Text: Burton R. Pollin (and E. A. Poe), “Marginalia - part 09,” The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe — Vol. II: The Brevities (1985), pp. 305-315 (This material is protected by copyright)


[page 305:]


Graham’s American Monthly Magazine of Literature and Art

December 1846 XXIX, 311-13


By Edgar A. Poe.

[8 items, nos. 181-188]

  * * * * * * * * * * * * * *  

Marginalia 181

This book* could never have been popular out of Germany.(a) It is too simple — too direct — too obvious — too bald — not sufficiently complex — to be relished by any people who have thoroughly passed the first (or impulsive) epoch of literary civilization. The Germans have not yet passed this first epoch. It must be remembered that during the whole of the middle ages they lived in utter ignorance of the art of writing. From so total a darkness, of so late a date, they could not, as a nation, have as yet fully emerged into the second or critical epoch. Individual Germans have been critical in the best sense — but the masses are unleavened. Literary Germany thus presents the singular spectacle of the impulsive spirit surrounded by the critical, and, of course, in some measure influenced thereby. England, for example, has advanced far, and France much farther, into the critical epoch; and their effect on the German mind is seen in the wildly anomalous condition of the German literature at large. That this latter will be improved by age, however, should never be maintained. As the impulsive spirit subsides, and the critical uprises, there will appear the polished insipidity of the later England, or that ultimate throe of taste which has found its best exemplification in Sue.(b) At present the German literature resembles no other on the face of the earth — for it is the result of certain conditions which, before this individual instance of their fulfillment, have never been fulfilled. And this anomalous state to which I refer is the source of our anomalous criticism upon what that [page 306:] state produces — is the source of the grossly conflicting opinions about German letters. For my own part, I admit the German vigor, the German directness, boldness, imagination, and some other qualities of impulse, just as I am willing to admit and admire these qualities in the first (or impulsive) epochs of British and French letters. At the German criticism, however, I cannot refrain from laughing all the more heartily, all the more seriously I hear it praised. Not that, in detail, it affects me as an absurdity — but in the adaptation of its details. It abounds in brilliant bubbles of suggestion, but these rise and sink and jostle each other, until the whole vortex of thought in which they originate is one indistinguishable chaos of froth. The German criticism is unsettled, and can only be settled by time. At present it suggests without demonstrating, or convincing, or effecting any definite purpose under the sun. We read it, rub our foreheads, and ask “What then?” I am not ashamed to say that I prefer even Voltaire to Goethe, and hold Macaulay to possess more of the true critical spirit than Augustus William and Frederick Schlegel combined.(c)

“Thiodolf” is called by Fo[u]qué his “most successful work.” He would not have spoken thus had he considered it his best. It is admirable of its kind — but its kind can never be appreciated by Americans. It will affect them much as would a grasp of the hand from a man of ice. Even the exquisite “Undine” is too chilly for our people, and, generally, for our epoch. We have less imagination and warmer sympathies than the age which preceded us. It would have done Fo[u]qué more ready and fuller justice than ours.(d)

Has any one remarked the striking similarity in tone between “Undine” and the “Libussa” of Musæus?(e)

* “Thiodolf, the Icelander and Aslauga’s Knight.” No. 60 of Wiley & Putnam’s Foreign Series of “The Library of Choice Reading.”


Germany) a. This volume was advertised by Wiley and Putnam as scheduled for publication in 12/45 in the end pages of the BJ for 12/ 6 (p. 342) through 1/3/46 (p. 409), the last issue. Since this firm was important and had published Poe’s Tales and his collected poems in 1845, there was good reason for Poe to review this book, and probably this article represents the review that Poe intended for his journal during January, the rapid demise of which left it unused on his hands.

Sue) b. Poe’s error about German writing in the middle ages comes from Pin 167, which in turn comes from Bielfeld (q.v.), who had the year 800 A.D. in mind, not a later date. Whatever Poe meant by “the impulsive spirit,” there is here a vague notion of the standard three levels of development: the epic, the classical, the romantic; certainly he confuses us about the “insipid” neo-classicism of England, which seems to be in tandem with romantic melodrama in France. For the last see M 176 [page 307:] ad. in. Poe scarcely allows for cultural currents as crossing national or linguistic barriers here. Yet he implies a uniform organic development through time in the next section.

combined) c. Poe’s summary here of German literary qualities omits those disavowed in his Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque in his 1839 Preface — terror and horror — unless these are subtended in “vigor” and “boldness” (TOM 473); in his 11/11/39 letter to Snodgrass he disavows also “exaggeration in style, of Germanism” (Ostrom, p. 121), not exactly consonant with this later M 181 statement. Clearly Poe had now given up his earlier adherence to Germanic criticism, perhaps with tongue in cheek, when he borrowed so much from the Schlegels for Pin entries (see Index) and perhaps later, for views of Greek drama and unity of effect and of plot (see A. J. Lubell, JEGP, 1953, 52.1-12). Poe’s deprecation of Goethe does not prevent over a dozen refs. for epigraphs, wise saws, and other purposes, to Goethe and his works, which he scarcely read (see M 174), nor, similarly, even more to Voltaire (see Index and PD for loci of these). Since Poe regularly deprecated the critical approach of Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-59), source of several of the Brevities (for loci see PD 59 and MM 61, 92, 221; FS 30, 50; CS 11), his placing him above the eminent Schlegel brothers demonstrates his scorn (for over 14 loci see PD 82).

than ours) d. This is the most negative comment by Poe on the highly extolled Undine, his touchstone for narrative excellence (see SiR, 1975, 14.59-74), and a possible source for “Eleonora” and the ending of “Usher.” Despite his many refs. to Undine, Poe appears to date it as strictly contemporary rather than of the “preceding age” (published 1811). The comment about his “most successful work” is the first sentence in the anonymous Intro. of this edition, most of which is filler and a discussion of its basis in tenth century Slavic history. Thiodulf (1815-16) engrosses the first 308 pages of the 349 in the volume, the ten short chapters of Aslauga’s Knight requiring merely forty. One wonders how closely Poe read this rambling tale of two-dimensional semi-mythical characters, tossed about for unlikely encounters (the Marseillaise noblewoman is driven onto the shore of Iceland!).

Musæus) e. Libussa is a long, rambling fairy-folk tale, with echoes of “Cinderella,” about a beautiful dryad, whose love and hand are won by the brave Krokus when he saves her dwelling-place oak-tree. Through her gifts or talents, he fathers her three daughters and becomes rich and famous, leaving his throne in Prague to the fair and virtuous Libussa. The author Johann Karl August Musaeus (1735-87), eventually a petty court official and gymnasium professor at Weimar, included the romance in his Volksmärchen der Deutschen (1782-86); with two others Thomas Carlyle englished it (1827; Boston, 1841), making it available to Poe who, almost definitely, could not read German. His observed [page 308:] similarity of the two “elf tales” pertains only to the first half dozen pages of the Musaeus story, and must have received comment in the critiques of the British magazines that Poe read.

Marginalia 182

Whatever may be the merits or demerits, generally, of the Magazine Literature of America, there can be no question as to its extent or influence.(a) The topic — Magazine Literature — is therefore an important one. In a few years its importance will be found to have increased in geometrical ratio. The whole tendency of the age is Magazine-ward. The Quarterly Reviews have never been popular. Not only are they too stilted, (by way of keeping up a due dignity,) but they make a point, with the same end in view, of discussing only topics which are caviare to the many, and which, for the most part, have only a conventional interest even with the few. Their issues, also, are at too long intervals; their subjects get cold before being served up. In a word, their ponderosity is quite out of keeping with the rush of the age. We now demand the light artillery of the intellect; we need the curt, the condensed, the pointed, the readily diffused — in place of the verbose, the detailed, the voluminous, the inaccessible. On the other hand, the lightness of the artillery should not degenerate into popgunnery — by which term we may designate the character of the greater portion of the newspaper press — their sole legitimate object being the discussion of ephemeral matters in an ephemeral manner. Whatever talent may be brought to bear upon our daily journals, (and in many cases this talent is very great,) still the imperative necessity of catching, currente calamo, each topic as it flits before the eye of the public, must of course materially narrow the limits of their power.(b) The bulk and the period of issue of the monthly magazines, seem to be precisely adapted, if not to all the literary wants of the day, at least to the largest and most imperative, as well as the most consequential portion of them.


influence) a. This article, taken almost verbatim from the 3/1/45 BJ (a column by Poe [uncollected] on the current Graham’s Magazine) is very similar to M 143, based on an Evening Mirror column (q.v.). Both mention our more rapid thinking today and the need for curt expression of opinion, especially through monthly magazines. The sentence about the “light artillery of the intellect” uses the very language of M 143, but earlier Poe does not favor any type of journal, as here. Aside from changes in accidentals, M 182 shows the following alterations in wording (Bf, 1.139, given first): for the same reason / with the same end in view; the movement — the rush / the rush; must not degenerate / should not [page 309:] etc.; by which character I by which term; whose sole . . . is I their sole . . . being; every topic / each topic.

power) b. Poe is undoubtedly invidiously alluding to the North American Review, founded in 1815 as a bimonthly but becoming a quarterly in 1818, destined to survive the century and to be known internationally. “Magazine-ward” and “popgunnery” are coinages by Poe. The phrase about “caviare” comes from Hamlet 2.2.466, more accurately “‘twas caviare to the general.” The Latin tag means “with a running pen” or fluently. Poe’s tribute to the monthly must be read in the light of his ardent efforts throughout the forties to initiate his own magazine.

The manuscript for this article at the Huntington Library shows these two variations in substantives: sentence 1: “merits or” omitted; sentence six: “are up at too long intervals.”

Marginalia 183

The chief portion of Professor Espy’s theory has been anticipated by Roger Bacon.


Note: James Pollard Espy (1785-1860) was a pioneer meteorologist of considerable originality and verve, early appointed to the U. S. navy as meteorologist, and inventor of the nephelescope to simulate cloud-behavior and measure cooling rates. Through lectures and his book Philosophy of Storms (Boston, 1841) he stirred up great interest in weather prediction and control. He theorized that rain can be produced through firing fields or other expanses if the rising column of heated air is not interrupted (see Dictionary of Scientific Biography, 4.410-11, and the DAB); for contemporary popular response see the Portland Transcript, 1/18/45, 8.339. Roger Bacon (1214 ?-1294), the learned friar, is not known for theories about control of weather, although in his Opus Maius (first ed., S. Jebb, London, 1733) one finds a section concerning vapors and clouds when drawn up by “moon, stars and sun” (1, part 4, ch. 6, pp. 160-163 of Phila. ed. of 1928, ed. Robert B. Burke) — scarcely in keeping with Poe’s dictum. Perhaps he was confusing Roger with Sir Francis Bacon in whose New Atlantis the Father of Solomon’s House says: “We also have great and spacious houses, where we imitate and demonstrate meteors, as Snow, Hail, Rain, some Artificial Rains of Bodies, and not of Water, Thunders, Lightenings, also Generations of Bodies in Air, as Frogs, Flies, and divers others” (p. 24 of Sylva Sylvarum, London, 1690). [page 310:]

Marginalia 184

It is a thousand pities that the puny witticisms of a few professional objectors should have power to prevent, even for a year, the adoption of a name for our country. At present we have, clearly, none. There should be no hesitation about “Appalachia.”(a) In the first place, it is distinctive. “America”* is not, and can never be made so. We may legislate as much as we please, and assume for our country whatever name we think right — but to use it will be no name, to any purpose for which a name is needed, unless we can take it away from the regions which employ it at present. South America is “America,” and will insist upon remaining so. In the second place, “Appalachia” is indigenous, springing from one of the most magnificent and distinctive features of the country itself. Thirdly, in employing this word we do honor to the Aborigines, whom, hitherto, we have at all points unmercifully despoiled, assassinated and dishonored. Fourthly, the name is the suggestion of, perhaps, the most deservedly eminent among all the pioneers of American literature. It is but just that Mr. Irving should name the land for which, in letters, he first established a name. The last, and by far the most truly important consideration of all, however, is the music of “Appalachia” itself; nothing could be more sonorous, more liquid, or of fuller volume, while its length is just sufficient for dignity. How the guttural “Alleghania” could ever have been preferred for a moment is difficult to conceive. I yet hope to find “Appalachia” assumed.(b)

* Mr. Field, in a meeting of “The New York Historical Society,” proposed that we take the name of “America,” and bestow “Columbia” upon the continent.


Appalachia) a. This is closely derived from the final para. of the 3122/45 BJ (1.186-87), “National Nomenclature,” the second article on the topic (No. l, in 2/1, p. 72, probably by Briggs). Poe’s conclusion there is close to this, save that the fourth and fifth reasons are interchanged, the scorn for “the guttural ‘Alleghania“’ is missing, and “Appalachia” has only one “p.” This may indicate that Poe prefers to tie it to the reputed “Apalachee Indian tribe” whence the Spaniard De Soto took the name “Appalachian” for the southeastern mountains of the U. S. A. (according to the 1923 Webster’s New International Dictionary). It is a Choctaw Indian name meaning “people on the other side” and applied to Indians of the Apalachee Bay, Florida, area, early exterminated by hostile tribes and the British, after the growth of Spanish missions (Enc. Brit., 2.158). Poe’s spelling, however, is apparently individual. Poe’s BJ article consists largely of an extensive discussion by an unnamed correspondent of a resolution presented for committee action by the New York Historical Society, probably early in March, to “give a proper name to the country” since inappropriately the country was named after Amerigo Vespucci and not Columbus. For brief discussion of this, popularized [page 311:] by Mercator’s map of 1538, see NYHS Quarterly Bulletin, 10/1943, 27.7986. The resolution was presented probably by Thomas Warren Field (1821-81), author and antiquarian. The appointed committee apparently brought in its report in April, receiving Poe’s or Briggs’ comment in the 5/3/45 BJ (1.286), rather flippantly devoted to nickname adjectives for inhabitants of the different states and resigned to a lack of change in people’s habits. Much earlier Poe had intimated his wish to see a change in our nation’s name, in the 5/40 “Philosophy of Furniture” (BGM) when, in discussing American taste in house decoration he refers to “what is termed in the United States — that is to say, in Appallachia — a well-furnished apartment,” and later “in Appallachia” (TOM 497, 500).

assumed) b. The arguments and some of the wording are taken from the unnamed correspondent’s discussion by Poe, save that there is no reference to “Alleghania” (Charles Fenno Hoffman’s suggestion), proof probably that Poe was aware of Washington Irving’s “letter” from “Geoffrey Crayon” to the 8/39 Knickerbocker Magazine (14.158-162; locus given by courtesy of Prof. Al Ravenstein). Poe either misread this or was misinformed about his statement: “We might still use the phrase, ‘The United States,’ substituting Appalachia, or Alleghania (I should prefer the latter,) in place of America. The title of Appalachia, or Alleghania, would still announce us as Americans. . . . designating the United States of Alleghania” (pp. 161-62). Perhaps Poe’s sentiments on this topic should be related to those on a national literature, so often mentioned in his works of the miciforties.

Marginalia 185

That man is not truly brave who is afraid either to seem or to be, when it suits him, a coward.


Note: In M 234 Poe discusses “courage” (both moral and physical) more fully, implying that fear should always be overcome by the “courageous” man. Compare this statement with the Poe anecdote in Poems, p. 555n8 concerning Poe’s refusal to accede to Mrs. Brennan’s request to appear at the door in order to scare off a thief. TOM also reports his dislike of visiting cemeteries and such places in the dark (Poems 536n7). Many quotations using this ironic antithesis of terms might have suggested the idea to Poe, such as “Many would be cowards if they had courage enough,” of Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia. No. 3366; “That all men would be cowards if they dare, / Some men we know have courage to declare,” of George Crabbe, Tales in Verse. No. iii (see 4/42 rev. on H 11.84 for a ref.).

Marginalia 186

About the “Antigone,” as about all the ancient plays,(a) there seems to me a certain baldness, the result of inexperience in art, but which pedantry would force us to believe the result of a studied and supremely artistic simplicity. Simplicity, indeed, is a very important feature in all true art — but not the simplicity which we see in the Greek drama. That of the Greek sculpture is every thing that can be desired, because here the art in itself is simplicity in itself and in its elements. The Greek sculptor chiseled his forms from what he saw before him every day, in a beauty nearer to perfection than any work of any Cleomenes in the world.(b) But in the drama, the direct, straight-forward, un-German Greek had no Nature so immediately presented from which to make copy. He did what he could — but I do not hesitate to say that that was exceedingly little worth.(c) The profound sense of one or two tragic, or rather, melodramatic elements (such as the idea of inexorable Destiny) — this sense gleaming at intervals from out the darkness of the ancient stage, serves, in the very imperfection of its development, to show, not the dramatic ability, but the dramatic inability of the ancients. In a word, the simple arts spring into perfection at their origin; the complex as inevitably demand the long and painfully progressive experience of ages. To the Greeks, beyond doubt, their drama seemed perfection — it fully answered, to them, the dramatic end, excitement — and this fact is urged as proof of their drama’s perfection in itself. It need only be said, in reply, that their art and their sense of art were, necessarily, on a level.(d)


plays) a. This is taken, almost verbatim, from Poe’s rev. “The Antigone at Palmo’s” in the 4112145 BJ (1.236-37; H 12.130-35). With ambitious music by Mendelssohn for orchestra and chorus, it appeared a pedantic burlesque to Poe. The chief substantive changes are these (BJ given first): baldness, or platitude / omission; (penultimate sentence)seemed perfection — and this fact is absurdly urged as proof of their drama’s perfection in itself. / seemed perfection — it fully . . . itself.

world) b. Poe often used the name of Cleomenes as a peerless Athenian sculptor of the Venus de Medici, according to a forged Renaissance inscription on the base (q.v. in “Assignation” and “Ligeia,” TOM 168n19, 332n7), as in a contrast with Canova’s Venus (8/45; H 13.34). Poe had mentioned imitation in the non-dramatic arts in M 131 and discussed it for sculpture in “The American Drama” (cited in the sentence above).

worth) c. Poe discusses German “qualities” in M 181 (see note c), here indicating his view of an essentially rudimentary or primitive culture well into the “golden age” of Greece. Poe’s last three words here probably derive from his favorite play by Shakespeare — Hamlet with “My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth” (4.4.66), as in M 40 (and also the Aristidean of 11/45, p. 381: “It is little worth.”

level) d. See Pin 9 and M 121 for an ironic fact concerning the word “fate” in Greek drama, which Poe borrowed from H. N. Coleridge. His concept of “inability” of the ancients seems rooted in his notion of dramatic intrigue, which he borrowed from Schlegel (see the end of his George Balcombe rev. of 1137 in SLM, H 9.265). By “excitement” Poe presumably means “catharsis.”

Marginalia 187

The more there are great excellences in a work, the less am I surprised at finding great demerits. When a book is said to have many faults, nothing is decided, and I cannot tell, by this, whether it is excellent or execrable. It is said of another that it is without fault; if the account be just, the work cannot be excellent. — Trublet.(a)

The “cannot” here is much too positive. The opinions of Trublet are wonderfully prevalent, but they are none the less demonstrably false. It is merely the indolence of genius which has given them currency. The truth seems to be that genius of the highest order lives in a state of perpetual vacillation between ambition and the scorn of it. The ambition of a great intellect is at best negative. It struggles — it labors — it creates — not because excellence is desirable, but because to be excelled where there exists a sense of the power to excel, is unendurable. Indeed, I cannot help thinking that the greatest intellects (since these most clearly perceive the laughable absurdity of human ambition) remain contentedly “mute and inglorious.” At all events, the vacillation of which I speak is the prominent feature of genius.(b) Alternately inspired and depressed, its inequalities of mood are stamped upon its labors. This is the truth, generally — but it is a truth very different from the assertion involved in the “cannot” of Trublet. Give to genius a sufficiently enduring motive, and the result will be harmony, proportion, beauty, perfection — all, in this case, synonymous terms. Its supposed “inevitable” irregularities shall not be found: — for it is clear that the susceptibility to impressions of beauty — that susceptibility which is the most important element of genius — implies an equally exquisite sensitiveness and aversion to deformity. The motive — the enduring motive — has indeed, hitherto, fallen rarely to the lot of genius; but I could point to several compositions which, “without any fault,” are yet “excellent” — supremely so. The world, too, is on the threshold of an epoch, wherein, with the aid of a calm philosophy, such compositions shall be ordinarily the work of that genius which is [page 314:] true. One of the first and most essential steps, in overpassing this threshold, will serve to kick out of the world’s way this very idea of Trublet — this untenable and paradoxical idea of the incompatibility of genius with art.(c)


Trublet) a. The paragraph, translated from the French of Nicolas Charles Joseph Trublet (1697-1770) is probably from Essais sur divers sujets de Littérature et de Morale (Paris, 1735; 7th ed., 1782). A critic and essayist, he was derided by Voltaire. Poe probably took this from Disraeli’s CL, “Inequalities of Genius,” a short section of which ends with the “anemone-words” citation of “Lucian” (miscopied by Poe as “Lucan”) in “Blackwood Article” (TOM 345). To evade detection, Poe probably changed phrases in M 187; here is Disraeli’s quotation (N. Y., 1865, 1.146):

Trublet justly observes — The more there are beauties and great beauties in a work, I am the less surprised to find faults and great faults. When you say of a work that it has many faults, that decides nothing: and I do not know by this, whether it is execrable or excellent. You tell me of another, that it is without any faults: if your account be just, it is certain the work cannot be excellent.

genius) b. Poe’s seeming contempt for ambition in genius is found also in “Landscape Garden” and “Arnheim” (TOM 712nn4, 7 and 1271) along with the quotation from Gray’s “Elegy” (“Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest”). There is also a hint of Milton’s “Lycidas” line: “Fame. . . / (That last infirmity of noble mind).” TOM, in note 4, appositely cites instances of Poe’s inability to “despise fame,” when conscious of “the power to excel.”

art) c. In the preceding article (M 186) as well as in M 171 Poe speaks of the arts as advancing, although in many of his writings, as in the satirical “Mummy,” he derides the improvements in technology as a benefit (less so in “Scheherazade”). There is no consistent pattern of meliorism in Poe, often so socially conservative.

Marginalia 188

When I consider the true talent — the real force of Mr. Emerson, I am lost in amazement at finding in him little more than a respectful imitation of Carlyle. Is it possible that Mr. E. has ever seen a copy of Seneca? Scarcely — or he would long ago have abandoned his model in utter confusion at the parallel between his own worship of the author of “Sartor Resartus” and the aping of Sallust by Aruntius, as described in the 114th Epistle. In the writer of the “History of the Punic Wars” Emerson is portrayed to the life. The parallel is close; for not only is the imitation of the same character, but the things imitated are identical. [page 315:]

Undoubtedly it is to be said of Sallust, far more plausibly than of Carlyle, that his obscurity, his unusuality of expression, and his Laconism (which had the effect of diffuseness, since the time gained in the mere perusal of his pithiness is trebly lost in the necessity of cogitating them [sic] out) — it may be said of Sallust, more truly than of Carlyle, that these qualities bore the impress of his genius, and were but a portion of his unaffected thought.

If there is any difference between Aruntius and Emerson, this difference is clearly in favor of the former, who was in some measure excusable, on the ground that he was as great a fool as the latter is not.


Note: Poe’s intense antagonism to both Carlyle and Emerson led him to use a para. from “Imitators” in Disraeli’s CL (N. Y. 1865 ed., 1.125) to deride both of them, without acknowledgment and without accuracy. Of ten refs. to Emerson (PD 31 for loci) only one is neutral, but this is the most extreme. Poe here follows his method in the Emerson autography of 12/41 Graham’s (H 15.260), drawing a parallel between Quintilian’s objection to a self-enraptured obscurantist and Emerson’s Carlylean mysticism. Poe obviously had not read the history of the Punic Wars by Lucius Arruntius (correctly thus, as in Disraeli), who commanded part of Octavian’s fleet at Actium, was consul in 22 A. D. and was noted for his simple and austere life. Disraeli is relying upon Seneca’s 114th Epistle, which, he says, shows “the sort of imitation by which an inferior mind becomes the monkey of an original writer” and ends his para. with a ref. to Johnson and “the undiscerning herd of his apes” (cf. Poe’s “aping of Sallust”). Poe’s second para. is a rephrasing of Disraeli’s “short sentences, uncommon words, and an obscure brevity” plus “servile affectation of Arruntius,” but this is a gross exaggeration of Seneca’s statement (Epistulae Morales ad Lucilium, no. 114). Moreover, in Tacitus (Annales, 11.6-7) he could have found high praise of Arruntius, whom Poe wishes to call a fool simply because thus he can deride Thomas Carlyle (cf. MM 13, 165, 255, 289). (For the above, expanded, see my article, PN of 12/1970, 3.38.) Gaius Sallustius Crispus (86-35 B. C.), having returned from being governor of Africa, immensely wealthy, retired from public life and devoted himself to writing, chiefly of history (Jugurtha), modeled on Thucydides and influencing Tacitus. Although having the qualities that Poe mentioned, he won many admirers and followers.

In para. two the “them” of the parenthesis has no clear referent; therefore Poe, through Griswold, changed “pithiness” to “pithinesses” in the edition of 1850.






[S:0 - BRP2B, 1985] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions - The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe (B. R. Pollin) (Marginalia - part 09)