Text: Burton R. Pollin, “September 1835 (Notes),” The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe — Vol. V: SLM (1997), pp. 42-44 (This material is protected by copyright)


[page 42:]

Notes [[for September 1835]]

[column 1:]

September 1835 - 1 Title: [Robert Folkestone Williams.] Mephistopheles in England; or, The Confessions of a Prime Minister. Philadelphia: Carey, Lea & Blanchard, 1835. SLM text: pp. 776-77.

a author] The author was professor of history at the Cavalry College, Richmond, England, and a prolific novelist and author of historical works.

b English Bards] Byron’s satirical poem appeared in 1809.

c keeping: congruity or harmony. Poe derived the term from the fine and decorative arts; cf. “The Assignation”: “Little attention had been paid to the decora of what is technically called keeping . . . ” (Mabbott 2:157,321,497).

* divertisement / divertissement

* tetotum / teetotum

d dancer] Poe’s choice for this long excerpt may have been determined by his intense admiration for Taglioni and interest in the dance, q.v. in Pollin, “Poe and the Dance,” Studies in the American Renaissance 1980 (Boston: G. K. Hall), pp. 169-82, and Pollin, Dictionary, p. 89, for four passages on Taglioni. Poe would also wholeheartedly favor the end of this chosen excerpt, lamenting the starveling condition of “men of genius,” one of whom was close at hand.

September 1835 - 2 Title: J[ohn] Orville Taylor. The District School, or National Education. Philadelphia: Carey, Lea & Blanchard, 1835. SLM text: p. 777.

September 1835 - 3 Title: The New England Magazine (September 1835). SLM text: p. 777.

* Moliere / Molière

* Lafontaine / La Fontaine

* Fenelon / Fénelon

[each one repeated below]

September 1835 - 4 Title: The Western Journal of the Medical and Physical Sciences (July 1835). p. 778. [column 2:]

a Cases of apparent spontaneous combustion of the human body were often reported in the medical literature and the popular press of the period. Among the fiction writers who made use of the phenomenon were Charles Brockden Brown (Wieland, 1798); Frederick Marryat (Jacob Faithful, 1834); Poe (Pym, 1838); and — later — Herman Melville (Redburn, 1849) and Charles Dickens (Bleak House, 1853). Mabbott, MS. Notes, Folder 12, supplies this information: “Miss Clara Mae Brown of the Joint University Libraries, Nashville, Tennessee, finds the victim must have been John Hamilton A.M. who was on the staff from 1827 (with intervals) until his death in 1849 and was teaching Mathematics and Natural History in 1835. . . . A modern opinion would be that Hamilton’s trousers had been stained by highly combustible chemicals.”

September 1835 - 5 Title: R[obert] Potter, trans. Euripides. The Classical Family Library. Nos. XV, XVI, and XVII. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1835. SLM text: pp. 779-80. This is Poe’s first extended venture in the mode which would characterize a number of his reviews and articles — the parading of borrowed information with little or no acknowledgment of his sources. Like some of the “original” fillers which he was contributing, the review is composed in a lofty and erudite tone. Here, perhaps wishing to shine before an audience which included many Southerners with a classical education, he turned for material to a single reference work: Augustus Wilhelm Schlegel’s A Course of Lectures on Dramatic Art and Literature (translated by John Black, London, 1815; Philadelphia: Hogan & Thompson, 1833. There was also an edition by Harper & Brothers, 1834-35, 3 vols.). Here Poe gives partial credit to this source in the second and last paragraphs, but, in fact, the whole review is based directly on it. The following notes show the extent of his borrowings. References are to the Philadelphia 1833 edition. [page 43:]

a admirable] Lecture V, p. 87; verbatim.

b The life . . . . Destiny] end of lecture II, p. 29; paraphrased.

c Again . . . . was described] Lecture III, p. 35; close paraphrase.

c 1 Most critics . . . . Schlegel] Lecture III, p. 45; reshuffled and occasionally paraphrased.

c 2 Publicity . . . . independence] Lecture III, p. 44; rephrased.

d The Chorus . . . . melo-drama] Lecture III, p. 35; Lecture V, p. 70; Lecture VI, p. 111; some quoted, some paraphrased.

e But the Chorus . . . . our own] Lecture VI, pp. 111-12; rephrased but with many of the same words.

f This poet . . . beauty] Lecture V, pp. 1112; verbatim.

September 1835 - 6 Robert Southey. The Early Naval History of England. Philadelphia: Carey, Lea & Blanchard, 1835. SLM text: p. 780. The importance which Poe and his contemporaries attached to Southey is evinced by over a dozen passages on him (see Pollin, Dictionary, p. 85; also, Pollin, “Southey’s Curse of Kehama in Poe’s ‘City in the Sea,‘” Wordsworth Circle 7 (1976): 101-106.

a Southey’s five-volume Naval History of England (also known as Lives of the British Admirals) was published 1833-40.

b English, undefiled] The reference is to Spenser’s Faerie Queene “Dan Chaucer, well of English undefiled.” See also Poe’s cento of 1827-29 (date undetermined), called “To Margaret,” line 2 of which is “From the pure well of Beauty undefiled?” The cento is in T. O. Mabbott, ed., Tamerlane and other Poems by Poe, no. 51 of the Facsimile Text Society, Columbia University Press, 1941, p. xvii.

c before its eyes the fear] Romans 3.18.

d juxta-position] a common spelling of the period.

e The writers compared include: Pietro Metastasio, eighteenth-century Italian poet and melodramatist; George Buchanan, sixteenth-century historian and Latin poet; Henry St. John, Viscount Bolingbroke, prominent eighteenth-century author; John Horne Tooke, author of a philosophical treatise generally known as Diversions of Purley [column 2:] (see Pollin 2: 54); Henry Peter Brougham, Baron Brougham and Vaux, one of the founders of the Edinburgh Review.

f Edward Everett, noted author and classical scholar and an editor of the North American Review. See a half dozen more comments on him, via Pollin, Dictionary, p. 33.

g No true] Poe again refers to contemporary literary nationalism. This is another sign of Poe’s forthcoming “campaign” against the New York journalist clique, culminating in his December 1835 critique of Norman Leslie (q.v.). See Moss, Chapter 2, 38-62.

September 1835 - 7 Title: [Eliza Leslie, ed.]. The Gift for . . . 1836. Philadelphia: E. L. Carey and A. Hart, 1835. SLM text: p. 780.

Poe had implied this review in the August 1835 SLM. He does not mention his own contribution of “MS. Found in a Bottle,” probably because Miss Leslie did not print his submission of “Epimanes” (see note to June 1835 - 6).

a Miss Leslie] Poe was careful to laud the work as editor and writer of Eliza Leslie, who long remained powerful as an arbiter in the world of the gilded giftbooks, which paid their “contributors” well. Besides his defense of this year’s issue below, he spoke of her with much praise and tact; this brought its return in his having four of his tales accepted for future issues of The Gift (see list in Mabbott 3: 1399; also Letters, p. 75 and the “Autography” articles on her in SLM of February 1836 [no. 9] and in Graham’s of November 1841 [Harrison, Works 15: 198-991).

b opinion] The Boston Courier of September 25, 1835 (p. 2, col. 2) printed a vituperative, but varied paragraph of about 500 words contrasting the handsome container of the annual with the undistinguished contents, despite the eminent repute of some of the writers. Miss Leslie’s sketch is “skimmed-milk and rainwater.” The disreputable Fanny Kemble’s portrait does not deserve inclusion. Worst of all, perhaps, is the writer’s total omission of the name of the contributor Poe. (Gratitude is owed to Dr. John Reilly for furnishing a copy of this journal article from the American Antiquarian Society file.) [page 44:]

c to the contrary notwithstanding] One suspects that Poe’s half-playful use of this redundancy accords with his obviously hyperlaudatory and exaggerated reflections on the writings and the illustrations with the unexpected intrusion of “head . . . of a cabbage.” Humorous also is the expression itself in the formal prose, apparently derived from legal language, since the phrase itself is ascribed, once only, in the [column 2:] OED, which instances Statutes, Act 7 and 8, Victoria, c. 32, with a date of 1844, 8 years later.

d Sully] For Poe’s relations with the artists Robert Sully in Richmond and later his more famous uncle Thomas in Philadelphia and for the effect on his works, see Mabbott 2: 502, 504 n. 14; 664, 665 n. 5; Harrison 15: 264.






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