeming to undermine the theoretical origin presented by J. Ridgely (in 18.2C above). Similarly, if “Lama-Lama” in the sense of “why, why” applies to the schooner, the obvious quick understanding of the chief is questionable. Hints for this episode may also have come from Morrell’s account of being attacked by Negro-seeming natives of “thickly wooded” islands, rich in “biche-de-mer,” fairly near New Guinea, who approached in canoes of “seventy-five to one hundred and fifty men” after delivering an incomprehensible “long harangue” (Narrative, pp. 463-65).

18.5A deafening]  Poe uses hints from the same episode in Morrell’s Narrative, pp. 395-96, in which the chief and his followers are “struck dumb and stupid with amazement” aboard the ship, at first, and then become “inquisitive.” The chief “at last jumped about the deck like a madman,. . . laughing and uttering exclamations . . . they all looked and acted like wild, frantic children.” Poe’s corresponding [page 320:] statement reads like a stereotype of Negro responses, as Sidney Kaplan has pointed out (p. xxiv). Jupiter, in the “Gold-Bug,” appears to us like a similarly distorted sketch, but probably not to Poe, who either wrote or suggested to Thomas Dunn English a statement in the review of Poe’s Tales of 1845 which appeared in the October 1845 Aristidean (pp. 316-19): “The negro is a perfect picture. He is drawn accurately-no feature overshadowed, or distorted. Most of such delineations are caricatures.”

18.5B inquisitiveness]  The chief’s name might be a humorous sobriquet, based on “to wit,” while H. Beaver, Pym, Introduction, p. 23, infers an “unscrupulous intelligence.” J. Ridgely suggests an echo of tui, given by Tregear, as “a king, a governor.” In Captain Cook’s journal, the first voyage (of the Resolution and Discovery) has many pages concerned with relations with Tu (or Otoo), the Chief of Tahiti; this may well be Poe’s source. Captain Guy’s caution in limiting the number of visitors is a reflection of the disregard by the captain of the Tonquin of just such an admonition from Astor mentioned by Poe in his review of Astoria (chap. 11 of the book).

18.6A affected]  The wording of the first sentence argues a further borrowing from the same passage in “The Wreck of the . . . Sidney” (see 18.3A) : “As far as might be judged, they had never before seen people of our complexion.” Morrell’s Narrative, p. 397, presents the standard astonishment of black or brown natives before a whiteness of skin that cannot be rubbed off, like paint. Cf. “Rodman,” 5.17B on this point. No source for the animistic view of the ship has yet appeared. Pym’s distrust of their sincerity will be amply justified when the savages strip and burn the Jane Guy (22.11).

18.7A minutely]  The respect and wonder of the savages recalls Poe’s review in 1837 of Reynolds’ Address, in which he said that the “imposing” main frigate of the proposed Wilkes Expedition “will . . . overawe the savages, and impress upon them a just idea of our power.” Poe preserves the islanders from any full knowledge of the use of weapons and powder until the blowing up of the Jane Guy.

18.7B deck]  The idea of terror at the mirror comes from Morrell’s Narrative, p. 396, where, however, when they recognize themselves, they are joyous. Poe fails to explain the manner of this self-recognition, especially since he excludes all reflecting surfaces from the Tsalalian experience. Poe’s use of mirror images is intrinsic to the tales of “Mystification” (1837) and “William Wilson” (1839).

18.8A discovery]  Poe never explains the processes of communication with these natives, unused to “traffic” or trade and yet capable of complicated verbal interchanges from now on, such as these about the leaving of hostages. Poe’s excuse for the presence of two tropical specimens in the Antarctic, despite the water of 53°, lies in “anomalies” — a concept applicable to numerous of his “blends” throughout the final part of the story. For biche-de-mer, unpalatable normally until extensively smoked, see 20.4 below, and note the implication of sensuality in their “greedily devouring it.” Poe now converts Captain Guy to Morrell’s persuasion about profitable discovery in the Massacre Islands: “congratulating ourselves . . . on the valuable discovery of these islands with their inexhaustible rich productions, and the friendly disposition of the natives. . .” (p. 399). [page 321:]

18.8B might]  Surely the “week to recruit,” that is, restore depleted strength, is too brief, especially after their determination to set up the drying-houses, 20.8.

Notice that their anchorage is surprisingly identical with that outside the reef, in 18.2.

18.8C us]  Morrell’s Narrative probably gave Poe the idea for the visit to the chief’s village, but that of the Polynesians was apparently along the coast, even though reached “through the forest” and by a pass “near the centre of the island” (p. 398). Morrell — even more trusting than Captain Guy — goes “unarmed,” although the natives’ weapons and physique would make them “formidable enemies” (p. 400). He first thought of keeping the island chief as hostage on the ship. Later, after the first outbreak of hostilities, he insures temporary amity by seizing the chiefs as hostages (pp. 407-9), perhaps suggesting Poe’s similar detail here. Poe probably took his “boarding nettings” from Morrell’s reference to this protection against attack (p. 139). The precautions here (and in 20.10) contradict 14.1, concerning the ship’s being inadequately armed and equipped. Boarding-nettings are large nets of one-half or three-quarters manilla stretched along a vessel’s side, above the rail and between the shrouds, to deter attackers, called today “antiboarding nets.” The cutter here would be a square-sterned, hollow-bowed ship’s boat, twenty-eight to thirty-five feet long, pulled by eight or ten oars. A swivel was a small, cannon-type of gun, mounted in a yoke like a large oarlock, set in a socket in the ship’s rail and thus movable. A regular merchant vessel would be unlikely to have such equipment on the cutter, but the Jane Guy is specially fitted. It is rather strange that no mention is made of the specific location of the interior village for such a search “around the island.”

18.9A traversed]  In this celebrated description of the running water of Tsalal, Poe tries to justify his ascription of uniqueness and absolute “singularity” to all aspects of the country. Unfortunately, we have already seen the profitable bêche-de-mer growing off shore and the Galapagos tortoise and soon will note fish and fowl identical with those “back home” (19.3).

Rocks that are novel in these three characteristics are incredible, and, indeed, it will be the very normality of their stratification that will precipitate disaster upon the visitors.

18.9B encircled]  The water of “singular character” may be traced to several sources in Poe’s reading and general information. L. M. Cecil, Nineteenth-Century Fiction, March 1965, 19:398-402, cogently argues for the influence of the Virginia Springs that Poe knew well through personal visits in childhood and through articles in the SLM, vol. 1, as well as through a descriptive work that he reviewed in the August 1836 issue; the color and veinlike gelatinous consistency of the Red Sulphur and Blue Sulphur Springs were highly suggestive. More immediate in his reading was a passage in Morrell’s Narrative, p. 432: “The natives of Bergh’s Group are blessed with the purest of water, descending in limpid streams from their mountain sources. But they seldom drink it until it has ascended through the invisible veins of the lofty cocoanut-tree.” This might have supplied the “streams . . . falling. . . limpid” plus the word “vein” — completely reapplied in Poe’s passage. But other sources also are involved. In “Pinakidia,” no. 18, of the August 1836 SLM, Poe speaks of “the brook of cedars” as meaning “darkness” in Hebrew. Considering the purple hue and stress upon “veins,” R. Wilbur cites Psalms 105 — “He turned their water into blood” — thus linking [page 322:] this passage with biblical references to the Lost Tribes of Israel, toward the end (Introduction, p. xii). Marie Bonaparte in The Life and Works of Edgar Allan Poe (London, 1949), pp. 332-33, has no doubt about the representation of blood, of a different signification than the “negro blood” suggested by Bezanson, p. 169-a theme elaborated in the Introduction of Sidney Kaplan, p. xix; the latter finds also in the color purple a source in Dante’s Inferno, a connection which has not occurred — with reason — to J. C. Mathews in “Did Poe Read Dante?” UTSE, 1938, 18:123-36. Comments have been numerous concerning other phenomena of this water. Jean Ricardou, in “Le caractere singulier de cette eau,” Critique, August 1967, 23:718-33 (translated for PS, June 1976, 9:1-6), contributes a reminder that the suggested gumminess avoids froth which, being white, is absent from the island and also explains the chief’s astonishment before a mirror. H. Beaver suggests a parallel between the “gum Arabic” consistency and the Arabic etymology in the “Note” at the end. The phrase, “as with us,” which the seemingly baffled Baudelaire omitted, may refer to the momentary disappearance and then reappearance of the separately branched veins visible on various areas of the skin when a pointed object is drawn across them with pressure.

19.1A villages]  The idea for the journey to the interior probably came from Morrell’s Narrative, where Morrell’s party follow some natives on an errand across an unknown island, until forty “Indians . . . skulking behind trees” force them to return; likewise; a mission to correct theft on the Massacre Islands ends with their being trapped by a large band as they follow their “guides to the village” (pp. 390 and 407). A passage in “Wreck of the. . . Sidney” (RS, p. 244) is also suggestive in describing a trip by a boat’s crew to the interior for water, ended when the natives disclose their underlying hostility through their increasing numbers. Annihilation is guaranteed later through their being bunched together on their next, still poorly motivated trip to the village (20.9 speaks of “formal leave-staking”). Pym speaks here as the leader of the expedition, when he tells of alerting Captain Guy and of what “we concluded.”

Much of this chapter shows sheer levity, caprice, or carelessness. How could a maritime tribe, with canoes and rafts and ferrying across among the islands, build their sole village nine miles inland, with a three-hour trip for provisions and all daily and state business? Later Poe conveniently overlooks the remote distance and inaccessibility of the village (23 bis.8). Next, he preserves the numbers of Too-wit’s party, at 110, even though ten have been left behind as hostages (18.8). There was absolutely no chance for the king and his followers to arrange the buildup of forces menacing the completely unexpected Jane Guy party (see chap. 18). Another impossibility is the refined communication about “the only” village on the island, Klock-Klock, oddly given in three versions (cf. 20.1, 20.12). Perhaps the spelling is intended to make an ironic point about a village outside of time as did the name of the village of “Vondervotteimittiss” in “The Devil in the Belfry” a year later; there is otherwise no reason to include the completely silent “c” and to hyphenate thus the reduplicated word which could be heard only as “Klo-Klok.” In “The Scythe of Time” (November 1838) the narrator says: “The eternal click-clack . . .of the clock was the most melodious of music. . . .” S. Kaplan, Introduction to Pym, p. xvii, gives “to be black” as a Hebrew meaning, contradicted by my consultant Dr. Moshe Carmilly, who finds in the 1836 Gesenius Hebrew Lexicon a [page 323:] root “kalal” meaning “to curse” and yielding “kelak-lak” or “light, mean, vile, said of food” (p. 898). This would be appropriate for the scene and action in the village, but would probably demand too much of Poe’s “expertise” in Hebrew. The village is spelled “Klock-klock” in 20.1 and “Klock-klock” in 20.12-both left unchanged in my text.

For Poe’s probable use of early prepublication excerpts of Stephens’ book in this paragraph see 20.12A.

19.2A land]  Every reader must have guessed a connection with the degraded Yahoos of Gulliver’s Travels, ironically the opposite of the “great” ones of the land of the horses, and also with the Indian term “wampum” for beaded shell money, which properly denotes a white variety but applies also to the black or purple variety, considered even more valuable. In addition, Poe may have remembered the mention, in Symzonia, of “Whampoa, the place where foreign ships unlade and lade their cargoes” (p. 222). Sidney Kaplan blends, in his “Introduction” to Pym, p. xix, Swift’s Yahoo and “Ham whose posterity . . . occupied the southernmost regions of the world.”

19.2B opening]  Poe gives them a cultural level lower than the most primitive Stone-Age savages, and yet he makes them capable rock-blasters later. The “great men” must contrive to live under a four-foot teepee without any breadth, since at that height there are no branches to form a ceiling, and the “loose folds” would hang down along the tree-pole. Moreover, why must a tree be cut to provide this, when we know the natives are capable of erecting stakes in the ground (22.13)? Poe also deprives the great men of family life, since “the savage nestled,” unless this is a bit of rhetoric for the generic. Similarly, the “heaped up” wall of clay provides a six-foot ceiling on only one side of the “home,” perhaps suggested by the Massacre Islanders’ cabins with coconut leaves for the roof (Narrative, p. 390). The vaguely described huts “among the forked limbs of trees” may have been suggested by Morrell’s visit to Tristan da Cunha where “the trees do not grow high, but their branches bend down and spread on the ground” (p. 353). In Homer’s Odyssey Polyphemus closed the door of his stable and home with a stone to prevent the escape of the flock; Poe may have found here his door-stone. Poe seems to be capricious or erroneous about “fuller’s earth” which is not a stone but a claylike substance, once used by fullers to absorb the grease and oil of cloth and of a greenish or greenish-grey color rather than the black implied here.

In the penultimate sentence of this paragraph, Poe clearly means that “on three sides” the “village was bounded” by “a precipitous ledge,” but verbally “three sides” is the subject of “was bounded.” This error is left in the 1838 London and 1856 Griswold editions, and silently corrected by Woodberry, Harrison, and Kaplan.

19.3A described]  Poe places the only village remotely and deeply within a cliff-surrounded valley when there is apparently open land near the shore to the south; the reason is to justify the long march with its planned ambush. His spirit of conducting a side show of wonders in this part of Pym is indicated by his use of “apparent miracles” in 18.9 and some form of “magic” here and in 22.4 and 22.11. It is hard to reconcile “brawling” or loudly bubbling water with the “gum-Arabic consistency” of 18.9.

19.3B wool]  Poe here follows his principle of merging disparate parts for a [page 324:] new whole which he followed for the bear and the low, white creature in 17.9 and 18.1: the curly-cue, smooth tail of the pig has become “bushy” and the beast has acquired slender “antelope” legs, which do not provide rapid motion; another example of the same type has acquired a sheep’s coat, and in 20.1 we learn that the meat is “fishy.”

19.3C carnivorous]  In the bird passage Poe mistakenly writes “pelicans” for the penguins, described in chap. 14 as nestling with the albatross. (Tactfully, Baudelaire silently corrects it to “penguins.”) S. Kaplan, Pym, p. xvii, perhaps justifiably thinks the “tame fowl,” as the chief food of the natives, to be part of Poe’s stereotyped picture of the Negro. Presumably their ducks differed in color from our canvas-back, with its reddish-brown head and neck and whitish back. Note the anomaly of having the marine pelican and albatross “return to a village” as “home” nine miles inland, although nesting on the shore, and also of a domesticated bird, described in 14.15 (and also in Morrell’s Narrative, p. 50, cited there) as “one of the largest and fiercest” of all. Poe probably had heard only about the “wandering albatross” (Diomedea exulans) with an average wingspan of twelve feet, and not of the smaller mallemuch or mollymauk. (For a possible reappearance of the bird, see 24.14). Poe probably enjoyed the apparent paradox of a “black” color for the albatross, assumed perhaps to be named from “albus” or white in Latin rather than Arabic “alcatraz” (originally “pelican” and later applied to any large bird by the Portuguese explorers). Also whimsical is a large bird like the buzzard, closely allied to the eagle family, which is “not carnivorous.”

The basic concept of negritude for all living creatures on the island probably came from the end of Anthon’s New York Review article of March 1837 on the Baron de Merian’s book on comparative language study, in which Anthon discusses the “observation” that in tropical areas the “inferior animals” as well as human beings tend to be darker than in temperate zones. Most fruitful for this paragraph in Pym is this footnote on the last page (137) of the article: “In Malabar and Guinea, in both of which countries the human species is black, it is worthy of observation that there are also several races of animals remarkably black. In Guinea, the breeds of dogs and of gallinaceous fowls, are black. On the coast of Malabar, it has been remarked, not only that the human species is black, but that the monkeys of that country are of the same color, and that the gallinaceous fowls are termed ‘blackamoor pullens,’ having not only their plumage but also their skin and even bones as black as jet.”

19.3D south]  Poe betrays his source again in the reference to these islands, for Morrell says of the “Aukland’s Group” 250 miles south of New Zealand: “Fish are plenty, and of many varieties” (Narrative, p. 362). The two lists are the same except for the order, for “nurses” in Morrell, and for the lack of “dried” for salmon. Are we to assume, also, that the flesh of all these fish and fowl had magically turned black in order not to shock the antiwhite prejudices of the Tsalalians, (to give them their name of 24.5) ? Morrell’s form, “paracutas,” for “barracudas,” given by no dictionary, appears to be a variant of the obsolete “paracood.” Morrell presents the whole group as edible, although the “parrot-fish” is poisonous (see note to 10.7, for Breland) and likewise, at times, the barracuda (see The Everyman Encyclopaedia, 2:138, and citations in the OED). Poe implies edibility for the whole list. Rhea, p. 144, tries to derive the [page 325:] list from Captain Cook’s Voyage, save for the first three, but the identity of Poe’s list with Morrell’s for all items undermines his contention.

19.3E venomous]  G. Rans, Edgar Allan Poe, p. 92, suggests that the harmless serpents make this into an “inverted Eden.” The serpent image can be found in Pym ’s dream (22.12 and 23 bis.12) but is not integral to the main text or theme. The source may lie in a description in Morrell’s Narrative of New Ireland, near the Massacre Islands, which is rich in “hogs and dogs” and “different kinds of serpents, but none that are common to our country” (p. 455)

19.4A palaces]  Concerning “Lama-Lama” repeated here, it would appear that the implied meaning or “Why, why?” discussed in 18.2C and 18AA is impossible, since the villagers could scarcely address the party of whites, invited by the king, in the same tone of bewilderment as they had used on their advent on the ship. Poe will imply a further distinction of meaning in 19.6. Poe may have used the same passage from “Wreck of the. . . Ship Sidney” (RS, p. 244) for this one: “They were entirely naked. We also saw a number of women, who were well formed, and had mild and pleasing features.” He had also studied Morrell on the natives of the Massacre Islands: “The rest of the chiefs, with some very pretty women, almost entirely naked, with infants in their arms, formed a circle around us” (Narrative, p. 397) At first Poe speaks of one or two exceptions to their nakedness, but below he speaks of ten or twelve villagers who turn out to be Wampoos left behind. Logically, they are part of the village. The unjoined “new comers” has only one recent citation (1832) in OED.

19.4B carpet]  Too-wit’s “palace“-a word which Poe uses with irony (cf. “court” in 24.5) — was the only one at all viable in its size or construction, because of the crude roof arrangement. It was suggested, perhaps, by Morrell’s reference to the larger house of the chief (Narrative, p. 397) in which Morrell and his men dined, seated on floor mats. The carpet of dry leaves, Bezanson suggests, was from Poe’s memory of Virginia slave quarters (p. 170).

19.5A design]  Surely the word “hams” is derogatory of the savages. Captain Guy’s determination to sacrifice Too-wit at the first false step is a trace of the threat to the person of the king in the Narrative (pp. 408-9).

19.6A dinner]  Poe probably derived the gifts and “harangue” from Morrell’s Narrative: “King Nero. . . turned to his chiefs. . . and haranged them at some length . . .” (p. 397), and “Having finished our repast, I presented the queen with a pair of scissors, a small knife, and a few beads. . . . The knife . . . excited universal admiration . . .“‘(p. 397). The king’s preference for the knife, sign of his murderous intentions, may also derive from Astoria, in which “the main articles sought by the savages in barter, were knives,” this being just before the attack upon the crew of the Tonquin (chap. 11). Note the delight of the natives in both knives and blue beads in 20.1.

19.6B déjeuner]  Poe is not entirely precise, for in 18.7 it was the guns that evoked their “amazement,” but the mirrors brought forth terror and a mad frenzy. One wonders again how the concept of a previous meal could so quickly be conveyed by the queasy party. The use of the French word for “lunch” is entirely out of character for Pym. The source of the episode, in part, is Morrell’s Narrative concerning the “Hottentot Epicures”: “These people are . . . horribly disgusting. . . being actually fonder of the entrails of cattle and [page 326:] sheep than of any other part . . . devoured . . . raw, before they were cold . . . warm from the animal” (p. 299). A phrase also echoes a similar episode in J. L. Stephens’ Incidents of Travel, in the prepublication excerpt in the New York Mirror of April 1, 1837, 14:325-26; a Bedouin disgusts Stephens by offering him lamb’s entrails: “As I saw yard after yard disappear . . . down their capacious throats, I was cured of . . . my appetite” (2:18 in the first edition of the book).

19.7A village]  This is the first passage devoted to the difficulty of communication, with an indication of sign language, although surely there must have been insuperable difficulty in conveying the ideas involved in “chief productions” (products?) and loads of ducks and tortoises within twenty-four hours. Poe leaves vague the type of passage to the “southeastern” shore-whether or not through equally precipitous gorges, as he had earlier implied. This will be important (in 23 bis.6). Poe is here borrowing details from Morrell’s account of trade with the Massacre Islands’ king: “the north part of the reef, . . . covered with the biche-de-mer, of a very large size” and “the islands with their inexhaustible rich productions, and the friendly disposition of the natives” and “with whose chief I had entered into a sort of treaty of amity in commerce, with the utmost good faith on my part” (Narrative, pp. 499-500). Again, we note that Poe here relies upon three natural objects completely without the “singularity” promised us for everything on the island (18.9). He also forgets the impossibility of seeing the bêche-de-mer, to be taken in four feet of water (see 20.6), when the sea is “of an extraordinarily dark colour” (18.2).

20.1A sick-list]  Surely Poe is being ironic about the “word” of a chief who cannot communicate in language with the visitors. The antiscorbutic food probably comes from Captain Cook, via the epitome in Rees’s Cyclopaedia (vol. 9, unpaged), of 1819 with its journal entry for February 1774, exploration of New Zealand: “On the morning after Captain Cook’s arrival in Queen Charlotte’s Sound, he went on shore and returned with a boat-load of scurvy-grass, celery, and other vegetables. . . . These vegetables . . . are very beneficial to seamen, in removing various scorbutic complaints.” Poe, while using the key words, adds “brown” to celery in line with the dusky ambiance of Tsalal; no botanical dictionary allows this adjective. Again, we note how similar is the fauna to that of other places, despite Poe’s disclaimer at the spring, and we note the use of a disease which could not have developed so soon. “Scurvy-grass” will play a role later (23.5). Celery is, in reality, almost useless against scurvy, but not according to Morrell (see Narrative, p. 94).

20.1B disagreeable]  The shellfish probably comes from Morrell’s passages on the Lord Auckland’s Islands: “Of the . . . shellfish the most abundant and most delicious are muscles . . . equal, in every respect, to a Blue Point oyster” (Narrative, p. 362). The spelling “muscle” was an allowed nineteenth-century variant. The “fishy” unpleasant flavor of the hog is similar to that of the bear in 17.9, indicative perhaps of Pym’s superior refinement of taste. Poe’s hero, the Duc De L‘Omelette (1832), expired of disgust over an ortolan served without paper. Concerning the seafood-are we to assume that this too is dark in color, even to its flesh?

20.1C savages]  Perhaps Poe implies an underlying bloodthirstiness in the delight in the color red, reminiscent of the animal fangs and claws. While Poe, even [page 327:] in his reviews, never suggests criticism of the aims of colonial outposts, there may be irony in his contrasting the “good things” with “trinkets” from which many of the useful objects of 14.2 — the source list — are missing. The inclusion of knives again emphasizes the foolhardiness of the whole group. There is irony again in a market, conducted in good faith but under the guns, as Evelyn Hinz notes, Genre, December 1970, 3:395-96.

20.2A return]  This and subsequent paragraphs are derived from chaps. 5-6 of Morrell’s “Fourth Voyage” in the Narrative, concerning the project to build a smoke house in the Massacre Islands to cure the bêche-de-mer, with native help, and the attempted slaughter of Morrell’s crew. Specifically, Morrell says: “As soon as Nero [the king] was able to comprehend my intentions and wishes, he . . . even promised the assistance of his people” (p. 399). Morrell landed a large work crew of armed sailors, however, and had no intention of leaving them behind in the foolhardy style of Captain Guy. In view of the considerable weight of a picul (20.6), “bartering” even a quantity of these “trinkets” seems to partake of double-dealing (see 20.1), save for the lack of truly useful exchange commodities in an abundant primitive economy.

20.3A Seas]  Morrell’s long passage on this mollusc, copied almost verbatim by Poe, is preceded by an introduction similar to Poe’s concerning this “article of commerce” (pp. 400-402). The bêche-de-mer, known under its Malay name of trepang or sea slug or sea-cucumber, is a species of Holuthurian echinoderm, prized by the Chinese for their gelatinous soups. The Encyclopaedia Britannica (11th ed.) speaks of five varieties as recognized in commerce: brown, large black, small black, red-bellied, and white. For the sake of his color scheme, Poe must have had the second and third in mind. Aside from its value as filler, this material from Morrell, offers scientific lore and background verisimilitude, and perhaps a chance to imply the natives’ sensuality, since they were first seen eating the creature raw (18.8). The commentator who finds them to represent for Poe a phallic shape surely pays little heed to his Victorian niceties (E. Hinz, Genre, 3:390).

Below, only the collations for variations in Poe’s text from Morrell’s text will be given. Poe’s “elastic wings” for “elastic rings” shows his carelessness in copying and also the cursory later editing of this section by Griswold, who preserved the error, even though capable of making other changes. Woodberry alone prints “rings” in his edition, and sapiently Baudelaire uses “anneaux,” undetected by Crépet. The first paragraph of the section, immediately below in the text, is prefaced in Morrell by this significant sentence: “The learned and scientific Doctor Pascalis, after I returned from this my fourth voyage, wrote an article for the public press, in which he describes it in the following words: — ” I strongly suggest that Morrell’s quotation marks (not preserved by Poe, as inner quotation marks) really belong at the end of his passage, a fact which adds two more paragraphs to those used by Poe (Narrative, p. 402). Since Poe’s text is partly at least that of Dr. Felix Pascal is-Ouvrière (1750-1833), a word about him is owed, taken chiefly from the DAB (the medical biographical dictionaries add nothing essential). Born in France, he practiced medicine in Santo Domingo, then transferred in 1793 to Philadelphia and, after 1810, to New York City. He contributed many articles on yellow fever, syphilis, and other subjects to medical publications including one in 1829 on “Instructions for Silk-Worm [page 328:] Nurseries” — a topic not unrelated to the bêche-de-mer. My search has not turned up the paper used by Morrell, which would enable me to judge how much of Poe’s text is that of Morrell, how much that of Pascalis. It is probable that Woodworth and not Morrell was responsible for the insertion of the material by Pascalis, who was certainly mistaken in his reference to Cuvier (20.4). In Le Règne animal, the section “Le Premier Ordre des Gastéropodes: Les Pulmones” (9:35-74), does not include the sea slug. In fact, Rees’s Cyclopaedia of 1819, under “Vermes” (vol. 37) includes under “the echinodermata of Cuvier” “the holothuria (sea-cucumber) with its cylindrical body and thick leathery skin.” Poe, of course, was under no necessity to authenticate this sort of material, found in the “reputable” Morrell’s Narrative. He might have been skeptical, however, of Pascalis’ totally erroneous origin of the word biche de mer, entering the English from the Portuguese bicho do mar or “sea-worm” via the French or via pidgin-English (for the curious and devious history and forms of the word see Fernand Mosse, Revue Anglo-Americaine, 1929, 77:3719). Poe’s form, correct in the French and taken from Morrell, is not regarded as English by the OED and other lexicons, which give only beche-de-mer (1814 is the first instance) with the literal and incorrect meaning of “sea spade” as a French source word (“bêche” does mean “spade”) along with the correct origin from the Portuguese. Clearly Pascalis is not alone in his confusion. In the collations of paras. 4-7, the first member of each pair is Morrell’s text, and the second, Poe’s: para. 4: edible birds’ nests / edible bird’s nests-organs: / organs; — but by their / but, by their — elastic rings / elastic wings — shallow waters; / waters; para. 5: next the ground, or bottom / next the bottom — from one inch to eight / from one to eight — often into places so shallow / and they often go up into places — left dry on the coral reef, / left dry, — any of their progeny; / progeny, — always seen / always observed; para. 6: biche-de-mer / biche de mer — hours; / hours, — picul / picul — can be kept, in a dry place, / kept in a dry place affect them. A picul, according to the Chinese weight, is 133 1/3 lb. avoirdupois. / affect them; para. 7: biche-de-mer / biche de mer — second quality, / second quality-third, / third-fourth, / fourth-fourth-fifth, / fifth-sixth, / sixth-seventh, / seventh-eighth quality only four dollars per picul. Small cargoes, / eighth four dollars; small cargoes[.]

20.5A pairs]  The word “gendering” for “copulating” or “breeding” is given by the OED as obsolete, with a last date of 1634 for the verb and 1483 for the gerund, save for a dialectal attributive use of 1880.

20.6A them]  It is clear from the first-person pronouns used in the Pascalis passage cited by Morrell that this is the account of someone who is trying to convey his firsthand observations, based apparently on some uninformative, experience; clearly Pascalis is citing it verbatim. It is singularly uninformative, however, and scarcely worth the space that Poe devotes to it — obviously mere filler.

20.8A behind]  With no pretense of a transition, Poe reverts to the agreement of 20.2 and furnishes details taken from Morrell’s Narrative: “They immediately commenced cutting down trees, and clearing away the ground. . . . With such ardour and alacrity did they pursue their labours, that . . . a considerable part of the frame . . . was actually got out in the same time. This day’s work appeared to delight the natives very much; but the rapidity with which the trees were [page 329:] felled . . . electrified them with astonishment” (p. 403). Varying Morrell’s text a trifle, Poe speaks of “houses” and “buildings” with no warrant for the plural of the “smoke house” — probably the Virginia original of his variation of Morrell’s “building” and “edifice.” Surely Poe is ironic in using “safely trust” for the general situation of a mere three men against all the savage tribe, whom he had had reason to suspect on the march. Notice that only twice did Poe use “natives” in preference to “savages” (19.5 and 7 and Note. 8).

20.8B respect]  In his review of Astoria of January 1837, Poe singled out Alexander Carson, a trapper in the book, for repeated mention. A “Charles Harris” is named by Morrell among the massacred crew members working on the structure (Narrative, p. 414). “Peterson,” whose name he quaintly pretends not to know, is a name that he apparently forgot he had already given to Pym’s grandfather (2.4), and is essentially the same as that of Dirk. These two men play no further role in the book after this paragraph. Beaver, Pym, p. 263, finds autobiographical implications in the two Petersons.

20.9A departure]  The time schedule has not quite fulfilled Captain Guy’s intention on January 19 (19.8) to leave within a week, but much has happened. The general condition of work harmoniously performed by crew and natives and of mutual demonstrations of esteem and conviviality matches that in the Massacre Islands when they are constructing the curing-house, just before the natives perfidiously seek to massacre them on shore (Narrative, pp. 409-10).

20.9B globe]  The word “obliging” for the women surely implies sexual promiscuity (Evelyn Hinz, in Genre, p. 390, also asserts this), prevalent in the relations of crew and South Sea island natives (see 6.2), additional cause for our linking this section with Morrell’s Narrative of the Solomon Archipelago. Their implied behavior consequent upon “presents,” makes “decorum” ironic save in an amoral type of “fittingness,” but “decorum” is also to prove ironic at the end of 20.12. The three-fold attribution to the savages may derive from Morrell’s similar sense of outrage before the attack by the natives “who certainly appeared to be the most harmless, innocent, and inoffensive race of mortals I ever met with” (p. 398), while the wording of the last sentence echoes that about the Tierra del Fuegians, “the most wretched race of mortals on earth” (p. 97). Poe repeats this sentence, almost verbatim, at the end of 23 bis.10.

“Deeply-laid plan” is a verbal echo of Burns’s “best laid schemes.”

20.10A immediately]  The technical terms of the defense preparations come from Morrell’s Narrative, with the situations corresponding in both books; the closest is this: “The guns were double-shotted with grape and canister; the swivels were loaded with canisters of musket-balls” (p. 436; see also pp. 405, 414, 434). For the source of the “boarding-nettings” see 18.8 from which it is repeated. The words “double-shotted” refer to two balls in the barrel instead of the usual one, so that the usage of Morrell seems odd. “Grape” shot is made up of nine iron balls in three tiers between parallel iron discs, held together by a central iron pin, the top having a “u” shaped iron handle. “Canister” or “case” shot is similar, but held in a thin metal can or case. By “guns” here he means “cannons.” For “swivel” see 18.8. “The anchor is apeak when the cable has been sufficiently hove in to bring the ship over it,” says Admiral Smyth, in the Sailor’s Word-Book, cited by the OED; in short, the ship is ready for a quick getaway. [page 330:]

20.11A cutlasses]  When Morrell is plagued by the theft of tools from his smokehouse, he seeks to recover them: “We returned on board the Antarctic, armed six of the crew, besides myself, with muskets, pistols, and cutlasses; and then pulled in to the beach . . .” (p. 407).

20.11B country]  The use of “Bowie knife” shows Pym to be very well traveled or very conversant with the contemporary idiom, for here and in 21.5 and 22.8 it applies to a weapon always used for murderous fighting and associated with Colonel James Bowie, killed at the Alamo on March 6, 1836. Although the earliest citation in the OED is for 1842, it first appears in print in Niles Register of June 1836, and frequently thereafter — also in the rest of the American popular and daily press, for it was the instrument of the numberless duels and murders of the West, being used to stab and disembowel. Nine to twelve inches in length, an inch and a quarter wide at the hilt (where there was a cross-guard to protect the wielder’s hand), it was double-edged and tapering to a sharp point, with a shorter backhand blade and wonderful tempering. While often ascribed to Rezin P. Bowie, the brother of the colonel, as inventor, it probably was developed from the design of James Black, a Bowie blacksmith near the Bowie plantation in Arkansas, with whom the secret of the fine tempering died. The name came from its being known as the knife of the famous Bowie, hence the “Bowie knife,” at first. It was not long before a good imitation was being made in Sheffield and Birmingham, but it is unlikely that this was true as early as 1837 when Poe, strictly speaking, would have to consider his characters’ being supplied with weapons from the British Jane Guy. Either it must be considered a clear anachronism or an instance of Pym’s updating his journal notes for the year 1828. (Most of this information is derived from Raymond W. Thorp, The Bowie Knife [Albuquerque, 1948]). The gratuitous reference certainly shows Poe’s mentally associating his tale of a struggle against the savages with border warfare in the South and West against the Indians.

20.11C proceed]  J. V. Ridgely, PS, June 1970, 3:5, explicates this as follows: Mate is a common word meaning “to kill” or “to die” in Polynesian; papa can mean “race, family”; and the others are not Polynesian words. However, “matar” in Spanish means “to kill,” while Sidney Kaplan rightly asserts it to be the Hebrew word for “spear” and the last five words to be an obvious macaronic of Latin, English, and Italian. Poe could have found “match” for military spear in Gesenius’ Hebrew Lexicon, 1836 (see Introduction, “Sources” at n. 18 and Note. 6A). Without resorting to the Polynesian — a dubious source, I believe, since suitable word lists could scarcely have been available to Poe at the time — we can decipher it if we allow “pa pa” to refer to “peace” (pox), reduplicated for emphasis, and “si” as being a homophone of “see”; hence, the phrase might be interpreted as “kill not; we see peace.” Other implications and readings can be found, all of which would amuse Poe, without doubt, since his purpose is probably sheer fun and mystification. How could Pym, ignorant of the Tsalalian language, be so positive about the uncommunicated “meaning“? Perhaps Poe derived an idea from Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (London, 1928), vol. 8 of the whole edition, vol. 2 of RC, p. 9: “I ask‘d him, How it came to pass they did not kill them and eat them? He said, No, they make Brother with them, that is, as I understood him, a Truce.” It is possible that Poe derived a hint from Anthon’s reference to the “arabic mata, [page 331:] ‘to kill‘” in a passage in his article on de Merian’s book in the March 1837 New York Review, in which he discusses “the radical MT” which “carries with it the idea of a cessation of existence” in various tongues (see Intro., p. 26). 20.12A decorum] Poe first gives the impression that the gorge lay near the beginning of the route to the village from the shore in 18.9, “the first we had reached,” but clearly it is amid the high hills, by implication near the village, which lies nine miles inland. Yet in 23 bis.5-6, they descend near this ravine, which is one-half mile from the shore. The anfractuosities of the ravine are reminiscent of the passage through the “stowage” in the hold of the ship (2.7). It seems clear that there are other exits from the village for use during the rainy season. In view of the extraordinary roughness of the surface, and the narrowness and dimness of this gorge previously traveled (although Poe may be distracting the reader from this fact by forgetting to write “had” before the verb “scrambled” in sentence 2), Captain Guy must be considered insane or suicidal to go through it a second time, especially since the “efficacy” of their “firearms” was “yet a secret to the natives” (20.12). In specifying the maximum space of “twenty yards” between abrupt turns, Poe may be cleverly suggesting that a given portion of the path, entirely freed from natives before and after the party, could contain the thirty-two whites directly under the detached cliff-face, about to fall. For the word “rubbish” see the note on 14.15, where it is derived from Morrell. The failure to demonstrate the firearms before now may be an echo of Morrell’s Narrative, p. 407, where the captain refuses to show the inquiring natives why the deck guns are hollow by “discharging” them, lest they “alarm them to such a degree as to cause great trouble in regaining their confidence.”

The main idea and many key words for this paragraph and also 19.1 are derived from a passage in Stephens’ Incidents of Travel (1:250 in the first edition), from which excerpts were supplied by the publisher to the major New York city weeklies. This one was carried by the New-York Mirror of April 29, 1837, 14:346:

The whole day we were moving between parallel ranges of mountains, receding in some places, and then again contracting, and about mid-day entered a narrow and rugged defile, bounded on each side with precipitous granite rocks more than 1000 feet high. We entered at the very bottom of this defile, moving for a time along the dry bed of a torrent, now obstructed with sand and stones, the rocks on every side shivered and torn, and the whole scene wild to sublimity. Our camels stumbled among the rocky fragments to such a degree that we dismounted, and passed through the wild defile on foot.

Aside from the parallelism of situation, we note the identity of phrasing ii “rugged country” and “precipitous ravine” in 19.1, “bed of a torrent,” “obstructer with sand and stones,” for Poe’s “stones and rubbish,” “receding” and “con tracting” width and height of “1000 feet” for Poe’s “astonishing height” (cl also 23.7 for “the interval rapidly contracted”). The elements of exaggeration an( insincerity in the text of Stephens here and elsewhere perhaps testify to the origu of his book (see my Introduction, “Sources” at n. 13).

20.13A us]  “Wilson Allen” is similar in name to “William Allen,” the mutinee of 6.11, who met a violent death at Peters’ hands; see also the man named [page 332:] merely ———— Wilson. This Allen too will soon die violently — perhaps suggesting that Poe is still enacting a surrogate deed of revenge against John Allan, a point made also by R. Wilbur, Pym, Introduction, p. xi, and H. Beaver, Pym, p. 263. The “singular stratification” was one of the first oddities mentioned in 18.9.

20.13B nuts]  Surely the fissure-escape of Pym and his companions is a major instance of the ingenious absurd. Consider the high, narrow passage of the gorge, with dim light at the bottom, from which a fissure extends for about twenty feet, wide enough for only one man. Its height, being lower than the average of the main gorge, clearly indicates that it is closed at the top. Is it conceivable that anything at all could be seen beyond the opening; how then could Pym say anything about its twenty-foot extent and slope (bending?)? Given this kind of dim light, how could any vegetation grow, much less filbert nuts, implying blossoms, sunlight, etc.? Moreover, the “crevices” out of which the filberts grew would have to be deep enough to accommodate the three men, at least seven feet, away from the main gorge. The introduction of “filberts” here preludes another use of them in 22.8 (q.v.).

20.13C hand]  The language is close to that of the planned explosion in “Hans Pfaall” (para. 18) : “I felt . . . a concussion, which . . . seemed to rip the very firmament asunder.” For a similar situation, see Morrell’s Narrative, when the sudden “warhoop [sic] of the savages on shore” seems like the “unexpected shock of an earthquake, or a bolt from heaven” (p. 410). Bezanson derives it from Poe’s memory of recent slave revolts, such as that of Nat Turner in 1831, Essays in Literary History, p. 170, and Gaston Bachelard remarks in his French edition of Pym (Paris, 1944), p. 20, that in the reverie of Pym, the natives disdain to attack with arms, preferring elements symbolic of a hostile universe. It is possible to find apocalyptic significance in this episode, linking it, for example, to the penultimate paragraph in “Eiros and Charmion,” but the grounds seem to me rather shaky.

21.1A out]  Much of this chapter is devoted to the attempt to escape from the “premature burial” which has already been a basic theme in Poe’s tales (“Berenice” and “Loss of Breath”) and will continue to figure in “Usher,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” and “The Premature Burial” itself (1844), which borrows passages from this chapter of Pym.

Poe’s usage is strange in his saying “among a quantity of loose earth,” as though mindful of the separate particles. Poe seems to be forgetting that he has set Pym upright, when he hears the groan of Peters at his ear, just before stumbling over his upper body. Note Pym’s role here as the rescuer. The “utter darkness” will become a leitmotiv of terror throughout the episode, as it was in the hold of the Grampus.

21.2A conceived]  Pym and Peters, recovering from “fright,” regain their basic rationality, assigning a reason for the accident, although increasingly desperate (surely we expect an “ourselves” after “gave up”). The “blackness of darkness” comes from the Epistle of Jude 13: “wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever,” a source pointed out by H. Levin, p. 26, and earlier by W. M. Forrest, Biblical Allusions in Poe, p. 157. R. Wilbur argues for a theological interpretation, utilizing the phrase also in 21.2, “lost for ever” and reading the “utter darkness” of 21.1 as the “outer darkness” of Matthew [page 333:] 25:30. Poe is to use the phrase for a swoon in “The Pit and the Pendulum”: “The blackness of darkness supervened.” Most of the text of the last three sentences will reappear in the rationalistic and satirical “The Premature Burial,” para. 21, using even Poe’s coinage of “supremeness,” but changing the phrase to “the blackness of the absolute Night,” and this is merely an echo of “the blackness of eternal night” in “MS. Found in a Bottle.” J. N. Reynolds, in a matter-of-fact statement about icebergs, that Poe might have read just before possibly revising this chapter, in “Leaves from an Unpublished Journal,” New-York Mirror, April 21, 1838, 15:340, said: “A view of their. . . summits was prevented by the blackness of darkness which hung around us.” Stuart Levine, Edgar Poe: Seer and Craftsman (Deland, Florida, 1972), p. 246, censures Poe for characteristically failing to refer to the “burial” of chap. 2 as a useful means of unifying the work through Pym’s integrated memory. In both cases there is a parallel development, first of despair, then a rally of energies, then a search for means of escape, via a companion.

21.3A air]  The intellectualistic endeavor to “find out” and to “solve” the problem leads to the narrator’s use of the same words in “The Pit and the Pendulum”: “In groping my way around the prison. . . .” The “excessive oppression of lungs” is used, almost verbatim, in “The Premature Burial” (para. 21, and later, in a varied form, para. 36); it explicates the “suffocated” of 21.1. Poe seems to be implying a difference of air pressure in various sections of the cave or hollow, an untenable assumption, or perhaps he implies that the dust near the fall-in is making breathing difficult, but this is not well described via the lungs. Notice his reminiscent and synesthesiac phrase in “Monos and Una” (1:615): “The oppression of the Darkness uplifted itself from my bosom.” Gaston Bachelard comments that resuming life after such a catastrophe means taking on the distresses of certain mythic heroes (Preface, Pym, p. 21). As we shall see below, the marked variations in the slope of a “crack or seam” which runs for a “vast distance” would effectually prevent the shaft of light from penetrating to the bottom from the remote top. This corresponds almost exactly to the problem of the glimmer at the end of the passage in the hold (3.1).

21.4A bend]  Pym’s forgetting his third companion matches his forgetting the ax in the larboard berth until after the cannibalism. It is more graphic for the two to find a projecting foot, indicating the death of the man, but scarcely likely, considering the downward descent of the earth, as 21.1 and the “earth above us” here show. Presumably the certainty of an opening above has entirely alleviated the “oppression of lungs” formerly experienced. Has the seam suddenly opened up all the way to the top in consequence of the avalanche shock? 21.5A whereabouts] Soapstone is a metamorphic rock of soft, unctuous feeling, composed essentially of talc with varying amounts of micas, chlorite, etc. and derived from the alteration of ferromagnesian silicate minerals (Glossary of Geology, ed. M. Gary et al. [Washington, 1972], p. 670). It may be defined more simply as “any soft, unctuous rock, such as micaceous shale or sericitic schist, white, apple green, or gray in color.” According to an informant from the geology department of Columbia University, it is almost never stratified, although this feature is necessary for the ambush perpetrated by the savages. Presumably the wetness signifies that the seam has been exposed for some time, serving as a drainage canal for spring water. The extreme narrowness along with [page 334:] the perpendicularity in sections would definitely operate against the possibility of a view of the light all the way down to the bottom. Now the knife which in 20.11 resembles a Bowie knife (of 1836) is called by that name-although it might be for narrative convenience alone. It would fracture the soapstone which is not like soap or cheese despite its slippery surface. Rees’s Cyclopaedia (1819) says: “The fracture, is uneven and splintery” (vol. 33). Quickly cutting a clean hole in it is virtually impossible. The device of swinging “to small projecting points” is unlikely, since we are led to believe that the seam is uniformly narrow, as at the beginning; an explanation would be a steady broadening of the seam as they ascended. Since slate and soapstone are both metamorphic rocks, they can be found together. In “Lionizing” of 1835 Poe had a passage of geological names, which he later expanded (1:175 and 1:182); here he mystifies the reader with a puzzling reference to “appearance” and “late formation” which is partly contradicted by the water. Poe may have derived the idea for cutting a way out of a crevasse from Nathaniel Ames’s A Mariner’s Sketches (Providence, 1830, first and second editions), pp. 140-42, in which, on one of the unnamed Antarctic islands, a sailor falls into a “fissure” in the snow and climbs out by “cutting holes in opposite sides of the ice” with his “skinning knives.” Although the Bowie knife is often cited in support of the concept of Dirk Peters as an archetypal wild Indian, here and in 23 bis.1 Pym speaks of “our knives.”

Richard Kopley, in SAF, Autumn 1980, 8:212-213, finds a “close connection” between J. N. Reynolds’ “Leaves from an Unpublished Journal” in the April 21, 1838, Mirror and 21.5, 6, and 7; the identity of words, it appears to me, springs from common terms for a generally similar situation (i.e., a difficult climb) and the juxtaposing of terms through the omission of non-identical passages. There would be little point to Poe’s revising or adding to this part of his chapter according to an 1838 article after completion of the book in 1837, but see 21.2A and 24.14D (para. 2).

21.6A overhead]  The curious phrase “archway of high rock” is probably an echo of Morrell’s description (see 14.9A, section D) of “Cape François, which terminates in a high rock, perforated quite through, so as to form a natural arch, like that of a gateway or bridge.”

21.7A below]  The plan as described here is full of the ingenious absurd, stemming partly from his use of the comparison of J. Stephens between ancient and modern quarrying (see below). Poe’s Stone-Age savages have mastered “the drill of the rock-blaster” and have shrewdly estimated the leverage needed to fling a cliff-face down upon the foreign party and only that file of marchers and not those before and after. At the same time, there is an internal contradiction: in 20.12, we were told about bends in the path at every sixty feet and of the close formation of the men of the Jane, presumably to keep them within the sixty foot limit, whereas now we learn of a length of 300 feet — a distance that would inevitably have overwhelmed the front or rear guard of the savages as well. Poe must be exaggerating in saying that the “million tons” “entirely filled up” the bed of the gorge, since that would leave an escape route for the survivors and would also enable the savages to come onto the plateau at will during Pym’s stay there. Clearly, only the lower level was “filled up.” While Poe seems to have invented the term “rock-blaster” (no instance is given in the OED), “rock-blasting” [page 335:] without date is to be found in the OED and would seem to have been used in quarries much earlier — but scarcely by Stone-Age savages. Rees’s Cyclopaedia of 1818 (vol. 4) has an article on “Blasting of stone, in Agriculture,” a process involving boring a hole a foot or more in depth with chisels and then ramming in gunpowder. Clearly, here wooden stakes would have to be inserted “one or two feet” deep into “blast” holes, numbering one hundred. The real source of Poe’s idea and even of his language is Stephens’ Incidents of Travel as excerpted early in April 1837 in two New York weeklies, probably from manuscript pages sent by Harper and Brothers. Most significant is the long excerpt from vol. 1, chap. 7, part of which is devoted to “Deserted Quarries” in Syene, Arabia, worked by the Pharaohs for their monuments. The New-Yorker of April 1, 1837, 3:19-20, presents this: “Aside from the great interest of these ancient quarries, it is curious to notice how, long before the force of gunpowder and the art of blasting rocks were known, immense stones were separated from the sides of the mountains, and divided as the artist wished, by the slow process of boring small holes, and splitting them apart with wedges.” Other hints, for the whole idea of the disrupture, came to him from three passages in the long article in the New-York Mirror of April l, 14:325-26, which also furnished Poe with the reference to the meal of entrails (see 19.6 above). The Mirror is citing vol. 2, chaps. 1-2 (2:9-25)

The road was rougher than any I had yet travelled; . . . it was the only opening among the mountains by which we could pass at all, made by the hand of nature, and so encumbered with fallen rocks, that it was exceedingly difficult for our camels to advance. . . . The summits had crumpled and fallen, so as to expose on every side of a rounded surface, and the idea constantly present to my mind was, that the whole range had been shaken by an almighty hand-shaken so as to break the rugged surface of the mountains, and not with sufficient force to dash them into pieces; I could not help thinking that, with another shock, the whole mass would fall in ruins. . . . On all sides except towards the sea, and forming almost a perfect square, were the naked faces of the rock, lofty, smooth and regular, like the excavated sides of an ancient quarry, and quiet to that extraordinary and indescribable degree of which I have already spoken.

21.7B island]  Almost every commentator has observed the conversion of the hybrid into a “white man” in this sentence. Perhaps Poe had vaguely intended to revise in earlier portions Peters’ Indian ancestry and neglected to do so.

The idea for the avalanche of earth may also owe something to Mary Griffith’s Camperdown, reviewed by Poe in the July 1836 SLM; the explosion of a boat causes an “immense mass of earth” plus some snow to slide down a hill, filling a ravine and burying a house containing the hero (pp. 36-40). Poe may also have been using Tom Cringle’s Log, by Michael Scott, in which a hurricane causes a “disrupture of the soil” which sends the side of the gorge into the river, the rising of which almost traps Tom and his party on the opposite bank (Philadelphia, 1833 ed., pp. 293-95). By coincidence, Scott’s other novel, The Cruise of the Midge (New York, 1835; Philadelphia, 1835), chap. 16, provides a sentence with this idea and with the very terms that Poe applies to this avalanche in 23 bis.5 (“the ruins of the disruptured cliff”): “A huge mass of the gray cliff above was disruptured” (given as a first instance of the word by OED). [page 336:]

The word “tempest” for a natural storm is a favorite with Poe in the book, as in 1.9 and 8.8.

22.1A relief]  One of the “anomalies” (18.8), increasingly prominent, is a “Polar winter” that does not kill bêche-de-mer and Galapagos tortoises.

22.2A forbore]  Poe here forgets two other warning noises: the concussion of over a million tons of falling rock and the “succession of . . . yells” (21.6) which might have reached the ship. The idea of a warning pistol report may have come from Morrell’s firing a cannon to warn his detachment of men building the curing-house (Narrative, p. 410). Pym’s sententious appraisal of the moral prospects for the six on the vessel seems a travesty of such situations in adventure tales.

22.3A ensued]  The canoes, fifty by five feet (18.3), lay at the upper or inner end, opposite the entrance. How could Pym see the details given here and later, such as the arms, miles away in the hill, without any sort of spyglass? Further, how could the savages from the other islands coordinate their voyages to Tsalal from the islands in the continuous daylight, with no changes in the heavens, unless they had used the sound of the avalanche which is not overheard, presumably, by the nearest vessel in the harbor? The ensuing carnage is viewed by the two men as though from a theater box, as J. Moldenhauer indicates, TSLL, 1971, 13:272-73, and Poe makes a two-act melodrama of it, with an intermission devoted to a search for refreshments (22.8); see also the earlier melodrama in 12.7B.

22.4A hazards]  In 18.8 the Jane was anchored a mile from the shore in a “landlocked” bay on the southeastern coast. Here the bay has a “southern bight” or cove around which the savages can slip, apparently an alteration of the landlocked harbor. Surely too the distance of a mile would prevent the crew’s being overwhelmed “as if by magic.” It is not clear why flatboats need outriggers, which the Polynesians attach to canoes only. Assuming that these rafts may be equipped with some sort of ledge or low protection at the edge, how could Pym see clubs and stones “in the bottom” at their distance? And finally, why should the canoes, “manned” in 22.3, now be “filled with natives” unless the complement was incomplete?

22.5A rafts]  This paragraph and 22.6 are derived by Poe from Morrell’s rescue of the ship’s boat, fleeing the cannibals in pursuit and seeking to cut them off from the safety of the ship: “We brought the broadside of the schooner to bear on the canoes, by means of springs on our cables. . . . The Antarctic opened her flaming battery and demolished two of the canoes.” After the nineteen aboard the boat are taken onto the ship, the schooner faces the savages, augmented “by a general turn-out from all the other islands” and ready to attack “with an overwhelming force.” Having only “eleven efficient men to defend the vessel,” Morrell “thought it best to slip the cable and make sail.” A favorable breeze helped them to outdistance the canoes. However, it soon died, leaving them further away from shore to watch the cannibal feast on shore through a telescope. A wounded sailor “was stationed at the magazine with a lighted match, to be applied to the powder if the natives got command of the deck” (Narrative, pp. 412-13). Poe adopts Morrell’s terms, of course. A spring is a supplementary line, made fast to the anchor cable. By slackening the cable and heaving in the spring, the crew can turn the vessel without raising the anchor, this being an old practice for aiming [page 337:] the mortars in bomb ketches. Pistols are considered weapons for defense at short-range of ten to twenty-five yards, revolvers, at 100 to 300 yards. It would seem that the broadside would be more likely to strike beyond. The ricochet or rebound off water would be entirely possible, but less so was the crew’s failure to discharge their small arms, such as pistols or muskets, at the intact canoes, so close. The word “ricochet” has never had an accent, either in French or English, but Poe apparently thought it to be indicated because of the French pronunciation. See his uncertainty about the accent in the name “Muses” of the “gendarme” of “Murders in the Rue Morgue” (1:539). I leave it unchanged as his deliberate spelling.

22.6A aid]  This part of the paragraph is derived from one or possibly two passages in Morrell’s Narrative; continuing the attack (22.2A above) Morrell tells the effect of the broadside: “The unexpected report of the cannon . . . struck terror into the hearts of the astonished enemy. . . . The Antarctic now kept up a steady fire . . . which caused the canoes . . . to make a precipitate retreat to the islands” (p. 412). Later, they are again attacked on their return to the Monteverdeson’s Group, and from the deck, as the savages “approached within close pistol-shot,” fire their guns and muskets until “several of their canoes were literally cut to pieces” (pp. 436-37). “Star-shot” is an obsolete term for “chain-shot,” which is formed of two balls or half balls connected by a chain, used to destroy masts, rigging, and sails. “Double-headed shot” is defined as being the same. The Tonquin episode from Astoria (chap. I1), definitely used for 22.11, may have contributed to these sentences. Irving wrote: “The crew fought desperately. . . . They were soon, however, overpowered by numbers, and mercilessly butchered.” Poe’s addition, “trodden under foot,” does not ring quite true for the situation.

22.7A spoils]  The first sentence owes something to one in Astoria: “Other canoes now pressed forward to board the prize; . . . the decks were soon crowded . . . with clambering savages, all intent on plunder” (chap. 11 ). Poe supposes the impossible or magical — that a hard pine deck of five or six inches could be thus split open and ripped up by Stone-Age savages. The cooperation of thousands, pushing and pulling a vessel through water and sand, is also hard to visualize, or even to conceive. Poe’s sarcastic reference to Too-wit’s caution perhaps springs from his experiences in the army and at West Point and temporarily equates the primitive and “civilized.” It seems a bit outside Pym’s frame of reference. The natives here seem to have overcome their animistic concern over wounding the ship (18.6) and also their horror of the white sails. For the cable’s being “cut and let go” if made of fiber rope, as was likely, see the source in Morrell (22.5A above).

22.8A week]  Magically their hats are available, odd survivals of the avalanche and climbing. Peters, strangely, seems less able to wring the neck of the bittern quickly than of the gigantic William Allen on the Grampus, but Poe is now giving him a more individualized role. (For the origin of the bittern see 23.1 below.)

22.9A hill]  Neither here nor in any subsequent passage does Poe explain by what path the natives continue their trips to and from the village, if the gorge is “filled” with the disruotured cliff. But in the late addition in 23 bis.4, there is a slight distinction between main and subsidiary gorges.

22.10A loophole]  Poe’s use of “loophole” makes the hilltop almost into a citadel [page 338:] or blockhouse of the frontier type, even though it is hard to reconcile it with his previous descriptions of a “patch of blue sky” seen at the end of a long wooded “ravine” under an “archway” of “rock and foliage” (21,6). Having granted Pym a modicum of relief, Poe now sows hints of premature burial on top of a hill. Our word “meantime” in the divided form is last cited by the OED for 1809 with a concessive force. By 1838 it would appear to be obsolescent as Poe presents it.

22.11A islands]  This and the subsequent paragraph will closely follow the explosion of the Tonquin in Astoria (chap. 11), relating the captain’s insult to the Indians which causes them to attack and almost annihilate the entire crew of the ship, save for five survivors. One of them is badly wounded and, after his comrades make a temporary escape from the savages at night, he inveigles aboard a large number of Indians, eager to plunder, and blows them up with himself. Poe, lacking such a confederate, has recourse to their burning the ship, although their opportunity to strip the ship further makes one question this device. Poe’s frequent tendency to exaggerate numbers leads to this unrealistic figure. “Shoals” suggesting numerous fish or other floating objects is used contemptuously here (and in 22.7), as is the word “yellings” below (and in 22.6).

22.11B us]  The “shock of a Galvanic Battery” can be found in the SLM version of “MS. Found in a Bottle” (1:144), and, varied, in many other Poe tales (see “Monos and Una,” 1:619, n. 22; also 1:666, n. 4; and 1:698, n. 6); one might question Pym’s feeling it at such a distance from the shin. Poe may have derived descriptive elements from “The Loss, by Fire, of the Prince” (MC [New Haven, 1834], p. 176) : “The fire communicated to the powder-room. . . . A thick cloud intercepted the light of the sun; amidst this horrid darkness we could perceive . . . large pieces of flaming wood projecting into the air. . . . The vessel had disappeared; its fragments covered the sea to a great distance. . . .” The resultant shower of debris, including limbs, here and in the next paragraph, doubtless comes from Astoria: “Arms, legs, and mutilated bodies were blown into the air, and dreadful havoc was made in the surrounding canoes. . . . The bay was covered with fragments of the wreck, with shattered canoes, and Indians swimming for their lives, or struggling in the agonies of death; while those who had escaped. . . remained aghast and stupified.. . .” Irving records a hundred as dead, augmented by Poe to a thousand, and adds a like number “shockingly mutilated,” as Poe does (see “Hans Pfaall” for a similar fatal explosion, para. 18). The word “impetuously” as a synonym for “violently” or “forcefully” tends to be applied to the feelings or actions of persons (as in 2.12), not inanimate objects in Poe’s day, with an 1832 citation for an “impetuous” river current being the latest cited by the OED for nonhuman agents. A similar type of transfer is implicit in “headlong,” defined as “with the head leading,” invariably applied to living beings or sizable entities, such as a river or train, in all OED citations. Indeed, Poe’s application to a “shower” of “fragments,” is perhaps whimsical, since the characterizing element of downward motion is blunted by his phrase “in every direction.” The flying fragmentary “limbs” prompted the New Monthly Review to hilarity over this episode (November 1838, 44:428-29).

22.12A another]  See the preceding note for the source of this in Astoria. Poe underscores the fiendish inhumanity of the savages, even toward each othercontrary to the passage in Morrell (p. 437) in which after the ship’s batteries cut the attacking canoes to pieces, the savages aid each other to reach the shore. The [page 339:] comminatory word of the savages has many possible sources. Mindful of the figures and writing on the wall (chap. 23), we remember Daniel 5:27, in which the word “Tekel” in the phrase on Belshazzar’s wall is interpreted: “Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting,” but used as a native response to whiteness and as a bird call (24.4), this source — meaning seems irrelevant. Keith, in Evidence of the Truth of the Christian Religion, p. 195, speaks of this phrase. Other suggestions (several of which are discussed by David Jackson and myself in PS, Dec. 1979) are these: “Tekeli” was the surname of the Hungarian patriot, Emeric, Count Tekeli (1656-1703) (see Hoefer’s Nouvelle Biographie Générale [Paris, 1866], 46:460-62); about him Theodore Hook wrote a popular three-act British melodrama called Tekeli, or, The Siege of Montgatz (1806; condensed by Hook into two acts, 1809), adapted from Pixérécourt’s French drama of 1803. He also used “Tekeli” as a pseudonym for his Poems on Various Subjects (London, 1809). Poe could have read about his play in Thomas Moore’s notes to the Poetical Works of Lord Byron (London, 1832), 7:258, with the textual reference to “that heroic prince . . . clapt into a barrel on the stage.” In its three forms (three-act or two-act melodrama or burletta with songs) it continued to hold its place on the American stage into the period of Poe’s presence in New York City while writing Pym; Odell in Annals of the American Stage records these performances: two in 1823, three in 1825, one in 1827, two in 1829, two in September and October 1837, and one in 1843 (vols. 3 and 4). Resorting to the Polynesian for a possible clue, J. V. Ridgely (in PS, 3:6) finds in Tregear’s Dictionary under “ririri” that “Tekelili” means “to shiver, to shake” or that “tiki” means “god” and “lili” angry. Nearer home, J. O. Bailey, in PMLA, June 1942, 57:521, mentions that “Tekeli-li” may be corrupt Arabic for “Trust to me.” This is substantiated in Poe’s source for another passage of Pym (see 13.10A), namely James Riley, An Authentic Narrative, which provides a glossary of Arabic vocabulary including “Tekkela” for “trust or confidence” (Appendix, p. vi).

22.13A Tekeli-li]  The idea of preserving the body of the strange animal comes perhaps from Seaborn’s packing some mysterious Antarctic bones in a box for transportation aboard the Explorer in Symzonia (New York, 1820), p. 67, and, more indirectly, from the specimens that Lewis and Clark were expected to bring back from their expedition. More integrated writing would have required its being mentioned in 18.1, although Captain Guy had not then assumed the characteristics of a full-fledged scientific explorer. The stakes used in the tabu ceremony offer the slight discrepancy of being processed by Stone-Age savages likely to be handicapped in extensive wood-cutting, as is indicated by their astonishment in 20.8 at the felling of trees, but it does accord with their skill in 21.7. Pym’s incomprehension about the savages’ fear of whiteness is out of character or childish. Considering that their station on the hill lies near the gorge which was not very far from the village, nine miles inland, it is remarkable that they can thus discern a three-foot long animal.

23A (note for the numeral)]  In the 1838 edition of Pym, this chapter and the next (called in our edition 23 bis) are given the same number — an error retained by Griswold in the “second” or 1856 edition of Pym (Works, vol. 4). J. Ridgely and I. Havistock, TSLL, 7:63-80, very reasonably suggest that the first of these two chapters must be a late insertion by Poe, since the major substance of the chapter describes the mysterious chasms and their inscribed walls which occasion [page 340:] the cryptic concluding “Note.” The “narrative line” from chap. 22 continues Erectly into chap. 23 bis, with “no serious break,” they note. This is correct, except for one probable alteration probably performed by Poe: The first two paragraphs of 23 describe their installation of the “pent-house” and their resort first to the bird and next to the filberts, until the latter distress them and cause hem to seek a means of descent for a different food supply. Poe must have detached these two paragraphs (plus 3-5, q.v. under 23.5) from the following chapter, for which he wrote a new first sentence repeating this information as a ransition to the climb down the precipice.

23.1A table]  Poe is laconic about the “pent-house,” which would be a shed or a >helter, especially one with a sloping roof, placed against a wall. We have only the idea of a “platform” to help us, and had best imagine it as tree limbs with foliage placed against the side of the ravine, a little like the houses of the savages in 19.2. Too-wit’s home was likewise strewn with dry leaves, which in 23.4 become their “bed” like that provided for Odysseus in the Odyssey when he reached Phaeacia (VI).

23.1B them]  Traditionally the Indians are supposed to be skilled in making fire thus. Poe may have been reminded of this from the “Loss of the Brig Polly” (RS, p. 446) : “They remained. . . without fire . . . twelve days when the cook, an Indian from Canton, near Boston, suggested the operation of rubbing two sticks together, which succeeded.” Poe’s phrase “without difficulty” is far from accurate, unless he implies their shaping a two-piece “fire-drill” with their Bowie knife — one part being made out of the harder piece to twirl in the other. In view of their experience with starvation earlier and the great danger of betraying their hiding-place to the savages with the smoke, one wonders why fire was necessary.

The germ-source for the bittern in the wasteland was Isaiah 34, prophesying the eventual desolation of Idumaea (or Edom). Poe probably saw this, lengthily discussed, in Keith’s Evidence, pp. 159-61 (Harper reprint of 1832) or, less likely, in Stephens’ Incidents of Travel, 2:44, since this passage does not appear in any of the prepublication excerpts in the weeklies of April and May that I have been able to find (see Introduction, “Sources” at n. 17). As his entire chapter will indicate, barren and isolated Edam was certainly the groundwork for Pym’s hilltop wasteland in Tsalal. The bittern here described is different from any real one: related to the heron, but more secretive and solitary, it breeds in aquatic vegetation, in marshes, lakes, or large rivers. In 22.8, Poe correctly alludes to its slow flight, but it is known for its booming voice, and usually when alarmed, it freezes among the reeds, which it strikingly resembles in its plumage. Of course, Poe’s bittern, being black, could not use this camouflage. It was once regarded as a table delicacy. The chief elements of fantasy lie in giving it small wings, a barren upland for habitat, and plaintively searching companions. Poe’s idea may have come from any of a number of narratives telling of birds caught and consumed. In William Bligh, A Voyage to the South Sea (London, 1792), the starving mariners in the ship’s boat catch and share first a noddy and then a booby (also in ML, p. 231). Suggestive also may have been Morrell’s speaking of “a bird like a partridge, of a black colour . . . well flavoured,” on Tristan da Cunha (Narrative, p. 354). It is from this same section (chap. 2, “Fourth Voyage”) that Poe derives so much of chap. 15, with 15.3 and 4 describing the [page 341:] two smaller islands of the Tristan da Cunha group that suggest the high plateau on which Pym now finds himself.

23.2A descending]  The North American name for the Old World filbert nut is the hazelnut, on the tree of which the bark is brown mottled with gray, while the color hazel speaks for itself. The nuts are extremely nutritious and rich in oil; they would produce the digestive troubles of Pym and Peters if eaten to excess. The headache would be a less likely concomitant distress. It might be noted that the action, in 20.13, of gathering five or six at a grasp is not impossible, since the nuts grow in clusters of two to six (according to botanical texts, which speak of their needing moderately rich, well-drained soil — scarcely granted to them in 20.B and 23 bis.2). Poe is quite right in regarding them as a many-stemmed bush, rather than a tree when in a condition of nature. As for the tortoises, seen at such a distance — Poe may have remembered that Robinson Crusoe, exploring the other side of his island, found “the shore . . . covered with innumerable Turtles” as well as an “infinite number of fowls . . . some . . . called penguins” (Works [Oxford, 1928], 7:126).

23.3A ravine]  The idea for this isolated gorge-surrounded hilltop may have come from one of the MC, “Sufferings of Alexander Selkirk” (Philadelphia, 1806), 4:225: “He frequently looked down from the hills on the west end of the island. . . . However, the ridge running across the island . . . consisted of such terrible precipices, that . . . he never durst venture down.”

23.4A hours]  It is hard to see how their “push” to the east could have forced them down by a single “rugged path” since “eastward” is a general direction, and they could have proceeded toward the whole of the east from the mountain plateau around the path. It must be assumed, therefore, that the deep gorges, mentioned to the west and south, are also rimming the plateau to the east. There is ambiguity too in the expression of “toiling . . . hill,” until we realize that the tense of the participle is wrong; it should be “having toiled again.” It must be assumed, in general, that the hilltop is flat rather than steeply inclined; otherwise, the savages could behold them in their explorations from the ravines around the “hilltop.” This would be true not only of the north or village side, but also of the ravines elsewhere which had been used as passages from the village and presumably for their trips through the hills.

23.5A musket]  Over an untraveled hilltop area of many acres, the scurvy grass would have spread during the years beyond a single patch. In depleting the nut supply, Poe is giving a stronger reason than simple diarrhea for the descent. Poe again speaks as in 21.3, in the language of the “Pit and the Pendulum,” although here the word “walls” has an almost metaphoric meaning — the sheer cliffs below them. The descent into the “fissure” of escape seems designed to provide them with a musket, although this proves almost embarrassing as an object later, despite the minor use Poe devises for it (23 bis.10).

23.5B (footnote) of]  This footnote rather looks like an insertion into the original chap. 23 before the elaborate exploration of the chasms or pits below. The reference to the grayish “vapour” previously mentioned suggests also that the “thin vapour” of 17.12 is an insertion into a portion of the text completed, in order to develop a continuing theme that culminates — on a rather low-pitched note — in references to the “light gray vapour” of 24.4, with suggestions of volcanic action. [page 342:] Is it possible that up to this point at least Poe was contemplating some sort of volcanic solution to the search, reinforced by references to “scoria” in 23 bis. 5 (q.v)?

23.7A yards]  The words “hollow” and “pit” rather unusually refer to the “chasms” used above. Highly singular is Poe’s assertion about the width of forty or fifty yards, since the expanse of the legs and top circle of the figure, no matter how crudely it is drawn, requires all these chasms, twenty yards across, to measure about 160 yards, as a ruler applied to the figure will quickly show.

23.7B matter]  Geologically this paragraph is bizarre, for marl “is an old term loosely applied to a variety of materials most of which occur as soft, loose, earthy, and semifriable or crumbling, unconsolidated deposits, consisting chiefly of an intimate mixture of clay and calcium carbonate . . . usually gray,” although also of other colors (Glossary of Geology [Washington, D.C., 1972], p. 432). Yet, while the typical marls are like clay and readily disintegrate, “marl” and “marl-slate” can designate stone formations in other countries (q.v. in Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th ed., 17:736-37). This preludes 23.10.

What does Poe imply by “some metallic matter” here and in 23 bis.5? Possibly iron pyrites or gold is intended, since he is to hint at the idea of the island group as being the Solomon Islands (through Tsalemon), perhaps with an oblique hint of Solomon’s mines here. A marked curiosity is a chasm with opposite sides totally different because never “connected.” Another curiosity in 23.6 is the “chasm of black granite” which changes its substance when the curious “figures” extend past the entrance and which then recurs for the body of the “pits.” Granite is igneous rock of old origin and is not black. It is unlikely that Poe is alluding to another igneous rock, less widespread than granite, but found near Baltimore and up the valley of the Hudson, called “gabbro,” sometimes existing in a black, coarse-grained form. Poe referred to “Mica-slate, Quartz, Schist” et al. in the 1835 version of “Lion-izing” (1:175), expanded in 1840 to include “marl, talc,” and other rocks and minerals (1:182). In his article on “Stonehenge” of 1840 Poe includes a passage on types of rock, showing a continued interest in adding geological details of impressively technical nomenclature.

23.7C remembrance]  Perhaps there is indirect evidence of the late hurried writing of this chapter in that the passage — “Upon first descending . . . perfect regularity commenced” — contains three dangling participles. Poe’s footnote reference in 18.1, of January 18, to a “regular journal” seems similarly to have been added as a later insertion and is deliberately vague about when it was begun. Both references befit the “new” scientific observer of Antarctic phenomena. Misleading is the “long series of subsequent adventure” (sic), since very soon the tale will end, save that the phrase lends support to the idea of a lost conclusion (mentioned in the final “Note”) that will summarize the events of 1828 to 1836.

23.8A given]  The mysterious powder will become a theme in the rest of the work — in the powder falling into the milky sea of 24.9 and the final words of the afternote: “. . . my vengeance upon the dust within the rock.” As in 20.13, Poe conceives a fissure to be a narrow, peaked tunnel, closed on top. In the next paragraph we learn that the flints are white and like arrowheads — instruments of hostility, associated with American Indians, being the first white objects seen on the island. J. Crépet, editor of C. Baudelaire’s translation of [page 343:] Pym, p. 313, lamenting Baudelaire’s change of translated term from “white” to “yellow” in 1858, suggests that Poe might have intended these white weapons to be the original cause of the Tsalalians’ aversion to the color.

The source for the interlinked gorges, overgrown with brambles, may lie in Alexander Keith’s Evidence of the Truth of the Christian Religion, which Poe was probably studying for his forthcoming review of Stephens’ Incidents of Travel. Keith devotes pages to “the vast necropolis of Petra” with “the rocks hollowed out into innumerable chambers of different dimensions . . . all united” (p. 153) in illustration of Isaiah 34:13: “Thorns shall come [up] in her palaces, nettles and brambles in the fortresses thereof” (p. 155; the eye-catching italics are Keith’s).

23.9A thus]  In view of the subordinate loops of figures 1 and 2, lacking in figure 3 (see below), the overall dimensions given by Poe seem to correspond in proportions. Despite the many specific details of length and color of the flints and brambles, Poe does not tell exactly how the ancient flints “choked up” the passageway and how they were related to the “choking” brambles, which must be of recent growth. Flint has been found in all Stone-Age deposits, but Poe seems to be denying it to the Tsalal savages and vaguely implies here that the caches of flint represent another, perhaps superior group of now extinct conquerors. Although flint is naturally of dark gray or dark brown color, it turns white when fired. (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th ed., 10:522-23).

23.10A whole]  Unquestionably the chasms represent an Egyptian (or Coptic) word taken from Gesenius (q.v. in Note.6A), but it may also be that Poe concealed the letters of his own name in these three chasms, the first representing a small “e,” the second a capital “a,” and the third, which is markedly shorter, being the loop part of a “p” which is to be viewed as attached to the right-hand stem of the “a” as a post for the “p.” The Coptic letter is horizontal but the direction of Poe’s connecting passage or “aperture” would give it a vertical thrust, producing a more normal “p” than we see in the discrete elements. Hence there may be some slight reason for thinking of this as Poe’s imprimatur or signature, stamped on this chapter which was added after completion along with the “Note,” fully discussed below. The resemblance was suggested to me by Mr. Redmond Burke of New York City. Subsequently I have found Maurice Mourier in Esprit, December 1974, 42:902-26, presenting similarly the “e” and “a” but not the “p” in a structuralist view of Poe’s text as “a deadly machine, a contrivance for self-annihilation,” in answer to Jean Ricardou’s equally strained view of Poe’s work as a statement about reading a text (see 18.911).

As for the indentures (a word in use for “indentations” then) — marl does not “flake” as Poe says (perhaps by confusion with flint, which he has been mentioning) and, indeed, would not survive at all for many years, friable as it is (see above). Flint implements are made by “flaking.” Poe compounds the mystery of the origin by “disproving” Peters’ theory about the “alphabetical characters” at the same time that the “editor” responsible for the “Note” — neither Pym nor Poe — accepts his theory.

The theme of hieroglyphical wall figures in this chapter, especially if added after May 1837, could have been kindled by such passages as this in Stephens’ Incidents of Travel: “The rock was covered with inscriptions; but I could not [page 344:] read them” (1:152). They were not in the prepublication excerpts in the New York weeklies that I have traced. The influence of Stephens was briefly noted first by George Woodberry in Edgar Allan Poe (Boston, 1885), pp. 107-8. Another source may lie in The Journal of . . .Lewis and Clarke (sic), as Poe cites it in “Julius Rodman” (2.17, n.) for a description of a cave called “The Tavern” with “grotesque images painted on the cliffs” which “commanded great respect from the Indians.” He seems to be using this information again for cliffs whose wreckage provided “shoals of sharp-pointed flints” and on which there is a frieze of seeming human figures thus presented: “A fertile fancy might easily imagine them to be gigantic monuments reared by human art, and carved over with hieroglyphical devices” (“Rodman,” 6.4). In “Silence” of the same year (1837) the narrator remarks: “I could not decypher” the “characters upon the stone“later becoming “silence” in spelling. In “Mystification,” also of 1837, Poe shows this growing interest through the coded message about the duel. There is much that is provocative but insoluble about the figures depicted throughout this chapter. Figure 4 is said here to be a “rude representation of a human figure standing erect, with outstretched arm.” J. V. Ridgely has privately suggested to me a buried phallic joke in the form of the figure and subsequently J. G. Kennedy, in Topic: 30, Fall 1976, pp. 41-56, voiced this notion, which does not seem to me to accord with Poe’s tendencies. The oddity of giving the compass point direction of “northern” to a wall figure on the left underscores Poe’s intention here and in Note.7 to suggest superior visitors or conquerors from the North.

Marie Bonaparte psychoanalytically interprets the chasms as convoluted intestines, like Too-wit’s delectable “entrails,” and asserts of Pym and Peters: “Thus, the ‘brothers” exploration of the island’s dark bowels, whose rivers are veins of blood, would represent a phantasy of return to the mother, expressed in anal or intestinal terms” (The Life and Works of . . . Poe), p. 341.

In the 1838 London edition, in Griswold’s of 1856, and in all subsequent editions that I have seen, the dxact directions and arrangements of the hatchings are faithfully preserved and reproduced according to the 1838 edition.

23.11A figure 5]  Poe’s use of “caverns” for “gorges” is incorrect, since properly speaking a “cavern” is “a hollow place” or a “cave” with “associations of vastness, or indefiniteness of extent or limits” (OED). Poe’s usage seems to have no precedent.

His reference to “the ground to the eastward” shows that our assumption, in 23.4A, must be correct — that the land continues eastward until cut off by an unmentioned “precipice.”

To the end of this chapter and at the beginning of the next, Poe maintains the bizarre status of these soapstone hills (see 20.12) which somehow produce chasms with black granite sides different from the ravines limiting Pym’s “hilltop.”

Poe’s “circumference” for the outline of noncircular figures is rare but not neologistic. The “triangular holes,” seemingly inconsequential, will turn out to be orthographically necessary according to the Coptic word, discussed in Note.7.

23 bis.1A it]  The first sentence probably marks the opening of the fifth paragraph of the original chap. 23. Poe may have retained the first five paragraphs in their present position, i.e., the preceding chapter, upon adding his “new” section and the final “Note,” both devoted to the mysterious figures. The search represents [page 345:] a two-day narrative interpolation, February 17 and 18, with the story resuming, on February 20, with the present 23 bis.1 — the text as originally prepared for the May or June 1837 intended publication date.

By speaking of the “softest species of soapstone” he displaces the reader’s doubt that any species could be cut away with a knife. From the top an observer would be totally unable to know that the cliff was “overarching” in several places. The specific details mask a series of impossibilities here: that Peters must “leap” upon the ledge, when he is being aided by the handkerchiefs held by Pym; that there would be enough handkerchiefs to stretch twenty feet, for surely more than four would be needed (a point which I find also made by Evelyn Hinz, in Genre, December 1970, 4:393-94); that Pym, who soon shows himself to be the more vertiginous, could leap to the ledge without any help from the “handkerchief rope” (for it reappears in 23 bis.2); that the same process of cutting steps could be used in an overarching cliff as in 21.3 and 5, where the slope is usually forty-five degrees and only occasionally perpendicular; and finally that steps can be cut in a stone that would merely fracture rather than afford purchase for pegs on which men are to stand. Poe was to contrive the “upper window” escape of Cheyte Sing in Benares (“Tale of the Ragged Mountains,” of 1844) via a “string made of . . . turbans.” Readers of Typee must have observed the echoes of Pym’s escape in the tree-roots and narrows ledges of the gorges utilized by Melville for the escape in chap. 9, as Patrick Quinn has noted in The French Face of Poe, p. 292.

23 bis.2 accident]  Poe overlooks the resistance of soapstone to such gouging and the need for finding and cutting on the ledge the branches or other wood for over sixty of the necessary strong pegs, as well as Peters’ need to carry them all on his person as he slowly descends the cliff, and the loud noise produced by driving them into the rock, with the savages not very far away, as 23 bis.6 shows. Poe’s aim is to fill his account with so many details of the process that we put aside questions of this sort. One can estimate the number of pegs: by subtracting the first twenty feet, “leaped down,” and the last six feet we shall find that sixty-two pegs (at two feet apart) are needed-no inconsiderable number to cut, shape, carry, and drive into the rock. Poe kindly gives Peters the credit for the ingenious scheme, but it is probable that Frederick Marryat should also be mentioned for the contribution made by his novel Peter Simple, with which Poe shows familarity [[familiarity]] in his review of Marryat’s Joseph Rushbrook in the September 1841 Graham’s Magazine. In Peter Simple (London, 1834), chap. 21, Peter Simple and his friend O‘Brien are trying to scale the wall of a French prison with materials stored up in their false-bottomed trunk during their antecedent parole as prisoners of war. O‘Brien screws six large pieces of iron, fitted to a removable handle, at three-foot intervals into the interstices between the stone blocks and ascends the wall. Attaching his knotted rope to the top, he descends, unscrews the lower four with his gimlet handle, and using the top two for support, continues the process at upward intervals of three feet, but not directly above each other, until he reaches the top. From there, he and Peter, having easily ascended via the knots at two foot intervals, descend the other side. Poe cleverly adapts Marryat’s plan to an initial descent; hence his change of distance from three feet to two feet. We shall find, however, that according to 23 bis.4 Poe seems to have forgotten the basic features of the scheme of descent. [page 346:]

23 bis.3A support]  We must assume that the more agile and intrepid Peters has carried the musket during his leap to the ledge, leaving it there when he descended. It is not at all clear why Pym must fasten the rope to the filbert bushes, since if the pegs had been driven to the top, Pym could have grasped them at their two-foot intervals and descended with no further help. If he were extending the shirt-rope, tied to a bush and to his waist, what would happen at the very end? Who would detach the shirts, as he had done for Peters’ handkerchief rope? We are also mystified by an extent of shirts over five of the two foot steps plus the initial distance from the top — at least twelve feet. Even with their using body and sleeves, the need to knot them together and to the bush and around Pym’s waist would require a sixteen-foot extension of shirts. Later there is a further use for these shirts, which therefore must be retrieved here, on the brink.

23 bis.3B uncontrollable]  This celebrated passage has often been presented as an instance of the perverse self-destructiveness of modern man, as in “The Imp of the Perverse.” There are significant reasons for doubting the parallel, such as the patent madness of the narrator of the tale. There is no need to infer perversity rather than weariness and desperation, (see A. H. Quinn, p. 264). Poe often presents a rooted fear of heights, a tendency toward vertigo or “giddiness” in his works, as in “Morella” (1:232) and “Maelström” (1:578), and a fear of falling, as throughout “The Pit and Pendulum.”

The “knell of death” here recalls Macbeth’s lines: “Hear it not, Duncan, for it is a knell / Which summons thee to heaven or to hell.”

23 bis.3C arms]  This is one of the most deliberately and carefully wrought passages in the book, with its alliterated “s’s” and “Ps,” its carefully controlled vowels, such as the short “i’s” in “spinning,” “shrill,” “within,” “fiendish,” “filmy,” “figure,” and the short “u” in “sunk” and “plunged” and consonance of “heart” and “arm.” It has a tantalizing quality of diction as well, with its “phantom voice” and “fiendish and filmy figure”; in Politian (Poems, p. 268), “phantom voice” joins “imp” and also “trumpet-tongued” as in “The Imp of the Perverse,” which contains the associated phrase “chanticleer-note to the ghost” and “knell of our welfare” (2:1222), clear evidence of the Hamlet substratum of the passage (see my study in Etudes Anglaises, June 1976, 29:199-202). In keeping is the reference to Peters, initially introduced as “fiendish” or “grotesque” in appearance and “dusky” in color — the sole lapse from his “whiteness” at the end of chap. 21. Physical falling often leads to fainting, as in “Hans Pfaall” (para. 18). Peters is “filmy” to the eye of the dizzy, swooning man, and helps preserve the narrator just as does General Lasalle in “The Pit and the Pendulum.” H. Beaver makes Peters paternal here: “The grandson of ‘old Mr. Peterson’ restored as Peters’ son” in Pym , p. 266. Leslie Fiedler, The Return of the Vanishing American, p. 131, finds this to be symptomatic of a homosexual coital episode. The “bursting heart,” as in 1.6 and 12.8, alludes merely to the effect of excitement upon an organ which was indeed defective in the author himself according to T. O. Mabbott (Poems, p. 563) and Hervey Allen, Israfel (New York, 1934), p. 646. Poe has carefully considered the physical details of the episode: Pym turns “half round from the precipice” which he was earlier facing, so that he can look into the “abyss” (there is no need for a theological interpretation; see “Irene,” 1. 21; Poems, p. 183), and fall properly into Peters’ arms. The episode in Marryat’s [page 347:] Peter Simple (see 23 bis.2, above) may have influenced this, for Peter writes: “O‘Brien descended. . . . I followed him, and found myself received in his arms upon the meeting of the drawbridge” (chap. 21). This passage may have profoundly affected Melville’s White-Jacket, in the famous scene of the fall from the yardarm, as is indicated by Harry Levin, The Power of Blackness, p. 183, and Howard Vincent, The Tailoring of Melville’s White-Jacket (Evanston, 1970), pp. 226-27.

23 bis.4A returned]  Poe’s naturalistic explanation for the “phantom voice” of warning from Peters matches that in 1.6 and 7, with the same sequence: a scream of warning, as if from many demons, which congeals the heart and helps to produce the swoon. It is impossible that Peters would have time to ascend over fifty pegs covering one hundred ten or more feet to receive the weight of the sinking Pym while standing on one peg, with nice timing and with no way of maintaining his balance at all. Perhaps Poe, conscious of this weakness in his story line, therefore devised the continued attachment to the shirt-rope, seemingly disconnected in the preceding paragraph. More sensibly, Peters allows Pym to revive and descend by himself rather than entrust their combined weight to every peg.

23 bis.4B being]  A similar sequence will be that in “A Tale of the Ragged Mountains” (2.944) when Bedloe, terrified by his transmigratory, opiatic visions of strange drums and a possible abyss and “uncouth” and “dusky-visaged” natives, has an apparent lapse of consciousness from which “I arose . . . a new man, and proceeded steadily . . . on my way.”

23 bis.5A latitudes]  Possibly the pointing cave figure signifies the direction of escape for Pym and Peters. Poe’s bizarre details continue here, since the “ravine” of the avalanche was far within the soapstone hills and near the village, which is nine miles inland, not near the southern shore of the island.

Stephens’ Incidents of Travel, through newspaper prepublication excerpts, lent a source for the site of “degraded” biblical areas. The April 1, 1837, New-York Mirror, 14:325-26, furnished a passage from the book (2:9-25) about “cracked and crumbling” mountains, and the New-Yorker of April 22, 1837, 3:72, a view of the “crumbling masses of granite” on top of Sinai, which was “a perfect sea of desolation” (vol. 1, chap. 15). Alexander Keith’s Evidence of the Truth of the Christian Religion, p. 162, consulted at the same time, presented Idumea as swarming with “enormous scorpions.” Astoria, recently reviewed, surely furnished ideas in two or more passages: “confused masses; with precipitous cliffs and yawning ravines, looking like the ruins of a world . . . the ‘debris’ and ‘abrasions’ of former races, civilized and savage” (chap. 22) and even more directly: “The granitic summits of the Rocky mountains are bleak and bare . . . bear traces of volcanic action . . . are strewed with scoria and broken stones” (chap. 27). Poe errs in assuming that “scoria” is plural for a Latin neuter noun, for it is, correctly, “scoriae,” as in Morrell’s Narrative, p. 190. As R. Wilbur has seen, in his introduction to Pym, there may be a connection with the volcanic ash of the last chapter (pp. xxiii-xxiv). The “scoriac” of “Ulalume,” 1.14, in a polar ambiance, was to be a consequence of this passage. In the February 1836 SLM article on Palestine, Poe had spoken of thirteen cities mentioned in the Bible which were destroyed by a volcano. Poe had been interested in ancient ruins before this; A. H. Quinn, Poe, p. 103, traces the passage to Rollin as source of the Babylon [page 348:] references in early poems, such as the “City in the Sea,” for discussion of which see Poems, pp. 196-200, and Wilson O. Clough in Essays on American Literature, ed. C. Gohdes (Durham, 1967), pp. 77-89. Poe uses the same technique of ambiguous details here as in describing the “carved” prow of the canoe (17.11), and the writing on the chasm wall (23.10), where we also find the combination of granite, marl, and metal (again, is gold implied?). The phrase “disruptured cliff” is perhaps taken directly from Michael Scott’s The Cruise of the Midge, q.v. in notes to 21.7. The absence of vegetation and the presence of reptiles at the bottom of the gorge (which Poe indifferently called “pit” earlier) may lend support to the idea of hellish perdition for the soul of Pym, but this view ignores his prior feeling of being “a new man.” In 19.3 formidable but nonvenomous serpents crossed their path without dismay in the natives, and in 2.12 Pym had seen them in his prophetic dream-an integrating element of a sort.

23 bis.6A astonishment]  In chaps. 12 and 13, Poe has more accurately termed the reptile a tortoise or terrapin; strictly speaking these, being land creatures, should not be called “turtle.”

The murderous intention of the five savages, who all try to finish off one man, seems to be left dangling along with the phrase “upon turning a corner.” R. Wilbur is concerned to keep Pym as free as possible of “blood guilt,” and finds his use of pistols here and of knives below to be exonerable, although Pym is found to be the creator of all the dream horrors of the book (Introduction, p. xix). In simple narrative terms, Pym is certainly the hero of an adventure story, interested in survival with honor.

23 bis.6B field]  Pym is capriciously making his way with a heavy but damaged musket, which he will yet pick up and bear with him when they are desperately running from the hordes of savages in paras. 7 and 8. In the best tradition of tales of the West, Pym shoots the savages “in quick succession” and Peters (after having been felled by a club), brains the other three savages, said to be “brawny” in 18.3. Why Peters must be prudent about his shots, after the noises of Pym’s, is not made clear, unless Poe implies in the rather gratuitous remark about his great strength that he is better at clubbing than shooting.

23 bis.7A seashore]  Nu-Nu, to give him his name, could not have fallen through a mere concussion. We do not know the nature of his injury or the anticipated benefit in dragooning him. His complete submissiveness, after his initial resistance, is bizarre, since he might so easily have delayed the two critically. Poe must be thinking of Defoe’s taking up the savage Friday who would prove invaluable to him. Since Nu-Nu provides nothing essential to the last chapter, may we not assume that even at this point, Poe was unsure of how he was to end his novel? For a possible hint to Poe, see Morrell’s returning to America with two natives, named “Sunday” and “Monday” (Narrative, p. 466), to be educated as goodwill emissaries but, in fact, exploited in public exhibitions (q.v. in SAF, Fall 1976, 3:157-72).

The misspelling of “scarcely” in the first sentence was corrected in all the later major British and American editions.

23 bis.8A water]  In 23 bis.6 we learned that the seacoast was a half mile distant from a spot near that of the descent (see 21.7 and 23.1-3). The first trip to the village indicated a route through encompassing hills, so that an alternate gorge after the avalanche had filled one up would be required. Yet here the natives “pour” from the village, first presented as nine miles inland, and still not visible. [page 349:] Also, if the canoes are kept there, why are no natives between them and the shoreline itself? We are puzzled too as to why Pym and Peters, expecting the natives to arrive, should proceed almost a half mile, with no plan in mind, until, near the water, they consider regaining “the rougher ground” for “retreat.” The sudden discovery of the canoes is the kind of fortunate occurrence that Poe reprehended in the novels that he reviewed.

23 bis.8B rowers]  Each of the canoes has thirty “rowers” as the presence of one hundred ten natives in four canoes indicates in 18.3 (see 24.2A).

23 bis.9A butchery]  Pym’s perspectives and views are entirely unclear in this section, for their starting out, in para. 5, “not far from the ravine” means that they came from the entrance to the village. How then could their gaining the beach on the lowest ground permit them to see the natives “pouring” from the village, presumably through all the rough ground and “tumuli” through which they had passed?

23 bis.10A hills]  If we assume that the natives were two hundred yards distant when our friends entered the canoe, their proceeding fifty yards with no help from the captive, reversing their position and the forward motion of this fifty-foot canoe, and returning fifty yards to find only one savage at the other canoe, while the captive cooperatively sits awaiting their return — all this savors of magic. The first idea of pulling the unused canoe into “deep water” to outwit savages whom they know to be good swimmers (see 22.7) betokens an unwonted stupidity. As we see in 24.2, the material, being bark, should have been instantly demolished by the musket, presumably preserved solely for this purpose and inexplicably carried when they disembark; of course, one of the paddles or the toe of Pym’s boot could also have knocked disabling holes — and why must it be a “large portion” of the canoe? Can we reconcile all this activity with the late arrival of savages who “approached with inconceivable rapidity” and were at first only “twenty or thirty paces distant“? Is Poe expressing Pym’s compunction in “we were forced . . .” which is odd after the ruthless, self-defensive killing with pistols preceding the knifing? It seems doubtful that Poe is still trying to keep Pym guilt-free, especially in view of the rest of the statement about “fiendish race of men” — which repeats the sentiment of 20.9.

23 bis.11A us]  Nu-Nu’s presence as a “forced” paddler again makes us wonder about his former quiescence. Was it presumed to be really fear of Peters’ pistol? It is to be supposed that the reef encircling the island is sufficiently below the surface to enable canoes and rafts to cross it, if not a large vessel. Poe seems to use the term “canoe” to designate a raft in a unique way, for by definition and example a canoe is a “hollowed out” small boat, either in construction or in shape, according to the OED, and cannot be “flat-bottomed.” In 22.2 we were told of other islands to the south, and we know about the native voyages between the islands, but this danger of interception continues to be magically avoidable.

24.1A climate]  Poe is relying upon the bold improbability here of “milder climate” further south, after having somewhat prepared the reader’s mind through his long citations of Morrell’s Narrative to the same effect (16.6-8). Morrell, that charlatan explorer, had pretended regret when he was forced “to abandon . . . the glorious attempt to make a bold advance directly to the south pole” in the unquoted portion of that passage (Narrative, p. 67), which is so close to Poe’s wording, and continued to suggest that our lack of knowledge of [page 350:] a great land mass means “a clear sea is open for voyages of discovery, even to the south pole” (p. 69). Pym, backed by Symmes, clearly had to engage in a hazardous voyage, resembling, as the London Atlas of October 20, 1838, said, that of the monster at the end of Frankenstein (see the reviews in SAF, Spring 1974, 2:37-59). Somewhat belatedly Pym remembers the favorable southward current (24.3). By “lands” Poe signifies “islands,” which would not impede travel to the Pole.

24.2A barbarians]  For the “sea-parlance” (see 7.4) of “fifty feet room” see “seven feet water” (9.10B). Pym talks like an experienced “navigator” — antecedently familiar also with the Arctic Ocean and the South Pacific. The Indian canoes of the Columbia River area in Astoria (chap. 8) were probably the basis for this canoe: “Some are upwards of fifty feet long. . . capable of carrying thirty persons. . . . Their gunwales flare outward, so as to cast off the surges of the waves. . . . Should a surge throw the canoe upon its side . . . those to windward lean over . . . thrust their paddles deep into the wave, apparently catch the water, etc.” The size and break-wave use of the paddles are strikingly similar (cf. also 17.11 for use of the same passage for the canoe carvings). Poe’s January 1836 SLM review of Robinson Crusoe declares the Southern Ocean or the Antarctic to be “ransacked,” although in reality then unknown and, of course, without inhabitants. But Poe probably had in mind American Indian canoes or those of the Tierra del Fuegians, as described by Morrell (Narrative, pp. 95-96): “The ribs are generally made of slender branches or saplings. . . . The gunwales are formed of the same material. . . .” Poe’s “osiers” are not properly adapted to such a structure. His postulate of a more skilled tribe to the southwest of “our barbarians” may be a hint of the superior beings of the wall-writing, pointing to the south, but this derogates from the supernatural tone, culminating in the last words of the “Note.”

24.2B Tekeli-li]  It is difficult to see how the bark could be repaired without hot pitch or how to account for a “woollen jacket” (Pym’s or Peters‘?) which was apparently being doffed and donned throughout the descent of the cliff and worn throughout the escape from the natives. In Owen Chase, Narrative of the Most Extraordinary and Distressing Shipwreck of the Whale-Ship Essex, of Nantucket . . . (New York, 1821), p. 24, Poe could read: “Finding the water to pour fast in the . . . [whaleboat], I hastily stuffed three or four of our jackets in the hole.. ..” The setting up of the paddles is ingenious, utilizing as it does the shirts which were apparently not left behind during the descent, although never specifically detached from the cliff top in 23 bis.4. Another magical appearance is that of the rope needed to set up the paddles, to be lashed somehow to the gunwales or to the thwarts, which are not usually found in such native boats. The idea for this improvised sail of garments may have come from “The Loss of the Magpie” in MC (New Haven, 1834), p. 216: All that “the two men . . . could do was. . ., when the sea-breeze came, to place a thwart upright, with a jacket upon it, in the bows of the boat, and scud before the wind.” A hint also may have been in MC (Philadelphia, 1806), 2:35: “Each of us then took off his shirt, and . . . made a small sprit-sail. . . .” Strangely, neither Pym nor Peters has yet fathomed the native dread of white objects.

24.3A pursuing]  With a sail fastened to fixed spars, the boat could run only before the wind and could not so easily be directed, with a paddle, as Poe [page 351:] assumes. The reference to the tortoise here concludes the “frequent occasion to mention” it that Pym had promised in 12.17. Poe overlooks the need to retain the “copious supply of water” for seven days, no bottle being available as on the Grampus.

24.4A colour]  The phenomenon of aurora australis is somewhat oddly utilized in this paragraph, since it is to be seen only at night, and Poe believes that daytime still prevails south of Tsalal, as the note to 18.1 also indicates. This is probably the reason that Poe changes the phenomenon from weird displays of light to “gray vapour,” as in 23.5 and 24.9 and 12. (In reality, the eminent explorer, Sir Douglas Mawson, in The Home of the Blizzard [Philadelphia, 1914], 1:106, reports a good display of “aurora polaris” on March 12 with earlier ones “missed.”) The southern counterpart to the Northern Lights had been observed and described by Captain Cook and his colleagues, as was indicated in the long article on “aurora borealis” in Rees’s Cyclopaedia (vol. 3) of 1819; there too, Poe could have noted the usually “upright position” of the streamers of light, whether they are classed as rays or flames or draperies or arcs or coronas (see Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th ed., 2:929). The “lofty streaks . . . darting” in opposite directions are clearly intended by Poe for the “aurora,” although in quite impossible terms, and they are also quite incompatible with vapor. The height of the charged particles from the sun, striking the upper atmosphere near the magnetic poles, was always a concern to scientific observers, as Poe’s “twenty-five degrees” indicates. We now know the lower border to be usually from sixty to eighty miles above the earth (Harper Encyclopaedia of Science [New York, 1963], p. 120). Poe’s contemporaries were indeed puzzled by the phenomenon and assigned varied causes and even characteristics; Rees’s Cyclopaedia is definite about the “hissing, cracking, and rushing noise” — a widespread notion which might have suggested to Poe a connection with some kind of volcanic action in 24.9.

24.5A hill]  Poe here extensively uses his method of the distracting or convincing irrelevant detail as a realistic fill-in. Only the names are significant contributions to our views of the total scene: 24.1 had told us the number of islands; the king’s dwelling on a small island is irrelevant and basically absurd, as is the skin from the huge animal near the “court” (a pretentious word almost humorously used); the boat manufacture came from 24.2; and we already know that Bennett’s Islet (of the “cotton ledge” in 17.10 and 11 — now spelled in Morrell’s style) is not of the archipelago. The name of the king, with the ingenious alternate fricative beginning sounds, points to “Tsalal” which means “to be shaded, dark” in Hebrew, and “to be shady” in its ancient Ethiopian or Geez root (q.v., fully explicated, in Note.6A). Its sonic equivalent of Solomon (from a totally different root word) which Poe is also suggesting, was perhaps derived from Morrell’s chapters on the Massacre Islands, which are part of the Solomon Archipelago (Narrative, p. 394). Note Poe’s “island of the massacre.” Less likely is Poe’s borrowing “Solomon” from Reynolds’ Voyage, which discounts Sumatra as Ophir, signifying “ashes,” a theory presented by D. J. Tynan, PS, December 1971, 4:36. The material on “Tsalemon” and on “Tsalal” is parenthetical, suggesting its being added to this chapter as the new chap. 23 and the after “Note” were being added. Three reasons for this assumption, aside from the end-of-sentence and end-of-paragraph placement, are these: (l) Had Poe originally [page 352:] planned to use “Tsalal” he would have given it along with “Too-wit” in 18.5, to avoid the tedious repetition of “savages” throughout the last eight chapters. (2) In 22.8 he talks about the screams of the bittern, without indicating the nature of its protesting cries. (3) Two questionable usages make it likely that this was a hasty addition to the whole sentence: “governed by a common king . . . who resided in one of the . . . islands.” R. Wilbur, who comments on the transcendental “disjunction of earthly consciousness” at the transference of bird and human sounds (Introduction to Pym, p. xxiii), forgets that the hiss is not avian but rather serpentine (on Tsalal all things hiss like demons, perhaps); but more precisely, the sound of the bittern is a hollow boom — to which Poe is not, of course, committed.

The second sentence is clearly adapted from Morrell’s Narrative, p. 403, concerning the Massacre Islands: “Henneen . . . was . . . the chief of this island: King Nero, the monarch of the whole group, being here on a visit from the largest island in his dominions, lying about seven miles to the south, on which he resided.”

The root of the name, “Nu-Nu,” perhaps correctly glossed by S. Kaplan, Introduction, p. xviii, as “to deny,” appears in the Gesenius Lexicon as the fifth conjugation verb “nu,” to “refuse” (p. 653), and characterizes the native’s behavior at the end, although not during their race to the canoes. Claude Richard rather untenably proposes anagrammatic meanings for Tsalal, in Delta No. 1, November 1975, 1:118; “Atlas” for “la terre totale” and “at last” for “la derniere terre,” the latter idea probably derived from James Cox, “Edgar Poe, Style as Pose,” Virginia Quarterly Review, Winter, 1968, 44:73, who also includes “alas” as part of the anagram.

24.6A southward]  Poe probably counts upon the reader’s having forgotten that the waters around Tsalal were black or “extraordinarily dark” (18.2). Is Poe providing the opposite, namely, milk-whiteness, in fulfillment of the promise of “novelty and wonder,” with the other white elements following: the falling powder and even the final white figure? The contemporary views of the “aurora” connect it with electricity, magnetism, clouds and vapors, and volcanic eruptions, q.v. in Rees’s Cyclopaedia; the last especially may have suggested this and para. 9. Other sources, especially for the milkiness, may be found. J. V. Ridgely, in PS, June 1970, 3:5, suggests Malte Brun, A System of Universal Geography (Boston, 1834), wherein a description of the Molucca Sea gives us: “A great number of volcanoes . . . produce changes in the form of its bed . . . the periodical appearance of a current of opake [sic] white water, like milk. . . . During the night it is somewhat luminous. . . . It is dangerous for vessels, for the sea seems to undergo an inward boiling agitation, wherever it passes . . .” (1:598-99). (Poe may have been led to this work from Morrell’s citations from it, Narrative, pp. 124, 189, 190, 257, and 330). In Symzonia, concerning the Indian Ocean around Réunion, we read: “The water . . . being charged. . . with phosphoric matter, assumed . . . the appearance of a sea of liquid fire, boiling and whirling with ceaseless agitation” (p. 231; see 24.13).

24.7A Tekeli-li]  There is something of the stage magician’s action in this sudden flaring of the “white handkerchief” (surviving from the “rope” used by Peters) out of the pocket of a “coat” which has no more logical reason for existing than the “woollen jacket” of 24.2, and Nu-Nu’s fear-motivated shock followed by torpor is a fitting response. Peters’ apathy of 24.11 is less explicable save [page 353:] as an equivalent to Pym’s “listlessness” in this sultry supernatural scene. Inconsistently, Poe omits italics for “Tekeli-li” only here and in Note.8.

24.8A all]  Poe almost quotes his ending to “MS. Found in a Bottle”: “It is evident that we are hurrying onwards to some exciting knowledge. . . . Perhaps this current leads us to the southern pole itself” and, a little earlier: “I must suppose the ship to be within the influence of some strong current. . . .” There, however, he permits his narrator a horrified sensibility. The “numbness of body and mind,” Bezanson feels, makes this “the climactic dream. . . . The current, then, is a superb metaphor of dream power. . . . Pym’s long search for oblivion . . . is over” (p. 171). Some might object to the deliberate record of the events and the survival of the dreamer. The vague reference to oncoming winter is clarified by “a sullen darkness” in 24.13.

24.9A arise]  As the sky grows darker, the vapor can indeed perceptibly turn whiter. The “flaring up” at the summit, even though only of the vapor or cloud, certainly suggests a volcano, despite the disclaimer that the powder is ashes. Thomas Philbrick, James Fenimore Cooper, p. 176, mentions Reynolds’ speculation about volcanic eruptions from the earth’s interior as warming the polar regions. More tangential are Morrell’s scattered references to volcanic vapors, cinders, and ashes falling on the sea and land (Narrative, pp. 106, 160, 189, 192-95, 487-88 and, especially, p. 185, for a “white dust or powder”). H. Beaver, Pym, p. 267, also mentions this echo from Morrell. Woodberry, citing incorrect pages in the Narrative, was the first to do so, in Works, 5:437-38. The dust deep in the chasms on Tsalal (chap. 23) was perhaps the vestige of a primeval eruption. Mozelle S. Allen suggests an echo of Voltaire’s Voyages de Scarmentado with a confrontation of a black and a white whose skin is “the color of ashes,” in TSLL, 1935, 15:68. On the other hand, Cordelia Candelaria, in PS, July 1973, 6:26, naturalistically insists that the powder is snow, that the numbness is due to their freezing, and the Tsalalians’ fear is an ancestral tabu against polar temperatures.

24.10A Tsalal]  Obviously the questioning of Nu-Nu here instead of in 24.5 breaks up the sequence of similar appearances of white water and listlessness, since the native is almost torpid. Perhaps the ultimate in the reversal of norms is the black teeth of Nu-Nu, in showing which he implies an eternal enmity between white and black. In 19.4 Poe had concealed the natives’ teeth, even in their laughter, but in 19.6 the feast scene should have revealed them. The idea may have come from ML; “The Loss of the Alceste,” p. 419, concerning the teeth blackened from chewing “the beetle [sic] nut and siri” and their “fiendlike and murderous look.” In the October 5, 1833, Baltimore Saturday Visiter, the number directly preceding the announcement of Poe’s winning the prize for “MS. Found in a Bottle,” published on October 19, and unquestionably read by Poe, appears a paragraph (p. 4) entitled “Black Teeth. The teeth of the Tenquinese [sic] . . . are black as art can make them”; it tells about the painful dyeing operation to avoid “teeth white as those of dogs or elephants.” The Encyclopaedia Britannica (Philadelphia, 1798), 9:507, “Ladrone Islands,” tells of the natives’ regular practice of staining their teeth black through herbs.

24.11A more]  Pym’s fervid curiosity is now dulled for the first time; G. Rans, Edgar Allan Poe, p. 93, notes: “Peters and Pym . . .1ike so many of Poe’s heroes . . . succumb to a trance-like condition of sleep-waking.” [page 354:]

24.12A sound]  The phrase “gigantic curtain” suggests that the inspiration for the heavenly display in Pym was the type of aurora called “curtains or draperies” (see Encyclopaedia Britannica), but the image of flowing skyey ramparts (simply “walls”) — often in a reigning silence — appears before Pym in Poe’s works — in the 1835 version of “Hans Pfaall”: “Its entire mass of waters seemed . . . to tumble . . . over the abyss of the horizon . . . the echoes of the mighty cataract”; in the 1831 “The Valley Nis”: “clouds. . ./ Rolling, like a waterfall, / O‘er th‘horizon’s fiery wall”; in “Silence” published in 1837, composed 1833: “The gray clouds . . . roll, a cataract, over the fiery wall of the horizon. But there is no wind. . .” (1:195-96); in “MS. Found in a Bottle” are “stupendous ramparts of ice, towering away into the desolate sky”; and in 1847 it would appear again in “The Domain of Arnheim” in “a panoramic cataract” of gems “rolling silently out of the sky” (2:1281). Poe’s two-week gap in time avoids the tedium of repeating these limited details or of inventing a greater variety; more essential perhaps is that it advances the final scene to the first day of spring (q.v. below).

24.13A boat]  While “sullen” may usually mean “moodily silent” today, it has long been applied to objects to mean “baleful” or “unyielding,” as “sullen glow” and “sullen glare” in “MS. Found in a Bottle” (see 10.5 above for probable meaning of “dull in sound” but possibly also “baleful”). It is a popular word with Poe, being found in “King Pest,” “Loss of Breath,” “Usher,” “Pit and Pendulum,” “Metzengerstein,” “William Wilson,” and “Tamerlane.” The well-wrought sentence has a quite magical sound effect derived from the prose rhythm and the assonances contrived through short “u” and long “o” and alliteration of “d” and “b.” In fact, the word “bulwarks” applied usually to a ship, not to a canoe, seems used chiefly for this effect (see 24.2 for “gunwale” used by Morrell and Poe).

24.13B velocity]  This month-long journey to the pole could not take half the time indicated. Surely Poe knew that all the evidence presented here and earlier would have made his readers suspect either his data or his accuracy. The latter possibility is raised by his footnote disavowal of “strict accuracy in these dates” (24.4). The two “white men” had no clock more objective than the regularity of their digestive system, for Poe was to assert in “Marginalia” no. 38 (November 1844) that “We appreciate time by events alone” and distinctive events, differing each day, are absent here. Hence, we may possibly assume a journey of fewer than half the days stated — a conclusion which would cancel out the advantage of the date of March 22 as the terminal one. Accepting Poe’s alleged thirty days from the descent from the cliff and start of the canoe journey (23 bis.1), we find that it all fails to hang together. First of all, Poe presents the current sweeping the Jane Guy on to the Pole, in the path of which are the islands, as increasing from a quarter of a mile (17.3) to a half (17.8), to three-fourths (17.9), and to a full mile per hour (18.1). There is no reason to doubt the continuance of this in 24.3 when they set out and proceed under the influence of “a strong current,” which bears all the signs of increasing to the “hideous velocity” of this paragraph. This would mean a distance covered at not less than twenty-four miles a day and probably much more since it had increased beyond the initial mile an hour. Moreover, their sail of shirts, improvised to take advantage of the winds which prevailed until March 5 (24.8), added to their rate, for at least a full week, and possibly almost two. Since they start their [page 355:] journey beyond the eighty-fourth parallel, six degrees only from the Pole, and each degree covers roughly seventy miles of earth’s surface, their total journey is under 420 miles. At the minimal rate of a mile an hour this should take them seventeen days. Given a much more rapid current and the week or two of wind power, it should have been half this, or a little over a week — not the month asserted by Pym. I suspect that originally Poe had dated these last two paragraphs as March 10 and 11, for the conclusion, but altered them to make the confrontation accord with the first day of spring and to give a nine-month total to the action of the story. (Poe’s moving up of the date is a point made by John P. Hussey in the South Atlantic Bulletin, May 1974, 39:31). This may appear to confirm the interpretation of Pym as an implicit account of revelation and spiritual rebirth into a state of exalted awareness, but it also appears an adventitious mystical afterthought, in the vein of chap. 23 taken together with the “Note” (q.v. below).

24.13C course]  The word “rents” continues the comparison of the vapors to a curtain in 24.12 and 14. In its slightly archaic quality (and its repeated use), continued in the phrase “from out” for the more colloquial “out of,” it introduces the biblical style of the last paragraph (q.v.) and also of the prophecy at the end of the “Note.” The word “images” is ambiguous since there can be little question of its ordinary use for “copies” or “representations” or “pictures” here; “shapes” or “forms” would be expected. Possibly Poe is suggesting the nearly obsolete but not unfamiliar meaning of “apparitions,” as in Hamlet, I, i, 81. Poe is probably not implying glimpses behind the veil of life concealing the dead, despite his language of the next paragraph. (I doubt Poe’s awareness of this comparison in Shelley’s Prometheus Unbound, III, iii, 113, and the sonnet, “Lift not the Painted Veil,” as early as the composition of Pym. See also 24.14C below.) The paradoxical ambiguity is continued in soundless winds which “tear up” the “enkindled” ocean, presumably boiling in its heat. Poe was to repeat the elements of “luminous” seas torn up by soundless winds in “The Balloon-Hoax” of 1844, paras. 16-17 and 20, but accounts for the former by phosphorescence and the latter by viewing the sea from above the sound-limit, in the airship.

24.14A March 22]  The ending of the book approximately with the vernal equinox is first given “revelational” significance in the comment of Sidney Kaplan: “It is on the opening day of spring that Pym is taken by the white god” (Introduction, p. xxiii).

24.14B us]  The reflected “glare” (i.e., “thrown back from the white curtain” fantastically) may have been suggested by Morrell’s paragraph on “ice-blink,” coming directly after that on the Antarctic as open to the South Pole: “. . . Icefields . . . may frequently be ascertained by their reflection on . . . the horizon, in a stratum of local whiteness. . . . the rays of light striking the surface of the ice obliquely. . .” (Narrative, pp. 69-70, see also 24.14D for O‘Donnell’s view of this “glare”).

24.14C vision]  If “pallidly” is not simply an intensive for “white,” it may here have its common connotation of “deathly” or “sickly” (see OED). I doubt Poe’s intending any pun (as has been suggested) on “pall” or “shroud,” from an entirely different root. The Encyclopaedia Americana (Philadelphia, 1829), 1:132, under “albatross” mentions the voice of the albatross as a “harsh, disagreeable [page 356:] cry” like the “braying of an ass.” The note on his “first albatross” by Melville (Moby-Dick, chap. 42), who was surely familiar with Pym, presents more fully several aspects of Poe’s “goney”: “In waters hard upon the Antarctic seas . . .I saw a regal, feathery thing of unspotted whiteness. . . [with] vast archangel wings. . . . Wonderous flutterings and throbbings shook it. . . . It uttered cries. . . . The white thing was so white, its wings so wide. . . . In the wondrous bodily whiteness of the bird chiefly lurks the secret of the spell.. . .” Surely too, there is a trace of Pym at the end of “The Chase — Third Day” with its “skyhawk” that “tauntingly had followed” and dies “with archangelic shrieks” in the vortex of the Peguod. Melville’s “white-lead chapter about whiteness” (chap. 42) is full of verbal reminiscences of Pym, such as “broken ramparts,” “his ship sailing through a midnight sea of milky whiteness,” “the shrouded phantom of the whitened waters,” and “the monumental white shroud that wraps all the prospects around him.” For the influence of this and other portions of Pym upon Melville’s Mardi see Faith Pullin, ed., New Perspectives on Melville (Kent, Ohio, 1978), pp. 34-38.

24.14D snow]  Up to the advent of the mysterious “figure” in the final two sentences, Poe seems intent on repeating the implication of the ending of “MS. Found in a Bottle” — of an engulfing abyss leading perhaps to the internal world postulated in John Cleves Symmes’s theory of the hollow poles, suggested also in Hans Pfaall’s aerial observation of a “surface . . . concave, at the Pole itself” (para. 56). For Poe’s possibly knowing Symmes’s Theory of Concentric Spheres (Cincinnati, 1826), which greatly influenced J. N. Reynolds, see Tales, 1:131-32, 148, n. 6; J. O. Bailey, Intro. to Symzonia and PMLA, 57:513-22, and H. Beaver, Pym, pp. 10-13. On p. 244 H. Beaver aptly asks whether Poe knew The Life of . . . Peter Wilkins with its journey “towards the South Pole” and “into an underground world” — a query apparently answered by para. 86 of “Hans Pfaall.” Also, in Peter Wilkins (chap. 6) the thirsty, starving men in the boat wring out their clothes for the dew or rainwater, eat their recently deceased comrades and give out lots for a “sacrifice” of a living one just before their rescue; they also get drunk on Madeira wine. These are hints for Pym, but note the caveat in 86A about Poe’s probable knowledge of the book.

Discussions of the nature and significance of the shrouded, white figure have become legion. One likely source for the “shrouded human figure” with “skin . . . of the perfect whiteness of the snow” is important because it suggests that Poe may have added the last two sentences at the time he added the Afternote and Ch. 23, or even later. In the 30 para. article concerning Antarctic experiences, “Leaves from an Unpublished Journal,” in the New-York Mirror of April 21, 1838, Jeremiah Reynolds furnishes several hints (note especially the “spectre” allusion) to Poe, such as these phrases and sentences: “immense, towering islands of ice” and “loftier spires of rock and ice” (para. 2); “a flood of dazzling splendour. . . . from a thousand pinnacles of ice and snow” and “tremendous ice-mountains . . . ‘desolate in their misty shrouds’ ” and “huge hammocks . . . under every conceivable variety of figure, and white and spotless as the purest of alabaster” (para. 4); “icebergs . . . looming like mountains around us” (para. 9); “A fog like the night of Egypt enveloped us in its dismal veil.” (para. I1); “The island was still shrouded in a mist.” (para. 14); “nothing but sky, ocean, clouds, and glittering pyramids” (para. 15); “A firm, unbroken body [page 357:] of ice . . . rose perpendicularly from the water’s edge . . . . accumulating for centuries” and “a mist, like the smoke from the crater of a volcano” (para. 16); “the white mantle which wrapped those unvegetating mountains” (para. 21); “innumerable flashing mountains of crystal” (para. 23); “vast pyramids of ice issuing like towering spectres from the dim and shroud-like vapours” (para 25); and “we suddenly found ourselves again enveloped in a dirty and desolate mist” (para. 28). Richard Kepley, in “The Secret of PymSAF, Autumn 1980, 2:203-218, confirms my view of Poe’s use of this source, for the final journal entry (see p. 213). The idea for the figure may have come from Symzonia, a kind of utopian novel, in which the land beyond the Pole, in the Internal World as Captain Seaborn calls it, is occupied by beings so white as to render earthlings “sooty” by comparison-each dressed in a white garment (pp. 105-10). To this notion Poe added, probably after concluding this chapter, the concept of the dispersal of an ancient civilized tribe, which has gone on into Ultima Thule after holding in subjection the degraded natives, still holding their masters’ memory in awe. Stephens’ Incidents of Travel and Morrell’s Narrative promoted this narrative conclusion, as has been cogently argued by J. V. Ridgely in his study in Papers on Poe, pp. 104-12. Poe in adding the present chap. 23 and the terminal “Note” sought to lend substantiation to this implication, and laid the groundwork moreover for a Symzonian sequel to Pym, should it be given a critically favorable reception. Poe may have been adapting material from Bryant’s Mythology 3rd ed., (1807), which he had used in “Shadow” of 1835 (1:192, n. 9) and was to use later in “Eleonora” (1:646, n. 4), “Maelström,” “Mellonta Tauta,” and Eureka. (This point is also made in a study by Stuart and Susan Levine in ESQ, 1975, 21:197-214.) The context of the Mare tenebrarum passage (used in the last four) in Bryant’s chapter, “Of the Migration and Dispersion of Nations,” (4:79-80), concerns the Titans who “were banished, and supposed to live in a state of darkness beyond the limits of the known world.” The “sea of darkness” had surrounded Tsalal, and it was simple for Poe to change the color and to preserve the size of those who first went southward “in order to explore what it might contain.” Delving into Norse mythology, which was probably unknown to Poe, Haldeen Braddy ascribes the shrouded figure to Odin as Lord of Death, in TSLL, Fall 1959, 1:399. A seminal view of the ending of Pym is Edward Davidson’s in Poe (Cambridge, 1957), chap. 6, that Pym progresses from ignorance to comprehension of the whiteness which is equivalent to “a blinding One” or Unity. “He dies the instant he is about to be born again . . . the moment he faces the white light of revelation” (p. 177). A more recent follower of this view, which ignores Poe’s stress upon polar discovery and scientific exploration, is G. R. Thompson, Poe’s Fiction, pp. 182-83. Harry Levin, The Power of Blackness, p. 117, was perhaps the first to suggest, for the shrouded figure, an angelic presence, derived from the Gospel of Saint Mark (i.e., 16:5); even closer, at least in language, is Matthew, where “the veil of the temple was rent” (27:51) and “his raiment [was] white as snow” (28:3). Another source for divine welcoming, mentioned by many and most fully elaborated by R. Wilbur, Pym, p. xxiv, lies in both Daniel 7:9, “The Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow,” and Revelation 1:14, in which the Son of man has head and hairs “white as wool, as white as snow.” A fanciful view of the sea as mother’s milk, the language as infantile babble, and [page 358:] the figure as “the great maternal divinity” bringing death as well as the comfort of the womb is elaborated by Marie Bonaparte, The Life and Works of Edgar Allan Poe, pp. 34-52. (For an amusing defense of Baudelaire’s translation of “figure” by “man” against Marie Bonaparte’s attack, see the long note by Crépet in his edition of Pym, pp. 316-17). Using the concept of “regression” into “a death which is also a birth,” Joseph Moldenhauer forges a fine chain connecting Pym to “the Deity of Eureka” — both ending in a kind of unity that he here calls “Pym’s polar epiphany” (TSLL, 1971, 13:269-81). Part of his argument is similar to that in a paper by Charles O‘Donnell, PMLA, March 1962, 77:85-91, which contains also an explanation of the “white figure”: that the “glare . . . thrown back from the white curtain” betokens a change of wind or a storm, as earlier does the “bright spot to the southward” (14.5), blowing forward a rescuing ship with a white “figurehead, sail, or prow” to bear Pym and Peters back to civilization. Poe uses his characteristic method of presenting inconsistent and discordant elements, but here the style is not matter-of-fact but incantatory, biblical, and poetic. There is, first, the glare of the water which is milky to begin with-a faint trace of the gum-arabic water of Tsalal which produced no reflection. Next we find birds, a little like the albatross in size, which have no thematic reason at all to echo the tabu cry of the Tsalalians, especially since they come from “beyond the veil” and are white in themselves. It is effective, as a sound and sight effect, but an improvised whim. Nu-Nu has to be disposed of once Poe determines to bring the other two back alive. It is possible, now, for readers to interpret as a warm welcome the words “embraces” and “open to receive us“-as does R. Wilbur, but the conjunction introducing the reference to the “human figure” should then have been “and” rather than “but.” Logically, there is a hint of menace, not of greeting. Are we to assume a bit of self-destructive perversity in the verb “rushed” which might merely reveal the strength of the current? It is Poe at his ambiguous best. Finally, Poe seems a bit undecided about the humanity of the figure, which is “human” but larger than man. Whether earthly, angelic, or heroic, there is tangential preparation for this surprising turn earlier in the work only if chap. 23 is read in the light ,of the “Note” (q.v.). Beside the careful balance of sentences and the biblical diction (such as “his spirit departed”) we have a scripture-sounding polysyndeton in the last sentence which is noted by Harry Levin, The Power of Blackness, p. 117, and by Jacques Cabau, Introduction to Pym (Paris, 1974), p. 26. Cabau grandiosely regards “this heavy apparatus of coordination,” preserved by Baudelaire, as symptomatic of Poe’s basic desire to link all elements within the book and within the universe. For the four instances of “of” — used perhaps incantatorily — compare Poe’s objection to an excess of the preposition in Wyandotti, reviewed in the November 1843 Graham’s Magazine. There is a trace of this ending in “The Fall of the House of Usher” which introduces a white-shrouded figure at the end in the person of Usher’s sister, but this is more directly due to Fouqué’s Undine (see my study in Studies in Romanticism, Winter 1975). Poe’s “Dreamland” of 1844 recalls the ending: “There the traveller meets aghast / Sheeted Memories of the Past — / Shrouded forms that start and sigh / . . . / White-robed forms of friends long given, / In agony, to the Earth-and Heaven” (11. 33-37). The influence of the ending upon Melville’s Moby-Dick is early remarked by George D. Snell in The Shapers of American Fiction (New York, [page 359:] 1947), p. 59, and Patrick Quinn, The Hudson Review, Winter 1952, and upon Rimbaud’s “Bateau ivre” by Leon Lemonnier, Edgar Poe et les poètes français (Paris, 1932), p. 86, by Gaston Bachelard in his 1944 Introduction to Pym, and by F. O. Matthiessen in the Sewanee Review, September 1946, 54:175-205. The most deliberate and earliest of several sequels was that of Jules Verne, using elements from the ending in Le Sphinx des places (1885).

Note.A (title)]  Only one study, that of J. V. Ridgely and I. S. Haverstick, TSLL, 7:63-80, has considered the clear-cut evidence that the Afternote was added after the completion of Pym at the same time as the present chap. 23, the two sections primarily concerned with the meaningful gorges of Tsalal. They assert the need to explain the absence of a proper conclusion, that is, a description of what lies behind the curtain. Several of the elements of these late additions now suggest either an angelic or a divine provenance for the figure that will stifle the reader’s demand for a scenic description. Briefly, they are the following: The curious gorges set in soapstone hills are approached by a long “abyss” one side of which is marl and the other of soapstone, but the gorges themselves are uniformly of black granite, including the two small pits at the end; and the three long hieroglyphic figures (Coptic or “Ethiopic” says the “Note”) are “exactly twenty yards” distant in width. Ancient man can dig but not thus accurately, in the shape of complicated figures, lining his handiwork with an otherwise unmentioned and unavailable stone. The second sign of divinity is the linear “indentures” like “alphabetical characters” or the outlines of a figure, formed by a “convulsion from the surface.” The third is the “impalpable powder” the presence of which Poe makes a point of noting as being prevalent everywhere on the floor, even in the connecting tunnels with their “low and regularly-formed arch” — clear signs that the powder does not sift down from above as would ordinary volcanic ash. In the “Note” the trilingual expertise of the shaper and decorator of the “pits” proves their divine origin, finally confirmed by the scriptural utterance so mysteriously and aptly ending the “Note.”

Note.1A public]  Only three of the twenty-six reviews and notices of Pym in America and England objected to the ruse by which the omission of a proper ending was justified: Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine, the Knickerbocker, and the London Torch — proof perhaps of how little attention is paid to anything headed “Note” even by reviewers (for the full text of the major reviews see SAF, Spring 1974, 2:37-56; PS, December 1975, 8:32-35; and PS, December 1976, 9:43-44). The reader must either assume Pym’s death to be a hoax, since it is said to be “well-known” and Pym has signed the Preface, dated July 1838, or he must assume himself to be poorly read in the “daily press.” The next sentence, however, proved the hoax view, since the Preface had returned Pym “a few months ago” (token of its having been written in 1837), and the “few remaining chapters” must account for almost nine years, from 1828 to 1837. There is self-contradiction, also, in the “irrevocably lost” which becomes “if ultimately found” in the next sentence. This and the last sentence of paragraph two point to a dimly considered sequel, if the book finds popular favor, I believe. There is probably truth in the statement about setting the copy up in type before the end had been presented by Poe to the Harpers’ editor and typesetter, in view of the doubly numbered chapter 23. [page 360:]

Note.2A account]  The diffidence of Poe about the ending expressed here contradicts the statement in Preface.2 about his interest “particularly in regard” to the portion about the “Antarctic Ocean” (see also 24.2). As the notes have shown, “the general inaccuracy of the details” is a good characterization of Poe’s whimsical method. Robert M. Adams in NIL (New York, 1966), p. 44, thinks the word “vacuum” eminently suitable for the “inconclusive” ending which “undermines” the story sequence and kills off the author. J. V. Ridgely and I. Haverstick, TSLL, 7:63-80, doubt that an untrustworthy “half-breed” (Preface.1) will be capable of producing a sequel, but he has been transmogrified by the end of the book, as Pym has stated and as Peters’ insights in the “Note” show. The murder by Indians of Peters’ prototype, Pierre Dorion, toward the end of 1812 is feelingly told in the last chapter of Astoria.

Note.3A Ocean]  The “completion” of the narrative was to encompass the “nine long years, crowded with events . . . startling . . . and unconceivable” (10.1). It would also reveal “intensely exciting secrets” (17.2) beyond the warm climate at the Pole; this latter portion, however, has been “lost.” With what wonderful bravado Poe converts the Wilkes Expedition into an instrument for checking on his unstated conclusions!

Note.5A Poe]  Rather whimsical is the use of “facts” here, since only the “body of the narrative” or at least, as far as Poe is concerned, the note-material given him by Pym originally could have presented these minute “facts” of chap. 23 to his attention in the first place. In para. 4 and here the word “singular” anticipates the true miracles of philology in the next two paragraphs. This is well traced by J. V. Ridgely in Papers on Poe, pp. 104-12, to the effect that in his Address J. Reynolds had printed letters from philological experts, such as Charles Anthon, John Pickering, and Josiah W. Gibbs (Address, pp. 139-48); these bore witness that exploration would reveal the sources, migrations, and linguistic relationships of all the peoples of the earth. Poe was mindful also of Stephens’ thesis in Incidents of Travel and Keith’s in Evidence . . . concerning the destruction by divinity of great but sinful civilizations, and was stimulated by Morrell’s descriptions of the blacks of the Massacre Islands and of the degraded Patagonians in his Narrative (p. 248; see also p. 91); he ingeniously concocted a philological puzzle for the new chapter and the “Note” from the pages of Gesenius’ Hebrew . . . Lexicon. Probably with the help of a student or teacher in a theological seminary (his letter of 1844 to Anthon seems to exclude Anthon’s aid for Pym), Poe ingeniously constructed his own divine glyphs, as though on Belshazzar’s wall, relating to the degraded blacks of Tsalal and the superior whites who, having stayed, governed (perhaps symbolized by the white flints) and, having incurred devilish hostility, had now moved on to the polar region. J. O. Bailey, in his pioneer study of the sources of Pym, PMLA, September 1942, 57:513-36, surmises that Poe implied the Lost Tribes in Tsalal and the land of the Pole, divided into the Black and White Jews, as in Rees’s Cyclopaedia article on “Jews,” vol. 19. This article Poe had read along with many others for his February 1836 SLM essay “Palaestine.” In “Pinakidia” no. 23 (August 1836) Poe alluded to the idea of dispersion of the Jewish tribes into South America. This material, with its several errors, was also coincidentally used by Poe’s friend Major Mordecai Noah, editor of the New York Evening Star (see Tales, [page 361:] 1:290) in his celebrated speech given at the Mercantile Library Association during the winter of 1836 and printed for publication in May 1837 (see p. 19 for the allusion). See the New-Yorker of June 10, 1837, and the Knickerbocker of June 1837 for reviews of Discourse on the evidences of the American Indians being the descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel. Even more important may have been Anthon’s views on the roots common to all languages, indicating the “dispersion of mankind” from a common ancestry and also on the “postdiluvian” changes in the color of the races of mankind (1:134-37).

Note.6A darkness]  S. Kaplan, Introduction to Pym, p. xxi, first correctly verified Poe’s taking his chasmic characters from Gesenius’ Lexicon, where we find, under Hebrew “tsalam” (pp. 868-69) [[Hebrew text]] obsol. root, aeth. [[hieroglyphs]]: “to be shady, Arab . . . to be obscure, dark. . . . darkness.” Poe is correct about the word as the Ethiopic (properly Geez) root for “all the inflections of shadow or darkness,” and he is implying a widespread view expressed by James Bruce in his well-known Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile (London, 1790), which has a chapter on the “Origin of characters or letters, Ethiopic the first language” (I, chap. 3). (See also 23.9 above for a possible graphic pun on Poe’s initials.) Clearly Poe also enjoys the implied pun on the name “Solomon,” which is manifested via the “Tsalemon” or “Psalemon” of 24.5. The name “Solomon” comes from a totally different root in Hebrew, but the similarity in sound of the first syllables must have struck Poe through Charles Anthon’s erroneous footnote in his article in the March 1837 New York Review (see my Introduction, “Sources” at n. 19 and also 193C). Anthon gives a table which compares words in Hebrew and in the “Language of Bournou” (that is, Bornou or the ancient kingdom of central Sudan). For “Black” he gives “Tselm” and “Tsalal,* Hebrew.” The asterisk is for a footnote: “‘To be dark,’ — Compare the Hebrew Tsalemon.” Anthon’s text here is also wrong, for the word (as in the Gesenius Lexicon) is to be transliterated as “Tsalam” as the parallel “Tselm” clearly shows. The word “Tsalal” directly above this in the Gesenius text, given as Arabic only (not “Ethiopic” as in “Tsalam”), shows the possible source of Anthon’s error, especially since the meaning “To be shaded, dark” is the same as that of “Tsalam,” but Poe used the second entry, namely “Tsalam,” for his gorge-shapes and for this appendix, despite his naming the island with Anthon’s erroneous form of “Tsalal.” In reality, the root ending in “1” rather than in “m” is entirely different, as can be verified in Elieser Iehuda, Thesaurus Totius Hebraitatis et veteris et recentioris (Jerusalem, n.d.), 11:5497-5500. In the Gesenius Lexicon (p. 869), Poe could also find “Zalmunna” (or “Tsalmouna”) meaning “prince of the Midianites,” from the “tsalam” root. In addition to the hint derived from Anthon’s footnote, Poe may have noticed Morrell’s use of the Solomon Archipelago as the location of his “Massacre Islands.” There is also another, more remote connection with Solomon — the royal family of Ethiopia is believed to have descended from Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, from whose domain in South Arabia colonists came to the African country.

Note.7A whiteness]  Gesenius’ Lexicon (p. 865) gives the source of Poe’s word in the “upper range” under the Hebrew “tsachar”: [[Hebrew text]] obsol. root, Arab. [[hieroglyphs]] “Conj. XI, to be dazzling white.” The article’s reference to the “kindred” root “tsachach” (“to be bright”) and the derived forms for “whiteness” are the [page 362:] basis for Poe’s “inflections of brilliancy and whiteness,” although the Lexicon does not use Poe’s first term. This ingenious unriddling of the gorges recalls the unfurled word “discovery” in “MS. Found in a Bottle” (1833), the changing characters upon the rock in “Silence,” and the verbal “quiz” of “Mystification” (1837), and it anticipates the problem-solving techniques of his detective fiction. Does Poe imply a superior “Indian intuition” in Peters — his term in the November 1843 review of Cooper’s Wyandotté?

Note.7B south]  The source for the lower range in figure 4 (23.10) and for this paragraph is the article in Gesenius’ Lexicon (p. 853) for “Pathros,” “the domestic proper noun for Upper Egypt. . . . called the native land of the Egyptians . . . i.e., Aegypt. [[hieroglyphs]]” or “region of the south.” In both passages Poe omits the fourth Coptic letter, corresponding to the omicron in the Greek “Pathoureis,” probably through a copying error. We know of no sketcher responsible for the figure in 23.10, a drawing probably by Poe, whose artistic ability has often been attested; see a letter from his university classmate, cited by A. H. Quinn, Poe, p. 108, concerning Poe’s “sketching upon the walls of his dormitory, whimsical, fanciful, & grotesque figures. . . .” Poe’s whimsical style pervades this paragraph in the words “evidently,” “not so immediately perspicuous,” and “it cannot be doubted,” which force the reader into an expertise in three ancient tongues.

Note.8A windings]  It is bizarre that at the very end of Pym Poe speaks of “speculation and exciting conjecture” when the “Note” might be expected to reveal to “science” one of “the most intensely exciting secrets” — namely, what exactly is at the South Pole (17.12). Equally bizarre is the obfuscating series of implications about white objects on Tsalal, for white flints were on the island and, at first, on the “Southern Ocean,” there was a gray mist; the “shuddering exclamation” is remembered, but in 18.8 the repugnance of Too-wit was not thus expressed, indicating the late development of this detail. See Note.5 above for the probable source in Reynolds’ Address of Poe’s “minute philological scrutiny” which obviously matches the parenthetical onomastic additions to 24.5, all of which equate “mysteriously” with “supernaturally.” Is the “region beyond” more than an echo of 2 Corinthians 10:10: “to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you“? See also “Julius Rodman,” 2.21, for “in the regions beyond” (meaning the Rocky Mountains).

Note.9A rock]  The prophetic final sentence uses both quotation marks and italics — clearly an indication that Deity is speaking (J. V. Ridgely has privately noted Alexander Keith’s use of italics for all his many biblical citations in his Evidence of Christianity, which Poe was consulting for his forthcoming review of Incidents of Travel). It is Poe’s invention, but based on Job 19:24, expressing his wishes concerning his “words”: “That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!” (It was a sentence basic to Poe’s title for his projected magazine, The Stylus, q.v. in my Discoveries in Poe, chap. 12, “Poe’s Iron Pen.”) The first half apparently signifies God’s shaping the meaningful winding chasms; the second half implies His responsibility for the degradation to their present state of the Tsalalians, who are the dust, that is, human beings (as in Genesis 3:19 and Isaiah 49:16), dwelling within the rocksurrounded village of Klock-Klock. Poe has also created in chap. 23 a tantalizing bit of mystification via the dust within the caverns — the color of which [page 363:] he has astutely failed to mention. Keith, Evidence, p. 220, concerning fallen Babylon writes: “Over all the ancient streets and habitations there is literally nothing but the dust on the ground on which to sit.”

The final admonition echoes Jeremiah 25:15-16, which is cited by Keith, p. 187. It has troubled some readers, such as Roger Forclaz, Le Monde d‘Edgar Poe, p. 265, but is generally accepted as applying to Tsalal, accursed like Edom (see R. Wilbur, Pym, p. xv, for apposite biblical passages); G. R. Thompson, however, in Poe’s Fiction, p. 183, thinks it “a perverse vengeance for some unknown offense” of Pym’s. However ambiguous the final sentence may be, the British editor of the Wiley and Putnam edition, which had eliminated the final paragraph of the last chapter as too mystical and fantastic for a “real” journey, retained it.

 


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Notes:

None.


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[S:0 - BRPIMV, 1981/1994] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions - The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe (B. R. Pollin) (Pym)