Text: Burton R. Pollin, “Manuscripts of The Brevities,” The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe — Vol. II: The Brevities (1985), pp. xliii-xlv (This material is protected by copyright)


[page xliii, continued:]


As with most of Poe’s published works, the manuscripts of The Brevities were discarded by the editors after being used by the compositors and, on occasion, proofread by Poe himself. A few installments of the Marginalia and a few fragments of the Fifty Suggestions have survived, but the most important variants, appearing in the autograph corrections on pages of the Democratic Review, were strangely never incorporated in a revised edition. These we shall soon examine, in detail. The other manuscript holdings will also be briefly listed and described, although of small significance in regard to substantives. Save for the first set, almost no accidentals will be recorded. The following is probably incomplete, since the sales of fragments of The Brevities may not have been sufficiently publicized or listed to come to my notice, but it is likely that this sort of material in the large collections is included.

A. Manuscript changes by Poe inscribed in the text and margins of the pages of two Democratic Review installments of Marginalia, held in the Gilman Collection of the Library of the Johns Hopkins University, but never included in any published or revised printing of the articles. [page xliv:] For the importance of these autographic markings, see Introductions to “Marginalia” (para. 2) and “Supplementary Marginalia” (para. 3) in The Brevities’ general Introduction, and also in M 38 note d. For a brief two-page description, with a facsimile page, see Ex Libris (JHU Friends of the Library), IX, no. 2, 1/1940 (unpaged).

[Of the two sets of changes, the earlier are in ink, the later and fewer — are in pencil. Only those in pencil are specially indicated. For ready checking purposes, the changes are listed according to my Marginalia numbering, which is not in the original three sets of installments affected. Paragraphs are indicated whenever there are more than one. Poe’s changes are recorded after the separating slash.]

Installment I, November 1844, pp. 484 - 491 [M1 - M43]

Intro., para. 3 (p.484): upon the spot 1 on the spot

M 10 (p. 486): chief (2 x) / delete (2 x); irresistibly / delete M 11 (p. 486): Epizooe / Epizoa

M 15 (p. 486): Marked “used” in pencil

M 19 (p. 487): idiosyncrasy (2 x) l peculiarity (2 x) (in pencil)

M 19 para. 1 (p. 487): quoted material marked “smaller type”; (para. 2): curs / cubs

M 22 (p. 488): upon I on

M 23 (p. 488): crossed out, but marked “stet” (in ink and pencil) M 24 footnote (p. 488): “The Age of Reason.” / delete

M 27 para. 2 (p. 489): we retain, / we retain — ; purpose, / purpose — ; dwelt on / dwelt upon; deep — rooted 1 deeply rooted

M 29 (p. 489): quoted matter marked “smaller type” (in pencil); para. 4: but / lightly deleted; stilts / stilts however; penultimate para., (p. 490): instanter I deleted

M 30 (p. 490): auto da fe. / auto da fe.

M 34 para. 4 (p. 490): and which has been employed by every donkey since the days of Cadmus, has I which has

M 35 para. 2 (p. 491): some individuals / some

M 38 para. 4 (p. 491): upon the earth / on the earth; same para.: objects. . . sun / delete; para. 6 (p. 492): note* added to “succession of objects,” [x]: first version in ink: Now eleven — Astrwa since discovered; second version in pencil: Now 17 — a planet and 6 Asteroids since discovered (see note to M 38 in text); 3rd para. from the end (p. 493): tower / houses (pencil); (same para.): remains . . . size / is not correspondingly increased. The orb seems to be closer and, therefore, we expect it to appear larger. In other words it looks smaller than it should besmaller than the sun which sets. (written in ink on sides and top of the page)

M 42,end of para. 3 (p. 494): prose of Mr. Jeremy Bentham. l prose.

Installment VI, April 1846, pp. 268-272 [M155-M169]

M 155 para. 2 (p. 268): they believed, exclusively, / they exclusively, believed, (in pencil)

Installment VII, July 1846, pp. 30 - 32 [no changes made] [page xlv:]

B. A sheaf of manuscripts held in the Dreer Collection, at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia; Installment IV of the Marginalia, called by Poe “Marginal Notes. — No. II” and published in Godey’s Lady’s Book, September 1845, 31.120-123 [13 articles]. Personal inspection of the papers shows dozens of variants for accidentals, but nothing at all in substantives. The many changes suggest the predominance of the editors and compositors of Godey’s over Poe in pointing these articles or the abnegation of proofreading by Poe, whatever might be the reason.

C. Manuscripts of material pertaining to the Marginalia (MM 216-218) and to Fifty Suggestions no. 9 are held in The Humanities Research Center Library of the University of Texas at Austin as part of the accession of the William H. Koester Poe collection in 1966. Descriptions and transcriptions are provided by Joseph J. Moldenhauer, ed., A Descriptive Catalog of Edgar Allan Poe Manuscripts (U. of Texas, 1973), pp. 26-28. For the relationship of the variants in substantives see my notes for the three Marginalia and for FS 9. The Catalog, p. 25, also indicates Poe’s intentions to continue the M series and provides a link with this material in the Huntington Library, listed in D below.

D. The Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, California, has the manuscripts for M 182 and MM 253-55, along with three articles possibly intended to continue the Marginalia series, one being a 1500 word analysis of Sue’s techniques in The Wandering Jew. Only one of the four published ones show small variants in substantives (q.v. in M 182 b).

E. A facsimile reprint of the manuscript of M 210 is reported in M 210 a. Another manuscript fragment, in the Gimbel Collection, concerns Laughton Osborn and relates to the source — text for M 217, although not to the article’s text directly. Presumably it too was transferred from Yale University to The Free Library in Philadelphia. The facsimile shows no change in M 210.

F. The Poe Foundation of Richmond owns two substantial fragments of the manuscript of M 247 and M 251 (“no greater torture” to the end; and “to explore” to the end). There are no variants in substantives for either one.

G. A reproduction of a manuscript for M 215 in The Month [[at Goodspeed’s]] of 10/1938, shows an important variant in the spelling of a proper name, q.v. in note b of M 215, with no other changes.




The manuscript listed above as item “G” was purchased by William Koester, and is currently in the HRCL of the University of Texas at Austin. It is not, strictly speaking, a manuscript for “Marginalia,” even if a portion of its text was reused by Poe for that purpose. Instead, it is a part of Poe’s larger and never completed project of Literary America. The issue of The Month at Goodspeed’s is designated as vol. X, no. 1. The black and white facsimile is quite small, and appears on the upper two-thirds of p. 21 of this small, pamphlet-like magazine.

Many of the miscellaneous fragments of “Marginalia,” including several of those noted above, are conveniently accounted for in a full roll-manuscript that at one time belonged to E. C. Stedman and remained unpublished until 2002 (see Savoye, ”A ‘Lost’ Roll of Marginalia,” E. A. Poe Review, Fall 2002, vol. III, no. 2, pp. 52-72).


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