Text: Burton R. Pollin, “August 1835 (Notes),” The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe — Vol. V: SLM (1997), pp. 32-34 (This material is protected by copyright)


[page 32:]

Notes [[for August 1835]]

[column 1:]

August 1835 - 1 SLM text: pp. 714-16. Since it is a miscellany of brief reviews and literary chitchat, this item is treated as a single unit. Its scrappy form suggests that White, faced with nearly six empty columns and a deadline, instructed Poe to fill them with notices of whatever books and periodicals he could find among the items sent for review to the Messenger. This view is confirmed by the fact that Poe later reviewed some of the titles at greater length and that his gossipy items are taken largely from the British journals.

a Andrew Reed and James Matheson represented the Congregational Union of England and Wales; their churches were “dissenting” because they had broken with the established Church of England.

b For the earlier review, see note to April 1835 - 6.

c The author was Andrew Picken, a Scot, who published several historical romances. The Royal Highland Regiment (42d) was known as the Black Watch because of its dark tartan uniforms. Crown Point and Lake George were scenes of battles during the American Revolution. “Anecdotary” is not recorded by the Oxford English Dictionary and is apparently Poe’s own coinage.

d The “arrangements” left no space for the long extracts common in SLM reviews.

e Theodore Hook was a prolific British dramatist and novelist. See Pollin 2: 518-19 for Poe’s further views.

f Benjamin Silliman taught chemistry and natural history at Yale College. He founded his periodical in 1818, and it quickly became the leading American journal for the natural and physical sciences. Poe was to cite “Silliman’s Journal” to lend credibility to his hoax tale “Von Kempelen and His Discovery” (Mabbott 3: 1357).

g Frances Joseph Gall, an Austrian anatomist, was known as the founder of the pseudoscience of phrenology, which, [column 2:] as Poe suggests, had a wide vogue in the U. S. Poe returns to the topic in the review headed “Phrenology” in the March 1836 SLM and becomes a willing believer for a time.

h The SLM was unusually interested in William Beckford’s Vathek. It reviewed the tale in December 1834 (pp. 188-89), calling it “obscene and blasphemous in the highest degree.” It printed a concurring opinion in February 1835 (p. 270) and another note simply headed “Vathek” in May 1835 (p. 386). The latter concluded: “It would argue a great decline in the moral feeling of our country, and a most adulterated literary taste, if such works as ‘Vathek’ could be greatly admired.” The remarks are characteristic of the conservative literary views of both James E. Heath and T. W. White.

i Vathek, subtitled “An Arabian Tale,” is a gaudy example of the “Easternism” strain of Gothic fiction. It was written in French and subsequently published in an English translation in 1786. Beckford, one of the wealthiest men in Britain, built the enormous fantasy palace of Fonthill Abbey in Wiltshire and filled it with a remarkable library and art collection. Hastily built and badly constructed, it collapsed into a ruin in 1825. For instances of Beckford’s works used in Poe texts, see Pollin 2: 98, 391-92.

j Poe, obviously relying on a secondary source, was misled. Beckford’s account of his visit to the two monasteries does contain descriptions of the kitchens and meals, but it was described in English reviews as a pleasant account of a picturesque region of Portugal.

k Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton had published The Sorrows of Rosalie in 1829 and The Undying One in 1830. The granddaughter of the dramatist Richard Brinsley Sheridan, she was later involved in a sensational divorce case; her writings about her experiences helped to improve the status of married women in [page 33:] England. See Pollin 2: 207 for her link to Poe’s favorite, Frances Osgood.

l Henry William Herbert’s The Brothers is set in the period of Louis XIV; he produced many other historical romances. The punctuation of “(nothing?)” is puzzling. It could be just an overlooked compositor’s query about a word which he could not decipher in Poe’s manuscript. For Poe’s adverse, more considered views of this writer see Pollin 2: 221.

m For Mrs. Sigourney, see the note to June 1835 - 7. Poe reviewed her Zinzendorff in the January 1836 SLM and he frequently expressed his admiration for her work.

n Joseph Emerson Worcester was a pioneering author of gazetteers and dictionaries. His major counterpart was Noah Webster, whose American Dictionary of the English Language he had abridged in 1829. For Poe’s further comments, see the notice of the North American Review in the December 1835 SLM.

o John Walker was an English lexicographer whose “pronouncing dictionary” (1791) was often reprinted in the U. S.

p Frances Wright D‘Arusmont, an English pioneer for women’s rights, known as Fanny Wright, paid several long visits to the U.S. She once assisted in publishing the journal of Robert Dale Owen’s utopian colony of New Harmony, Indiana. A Few Days in Athens, a work of fiction, was first issued in London in 1822. Allibone notes that this defense of Epicureanism was badly reviewed in London.

q “perfect independence” may refer to Greece’s becoming an independent state in 1832, following its long war against the Turks. See Poe’s self-projected myth about running away from Richmond with his friend Burling to support personally the Greek revolution, in his 1843 “autobiography” published in the Saturday Museum (see Pollin, American Renaissance Literary Report 7 (1993): 139-171 (specifically, 165, col. 1).

r All these reviews appeared in the May and June numbers.

s The information was undoubtedly [column 2:] taken from one of the periodicals received by the SLM.

t For Mrs. Hemans, see the note to June 1835 - 7. Nathaniel P. Willis, an editor of the New-York Mirror, was traveling in England in 1835.

u Gilfillan’s Poems and Songs went through a number of editions.

v Allibone cites the price of G. A. Hoskins’s work as £3 13s 6d, expensive indeed for the period.

w Dionysius Lardner was editor of the multivolume Cabinet Cyclopædia. Oliver Goldsmith published The History of Greece in 1774.

x Mackintosh had embarked on an ambitious history of England which was left uncompleted at his death in 1832. Poe returns to this work in his notice of the Edinburgh Review in the December 1835 SLM.

y Trevor’s work appeared in two volumes, 1835-36.

z The SLM reviewed Irving in April 1835 and July 1835 and Kemble in April 1835.

aa Sir John Ross, noted arctic explorer, published Narrative of a Second Voyage in Search of a Northwest Passage . . . in 1835. Poe continued his discussion in his notices of the Edinburgh Review and the London Quarterly Review, from which he takes this information, in the December 1835 SLM. See Pollin 1: 227 for other loci of “Ross” in Poe.

bb Timothy Flint published several historical novels on American topics. For his appearance in the 1836 SLM “Autobiography” see Mabbott 2: 270, 287.

cc Brydges, a bibliophile, had a private press. Allibone records that this edition was well received.

dd G. P. R. James, prolific producer of historical romances, published Darnley in 1830; the Life of Edward the Black Prince was first issued in 1822.

ee Lady Barbarina Dacre published The Recollections [sic] of a Chaperon in 1833. Sir Walter Scott’s The Bride of Lammermoor appeared in 1819. Poe’s incorrect or intentionally “Gaelic” spelling “Lammermoor” is apparently a faulty recollection of the title. He reviewed Peerage and Peasantry in the December 1835 SLM. [page 34:]

ff Nathaniel P. Willis’s Pencillings appeared in sections in the New-York Mirror and in book form in 1835.

gg Charles Lyell, a Scottish Dante enthusiast, had a large collection of his works.

hh Barry Cornwall was the pseudonym of Bryan Waller Procter.

ii The Earl of Bridgewater left £8000 for the best work on “The Goodness of God as manifested in the Creation.” The sum was shared by the eight authors of the Bridgewater Treatises, the seventh of which was by the Rev. William Kirby. The series led to Poe’s theory of “mutuality of adaptation” and the aim toward perfection of plot, achievable only by divine agency (see Pollin 2: 128; also the text of SLM for February 1836 - 10 ).

jj Mary Martha Sherwood, born in 1775, was a prolific writer of tales for juveniles. The correct title of her work is Social Tales for the Young. “Social Evils” is either Poe’s slip of the pen or a printer’s error.

kk For Poe’s review of this work, see the SLM for September 1835.

ll Thomas Henry Lister published his novel Granby in 1826.

mm Joanna Baillie, a famous Scottish dramatist and poet, produced many volumes of plays, including those mentioned here (1826).

nn Poe’s review of Bird’s novel appeared in the December 1835 SLM.

oo Poe reviewed Fitz-Greene Halleck in the April 1836 SLM.

pp William Gilmore Simms’s The Partisan was reviewed by Poe in the January 1836 SLM. [column 2:]

qq Poe was anxiously awaiting The Gift because of his own contribution to it. His review appeared in the September 1835 SLM.

rr Charles Kemble was Fanny Kemble Butler’s father.

August 1835 - 2 SLM text: p. 716.

a Heath had begun this practice, which had been continued by Sparhawk. Both men were at times severe on the merits of the contributions, which may be why the custom was abandoned.

b The “Tripoline Sketches” were continued in the September issue, but no more of Sparhawk’s work appeared.

c See Heath’s “Southern Literature” in the first issue in August 1834.

d The Messenger had been printing extracts from reviews of Poe’s contributions on the paper covers of each issue. Some were indeed highly critical; for examples, see Poe Log, pp. 150-51, 156, 160.

e Poe had won the contest in 1833. Writing to White on July 20, 1835, he had included a copy of the issue of the Baltimore Saturday Visiter for October 12, 1833, and had asked him to see if he could have the notice by the three judges reprinted in the SLM or any of the Richmond papers (Letters 1: 65).

f Poe’s attempts to find a publisher willing to issue “The Tales of the Folio Club” were to prove unavailing. For details, see Mabbott 2: 13-15 and passim.

g James Kirke Paulding had praised “Lion-izing” in a letter to White which was printed on the inside cover of the July 1835 issue. For praise from Beverley Tucker, see Poe Log, pp. 151, 155-56.






[S:0 - BRP5S, 1997] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions - The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe (B. R. Pollin) (August 1835 (Notes))