Text: Burton R. Pollin, “July 1836 (Headnote),” The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe — Vol. V: SLM (1997), p. 225 (This material is protected by copyright)


[page 225:]

July 1836

[column 1:]

This was the eighth issue of the SLM since White had announced Poe’s appointment in December 1835, and he was well on his way toward making his name prominent in the American magazine world. But his growing notoriety was largely based on what was viewed as the viciousness of his critical commentary. Poe claimed that he was merely trying to raise standards by shunning the common practice of puffery, but, in fact, he was calculatedly putting into practice a personal strategy. He was aware that negative publicity paid off by making him seem superior to the venal hirelings of the periodical establishment-and he was gleefully baiting them and the authors whom they held in esteem. And he was shameless in using the SLM to further his personal ends, as his taunting remarks in the “Supplement” to this issue, discussed below, bear witness.

To gain his ends, Poe had to appear the dominant force on the SLM, and he contributed another sheaf of materials to the July issue. These were:

1. An editorial note (p. 461) to “MSS. of John Randolph”: “[We have obtained, after much difficulty, from a personal friend of the late JOHN RANDOLPH of Roanoke, the MSS. of the annexed Letters, and are permitted to publish them in the Messenger. We know our readers will receive them with interest. They throw much novel light on the character of a man whose genius, however great, has been mostly an enigma, and show his views on the [column 2:] most interesting of subjects in the maturity of his life and in the zenith of his reputation.]” Randolph, erratic political genius, was the half-brother of Beverley Tucker.

2. A filler: “Paradise Lost” (p. 500); text and notes in Pollin 2: 437. 3. “Letter to B ——.” This essay (pp. 501-03) is briefly discussed but not printed in this volume.

4. Nine critical notices (pp. 504-16); printed and discussed below.

5. Introduction to the “Supplement” of notices of the SLM (p. 517-18); printed and discussed below.

6. Two footnotes to a further notice, printed with five others on the covers of this issue. Taking issue with Poe’s strictures in the Drake-Halleck review, the Huntsville Southern Advocate wrote: “we envy not your theories of ideality.” Poe responded: “A constituent of the poetical character in which Mr. Poe thinks both Drake and Halleck eminently deficient.” About Halleck, the Advocate commented: “His poetry, with some slight exceptions, comes under the ban of a pretty sweeping denunciation.” Poe’s note: “The Advocate has misapprehended us — we refer our readers to the review in question — (Ed. Mess.” (sic); see Poe Log, pp. 218-19.

All of the reviews are accepted as Poe’s by the Poe Log (p. 214), Hull (pp. 138-44), and Mabbott, MS. Notes, Folder 1. All are characteristic of his known work in the SLM, and there is no reason to challenge any of them.






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