Text: Burton R. Pollin, “The Broadway Journal: Notes (October 1845),” The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe — Vol. IV: Broadway Journal (Annotations) (1986), pp. 206-222 (This material is protected by copyright)


∞∞∞∞∞∞∞


[page 206, continued:]

265/1-3} The vol. consists of two “series,” separately paged, 233 plus 238 p. and a single page “Advertisement” by Simms, preceding the first “Contents” page. Series I has seven “tales” and II has six. The first (1,1-36) consists of “Grayling; or, Murder will Out” (excerpted below), itself divided into 5 “chapters.” Poe used the following (first) three sentences of the “Advertisement” for his first para. and successive sentences for the top of 265, there verbatim: “The Tales which follow have been the accumulation of several years. They were mostly written for the annuals — an expensive form of publication which kept them from the great body of readers. However, they met with favour, and it is thought that their merits are such as will justify their collection in a compact volume.”

265/4-11} Poe’s relations with William Gilmore Simms, during the year of the BJ’s publication, steadily improved, in part because of the firm and regular support lent Poe through Simms’ journal columns, especially during the Lyceum episode. This is reflected in this rev., numerous other passages in the BJ (see Index), and the decided muting of criticism of his style, which he calls “verbose, involute, and . . . ungrammatical” in a parallel rev. of this very book in the 1/46 Godey’s (H 13.93-97); it is one-third longer in its criticism, shorn of the long excerpt attached to the BJ rev., but similarly touches upon the numerous fictions of Simms and highlights the distinctively Southern and American qualities which should entitle it to more praise, especially abroad.

Poe’s use here of “generic” is odd, since it either means the opposite of specific (thereby rendering general redundant) or “pertaining to a class” which certainly has no relevance to the title, unless he intends American dwellings and frontier life to be so characterized. [page 207:]

265/12-58} For the first sentence of this para. see the Poe Log of 10/6 for Hiram Fuller’s derision of this in the Mirror. In line 17 Poe misspells the name of Lope de Vega, which he had probably derived from references in A. W. Schlegel’s Lectures on Dramatic Art (see under Schlegel in Index to Br.).

The title of Frederick M. Reynold’s notorious novel Miserrimus plays a large and ironic role in Poe’s criticism, life, and posthumous reputation (see Ch. 11, pp. 190-205, “Poe as Miserrimus,” in Discoveries in Poe). This is the third instance of Poe’s associating the work with Martin Faber, the first two dating from 1844; and another would follow (Discoveries in Poe, 195-97), in the 1/46 Godey’s rev. of Simms’ work.

The dates of Simms’ works given here are not without significance: Martin Faber (1828 as a tale; 1832 as a novel); Partisan (1835); Beauchampe (1842); Richard Hurdis (1838); Castle Dismal (1845); Helen Halsey (1845). Poe’s 1835 verse drama “Politian,” part of which was in the 12/35 SLM, early exploited the story of the “Kentucky Tragedy” which figures also as the basis for Beauchampe; this renders significant his remark about “historical truth” (see Poems, 242-45). While this is Poe’s only ref. to Walpole’s Gothic novel, Poe showed a nodding acquaintance with many of Walpole’s writings (see PD, 96 and Br. MM 109, 209, 259). His ref. to Charles Brockden Brown (1771-1810) in connection with Simms parallels that in M74 and recalls the influence of Brown on Poe so often attributed (see M74, note c; also loci in PD, 13).

266/15-17} For Poe’s studied animosity toward Jones of Boston see text and notes of 150-51, 263, 276-77.

267/57-71} This is Poe’s second notice of this book, the first having been in the 4/36 SLM — longer and specific about his charming whimsy, like Lamb’s and Irving’s (H 8.319-20). Even there Poe too literally believed in the age of the “old man,” for Sir Frances Bond Head (1793-1875) was vigorously serving as lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada (1835-37), causing him to be knighted in 1836. He had previously published an account of his travels in South America and contributed to eminent journals.

268/15-25} This article and the subsequent one were announced the preceding week (p. 262). This book, of viii + 276 p., was by Tayler (1797-1875), a clergyman who wrote religious manuals and homiletic fiction for the young, as here. There is a trace of tongue-in-cheek attitude in Poe’s few sentences. [page 208:]

268/26-43} Henry Melvill (1798-1871), after a long, varied, distinguished career in education and church posts (ending as Canon of St. Paul’s Cathedral), published numerous sermons that were less “peculiar” than these.

268/44-68} The vol., of vi + 211 p., is dated 1844 and again 1845, with reprints in 1848, 1857, and 1864. Poe announced this book on 8/30, 233 [facsimile text]. Nathan Covington Brooks (1819-98) was a good friend to Poe in the 1830s in Baltimore and later, to the very end of his life (see Quinn, 269, 292, 637). He first published “Ligeia” and “The Haunted Palace” in his short-lived American Museum. Poe mildly praised his magazine papers and poems in the “Autography” (H 15.222, 225; see also Letters, 111-13). Poe briefly reviewed his First Lessons, based on Ross’s Latin Grammar (233 [facsimile text]), as he notes on 269/29-32. The present relatively long rev. presumably is based on the Introductory material of the book itself. Poe acknowledges this himself on 269/13.

269/1-33} Then as now, textbooks were far more remunerative than original or scholarly works, as Brooks seemed to know. The First Lessons in Grammar by James Ross (1744-1827), on which Brooks based his text, first came out in America in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, in 1798 and reached a tenth ed. in 1842. The letter from Frietog must have been part of the publisher’s advertisement, despite its recent date. In thus featuring it, Poe willingly promoted the work and filled up his space.

269/33-39} The items in Blackwood’s seriatim are these: The first is a rev. of C. R. Leslie’s Life of Constable (257-65); the second surveys the state and writers of historical fiction at present (341-56); the third concerns Goethe’s Bettina Brentano (357-65); the fourth is about A. Dumas’ book with excerpts (31227); and the last (366-88) in several sections treats of Dryden, Pope (with Lowell’s criticism thereon and disparagement thereof) and Charles Churchill.

269/40-48} All the parts were collected for a one-vol. publication in 1846, of iii + 576 p.

269/49-51} See Poe’s irritation over the promotion of this work on 334-35 (d) and earlier announcements (192, 233). The twelve parts had been “borrowed” from the one-vol. British publication (Longman, Brown, 1844) of xviii + 864p, which [page 209:] comprised “a general introductory outline of universal history,” etc.

269/56-65} The material in the magazine of Poe’s friend Simms ran thus: “The Epochs . . .” (145-54); “A Foreigner’s First Glimpse” (166-79); “Marion Family” (200-204); “Maiden’s First Dream” (165-66) and “Elodie” (179-80), both the poems being by Simms (see his Poems of 1853, 210-11). The first essay is relevant to Poe’s interests, for J. G. Gadsby, the artist and illustrator, somewhat connected with Poe, was famed for his Capitol Rotunda mural of “The Baptism of Pocahontas,” executed between 1837-40 (see Pollin, “Poe and Chapman,” SAR 1983, 24574, specifically 252; for Poe anent Chapman’s 1400 engravings for the Harpers’ Illuminated Bible, see 270-71).

270/1-10} While there are changes in accidentals, including all the italics, the stanza is correctly cited. Here is a sample of the lauded “Elodie,” which has about it touches of “The Raven” (such as a single-word refrain from a bird’s beak, a pining lover, a lugubrious nightly atmosphere): “A bird that had no song by day, / But crouch‘d in sadness in the shade, / As soon as came the evening’s ray, / Took wing and soar‘d aloft, / And, with a music soft, / Sweet melodies for all the forest made. / Elodie! Elodie! / Thus evermore the plaintive ditty rose — / Elodie! Elodie!” (beginning). The poem explains the sad fate of the “denied” lover who sought oblivion in the forest, and died, giving rise to the bird of the sad song.

270/11-33} The two plates are at the beginning; J. P. Frankenstein’s painting is engraved by J. W. Steel. The other is engraved by W. H. Ellis. Poe is being very conciliatory of editor Sarah Josepha Hale here. Mrs. Ellet’s piece is fiction (151-58). The rest follow: Mrs. Caroline Lee Hentz’s poem (133); Miss Rand’s poem (134), Miss Leslie’s fiction (135-42); Lois Adams’ poem (142); Mrs. Hale’s poem (144); Tuckerman’s poem (144); Mary Lee’s fictions (145-50 and 160-68) and T. S. Sullivan’s song (176-77). Poe may have known which of the anonymous poems was Frost’s. Poe had nothing in this issue of the magazine which issued two installments of the Marginalia in 8/ and 9/45.

270/34-51} Poe favored Robert Morris (see 78 and 79 [facsimile text]), here subject of a sketch by Charles J. Peterson, with long excerpts (183-85). The Warrior precedes the title page of the magazine. Grund’s is on 145-50; Street’s “Callikoon” (his spelling) is on 155-59; and Osgood’s fiction on 151-54. [page 210:]

270/52-63} Thomas Dunn English’s Aristidean includes a long series of short reviews by Poe himself, delicately mentioned (p. 271). The contents run thus: “Sir Albert” (168-70), “Travels in Texas” (170-86), “Popular Governments” (187-92), Hirst’s poems reviewed (cf. 162-67 [facsimile text]), “Leaves” (227-32), “Alas” on 270 (225) and “Our Book-Shelves” (234-42).

271/1-19} The verses bear all the earmarks of Thomas Dunn English’s humorous verse (see his “Ode to the Muses” on 323 [facsimile text]). Poe’s good will to the author here (also on 272 73 [facsimile text]) is great, but his prediction was erroneous for the short-lived magazine, which died, along with the BJ, from inadequate financing.

271/20-30} The vol. of 128 p., 5 in the Intro., is “By an Adept in the Science” who remains unknown. The Intro. maintains that astrology, a “serious” science, is worthy of being studied, both in its “natural” (or astronomical) and “judicial” (star-influencing) forms. Sir Francis Bacon, whose essays Poe admired and often quoted, within limits, wished for a reformed alchemy and astrology, but his older views of the latter lacked the light of Kepler and Galileo’s presentation of Copernicus through the chances of time and place (see Enc. Brit., 2.885).

In line 26 Poe must be referring to an oft reprinted book of xxxiv + 32 p., by Herman Kirchenhoffer, The book of fate: formerly in the possession of Napoleon . . . now first rendered into English from a German translation of an ancient Egyptian manuscript, found in the year 1801, by M. Sonnini, in one of the royal tombs, near Mount Libycus, in Upper Egypt (9th ed. London, C. S. Arnold, 1825).

271/31-38} For fuller treatment see 279 (b) + n.

271/39-41} Poe usually spoke disparagingly of H, W. Herbert, son of the Dean of Manchester and writer on field sports as “Frank Forester” as well as novels, misc. articles, et al. before his suicide (1807-58); e.g., see MM 116, 253. For other refs. to other editions of Sue’s Wandering Jew see the Index. This vol., of iii-v + 668 p. was pub. by Richards of N.Y. but “entered by E. Winchester.”

272/1-7} Poe’s kind words toward English (1819-1902) contrast sharply with his derision in the “Literati” sketch of 1846 (H 15.64-68) and the even more scornful sketch written later (H [page 211:] 15.266-70). This ballad, published anonymously in the 1843 Mirror, speedily became popular, inducing English (called later “Brown” by Poe) to acknowledge it and even compose his own music for it (it received 26 settings and was revived in Du Maurier’s Trilby). Poe’s noting that publishers were promoting this bathetic “song” (see line 50) accords with his own interest in song-writing (see Pollin, Prairie Schooner, 1973, 46.229-35).

273/46-56} This para. reiterates Poe’s outrage against an undetected case of plagiarism two weeks earlier (253/5-26 [facsimile text]) in a passage used as SM 11; see the Index to Br. for numerous other passages on the immorality of plagiarism. See 291 (e) for the exoneration of Webster by his friend, which Poe graciously printed.

273/57-66} This entire article (also on 274-75) was used verbatim as SM 1, in Br,, in which full notes are supplied. Several will briefly be repeated hereafter.

274/1} Although marked “P” by Poe in the Whitman copy, this article was omitted by Harrison. Poe’s interest in American “nationality” in letters was shown earlier in the “Exordium” (not his title) to the “Review of New Books” in the 1/42 Graham’s which has similar ideas and language (H 11.2). The Latin for “player” can be traced to Petronius, Fragment 10. For Poe’s coined “autorial” used nine times see Pollin, PS, 1977, 10.15-18 and PCW, 84.

274/2-36} Poe’s ref. to a “cockney critic” balances Wilson’s insult to Lowell as a “Yankee-cockney” below. Poe’s three American writers were, in fact, highly respected and popular in America: Irving, Bryant, and W. H. Prescott (1796-1859), the nearly blind, detailed historian of the Hispanic world. The sub-sub-editor coinage was to be used again in the 1/46 Godey’s rev. of Simms’ Wigwam and the Cabin (H 13.96-97). Poe’s ref. is, obviously, to Sydney Smith’s remark in the 1/1820 Edinburgh Review: “In the four quarters of the globe, who reads an American book?”

274/37-38} Poe had expressed early interest in Hassan-benSabah of Lebanon, founder of the anti-Crusader sect of the Assassins in Pin 24, but he seems to confuse him with the “Old Man of the Sea” in Sinbad’s tale in the “Arabian Nights,” q.v. in “Scheherazade.” Poe’s word “rhapsodist” for “a person who uses extravagantly enthusiastic or impassioned language” (not an “epic [page 212:] singer”) must refer to John Wilson’s unrestrained style in harangue. For Poe’s generally unfavorable views of “Christopher North” (1785-1854) of Blackwood’s see Index to BJ and SM 7.

274/42} Poe was ambiguous about T. B. Macaulay, to whom he often alluded and from whom he borrowed (see Index to BJ, PD, 59, and TOM, Index on 1433).

274/46-53} Poe’s “running . . . read” came first from Habbakuk 2.2, but probably through many later adapters. Wilson could scarcely be termed “ignorant,” especially in his seven Homer essays springing from the new translation of Wm. Sotheby (see SM 1 note i). Wilson’s adverse rev. of E. B. Barrett’s Drama of Exile in the 11/44 Blackwood’s was answered (as to poor constructions) in the 1/3/ BJ rev. (1.7).

274/54-66} Wilson’s article appeared in the 9/45 issue (36870) for the Lowell criticism. Lowell’s book, Conversations on Some of the Old Poets (1844; actual date, 1845) is a youthful but sincere discussion or “dialogue” between “Philip” and “John” (hence Wilson’s error in naming the author). Poe’s scornful name “Sawney” is a variant of “Sandy” (short for Alexander), used to denigrate a Scot. The OED credits Wilson with the 1818 coinage of “squabash” from “squash” and “bash.” “Faugh” is merely an expression of disgust. The Poe Log for 10/11 notes that editor Lawrence Labree of the N. Y. Illustrated Magazine notes and approves this defense of Lowell.

275/1-11} The Coventry expression means to mark with disgrace by universally ignoring the culprit. The Latin is quoted in reverse order from Cicero’s first oration against Catiline: “Quo usque tandem abutere, Catalina, patientia nostra? quam diu etiam furor iste tuus nos eludet?” (How long will you continually abuse our patience, Catiline? And now how long will that madness of yours mock us?) The final ref. is to the history of Rome by Livy, Book 28, for 205 B. C., in which Livy vividly reconstructs the speeches by and about Scipio Africanus Major who “kept saying that he could not finish the war unless he should himself transport his army to Africa” (Loeb Classical Library, 1949, 8.161).

275/12-23} The article on the “parallel” was on 252-53 [facsimile text]. The “friend” did not have his data quite right. Wm. D. Gallagher (1808-94), associated with the Cincinnati Gazette (q.v.) and author of the popular poetry collection Erato [page 213:] (H 9.73-75), was founding ed. of the Columbus journal, The Hesperian, during its three-vol. life (1838-39). In the 6/39 issue (3.41) he included “Lines to a Lady” by “Rigel” which began thus: “Upon the verge of womanhood / Thou tremblingly dost stand,/ Before thee all that’s bright and good / In youth’s sweet fairy land!” There is no trace of the opening quoted in the para. The legal maxim at the end means: “The law is not concerned with trifles.” See 358/9 below for a veiled ref. by Poe to Gallagher.

275/24-66} For Poe’s utter loathing of Wm. W. Lord’s poems and the puffery used in publicizing his book Poems, published by D. Appleton, see 121-27 [facsimile text] (and other loci in the Index). George Washington Doane (1799-1859) was Episcopal bishop of New Jersey. The poem “A Hymn to Niagara” mentioned at the end of this article (see 276/1) is thoroughly derided on 124 [facsimile text]. The first Latin phrase comes from the Epodes of Horace, 1.7.27, referring to the half-brother of Ajax, Teucer: “under the protection of Teucer.” The second comes from Horace’s Ars Poetica, line 155, referring to the applause demanded of the crowd by a player or singer.

276/3-9} For Poe’s general attitude toward the Wilkes’ Expedition and also Reynolds’ lack of participation in it, see 116-17 (b).

276/10-15} For Tucker’s Southern novel as “on the whole” the “best and noblest” American work unjustly suppressed by Northern chicanery, see M 206 and SM 25. For “the author of the Vision of Rubeta” (lines 25-26), that is, Laughton Osborn, and for Poe’s conciliatory gestures, including this article and also (c) below, see 255/1-12 n.

276/16-24} Poe alludes to 264 (b), the list of which is partly repeated in the present one. Several date from the days of Briggs as editor. He has his joke again with his own pseudonym of “Littleton Barry” (see notes to the earlier para.). For various of the individuals named see the Index.

276/29-38} Poe alludes to Margaret Fuller’s rev. of his Tales in the Wiley and Putnam ed., in the New York Tribune of 7/11/45 (1/col. 2) which objects to Poe’s “inaccuracies in the use of words. As a formalist in diction (see his reviews of Bolles’ Dictionary), he knew the basis for her criticism. See 34 and 220 (and nn) for Poe’s view of Miss Fuller. [page 214:]

276/39-54} This comes from The Builder (London) of 7/19/45, pp. 344-45, “On Mosaic Floors and Tessellated Pavements” (34-45), taken over verbatim, save for 1.45: “was one which / is that which” and save for some accidentals (“Giacomo”). In the 9/44 tale “The Oblong Box,” much is made of a supposed “copy of Leonardo’s ‘Last Supper“’ which misleads the narrator (TOM 925); see also 355/ln (below) which concerns a new engraving of this work.

276/55-60} Poe mentioned this figure of 1500 copies sold in his 11/13/45 letter to Evert Duyckinck (at eight cents a copy, for a total of $120), q.v. in Letters, 301. His joke about the speech of each country is repeated in his “Literati” sketch of Margaret Fuller in 1846, when he complains (H 15.78) of her “murders committed on the American of President Polk“ — perhaps a lingering trace of his resentment of her criticism of his own diction in the rev. which he had cited in article (d) directly above this.

276/61-63 + 277/1-3) Poe had spoken of the relations of Graham and Jones in the 9/20 issue on 250/27-30. He manages to include a barb against Jones even at the end of the apology, however.

277/4-10} It is possible that “M.O.” refers to Maria Brooks, given the name by Southey of “Maria del Occidente” (the “del” often being dropped), for Poe spoke very highly of her in the BJ and elsewhere (see PD, p. 13 for loci). See 328, 340, and 357 [facsimile text], in the last of which is a long notice of her life and death in Cuba on 11/11/45. The “W. G.” may refer to W. Gilmore Simms, for his two-stanza poem in the 10/18 issue (2.219), called simply “Stanzas” (presumably by Poe himself). The last title is, as printed, “To Constance” by “W.” on 2.208.

277/11-55} The volume has 324 p. and appears to be funded by the author herself (although Poe assumes a forthcoming second ed. on p. 278). The pages of the three poems mentioned are 187-90, 244-46, and 264. Poe objects to the Latin as meaning “To him to whom [my] songs apply,” although this was not the meaning of the verb in classical Latin. The poem “The Moon” is correct in transcription save for numerous changes in accidentals.

278/14} In his 1832 tale, “A Decided Loss,” Poe had shown his familiarity with Peter Schlemihl (editorially corrected), hero of Adelbert von Chamisso’s romance, involving a bargaining [page 215:] away of his shadow to the Devil (TOM, Tales 54 — with the same misspelling.)

278/14-32} The vol. has a Preface (vii-xii), a Catalogue of authors quoted (xii-xvi) plus 17-242 pages of text. The inclusion of Mrs. Osgood’s work perhaps explains even this much space as being devoted to the work. Allston (1779-1843), a pupil of Benjamin West and a friend later of Coleridge and Irving, had a somewhat abortive career as painter and also as poet.

278/33-67} For the first part, see Poe’s rev. on 107 (b), and for his rather varying opinion of Hazlitt see other items in the Index. Poe’s interest in the subject was intense (q.v. in the Br., Index, three rubrics for “genius”).

279/1-36} The reason for reprinting in the facsimile text the end of the material that Poe quoted from Hazlitt is to indicate his emphasis through the sidelinings, the basis (in small measure) for his final comment, and the persistency of his error about the name of Lope de Vega (see 265/17, where it is uncorrected).

279/37-57} This large book, of 642 p., has a short pref. that provides Poe with the material for his brief rev. The elaborateness of its apparatus, including good maps, leads to his comments.

279/58-70} The book numbers 508 p. plus Index.

280/1-51} The first quotation, on p. 61, concerns Timothy Pickering (1745-1829), soldier, administrator, and senator. The passage is correctly transcribed, except for a dozen changes in accidentals and, for line 6, the phrase “firm in the convictions”; likewise excerpt two, which freely changes the accidentals.

280/52-66} Unfortunately, a copy of this work has not been available to enable me to see how much of the material is taken from the Preface and the text itself. The manner is certainly that of Poe, causing both Hull and TOM (in his notes) to ascribe it to him, but the authority with which the reviewer speaks belies a man capable of such blunders in German as Poe’s (see “Andre” on p. 33). See the second para. (p. 281) for Poe’s typical language and details, however. The further rev. promised at the end never materialized.

281/10-24} Despite Poe’s middle initial for the publisher [page 216:] (and author), this is by Benjamin Moore Norman (1809-60), numbering vi + 206 p. Poe’s “design” in reprinting the full title is probably the filling of space. The engravings were executed by Messers Shields and Hammond after drawings by M. Cowell.

281/31-41} Poe’s sketch of Epes Sargent (1813-80) in the “Literati” papers (H 15.91-93) shows some intimacy and partiality as here (see also 321 [facsimile text]). Poe suggests that Mrs. Mowatt’s Fashion owed something to Sargent’s 1839 play Velasco or at least to his advice. Ion, on a classical theme, was the popular play of 1836 by Thomas Noon Talford; Fazio was the 1816 Italianate-Elizabethan drama by Henry Hart Milman. Bulwer authored the 1838 Lady of Lyons and the 1839 Richelieu. For another rev. of this series see 321.

281/47-50} Poe’s tolerant praise of the October Knickerbocker is so unusual as to make one doubt the authorship, but it is scarcely possible that this was assigned to any one else. See 307A nn. He is referring to the article “By Our ’Salt-Fish Dinner Correspondent‘” signed at the end “J. K., Junior,” 26.33141. It maintains that Negro slaves are the only truly national poets, especially coming from Virginia, with a native love of songs which infuses the widely popular music.

281/51-56} For Poe’s keen interest in Kosmos see 169, 234, 247 nn. D‘Israeli had just published Sybil, addressed to the social problems of industrial England with its “Two Nations.”

281/57-59} See numerous items (in Index) expressing his detestations of Lord’s poems.

281/60-62} Cave Johnson (1793-1866) was a lawyer and Tennessee Congressman, and under President Polk Postmaster General, who would introduce the use of stamps in America. For Elizabeth Frieze Ellet, now a friend but markedly hostile in 1846, see the numerous Index items.

282/21} The forthcoming vol. by Charles Edwards Lester, U.S. Consul at Genoa (1815-90), caught Poe’s interest and contributed greatly to the material and even language of this article through the autobiographical material by the American sculptor, living abroad, Hiram Powers, whose nude female Greek slave statue was a cause célèbre. The book, in two vols., each separately published, was The Artist, The Merchant and The Statesman, of the Age of the Medici, and of our own Times, noticed [page 217:] as follows: Excerpts, I, BJ 10/28, 2.228-29; Table of Contents printed as a summary (by Poe), BJ 11/8, 2.274 (p. 301 below); review of I with many excerpts (not by Poe), BJ 11/15, 2.286-87; rev. of II (by Poe) in BJ 12/13, 2.355 (see p. 333 below). The following para. of 10/18, 2.229, is Poe’s basic source:

“But a step further. I have seen either the originals or good casts of nearly all the celebrated representations of our Saviour; and, with a few exceptions, they portray the humility, meekness and benevolence that are supposed to have been peculiar to him; but in none of these, if I except the Ivory Christ of yours — cut by an uneducated monk at Genoa, have I ever seen that expression of mind, of divine gracefulness which must have been just as peculiar to his wonderful character. It would be enough for us to know that that [sic] he were the Prince of Peace to know the one, and it is enough for us to know that he is the Son of God to convince us of the second. When we read the New Testament we are guided to a conclusion in which we cannot be mistaken; and I have always felt that Milton was the only Christian of modern writers who has drawn the person and the character of the Son of God with just conceptions of his intellect, his majesty and his grandeur, as we find it drawn by the simple but inspired pens of the apostles.”

It is likely also that Poe derived a few ideas and words (see “agony” and “anatomical truth” below) from the para. devoted to this figure in a column “Works of Art” in the 7/5/45 Weekly Mirror (p. 200):

The other gem of art we referred to is a modern work executed by a monk belonging to a convent in Genoa. It is a crucifix scene. Our Saviour is represented on the cross in all the agony of his painful death. The body is wrought of one solid piece of ivory, the largest we have ever seen, and which is of itself a curiosity. The anatomical truth of every part of the form — the perfect representation of nature in every detail, astonishes the anatomist, while the character of the face — nay the expression of agony in every muscle, and in the whole attitude fills the artist with admiration. Even Mr. Powers looked on it with wonder. The intellectual and majestic brow is knit in the extremest agony, while around the glorious mouth, plays the smile of resignation. The brow is the bitter prayer in the garden, while the mouth is the embodied exclamation, “Thy will be done.” We have never seen any thing equal to this of its kind. Even the distended veins are seen coursing under the skin and the exquisite finish of every part is equalled only by the perfect harmony and wonderful expression of the whole. It is a gem of art, and what renders it stronger still, it is the only work the [page 218:] artist has ever executed.

282/30} The BJ, 11/15, 2,283, starts with the following, “Sonnet. On Seeing the Ivory Statue of Christ,” by his literary and social friend, Anne C. Lynch (see 15/20-29), evidence of the stir it evoked: “The enthusiast brooding in his cell apart / O‘er the sad image of the Crucified, / The drooping head, closed lips and pierced side, / A holy vision fills his raptured heart; / With heavenly power inspired, his unskilled arm / Shapes the rude block to this transcendant form. / Oh Son of God! thus, ever thus, would I / Dwell on the loveliness enshrined in Thee, / The lofty faith, the sweet humility, / The boundless love, the love that could not die. / And as the sculptor with thy glory warm / Gives to this chiselled ivory thy fair form, / So would my spirit in thy Thought divine / Grow to a semblance, fair as this of Thine.”

283/1-6} In type font sizes brevier, in 8 point, is smaller than bourgeois, of 9 point size. Willis went to Europe in midyear. As usual, Poe is punning on the star-system of theatres and the asterisk, for the anonymous writer, but often, as here, the editor himself — this being Hiram Fuller in the Mirror.

283/7-63} By coincidence, Poe had attacked “Mr. Asterisk” of the Mirror in 12/35 for lauding Norman Leslie by Theodore Fay, one of its own editors. The uproar in literary circles consequent upon Poe’s campaign against this “bepuffed” and second-rate but enormously “successful novel” plunged him and the SLM into a deleterious battle that affected his status even in 1845 (see Moss, Poe’s Literary Battles, 38-45). Even his praise of Simms reflects the sectionalism that underlay the Knickerbockers’ support of Fay against the Southern critic, and their closer orientation then to British standards and works. Poe had written of a forthcoming edition of his works in England, where “bug” was reserved for “louse” and not used respectably. The pun in the first word of the quoted article would have pleased Poe, who liked that on “Poe + t = poet” (see 31/24 [facsimile text]).

284/1-37} Poe rightly objects to the crude pragmatism of the editor’s idea of artistic merit, just as his predecessors had done ten years earlier. Poe had stated, 265/57-58, that Simms showed more skill than anyone since C. B. Brown. Poe derided Dr. Richard Emmons, author of the bathetic “epic” The Fredoniad (1827), before this instance (see H 11.160, 235, and especially, [page 219:] TOM Tales, n. 1 on 1146, to the 12/1844 “Thingum Bob”).

Poe’s ref. to a “republication” of the Tales is somewhat misleading, since the American ed. came out late in June, and the London Wiley and Putnam ed. was simply the American sheets with an English title page; the date of 1846 on some of the English copies may be a clue to its lateness (see TOM Tales, 1398). Poe’s attack upon his friend and supporter Willis, as the author of Mr. Star’s remarks, is surprising since he certainly knew that Willis was abroad and in process of separating himself completely from the Mirror. Poe was to continue his humorous remarks at the end of this article when he discussed La Place’s “Nebular Cosmogony” in Eureka (1848), q.v. in H 16.260-69.

285/1-4} For Poe’s reading of a poem before the Boston Lyceum on 10/16 see 297-99 and the notes.

285/5-53} See 257-58 nn. for Poe’s first (and only) rev. of Mathews’ native American book extolling New York. Poe, still adhering to Mathews’ cause of Young America, was perhaps cooling off toward his “allegory” and poetry, but the reason for his merely excerpting the novel instead of properly reviewing it is plausibly stated by Hull. He probably left New York for Boston on Tuesday and had no time to prepare copy for going to press by Wednesday for the Saturday issue of the journal. The two “articles” of magazines on 287 required little time and the gross typographical errors in the second indicate no proofreading. His promise to attend to “new works” (aside from the excerpt) was fulfilled in the 11/15 issue (see 307A, 307B [facsimile text]). It must have been right after his return from Boston that Poe addressed himself to the task, for the 11/34 Godey’s carried a sizable rev. by Poe of Mathews’ “original” and “emblematical romance of homely life” (H 13.73-78), close in some ways to that in the BJ of 11/15.

287/1-12} Eliakim Little in Boston followed his successful formula for a journal reprinting articles mostly from the British magazines, which he had developed through the Philadelphia Museum of Foreign Literature and Science (1882-42, with slight change of title). His journal was to last to the end of the century and, when merged, well into the twentieth. Allibone and Mott (748-49) pay tribute to the scope and wise selections of Littell, Mott saying: “Nearly all the comment of British periodicals on American affairs appeared in the Living Age,” contrary to Poe’s indictment.

In this issue (Vol. 7, no. 73, the magazine reprints a notice [page 220:] from the Spectator (on p. 18) which objects to Prescott’s Biographical and Critical Miscellanies on the grounds that they are rather brief notices of books than essays of criticism like those of Sydney Smith; the New Yorker Joel T. Headley, author of Letters from Italy is mildly criticised by the Examiner (pp. 20-21) for his strange interpretations of Italian phrases and customs and breezy style and observations. Both somewhat belie Poe’s comments.

287/35} Poe published the rev. in the 11/1 issue (p. 294).

287/36-50} Now that Poe was taking over the duties of art critic, he obviously exploited sources that would lend him material, Lester’s two vol., work being pressed into service for “The Ivory Christ” and rev. material (see 301, 308-10, 333). Poe’s inclusion of this excerpt by Hiram Powers, on his celebrated, even notorious statue, “The Greek Slave,” argues an implicit defiance of the widespread Victorian condemnation of the representation of a beautiful victim intended for a seraglio, despite Powers’ evasive language. In his treatment of the statue “La Sortie du Bain” (247, 282, 297), Poe shows the courage and tact needed for such art matters.

288/1-15} Mary Elizabeth Moore Hewitt (1807-94) lived her life in New England, but wrote chiefly for the New York journals, such as Arcturus and Knickerbocker. This vol. of 156 p. is dedicated to her brother Josiah Moore. Poe had more time to evaluate her work critically for a more pointed rev. in the 2/46 Godey’s and for a “Literati” sketch (H 15.123-26). In both he praises her metrical skill but not her use of inversions and her lapses from smoothly concorded consonants. The “sketch” shows clearly that he has “become acquainted with the woman.” He still admires the format of the vol., so much more sumptuous than his own vols.

288/16-63} The poem about the mariner, pp. 32-34, is quoted accurately here and in Godey’s (first pub. in the 9/43 Boston Miscellany, 2.103). Likewise, “Alone” (of 10/43), with its motto from Victor Hugo’s Les Voix intérieures is quoted. By the next year Poe had decided to reprehend her for the first stanza’s inversion (line 4) and he adapted his two para. “lecture” to the text of M 218 (SLM, 5/49). However, she still remains among the top dozen of nearly 100 of Griswold’s Female Poets (1849 ed., pp. 157-63), Poe notes. For Poe-letters exchanged and soirées co-frequented, see M 218 note a. For Poe’s partiality for the title [page 221:] “Alone,” much before this time, see TOM Poems, 146-47.

289/21-70} The three sonnets (each with a mythological name), on pp. 35-37, appeared first in Arcturus of 4/42, 3.376. They are transcribed correctly save for 1.35: “All vainly struggling.” Since we know that Poe admired Arcturus, edited by Duyckinck, and read it faithfully (see PD, 107 for seven citations), traces in “The Raven” of Sonnet III may be significant: 62 — “with fiery eye” / 75: “To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core”; and 65 — “With whetted beak deep in the quivering heart” / 101: “Take thy beak from out my heart.”

290/13-14} See the Poe Log for I1/10 for Hewitt’s letter of thanks to Poe for the rev. and the enclosure of “a little song” for possible publication in the BJ, soon to be printed on 2.290 in the 11/15 BJ (3 stanzas) as “Song.” See also H 17.272-73, for Hewitt’s letter of 12/20/46 to Mrs. Osgood, on her efforts to relieve the misery of the Poe family in Fordham.

290/15-52} According to the LC List of Geographical Atlases, the Cerographical Atlas of the U.S. of Sidney E. Morse and Samuel Brease was published 1842-45, with the title page bearing the final date. Poe’s nine items are almost verbatim from various portions of the work. Poe may have derived information also from a prospectus carelessly looked at for the tenth number, since that, rather than no. l, “embraces” the Indian Territory, nor are the maps colored as originally promised.

290/54-68} & 291/1-7) The vol. has 570 p. plus the index. As always, the physical format of a book is of primary importance to Poe and worthy of mention. Poe’s information about the frontispiece came from the caption under the engraving, which is labeled “Giotto” and “Phillibrown,” but Poe miscopied the word “lost” as “last” and “castle” instead of “chapel.” Poe praises John Flaxman also in H 9.201 and 11.84. For his refs. to Dante see PD, 25 and, in Br., Pin 14, 33, MM 7, 139A.

291/25-32} This “unusually good” issue of Graham’s starts with Poe’s “System of . . . Tarr and . . . Fether” on pp. 194-200. The “Correspondent’s” article has a Brussels dateline (pp. 231-33). For Mrs. Hale’s Alice Ray see p. 292.

291/37-40} For Poe’s reading at the Boston Lyceum on 10/16 see 297-299 [facsimile text]. Even in this ref. he shows the belligerence over his own “hoax” that was to make this a major [page 222:] crisis in his life.

291/41-64} For the occasion which required this explanation see 273 above.

292/1-6} The same “business” in Boston that occasioned 291 (d) caused this: the Lyceum affair, q.v. in 297-99.

292/7-17} Samuel Lover of Ireland (1797-1868) was a songwriter, novelist, painter of miniatures, magazinist (helped found Bentley’s with Dickens), Irish entertainer, lyrist, and parodist. Poe’s judgment is sound here.

 


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Notes:

None.


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[S:0 - BRP4J, 1986] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions - The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe (B. R. Pollin) (October 1845)