Text: Burton R. Pollin, “Introduction for Supplementary Pinakidia,” The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe — Vol. II: The Brevities (1985), pp. xxiv-xxv (This material is protected by copyright)


[page xxiv, continued:]


This is a group of forty-six articles, all very similar in tone and composition to those in the August 1836 Pinakidia of the Southern Literary Messenger. They can be subdivided into two parts, the first published in the Messenger during Poe’s incumbency as functioning editor, the second (numbers 29-46) published in the magazine during 1848 by arrangement with editor John R. Thompson. The evidence for their being Poe’s (with two exceptions, numbers 12 and 24) is clear. In 1925 and 1933 two of them (1 and 17) had been ascribed to Poe by Margaret Alterton and Killis Campbell, as is indicated in the only treatment of this group of Poe articles, that of David K. Jackson in American Literature (1933). It is suitable here to mention Jackson’s further ascription to Poe (pp. 263-67) of an article in the April 1836 issue of the Messenger (2.301-02): “Some Ancient Greek Authors Chronologically Arranged” and signed “P.” Jackson (in his note 25) cites Campbell and Whitty as being against this attribution, to which I add Mabbott’s and my own rejection of this claim for Poe authorship for reasons too numerous to list here.

One of Jackson’s bases for attribution of the acceptable, scattered twenty-eight is the identity of sources for “old” and “new” Pinakidia: Bielfeld, J. Bryant, H. N. Coleridge, Cooper, Disraeli, Gibbon, J. Mont gomery, A. Pope, A. W. Schlegel, and Voltaire. He also finds many of them individually identified as “Original Article” in the Index of the two [page xxv:] Messenger volumes, from which designation he infers the editor’s authorship (although the argument does not bar non-editorial authorship for the two exceptions). Moreover, the use of most as filler at the foot of columns points toward this origin. To these twenty-eight I have added a short paragraph obviously by Poe on Theodore Fay’s novel Norman Leslie, for reasons given in number 16A (note). The two non-filler articles (12 and 24) are retained, both for the sake of the continuity of the first set of articles, assigned by Jackson, and to enable the reader to form his own judgment. The rest of the Supplementary Pinakidia, published in 1848, are obviously Poe’s. Jackson’s footnote 7a ascribes the first six (numbers 29-34), published as a set under the title “Excerpta.” The rest of this group, save for 39, 42, 43, and 45, either come from Disraeli’s Curiosities of Literature or duplicate articles in the main Pinakidia. The others reflect major interests and stylistic features of Poe’s typical writing in the Brevities, except 39, which is still a possible Poe article, at least in its selection. More ample reasons are given in the notes for each. In short, subtracting two very dubious items in the first part and adding a new one, along with numbers 29-46 will give a total of forty-five short articles definitely by Poe in the Supplementary Pinakidia.






[S:0 - BRP2B, 1985] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions - The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe (B. R. Pollin) (Introduction for Supplementary Pinakidia)