Text: Burton R. Pollin, “May 1836 (Headnote),” The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan PoeVol. V: SLM (1997), pp. 185-186 (This material is protected by copyright)


[page 185:]

May 1836

[column 1:]

On May 16 Poe married his cousin Virginia Clemm, not yet fourteen, in the presence of her mother and a small group of witnesses, including T. W. White and his daughter. It may have been a second ceremony; Mabbott found evidence that they had privately wed in Baltimore on September 22, 1835 (Mabbott 1: 545-46). Their union was to last until Virginia’s early death from tuberculosis in 1847.

Poe took no break from his editorial duties, for the SLM — despite its growing renown-was still not a financial success. As White wrote to a friend who was now editing a New York paper, only if he managed to begin Volume 3 “with 12 or 1300 paying subscribers [would] all be well — otherwise my loss will be very great, for up to the present time my expenses in rearing it to what it is, have greatly run ahead of my actual receipts” (Poe Log, pp. 207-08). This comment, incidentally, is important in assessing Poe’s later claims about his personal share in boosting the sales of the SLM.

The May issue, which appeared about the twenty-seventh of the month, continued the printing of the “MSS. of Benj. Franklin,” to which Poe probably appended this editorial note: “These pieces from the pen of Dr. Franklin have never appeared in any edition of his works, and are from the manuscript book which contains the Lecture and Essays published in the April number of the Messenger” (p. 349). The SLM (on pp. 349-52) prints three long items by Franklin, which are given in the [column 2:] Yale Papers, pp. 222-25, 244-48, 260-61 (see Headnote for April 1836). These are: (a) a long “letter” by “Alice Addertongue” to the Gazette of 12 September 1732 on “scandal,” (b) “Queries to be Asked the Junto” and (c) another “letter” sent by “Casuist” to the Gazette of 25 January 1731 on proper compensation for a “boarded” horse that has been lost before return. Poe’s own contributions, after his exertions on the previous issue, were not notable. He reprinted two poems, both signed “E. A. P.”: “Sonnet [ — to Science]” ( p. 366; texts and notes in Mabbott 1: 9092) and “Irene,” later revised again and retitled “The Sleeper” (pp. 387-88; texts and notes in Mabbott 1: 178-89). Two fillers can be credited to him: “The Corpus Juris” (p. 372; text and notes in Pollin 2: 435) and “Alliteration” ( p. 380; text and notes in Pollin 2: 43536).

The longer pieces were “Lynch’s Law,” under the heading “Editorial,” and, under the caption “Critical Notices,” six reviews, all heavily padded with quotations. A seventh review, that of Grenville Mellen’s The Martyr’s Triumph, is signed “O.“-probably James Frederick Otis, who assisted Poe in procuring signatures for “Autography” (Mabbott 2: 260). To it Poe attached two editorial footnotes; the first reads: “We have received this notice of Mellen’s Poems from a personal friend, in whose judgment we have implicit relianceof course we cannot deviate from [page 186:] our rules by adopting the criticism as Editorial” (p. 403). A second note follows the review by “O.” and introduces a long poetic extract (filler?) that completes the issue: “We may add to the critique of our friend ‘O.’ that in looking over cursorily [column 2:] the poems of Mellen, we have been especially taken with the following spirited lyric” (p. 404). Since Poe singled out this review for attribution to another hand, he implicitly claimed authorship of those which preceded it.






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