Text: Burton R. Pollin, “September 1836 (Notes),” The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan PoeVol. V: SLM (1997), pp. 289-290 (This material is protected by copyright)


[page 289:]

Notes [[for September 1836]]

[column 1:]

September 1836 - 1 Title: “Editorial.” SLM text: pp. 658-59. This exchange continues the debate begun in earlier issues over the “right of instruction” — that is, whether individual states should have the authority to direct the votes of their representatives in Congress, a matter of concern to slave states like Virginia. The legalistic argument in the reply does not sound like Poe’s work, but the footnote to the title indicates that he is indeed the author. The phrase “strictly what it professes to be” appears to mean that “Editorial” as used here is equal to “the work of the Editor.”

* arrisen / arisen

September 1836 - 2 Title: [Lydia Maria Child]. Philothea: A Romance. Boston: Otis, Broadus & Co., 1836. New York: George Dearborn, 1836. SLM text: pp. 659-62. Child’s novel is an example of a growing taste (contrary to Poe’s observations) for fiction set in classical or early Christian times; Bulwer’s The Last Days of Pompeii remains a classic example. Conservative critics often warned against depiction of these periods because of their “immorality” or “impiety” (i.e., their representation of non-Christian beliefs). With only a slight change of opening and closing passages, Poe reused this long review in the Broadway Journal of May 31, 1845. For the text, see Pollin 3: 128-34; for notes on it, see Pollin 4: 98-101. In his “Literati” sketch of Child (Godey’s, September 1846), Poe again praised the romance. Child’s Hobomok has recently been the subject of renewed interest for its treatment of the colonist-Indian theme in early Massachusetts.

a Fenelon ... Barthelemi] François Fenelon, Télémaque (1699); Jean-Jacques Barthelemy, Voyage du jeune Anacharsis (1788). Both were also issued in English translations, which may have been known to Poe, with a rare “i” for the “y“.

September 1836 - 3 Title: [Robert Montgomery Bird]. Sheppard Lee. New York: [column 2:] Harper and Brothers, 1836. SLM text: pp. 662-67. The SLM had already reviewed Bird’s Calavar (February 1835) and The Infidel (June 1835); neither notice is by Poe. He himself gave an unfavorable notice to a third, The Hawks of Hawk-Hollow. At this time he apparently was unaware of Bird’s authorship of this fourth novel. The Griswold edition reprinted the final two paragraphs of this review as the conclusion to part of Poe’s review of the Hawks (see December 1835 - 2). Here Poe indulges in his detailed plot synopsis, as usual giving away the ending, but his concluding comments are an addition to his theory of fiction. Returning to the points he had raised in his Robinson Crusoe notice (January 1836 - 4), he chastises the author for not “making use of the infinity of arts which give verisimilitude to a narration.” As applied to Bird’s novel, however, the critique is somewhat off the point, for Bird was employing the dream device simply as a vehicle for his social satire — hardly an unusual practice.

a under the beech-tree] The situation in the related novel and the language to this point strongly suggest much in the passage (at note 16) in “Tale of the Ragged Mountains” (Mabbott 3: 948, 952).

b as long as I could hear] See Mabbott 3: 800, who soundly argues for a link between this excerpt and the plot and characters of “The Gold-Bug.”

c empalm him too well] From the preceding paragraph (by Poe) through the excerpt, there are elements suggesting those in tales of Poe: 1) Megrim’s “fancies,” like those of the demented inmates in “Tarr and Fether” and 2) the combined galvanic awakening of Megrim’s body and special embalming of the display mummy, as in “Words with a Mummy” (Mabbott 3: 1009-1013, 1179-1182).

* bizzarreries] Poe’s usual misspelling.

* bonâ fide] Once again the incorrect punctuation is Poe’s. [page 290:]

September 1836 - 4 Title: [W. C. Hazlitt, E. L. Bulwer, and Sergeant Talfourd, eds.] Literary Remains of the Late William Hazlitt. New York: Saunders and Otley, 1836. SLM text: pp. 667-68. Poe generally expressed great respect for Hazlitt as a critic. Most of this review is drawn from the materials supplied in the text, including the titles of Hazlitt’s many works (all listed in Pollin, Dictionary). In the Broadway Journal Poe continued to [column 2:] review American reprints of several titles by Hazlitt (Pollin 3: 107; 173-75; 212; 278-79; see also Pollin 4 for notes.)

a Chorley] Poe had reviewed Henry F. Chorley’s Conti (February 1836 - 7). It contains several essays on musical topics.

b reasoning powers ... imaginative faculty] Cf. Poe’s methods in his detective fiction and see also the introduction to Eureka.






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