Text: Burton R. Pollin, “October 1836 (Notes),” The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan PoeVol. V: SLM (1997), pp. 312-314 (This material is protected by copyright)


[page 312:]

Notes [[for October 1836]]

[column 1:]

October 1836 - 1 Title: [Susan Rigby Morgan]. The Swiss Heiress; or, The Bride of Destiny. Baltimore: Joseph Robinson, 1836. SLM text: pp. 715-16. Wright, p. 250, records two other romances by Morgan, both also published in Baltimore. As if baiting the Newbern Spectator, Poe here returns to his “slashing” mode — though he is more comic than vicious in destroying this silly tale. This is pure performance, since few could have cared about a local publication of limited circulation.

a Heiress-ship] The OED gives this as a nonce word only for 1862 and 1899, but Poe may have borrowed it from Bulwer’s Paul Clifford of 1830 (ch. 15).

b “fate ... free will”] Variant of Paradise Lost 2.560: “Fixt Fate, free will, fore-knowledge absolute.”

c De Lisle ... Pelham] The first reference is possibly to Jacques Delille, French poet, who produced some sentimental rural verse; the second is to the titular hero of Bulwer’s frequently cited novel. The “mysterious lady” may be an appearance or trace from Scott’s “White lady of Avenel” in The Monastery, which was known to Poe.

* is’nt / isn’t

October 1836 - 2 Title: [S. A. Roszel]. Address Delivered at the Annual Commencement of Dickinson College. Baltimore: John W. Woods, 1836. SLM text: pp. 716-17.

a Johnsonism] Poe here illustrates his own propensity for coinages in the word “Johnsonism” (instead of the more common “Johnsonianism”). See Pollin, Creator, p. 30.

b sesquipedalia verba] The Latin for “foot and a half long words” is from Horace, Ars Poetica, 97.

October 1836 - 3 Title: Sir Nathaniel W. Wraxall. Posthumous Memoirs of his Own Time. Philadelphia: Carey, Lea and Blanchard, 1836. SLM text: pp. 717-20. The notorious baronet, whose career Poe synopsizes, died in 1831. Accounts of scandals in high places had a ready market [column 2:] in democratic America, and Poe gives his readers a fair sample of Wraxall’s wares.

* “Edinburg”] A variant spelling for the city, but not for the Review.

* of / of

* Wirtemberg / W├╝rtemberg

October 1836 - 4 Title: The American Almanac. Boston: Charles Bowen, 1836. SLM text: p. 720. This is a simple factual notice drawn from the work itself.

October 1836 - 5 Title: [James Fenimore Cooper]. Sketches of Switzerland. Part Second. Philadelphia: Carey, Lea and Blanchard, 1836. SLM text: pp. 720-21. For Poe’s review of the first part of Cooper’s travel narrative, see May 1836 - 7 . For his views of Cooper as a novelist, see Pollin 2: 177-78.

a Antæus] Giant slain by Hercules, mentioned also by Poe in the 1832 “Decided Loss” with a spelling error (Mabbott 2: 79 last line).

October 1836 - 6 Title: Thomas R. Dew. An Address Delivered before the Students of William and Mary. Richmond: T. W. White, 1836. SLM text: pp. 721-22. As befitted Dew’s position as a friend of White’s and as a contributor to the SLM, Poe took particular care in preparing this notice. Answering a letter from Poe, Dew wrote back on October 17, supplying information about William and Mary which Poe carefully paraphrased in his first three paragraphs. He also acted for White in the preparation of Dew’s address for the press. On October 31, Dew wrote again, requesting fifty additional copies of the pamphlet for his own distribution. The full text was also printed in the November 1836 SLM, pp. 760-69. Dew was known, of course, as a prominent defender of domestic slavery. [page 313:]

October 1836 - 7 Henry F. Chorley. Memorials of Mrs. Hemans. New York: Saunders and Otley, 1836. SLM text: pp. 722-25. Poe had reviewed Chorley’s Conti (February 1836 - 7) and had praised him as an essayist on music. He correctly describes this notice as made up from Chorley’s observations, with some occasional ones of his own. These are reserved chiefly for the last paragraph. All of the many names, titles, and quotations are taken directly from the text, and it is impossible to determine just how many Poe himself was familiar with. (For the titles, see Pollin, Dictionary.) The length of his summation of these Memorials of Felicia Dorothea Hemans is a testimonial to her astonishing popularity in Great Britain and the United States. To her devoted readers, her verses were the very essence of Victorian domestic patriotism. There must have been few contemporary readers of poetry who could not have quoted her “Casabianca.” Even today its opening line — “The boy stood on the burning deck” — is widely known, though largely as a comic catch phrase.

* Volker / Völker

* Auncient] Poe again uses the obsolete spelling.

* Grillpazzer / Grillparzer

* Oehlenschluger / Oehlenschläger

* caractére / caractère

a Saunders and Otley] This British firm had established a branch office in New York, presumably to forestall piracies. It had supplied the SLM with review copies for the past several issues. During this month it was also considering publication of Poe’s collected tales-a fact which may account for Poe’s compliments-but nothing resulted from their expressed interest (Poe Log, pp. 227-28].

October 1836 - 8 Title: Robert W. Haxall. A Dissertation on the Importance of Physical Signs. ... Boston: Perkins and Marvin, 1836. SLM text: p. 725. This is another good example of Poe’s ability to write an authoritative-sounding review by developing all the data from the text. [column 2:]

aJe ... raconte”] “I don‘t instruct, I recount.”

b Solidists ... doctrine] Current theories of the nature of disease.

October 1836 - 9 Title: Basil Hall. Skimmings; or, A Winter at Schloss Hainfeld. Philadelphia: Carey, Lea and Blanchard, 1836. SLM text: pp. 725-27. Hall, a Scot, was a popular author of voyage narratives and travel accounts.

a Die Vernon] Di (Diana) Vernon was the heroine of Scott’s Rob Roy.

b claimants] The poem was by Richard Henry Wilde, who lived in Georgia. He was involved in a controversy over its authorship that was not publicly resolved until 1871.

October 1836 - 10 Title: [James F. Dalton]. Peter Snook. Philadelphia: Carey, Lea and Blanchard, 1836. SLM text: pp. 727-30. The name of the author was apparently unknown to Poe, either at this time or subsequently. Dalton disappeared from notice so completely that he is unlisted in standard reference works. Poe later incorporated this review, with only slight revision, in his article “Magazine Writing-Peter Snook,” printed in the Broadway Journal for June 7, 1845 (text reproduced in Pollin 3: 136-43). As Pollin indicates in his notes to this text (4: 103-06), Poe wrote a new introduction, dropped the concluding sentence, and omitted his guess that the author might be Boz (i.e., Dickens). Pollin also gives bibliographical information about this pirated reprint.

a in petto] Poe uses the Italian phrase (“in secret”) incorrectly for “in brief,” possibly by confusion with the French petit. He made the correction to “in brief” in the later printing.

b chiaro ’scuro] for this incorrect spelling, see August 1836 - 9 , note a.

October 1836 - 11 G. P. R. James. Lives of the Cardinal Richelieu, Count Oxenstiern, Count Olivarez, and Cardinal Mazarin. Philadelphia: Carey, Lea and Blanchard, 1836. SLM text: pp. 730-31. George Payne Rainsford James was, despite Poe’s odd opinion, one of the most popular historical romancers of the period [page 314:] — one prominent enough to warrant a parody by Thackeray in Novels by Eminent Hands. However, Poe’s judgment of his weaknesses was quite sound. A portion of this review was reprinted in the Griswold edition as “Marginalia” CLXXV (from “The author” to “original chronicles”). See also Pollin 3: 519-21.

a He has fallen ... columns.] An allusion to Horace, Ars Poetica, 372: Mediocribus esse poetis / Non homines, non di, non concessere columnae. The translation, as given in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations (New York: Oxford UP, 1980): “Not gods, nor men, nor even booksellers have put up with poets’ being second-rate” (p. 258). Poe’s “columns” comes from the fact that columnae were booksellers’ signs in Rome.

b “fish ... herring”] Poe’s version of the proverb, usually given as “neither fish, flesh, fowl, nor good red herring.”

October 1836 - 12 Title: Baynard R. Hall. A New and Compendious Latin Grammar. Philadelphia: Harrison Hall, 1836. SLM text: p. 731. Though there would certainly have been interest in this work in the classics-loving South, Poe may have reviewed it as a puff for the firm of Harrison Hall, the publisher whom he had been trying to interest in bringing out a book edition of his tales (see Letters 1: 103-05).

* succint / succinct

October 1836 - 13 Title: Theodorick Bland. Report of Cases Decided in the High Court of Chancery of Maryland. Baltimore: J. Neal, 1836. SLM text: pp. 731-32. To paraphrase the opening sentence — we cannot perceive any sufficient reason for the publication of this notice, since the volume would have had interest only for the lawyers among the SLM‘’s [column 2:] readers. Though the review shows no particular legal expertise that could not have been drawn from the volume, it is possible that some Maryland or Virginia lawyer had submitted his strictures about Bland’s reputation as a jurist. The volume was subsequently reprinted. The first sentence of the second paragraph of the review was reprinted in the Griswold edition as “Marginalia” No. CLXXX. See also Pollin 2: 521.

October 1836 - 14 Title: [Lucien Bonaparte]. Memoirs of Lucien Bonaparte (Prince of Canino). New York: Saunders and Otley, 1836. SLM text: p. 732. The author was made Prince of Canino by Pope Pius VII after he quarreled with his brother, Napoleon 1.

a Tacitus-ism] This Poe coinage for conciseness was used again in 1844 (see Pollin, Creator, p. 77). The association with the writings of Tacitus and Montesquieu as being terse derived for Poe from Hugh Blair’s Lectures on Rhetoric, XVIII (1783), probably at second-hand (q.v. in Mabbott 2: 391 n. 22).

October 1836 - 15 Title: [Anon.] Madrid in 1835. New York: Saunders and Otley, 1836. SLM text: p. 732. The identity of the author, apparently a Briton, is unrecorded in standard reference works. Note that this is the third Saunders and Otley title reviewed in this issue. See the Hemans notice above, n. a.

a à la Trollope] In the style of Frances Trollope, whose Paris and the Parisians in 1835 Poe had reviewed (May 1836 - 4).

b with him] For Poe’s later use of this witticism see the 1844 “Oblong Box” and 1847 “Hop-Frog” in Mabbott 3: 926 at n. 7 and 1345 at n. 5.






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