Text: Burton R. Pollin, “December 1835 (Notes),” The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe — Vol. V: SLM (1997), pp. 48-74 (This material is protected by copyright)


[page 75:]

Notes [[for December 1835]]

[column 1:]

December 1835 - 1 Title: Eaton Stannard Barrett. The Heroine, or Adventures of Cherubina. Richmond: P. D. Barnard, 1835. SLM text: pp. 41-43. First published in London in 1813, this well-known novel was a burlesque of Gothic fiction, the tale of terror, and the rhetoric of sensibility. T. W. White was a great admirer of the book. To Beverley Tucker he wrote, on November 5, 1835: “I intend printing an edition of the Heroine. . . . I shall not put my imprint to it . . . because I could not then with equal grace give it that praise in the Messenger to which it is so eminently titled” (Hull, p. 87). He therefore adopted the ruse of issuing it under the name of his son-in-law, P. D. Barnard. Given White’s enthusiasm, “praise in the Messenger” was assured, and this notice could only have pleased him. Its unrestrained puffery, however, suggests an underlying mockery of the work. There are still doubts about Poe’s authorship of this review. Mabbott, MS Notes, Folder 1, gives his opinion that it “may well be from another hand.” Favorable to Poe is the difficulty of assigning the piece to any other of the known contributors. Moreover, there are errors in spelling and punctuation that are found elsewhere in his work: näïveté (the second dieresis is clearly a compositorial error), Don Quixotte, bôna fide, debauché, (locations marked with * alongside the text). The phrase à merveille is also used in the Glass review below.

a the cat and the fiddle] The “Mother Goose” nursery line, repeated below, may have lingered in Poe’s mind to appear as the motto for “Diddling . . .” in an October 1843 printing (Mabbott 2: 869).

December 1835 - 2 Title: [Robert Montgomery Bird]. The Hawks of Hawk-Hollow. A Tradition of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: Carey, Lea & Blanchard, 1835. [column 2:] SLM text: pp. 43-46. Griswold printed this review (omitting the long plot synopsis) together with the final two paragraphs of the Sheppard Lee notice (see below, September 1836 - 3 ) under the heading “Robert M. Bird” in Volume 3 of his edition of the Works.

a our opinion] “Our” is clearly editorial and not a claim by Poe for authorship of the earlier review; see Headnote to June 1835.

b Lammermuir] Poe again misspells the correct Lammermoor. See August 1835 - 1.

c Aleph to Tau] Poe uses the Hebrew initial letter aleph and the Greek tau. The more common rendering of “from first to last” is “from Alpha to Omega.”

d German . . . plastically] “Pictorially” in the sense of molding or modeling of forms even in a flat picture was not an English usage at this date. Poe here reached out for an imaginary German equivalent. The 1982 Supplement to the OED, under “plastically,” cites this passage from the SLM without crediting it to Poe.

e Caleb Williams] Poe often praised this famous novel by William Godwin (1794). For Poe and Godwin, see Pollin, Discoveries, pp. 107-27.

* protegé / protégé

f Di Vernon] Diana Vernon is the heroine of Sir Walter Scott’s Rob Roy.

g Roscius] Roman comic actor.

h nemine contradicente] Latin for “no one contradicting” or “without opposition” (used also in Mabbott 2: 491 and 3: 1056).

h 1 sentenced to be hung] Used especially in this juridical sense, hung is held by the OED to be dialectal in southern England but is given among many ordinary examples only for 1817 and 1896.

* chéf / chef

i Dutchman] In Poe’s usage here, a German.

j “Turn bard”] Unidentified. [page 76:]

December 1835 - 3 Title: [Lady Barbarina Dacre, ed.] Tales of the Peerage and the Peasantry. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1835. SLM text: pp. 46-47.

a show of modesty] Poe had made a similar comment in his August 1835 “Critical Notices and Literary Intelligence.” Lady Dacre was indeed the editor of works of fiction written by her daughter, Mrs. Arabella Jane Sullivan, yet Poe persisted for a long time in his belief that her professed editorship was concealment for authorship. See his other comments in Marginalia 52 (Pollin 2: 163-64) and Marginalia 221 (2: 370-74).

b unity of effect] This is an early statement of a key principle in Poe’s esthetics. He would discuss it more specifically in his review of Hawthorne’s Twice-Told Tales in Graham’s of May 1842.

c For a discussion of Poe and “Ellen Wareham,” see Pollin, Discoveries, pp. 128-43.

d sound of a trumpet] Surely this is derived from Poe’s dim recollection of Sir Philip Sidney’s famous statement in The Defence of Poesy (1595): “I never heard the old song of Percy and Douglas, that I found not my heart moved more than with a trumpet.”

e readily die] This death-defying accomplishment is adapted from Milton’s . . . Church-Government (see Pollin 2: 327 n. c).

December 1835 - 4 Title: The Edinburgh Review (July 1835). SLM text: pp. 47-49. This and the other notices of periodicals in this issue are assigned to editor Poe by default, since it is very unlikely that an outside reviewer would have been asked to submit such routine pieces, which are generally summaries of content and not critical commentaries. Mabbott, MS. Notes, Folder 13, indicated he would have printed this notice in small type in his projected edition, since it was included by Harrison (8: 82-89). He added: “The others may well have been Poe’s work, but in the absence of positive evidence I feel justified in leaving them in the columns of the magazine.”

* Archanenses / Acharnenses (as below)

a interjacent] This is apparently Poe’s revival of a 16th-17th century word, found [column 2:] only in 1840 for a use by De Quincey and 1858 by Carlyle, in the OED.

b Bentham] This defense of Bentham against German contempt for his thought is entirely uncharacteristic of Poe’s later statements. See Mabbott 2: 609, 617 n. 8; Pollin 2: 110 n. c, 151 n. d, 171 n. b, 227 n. a.

c testiness of temper] Poe’s defense of F. Kemble’s criticism of American vanity accords with his statements above (see September 1835 - 6 n. g and his Norman Leslie review in the present issue).

d noun alone] See September 1835 - 6 n. e for an earlier instance of Poe’s devotion to Tooke and his odd theory.

e poems of Montgomery] For his contempt for (and concealed borrowings from) Montgomery, see Pollin 2: 128-29, 187 and also his article “Poe, Henry King, and the Two Writers Called Montgomery,” Studies in American Fiction 8 (1980): 233-37.

December 1835 - 5 Title: [Richard Gooch]. Nuts to Crack; or, Quips, Quirks, Anecdote and Facete of Oxford and Cambridge Scholars. By the Author of “Facetiae Cantabrigienses.” Philadelphia: E. L. Carey & A. Hart, 1835. SLM text: p. 49.

a Anecdote and Facete] Apparently Poe thought the forms were erroneous. The word “anecdote” from the Greek for unpublished (or private) for tales of the court, whence, short stories or particulars, often given a Latin plural (anecdota), is here used collectively for the genre; “facete,” archaic for “facetious,” was revived as an absolute usage for “the facetious” for raillery or wit, early in the century, as in Sydney Smith (1807-8) and Blackwood’s Magazine (1828).

b The plural jeux is called for. Long Primer is a type size.

c Hierocles] Fourth-century Alexandria author of witticisms; see “Lion-izing” in Mabbott 2: 176.

d Joe Miller] John Mottley compiled in 1739 a volume which he called Joe Miller’s Jest-Book. Miller was an illiterate comedian of the period; his name came to stand for a stale jest. Poe adopted the name as the recipient of the fictitious letters in his “Autography.”

e our own especial readers] Much later, in the 1844 “Purloined Letter,” Dupin [page 77:] jested to the baffled Prefect about paying for advice via an anecdote about one Abernethy, derived from Nuts to Crack, p. 31 (see Mabbott 3: 982 at n. 10, on 994).

December 1835 - 6 Title: William Maxwell. A Memoir of the Reverend John H. Rice, D.D. . . . . Philadelphia: J. Whitham, 1835. SLM text: p. 51. This and the following notice were probably prepared by Poe as duty pieces because of the presumed interest of Southern readers in these Southern clergymen.

December 1835 - 7 Title: Walker Anderson. Oration on the Life and Character of the Rev. Joseph Caldwell, D. D. N.p., 1835. SLM text: p. 52. See preceding note.

* Ithink / I think

* lriumph / triumph

December 1835 - 8 Title: Francis Glass. A Life of George Washington in Latin Prose. Ed. by J. N. Reynolds. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1835. SLM text: pp. 52-54. Reynolds was a friend of T. W. White. Poe’s own continuing interest in the man probably contributed to his reviewing of this oddity. In his preface Reynolds recalls that while a college student in 1823 he had studied with Glass, a teacher in a log-cabin schoolhouse in a remote section of Ohio. From Glass, Reynolds says, he received the manuscript of a life of Washington in Latin prose and promised him that he would get it published. Poe’s review draws heavily on this preface, particularly for biographical anecdotes and comments about Glass’s “Latinisy.” Despite Poe’s own authoritative tone here and elsewhere in his reviews, he was not an expert Latinist. (See E. K. Norman, “Poe’s Knowledge of Latin,” American Literature 6 [March 1934], 7277.) Poe’s review was reprinted in part in a testimonial in the second edition of the book (Poe Log, pp. 179-80).

a Messieurs Anthon & Co.] Charles Anthon, professor of classics at Columbia College, was the author of a series of classical works for schools and colleges published by Harper & Brothers.

b Alexander] A play on a passage in Plutarch, Life of Alexander, 14: 3: “If I were not Alexander, I would be Diogenes.” Poe used this in his tale “The Duc de L‘Omelette” [column 2:] (Mabbott 2: 37-41). Mabbott’s note gives Poe’s source and lists his other uses of the passage.

c Washingtonii Vita] The volume has a second title page in Latin.

d Poe used Reynolds’s preface for most of these examples.

e Professor Wylie] The views of several scholars are quoted at the book’s end.

December 1835 - 9 Title: [Theodore S. Fay]. Norman Leslie. A Tale of the Present. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1835. SLM text: pp. 54-57. This reviewone of the most famous in Poe’s “slashing” style-created enemies for Poe, notably Lewis Gaylord Clark. For a discussion of this feud, see Moss, pp. 85-131; for Poe’s later use of Fay’s novel, see Pollin, “Poe’s ‘Mystification’: Its Source in Fay’s Norman Leslie,” Mississippi Quarterly 25: 111-30. It should be noted that Poe gives away Fay’s conventional suspense element by beginning his plot summary with the denouement.

a Mr. Blank] Fay was an associate editor of the New-York Mirror. Beginning in July 1835, the Mirror puffed his book and also ran extracts; for citations, see Poe Log, pp. 162, 164, 167, 176. Poe’s indignation made his opening rich in coinages: “bepuffed, be-Mirrored, puffable“-q.v. in Pollin, Creator, pp. 23, 35.

b Dedication] Poe also protested this custom in his review of Legends of a Log Cabin. See entry 19 below.

c thought her] Poe is forgetful or being sly here; her name, given several times, is Louise.

d Poe had briefly noticed Crockett’s Tour in April 1835 - 15. This is an allusion to an anecdote, told by Crockett, and reported in Sketches and Eccentricities of Col. David Crockett of West Tennessee (N.Y., J. and J. Harper, 1833), Chapter X, concerning a hustings confrontation with an opponent bearing always “a peculiarly good-humored smile.” Crockett tells about his well-known ability to grin a raccoon down from a tree, but on this occasion, in his memory, all his efforts failed, so he chopped the tree down, to discover the ‘coon to be a “knot” that he had “grinned all clear of its bark.” He now begs the voters not to be “grinned out of their vote” for himself. [page 78:]

e Sir Charles Grandison] titular character of the novel by Samuel Richardson (1754).

f Vapid] hero of the play The Dramatist by Frederick Reynolds. See Mabbott 3: 845, motto note.

g a-Willising] Nathaniel P. Willis, later a Poe associate, had recently sent a number of foreign travel sketches to the Mirror.

h Gath] See 2 Samuel 1: 20.

h 1 sachezing] All dictionaries omit Fay’s gallicized spelling, to which Poe rightly objects, cleverly avoiding an acceptable replacement. The OED gives “sashay, sasshay, sashy or shashey” as colloquial “mispronunciations in America” of “chassé,” the French dance step; the form “sashay” seems to predominate for the square dance step.

i Samuel Warren’s Passages from the Diary of a Late Physician was serialized in Blackwood’s Magazine (1830-37). One of the early chapters pertains to dueling.

* sous / sou

j Murray’s] Lindley Murray’s English Grammar, first published in 1795, was a standard reference work, respected by Poe.

k White and Lucian Minor, an attorney, discussed this review in correspondence. On November 23, 1835, White commented: “You are altogether right about the Leslie critique. Poe has evidently shown himself no lawyer — whatever else he may be” (Poe Log, pp. 17677). Presumably Minor had pointed out errors about court procedure.

l thrusting] Here is a germ of Poe’s famous denunciation of “the twattle called tale-writing” with “a full allowance of cut-and-thrust blue-blazing melodramaticisms” in his April 1842 Graham’s review of Twice-Told Tales.

December 1835 - 10 Title: [Catharine M. Sedgwick]. The Linwoods; or, “Sixty Years Since” in America. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1835. SLM text: pp. 57-59. Poe made almost verbatim use of sections of this review in his sketch of Sedgwick in the “Literati” (Godey’s, September 1846.) [column 2:]

a outrance] Poe mistranslates the French word as meaning “in disaccord with” instead of the correct “in excess” or “to the extreme.”

b Eugene Aram] popular novel by Edward Bulwer (1832); Contarini Fleming (1832), novel by Benjamin D‘Israeli. Neither is in any way similar to Sedgwick’s work.

c sixty years ago] Sedgwick’s subtitle echoes the subtitle of Scott’s Waverley.

d lion of Una] See Spenser, Faerie Queene, Book I.

* bonâ / bona

December 1835 - 11 Title: The Westminster Review (July 1835). SLM text: pp. 59-61. See note to December 1835 - 4.

a Poe had reviewed Moore’s work in the June 1835 SLM.

December 1835 - 12 Title: London Quarterly Review (July 1835). SLM text: pp. 61-63. See note to December 1835 - 4.

a Poe had mentioned Ross in the August 1835 SLM.

b The May 1835 SLM had noticed Kemble’s work.

b 1 Essays of Lamb] Poe’s very sympathetic summary of the article on Charles Lamb reflects his admiration for the man, which has received little attention. He liked Lamb’s quirky humor, his interest in the drama, and his variety of modes. See Pollin 2: 213 n. g and 3: 245 for other views by Poe.

* plusieurs / plusieurs

b 2 “The French Cook”] Mabbott, 2: 659 n. 14, indicates the contribution made by this article to Poe’s tale of 1841, and the story is called “Three Sundays in a Week.”

c L. E. L.] Letitia E. Landon.

d Poe had criticized Beckford’s work in his August 1835 SLM review.

December 1835 - 13 Title: The North American Review (October 1835). SLM text: pp. 63-64. See note to December 1835-4.

* materiel / materiel

a See August 1835 - l, note a.

December 1835 - 14 Title: [Washington Irving]. The Crayon Miscellany, No. [page 79:] 3. Philadelphia: E. L. Carey & A. Hart, 1835. SLM text: pp. 64-65. The SLM reviews of No. 1 and 2 of The Crayon Miscellany (1: 456-57; 1: 646-48) were not by Poe, but there is no reason to doubt his authorship of this brief notice, despite his 1838 disclaimer of having read Irving’s works save for “Granada” (Letters, pp. 111-13).

a Portentous Tower] The two adjectives in the title of this “legend” certainly imply the smallest quantity of “facts” in this tale of how Roderick, the last Gothic king in Toledo, forced his entrance into the tower of a hoary, old, unused castle, and then broke open a casket marked with an ominous warning, to witness his approaching doom at the hands of the Moors in Spain. Poe could not have known of Irving’s slyness in involving the name and pen of “the venerable [Fray Antonio] Agapida” whose presumably quoted introduction to the tale of “the necromantic tower” (of Chapter 7), gives way, in paragraph three to Irving’s direct words with their “beauty of style.” D. K. Terrell, ed. of Irving’s Complete Works (Legends of . . . Granada) (Boston: Twayne, 1979), p. xlvi, declares this tale “more nearly a literal translation of sources” than the rest. No one has truly identified Agapida, although his work, A Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada, has been translated into English (Philadelphia: Carey, 1829, in 2 volumes), and was available to Irving in its Spanish original. More authentic and truly factual is, in Irving’s footnote, the work of Fray Jaime Bleda, Coronica de los moros de España, published in 1618 in Valencia (data graciously given by Dr. Maria Soledad Carrasco Urgoiti). The motion-picture style used for the shifting scenes of the future are the main feature of Irving’s tale.

December 1835 - 15 Title: William Godwin. Lives of the Necromancers. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1835. SLM text: p. 65. For Poe and Godwin, see note to December 1835 - 2.

a terse, nervous] Poe uses “nervous” to mean “vigorous” or “powerful.”

b philosophy] Hamlet 1.5.166-67.

c Poe referred several times to Sir David [column 2:] Brewster’s Letters on Natural Magic (1832) and made extensive use of it in his discussion of “Maelzel’s Chess Player” (SLM 2: 318-20). See notes to April 1836 - 2.

d Godwin died at the age of eighty in 1836; this was his last published book.

e properly contradicted] How prevalent was the confusion of the two figures in Poe’s day is not clear, although the Encyclopaedia Britannica (11th edition) in its article on Johann, of a respectable burgher family of Mainz, financially associated with Gutenberg, says “often confused with the famous magician Dr. Johann Faust” (11: 374; cf. 10: 210: “The opinion [identifying the two] is now universally rejected”). Godwin devotes little space to the matter in his long account of “Faustus” (the necromancer) (pp. 225-42) and merely calls it “groundless.”

December 1835 - 16 Title: [D. L. Carroll]. Inaugural Address. . . . Richmond: T. W. White, 1835. SLM text: pp. 65-66. This is a piece of puffery for an issue from White’s press, and doubtlessly Poe was doing his duty to his employer.

December 1835 - 17 Title: Eulogies on Marshall. SLM text: p. 66. The Poe Log and Hull do not accept this item as Poe’s, though Mabbott does. Since it is basically an advance notice of Lucian Minor’s discussion in the February 1836 SLM (see below) and since White and Minor corresponded about that forthcoming review, it is likely that they prepared the notice. Poe may, of course, have edited the item for the printer. The word “light” in the phrase “light personal reminiscences” is evidently a typographical error for “slight,” for White wrote to Minor on November 16, 1835: “I hope you have found time to progress with the Marshall Review-as also with my ‘light’ (unfortunate error) reminiscences” (Hull, p. 99).

a fellow-townsman] This is a Poe coinage, used also in a Dickens review of 1841 (see Pollin, Creator, p. 48).

b opus] Ovid uses the imperfect tense in Metamorphoses 2.5: “Materiem superabat opus (The work excelled the material).

c Binney] Horace Binney Wallace, a [page 80:] Philadelphia lawyer, highly productive in letters as “Landor,” contributed over three dozen entries to Poe’s short essays (see Pollin, Index 2; also, G. E. Hatvary, . . . Wallace [Boston: Twayne, 1977] and American Literature 38 [1966]: 365-72). Poe remained unaware of his true identity.

d garnish] Shakespeare, King John 4.2.14-15.

e Ames] Edward Everett, a Massachusetts educator and orator, appears in several Poe passages (see Pollin, Dictionary, p. 33). William Wirt was a prominent lawyer and essayist, living chiefly in Richmond. Fisher Ames was a Massachusetts Federalist orator and publicist.

f Marshall] Chief Justice John Marshall occurs in several other Poe passages (see Pollin, Dictionary, p. 61).

December 1835 - 18 Title: Lucian Minor. An Address on Education. Richmond: T. W. White, 1835. SLM text: pp. 66-67. White wrote to Minor on October 20, 1835: “[Poe] is very much pleased with it [Minor’s Address] — in fact he . . . intends noticing it under the head of Reviews” (Poe Log, p. 176). As the review notes, the text was also published in the December 1835 SLM, pp. 17-24.

December 1835 - 19 Title: [Chandler Robbins Gilman]. Legends of a Log Cabin. New York: George Dearborn, 1835. SLM text: p. 67. Poe later reviewed another work by Gilman; see July 1836 - 9.

a For a similar comment, see December 1835 - 9.

b Chateaubriand traveled in America in 1791; he presented a romantic vision of Indian life in such works as Atala, Rene, and Les Natchez.

December 1835 - 20 Title: Sarah J. Hale. Traits of American Life. Philadelphia: E. L. Carey and A. Hart, 1835. SLM text: p. 67. Hale, industrious poet, story writer, and editor, became editor of Godey’s when it merged with her Ladies’ Magazine in 1837. Poe had known her son at West Point; he corresponded with her several times about literary matters.

December 1835 - 21 Title: James Hall. Sketches of History, Life, and Manners in the West. Philadelphia: Harrison Hall, 1835. SLM text: pp. 67-68. Hall practiced law in Illinois, where he was elected a Circuit Court Judge; in 1833 he became a banker in Cincinnati. He published numerous factual and fictional accounts of the region.

December 1835 - 22 Title: The American Almanac . . . for 1836. Boston: Charles Bowen, 1835. SLM text: p. 68. This flat, factual notice is assigned to Poe by default.

December 1835 - 23 Title: [Frederick W. Thomas]. Clinton Bradshaw; or, The Adventures of a Lawyer. Philadelphia: Carey, Lea & Blanchard, 1835. SLM text: p. 68. An early friend of Poe’s brother Henry, Thomas met Edgar in Philadelphia in 1840. They became close friends and correspondents, especially during the period when Thomas was trying to procure for Poe a position in the Philadelphia Custom House. Poe referred more favorably to this novel in “Autography” (Graham’s, December 1841) and in a letter to Thomas (Letters 1: 148).

a paraphrasical] Poe’s intended newly coined form (still not in the OED) for the existent “paraphrastic” and therefore in italics.

b Henry Pelham] This novel by Edward Bulwer (1820) was frequently used by Poe as a source for “sophisticated” references, witticisms, and learned tags.

c Flemish caricaturing] Poe frequently expressed his dislike for detailed pictures; see Pollin, Dictionary, under “Jan Steen” (p. 87) for citations.

d High Life Below Stairs] comedy by James Townley (1759).

December 1835 - 24 Title: Friendship’s Offering . . . for 1836; The Forget Me Not for 1836; Fisher’s Drawing-Room Scrap-Book for 1836. SLM text: p. 68. This brief notice of three annuals is most likely the work of editor Poe. L. E. L. is Letitia E. Landon.






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