Text: Burton R. Pollin, “February 1836 (Notes),” The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe — Vol. V: SLM (1997), pp. 130-134 (This material is protected by copyright)


[page 130:]

February 1836

[column 1:]

February 1836 - 1 Title: “Palæstine.” SLM text: pp. 152-53. Signed “P.” The two paragraphs, in brackets, at the end of this annotation were prepared solely by Joseph Ridgely, following T. O. Mabbott’s notes for use by future editors of the Writings, here consisting chiefly of a copy of Bailey’s 1941 article (see below). No other source for Poe’s “Paloestine” article was suggested by him or any other scholar in print. However, on the verge of preparing all this volume’s materials for the final additions and changes in October 1995, 1 experienced a remarkable coincidence. I was invited to examine the library and scholarly research archives of the declining Mr. Palmer C. Holt, at his home in Englewood, Florida, for the purpose of making an inventory of and large selection from the 4,000 volumes being graciously donated by Mrs. Lois Holt and her two sons, for scholarly and academic uses, to the Washington State University at Pullman. In looking over files of unpublished, typed papers prepared years ago by Mr. Holt, I found his long source study designed to refute Bailey’s attribution to Rees’s Cyclopaedia. The undeniable source, responsible for well over ninety-five percent of Poe’s ten paragraphs of “Palæstine” and used virtually verbatim, was the following:

A / CLASSICAL DICTIONARY; / containing / a copious account of / ALL THE PROPER NAMES / mentioned in ancient authors; / . . . . By J. Lempriere, D. D. / Fifth American edition, / corrected and improved / By Charles Anthon . . . . NewYork: / Published by Evert Duyckinck, 1825. [804 pp. in 2 columns + 12 unpaged]

This weighty tome, pirated in America from a British original, was the first of several editions from Anthon’s pen, but it was the only one used by Poe, as several collations with Poe’s text by Holt prove. His next edition, called the “sixth,” significantly differs from Poe’s “borrowings.” [column 2:] In his Preface in the form of a letter to his brother, John Anthon, Charles Anthon explains his revision of the “Classical Dictionary of Lempriere” which had “passed through more than twelve editions in England and four in [the USA]” as being chiefly the removal of “some disgusting trait of moral deformity” concerning individuals, nations, or gods included through the “pruriency” of Lempriere. Anthon clearly also swelled the details of the entries, as a whole, and showed this through the brackets around all of his additions. Poe’s material comes from these “additions” with the sole exception of the Dead Sea [“Mare Mortuum”] article (see below). On p. vi of his Preface Anthon indicates sources that he used for his own additions, one of which is “Dr. Ree’s [sic] Encyclopaedia.” This serves to explain Bailey’s misconception about Poe’s source. However, the many passages which do not find a parallel or source in his “Rees” collations, along with the very free uses of passages that he prints out for collation, inevitably lead to Holt’s firm conclusion that Poe “plundered” Anthon’s text save for a stylistic change of a few words here and there or to throw any suspicious readers a bit off the scent.

Poe’s relations with Anthon through the years were extremely even in temper and he always demonstrated the highest respect for this eminent classicist, whose work he had used and acknowledged, save in this instance (see Pollin, Dictionary 4; Writings 1: 360361; 2: 89, 219, 278-279, 295). Their mutual respect was evinced by Anthon directly in his letter to Poe, of November 3, 1844, which stated: “I subscribed to the ‘Messenger’ solely because you were connected with it, and I have since that period read, and . . . admired very many of your other pieces” (Harrison, [page 131:] Complete Works, 17: 193). Holt sagely remarks: “Perhaps Anthon read and recognized the article [“Palæstine”] as virtually his own.”

There is no need to reprint the original passages in the Classical Dictionary. I merely indicate the paragraph number of Poe’s text, plus the initial and terminal words followed by a bracketed article and page number from Anthon’s text.

Para. 1, Palæstine . . . condition of a desert: [PALAESTINA, 510; + Galilea . . . tribute [GALILAEA, 292]

Para. 2, The middle district, Samaria . . . term of reproach; [SAMARIA, 659] Para. 3, The southern division, Judaea . . . name of “Judaea.”: [JUDAEA, 359] Para. 4, The only rivers . . . through the country [JORDANES, 352]

Para. 5, The Dead Sea, called also Asphaltites . . . on its margin. [MARE MORTUUM, 408]

Para. 6, The country . . . for its cedars. [LIBANUS, 378] + Mount Carmel . . . to the throne [ CARMELUS, 152]

Para. 7, The principal towns . . . in this city [TIBERIAS, 749 + EPIPHANIUS, 268 + CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE, xiii, = DIOCLETIANUS, 243-244]

Para. 8, The chief cities . . . governors [CAESAREA, 141] + Samaria . . . kingdom [SAMARIA, 659]

Para. 9, In Judaea . . . afterwards rebuilt [JERICHO, 346] + Jerusalem, the capital . . . foundation [JERUSALEM, 346 + HIEROSOLYMA, 328]

Para. 10, entirely from the last citation.

It should be noted that Poe probably had used the fifth edition of Lempriere’s dictionary much earlier, for his “learned” citation to “Asphaltites” in footnote 18 to his 1829 “Al Aaraaf’ (q.v., Mabbott, Collected Works 1: 107, 121-122, but not so traced) and also for geographical and historical references in his tale, “Four Beasts in One.” The manuscript for this dates from 1833, with a publication date of March 1836 in the Messenger (Collected Works 2: 119-120, 129). Poe’s error in reproducing “Nicanor” (of the 1825 [column 2:] Anthon edition, which is corrected to “Nicator” by Anthon in his 1827 edition) reveals Poe’s frequent application to this compendious one-volume reference tool. The multi-volumed Rees’s Cyclopaedia was most unlikely to be at hand, when needed, through this long period (1829-1836). (B. R. Pollin)

[As J. O. Bailey showed in “Poe’s ‘Palæstine,‘” American Literature 13 (March 1941): 44-58, this brief essay is largely drawn from some fifteen articles in Rees’s Cyclopaedia, with additions from the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Poe had previously used Rees for information about the moon in the first printing of “Hans Phaall — A Tale” in the June 1835 SLM. He would again make use of it for some data in The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym. (See Index to Pollin 1, under “Rees’s Cyclopaedia.”) According to T. O. Mabbott (1: 557), John Allan was listed as a subscriber to the first American printing of this huge and costly set, and Poe may have become familiar with it in his foster father’s home.

Bailey’s study prints the entire text of Poe’s article alongside parallel columns of passages from his sources in order to reveal how much was copied almost verbatim. Poe did occasionally depart from the texts, notably in the spelling of place names, which he took from a map of Palestine printed in the Cyclopaedia’s volume of plates. Bailey concludes: “We may surmise his choice of Latin, or archaic-looking spellings, to rest upon first, his desire to make the essay look learned, and second, his sense of the greater mystery and romance of the unfamiliar word.” Poe was “less governed by the desire for accuracy (which he pretends is his chief concern) than by an attraction to the bizarre” (J. V. Ridgely).]

February 1836 - 2 Title: [Morris Mattson]. Paul Ulrich; or, The Adventures of an Enthusiast. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1835. SLM text: pp. 173-80. Mattson was known as a contributor to periodicals of the day. His novel is treated with the same lashings of scorn [page 132:] that Poe had administered to Norman Leslie.

a Vivian Grey] the novel by Benjamin Disraeli (1826-27). For Poe’s use of it in several tales, see Index to Mabbott 3, under “Disraeli.”

* debût / début The incorrect punctuation is probably Poe’s.

b Gil Blas] picaresque romance (1715-35) by Alain René Le Sage.

Pelham] novel by Bulwer (1828), frequently used by Poe.

Anne of Geierstein] novel by Scott (1829). Poe misspells the title here and below.

c credat Judæus] Horace, Satires, 1.5.100-01: Credat Judæus Apella, / Non ego. “Let Apella the Jew believe it, not 1.

d Curiosities] Poe, of course, had himself mined Isaac D‘Israeli’s Curiosities.

e an opinion] Poe’s strictures on the idiocies of the contemporary novel were fully justified. But in seeking personal attention by the carving up at such length of a trivial item like Paul Ulrich he invited the charge of overkill. As the Georgetown Metropolitan commented in a review of this issue, “Paul Ulrich is too small game for the tremendous demolition he has received — a club of iron has been used to smash a fly.” For this and other comments on Poe’s review, see the Supplement to the April 1836 SLM.

February 1836 - 3 Title: Joseph Martin. A New and Comprehensive Gazetteer of Virginia. . . . Charlottesville: Joseph Martin, 1835. SLM text: p. 180. The SLM was always patriotically ready to review a work about Virginia.

a double portion] See Deuteronomy 21.17: “a double portion of all that he hath”; also, 2 Kings 2.9: “a double portion of thy spirit.”

b recognize a pen] The author was Lucian Minor, a resident of Louisa county.

February 1836 - 4 Title: [Anon.]. Rose-Hill. A Tale of the Old Dominion by a Virginian. Philadelphia: Key & Biddle, 1835. SLM text: p. 180. The Virginia setting probably accounts for the review. Wright, p. 283, has this note: “Attributed [column 2:] to T. T. Tabb by Sabin.”

February 1836 - 5 Title: [Lambert A. Wilmer]. The Confessions of Emilia Harrington. . . . Baltimore: L. A. Wilmer, 1835. SLM text: 191-92. Wilmer, journalist and poet, was a companion of Poe’s in 1832, and they continued to see each other occasionally. Poe, in his review of Wilmer’s satirical The Quacks of Helicon in the August 1841 Graham’s, called it “remarkable,” but not “unblemished.” On May 20, 1843, Wilmer wrote to John Tomlin, deploring Poe’s drinking habits. Tomlin sent Wilmer’s letter to Poe on September 10, and their friendship apparently came to an end (Poe Log, pp. 412-13; 436). Wilmer later defended Poe in his memoirs, Our Press Gang (1859). Poe’s favorable notice includes some of the highlights of Wilmer’s career to date.

a See January 1836 - 9.

b Merlin, a drama] Based on Poe’s abortive romance with Elmira Royster, the verse drama appeared in three installments in the Baltimore North American in August-September 1827 and separately as a pamphlet.

c Horace in Philadelphia] Wilmer signed this pseudonym to “Ode XXX” to Poe, 11 August, 1838, in the Philadelphia Saturday Evening Post, on Poe’s current poverty, poetic labors, genius, and hopes (see Poe Log, pp. 252-253).

February 1836 - 6 Title: [Alexander Slidell]. The American in England. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1835. SLM text: 192-95. Slidell was an American naval officer. Poe also reviewed his Spain Revisited in May 1836 - 2 and A Year in Spain in August 1836 - 7. He included him in “Autography” (Part 2) in the August 1836 SLM, p. 603, and in “Autography” in Graham’s (November 1841), both of which borrow words and ideas from this review.

a if not hot-pressed] Poe is jesting about John Murray’s London publication of Slidell’s book on glossy, more expensive hot-pressed paper.

a 1 “Truth in a well”] Poe had referred to the saying that Truth lies at the bottom of a well in his “Letter to B——,” [page 133:] the preface to his 1831 Poems. Mabbott (2: 332, n. 10) traces Poe’s knowledge of the source to the article on Democritus in Rees’s Cyclopaedia. Allusions to the well of Democritus also occur in “Ligeia” (Mabbott 2: 313), “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” (Mabbott 2: 545), and in the motto to “A Descent into the Maelstrom” (Mabbott 2: 572-73).

b “confusion worse confounded”] Milton, Paradise Lost 2: 996.

* e profundis / de profundis

c assuredly find] See Luke 11.9: “Seek, and ye shall find.”

* awkwarkdly / awkwardly

* literateur / litterateur

February 1836 - 7 Title: Henry F. Chorley. Conti the Discarded. . . . New York: Harper and Brothers, 1835. SLM text: pp. 195-96. In addition to fiction, Chorley frequently wrote on music. Poe later reviewed his Memorials of Mrs. Hemans (October 1836-7).

a Poe alters this passage, changing Chorley’s “I have” to “Who has” throughout.

b Kunstromanen] Poe copies this form from the Preface by Chorley. The Künstlerroman (correct form) is a novel depicting the development of an artist. See Hansen and Pollin, The German Face of Poe, p. 74.

c singular power] Poe’s taste was unstable, to say the least, if he is writing honestly here. Contrast his favorable comments with those above on, Paul Ulrich, an equally asinine text.

d Lammermuir] again misspells the title of Scott’s The Bride of Lammermoor.

February 1836 - 8 Title: [Jessie Clement?]. Noble Deeds of Women. Philadelphia: Carey, Lea and Blanchard, 1835. SLM text: pp. 196-97. Poe’s notice appears to be chiefly an excuse to reprint a tribute to the SLM’s contributor, Lydia H. Sigourney.

a Brothers Percy] Thomas Byerley, under the assumed names of Brothers Sholto and Reuben Percy, published the Percy Anecdotes, beginning in 1820.

b passés . . . recherchés] In all periods, [column 2:] Poe simply added an “s” to French adjectives to make plurals. This habit frequently led him into error, since he did not bother to consider the gender of the modified French noun. The French anecdote is feminine; the proper forms of the adjectives, therefore, are passées and recherchées.

February 1836 - 9 Title: [Edward Bulwer]. Rienzi, The Last of the Tribunes Philadelphia: E. L. Carey and A. Hart, 1835. SLM text: pp. 197-201. As this notice indicates, the fourteenth-century Roman popular leader was a frequent subject in this period. In his opening paragraph, Poe gives high praise to Bulwer’s “fancy and learning” without acknowledging his own frequent borrowings from him; including a large portion of this review, which is taken (with close to verbal exactness) from Bulwer’s Preface. Furthermore, the story by Bulwer, named here “Monos and Daimonos,” was the principal source of Poe’s “Siope (Silence),” and its title suggested Poe’s “Monos and Una.” For citations of Poe’s other uses of Bulwer, see Mabbott 3: 1416 and Pollin 2: 556, American Notes and Queries 4 (1965): 7-9, and Poe Studies 1996. But Poe more and more censured him, finally assessing him as shallow and pretentious. Despite his lowered opinion Poe included the entire first paragraph of this review as a separate “new” “Marginalia” item in the copy that he left to Griswold for publication in 1850, who faithfully printed it, including the incorrect spelling for the name of “Trelawny.” This is included as “Supplementary Marginalia,” no. 4 in the Brevities (see Pollin 2: 51719) with full annotations for all names, works, and important themes. Only the capitals in “Tale” and “Passion” are corrected (3: 562, no. CLXXIV).

* brief Tale / brief tale

a Lammormuir] Poe gives yet another erroneous variant for the correct “Lammermoor.” See above.

* tale of Passion / tale of passion

b Among the American, British, and Continental authors and titles mentioned in this review are, in order: [page 134:]

Lady Dacre] See December 1835 - 3.

Theodore Hook] British editor and critic.

Godolphin] novel by Bulwer.

Banim] John Banim wrote tales of Irish life.

Hope] Thomas Hope, popular novelist.

Captain Trelawney] Edward John Trelawny [correctly], friend of Shelley, and author of Adventures of a Younger Son (1831).

Moore] Thomas Moore, popular Irish poet.

Horace Smith] Horatio (Horace) Smith was known for his Rejected Addresses (1812).

Sismondi] Leonard Simonde de Sismondi, French historian of Italian descent and of Swiss background.

Gibbon] Edward Gibbon.

Miss Mitford] In 1828, Mary Russell Mitford published her Rienzi, mentioned in the preface.

Niebuhr] See entry for January 1836 -7.

* Arragon / Aragon

c footnote] This comment, including the double misspelling of the Greek verb (tau is omitted), is taken with only minor changes from Jacob Bielfeld, The Elements of Universal Erudition. See Mabbott 2: 618, n. 15. * not /now

February 1836 - 10 Title: Peter Mark Roget. Animal and Vegetable Physiology. Philadelphia: Carey, Lea, and Blanchard, 1835. SLM text: pp. 20103. The author was later renowned for his Thesaurus. Poe previously commented on the Bridgewater Treatises in August 1835 - 1. The factual material is drawn from the Preface, a source which Poe only glancingly credits. He later (1844) alluded to all the treatises in Marginalia 18 (text and notes in Pollin 2: 127-28).

February 1836 - 11 Title: Mathew Carey. Autobiography. SLM text: 20304. Carey was founder of a noted Philadelphia publishing house, carried on after his retirement by his son and son-in-law as Carey & Lea. He was a contributor [column 2:] to the SLM in this year; see Poe’s letter to him in Letters 1: 98-99. Poe also included him in the first installment of “Autography” in this issue (pp. 211-12). The Poe Log, p. 191, does not include this item with Poe’s other contributions to this issue; Mabbott, MS. Notes, Folder 14, assigns it to Poe without comment.

Carey’s “Autobiography” originally appeared as a series of articles in the New-England Magazine. The series was discontinued in 1835; what had appeared was reprinted in the same year in a small edition without title page, a fact that accounts for the omission of the usual publication data in the review caption. Presumably it was not intended for general circulation.

The opening three paragraphs of fulsome praise are essentially an introduction to the extracts which follow, and the evidence for Poe’s hand is scanty. Characteristic of him, though, are the spelling “Quixottic” [see December 1835 - 1 ] and the reference to Carey as “Mr. C.” Moreover, the review highlights, in the comments or in the cited texts, topics of great Poe interest: reprehension of dueling (see Mabbott 2: 291-92), Mercier’s futuristic work which suggested to Poe his own tale “Mellonta Tauta,” and the kind and courtly character and behavior of Lafayette, a grateful friend of Poe’s grandfather. His return in 1824 included a visit to Poe’s grandmother in Baltimore (reported in Poe’s “Autobiography” in the Saturday Museum of 3 March, 1843). White may have ordered the review in appreciation of Carey’s contributions to the SLM. If Poe wrote it at his direction, he pointedly ignored Carey’s own critical comments. It was a mild joke and a tribute by Poe to include Carey in the very next article, “Autography” for “Letter XXI,” which was fictional, of course, but bore Carey’s authentic signature, taken from their recent correspondence (see Mabbott 2: 277).

a honest man] See Pope, Essay on Man, IV, line 248.






[S:0 - BRP5S, 1997] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions - The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe (B. R. Pollin) (February 1836 (Notes))