Edgar Allan Poe — “Letter to B——”


Reading and Reference Texts:

Reading copy:

  • “Letter to B——” — reading copy


Historical Texts:

Manuscripts and Authorized Printings:

  • Text-01 — “Letter to Mr. — ——” — 1831, no original manuscript or fragments are known to exist (but this version is presumably recorded in Text-02)
  • Text-02 — “Letter to Mr. — ——” — 1831 — POEMS
  • Text-03 — “Letter to B———” — about July 1836 (speculated copy of POEMS with changes marked by Poe. It is possible that some chnages were made in proof, but the extensive amount of omitted material suggests that it was marked prior to typesetting, to avoid unnecessary labor. As a long essay, it is unlikely that Poe would take the time to write out a fully new manuscript. This version has not survived but is presumably recorded in Text-04.)
  • Text-04 — “Letter to B——” — July 1836 — Southern Literary Messenger (For Griswold's 1856 reprint of this text, see the entry under reprints, below.)



  • Letter to B——” — 1856 — Works — Griswold merely reprints Text-04 (presumably using a copy of the SLM that was not marked with any changes by Poe. All changes appear to be editorial in nature, and for adapting the work to a specific presentation.)
  • Letter to B——” — 1875 — The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. J. H. Ingram, Edinburgh, Adam and Charles Black (3:312-318)
  • Letter to B——” — 1903 — Life and Letters of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 2: Letters, ed. J. A. Harrison, New York: T. Y. Crowell (2:450-457) (Although not strictly a letter, in the sense of correspondence, Harrison includes this literary letter in the appendix.)
  • “Letter to B——” — 1909 — Selections from the Critical Writings of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. Frederick C. Prescott, New York: Henry Holt and Company (pp. 1-10 and 323-325) (Prescott has apparently reprinted the text from Harrison, including the error of “The Indian Prince . . .”)
  • “Letter to Mr. [Elam Bliss]” — 1928 — Selected Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. Thomas Ollive Mabbott, New York: Macmillan Company (The Modern Readers’ Series) (pp. 111-118)


Scholarly and Noteworthy Reprints:

  • Letter to B——” — 1894-1895 — The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 10: Poems, eds. E. C. Stedman and G. E. Woodberry, Chicago: Stone and Kimball (10:144-153) (included in the notes to the poems) (reprints Griswold's 1856 text)
  • Letter to B——” — 1902 — The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 7: Poems, ed. J. A. Harrison, New York: T. Y. Crowell (7:xxxv-xliii) (Harrison's text has a very unfortunate typographical error near the end, where “No Indian Prince . . .” is rendered as “The Indian Prince . . .” so that the meaning of the quotation is inverted and Poe's purpose in giving it entirely undermined.) (Although Harrison specifically identifies SLM as his source, formatting choices suggest that he based his text on Griswold's 1856 text. If nothing else, Harrison adopts the spelling “Shakespeare,” as Griswold does, even though his introduction to the volume declares that the texts “have been subjected ... to faithful restoration, in every detail, to their original forms ...
  • [Letter to B——]” — 1911 — The Complete Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. J. H. Whitty, Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Co. (pp. 186-192) (Whitty prints the 1831 text in his endnotes)
  • Letter to B——” — 1917 — The Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. K. Campbell, New York: Ginn and Co. (pp. 311-318)
  • “Letter to B——” — 1984 — Edgar Allan Poe: Essays and Reviews, ed. G. R. Thompson, New York: Library of America (pp. 5-12)
  • “Letter to Mr. — —” — 1984 — Edgar Allan Poe: Poetry and Tales, Patrick F. Quinn (New York: Library of America), pp. 10-17 (the version from Poems­, 1831)
  • “Letter to B——” — 2009 — Edgar Allan Poe: Critical Theory, Stuart and Susan F. Levine, eds., Chicago: University of Illinois Press (pp. 1-19)


Comparative and Study Texts:

Instream Comparative and Study Texts:


Associated Material and Special Versions:

Miscellaneous Texts and Related Items:

  • “Lettre à B——” — June 15, 1897 — La Revue Blanche (Paris) (French translation by Philippe E. Dally, from the Ingram reprint)
  • “Letter to Mr. B” — 2007 — Audio book (unabridged), read by Chris Aruffo (part of a 5-CD set)



  • Heartman, Charles F. and James R. Canny, A Bibliography of First Printings of the Writings of Edgar Allan Poe, Hattiesburg, MS: The Book Farm, 1943.
  • Levine, Stuart and Susan F., eds., Edgar Allan Poe: Critical Theory, Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2009
  • Mabbott, Thomas Ollive, ed., The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe (Vols 2-3 Tales and Sketches), Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1978.
  • O‘Neill, James, “A Closer Source for the Goths in Poe's ‘Letter to B——’,” Poe Studies, 1979, 12:19-20


[S:0 - JAS] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Essays - Letter to B----