Essays and Reviews

Front Cover
Library of America, 1984 - Literary Collections - 1544 pages
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This is the most complete one-volume edition of Poe's essays and reviews ever published. Here are all his major writings on the theory of poetry, the art of fiction, and the duties of a critic: "The Rationale of Verse," "The Philosophy of Composition," "The Poetic Principle," and "About Critics and Criticism." Articulating Poe's passion for technical proficiency and his theory of poetic method, these essays show why he so strongly influenced the French symbolists toward the end of nineteenth century and, through them, the poetry of T. S. Eliot and Hart Crane.

Included in this collection are Poe's reviews and candid opinions of the leading literary figures of his day: Charles Dickens, Washington Irving, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Percy Shelley, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Margaret Fuller, among others. Here also are reviews of long-forgotten writers, reviews that are interesting not so much for their subjects as for Poe's unflinching and witty candor. Many of his then controversial judgments have been vindicated by time.

Poe particularly relished his prolonged critical war with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Professor of Modern Languages at Harvard and America's most respected poet of the nineteenth century, whom he accused of conventionality and plagiarism. The skirmishes in this campaign are represented here in full.

Poe wrote many articles describing the literary world in which he circulated: "The Literati of New York," the "Editorial Miscellanies" from the Broadway Journal, "Some Secrets of the Magazine Prison-House," and his long-running series "Marginalia."

Also included are a wealth of articles on a wide variety of topics: South Sea exploration, cryptography, drama, geography, music, transcendentalism, phrenology, ancient languages, and modern cities.

As a reviewer Poe was direct, discriminating, and feared; as an essayist he was alert to any possibility that in literature there might be found a sense of unity missing from life. This volume restores an essential and often neglected part of our literary heritage.
 

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Contents

LETTER TO B July 1836
5
THE PHILOSOPHY OF COMPOSITION April 1tf
13
THE RATIONALE OF VERSE November 1848
26
THE POETIC PRINCIPLE October 1850
71
Theory of Poetry I
74
William Harrison Ainsworth
101
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
116
Edward Lytton Bulwer
142
H Sigourney H F Gould and E F Ellet
874
William Gilmore Simms
891
Elizabeth Oakes Smith
906
Supplement A Reply to Critics
1019
Exordium to Critical Notices
1027
Prospectus of The Stylus
1033
About Critics and Criticism
1039
A Reviewer Reviewed
1046

Henry F Chorley
164
Henry Cockton
177
J F Dalton
189
Daniel Defoe
201
Henry Duncan
245
Sarah Stickney Mrs Sarah Stickney Ellis
345
The American Drama 1845
357
Bird
389
John G C Brainard
404
William Cullen Bryant
412
The Canons of Good Breeding 1830
455
James Fenimore Cooper
473
Rufus Dawes
491
Joseph Rodman DrakeFitzGreene Halleck
505
Theodore S
540
Rufus W Griswold
549
Hawks
557
Augustus Baldwin Longstreet
778
William W Lord
797
Cornelius Mathews
823
Morris Mattson
838
Susan Rigby Morgan
861
Literary Small Talk 1839
1061
EDITORIAL MISCELLANIES FROM THE Broadway Journal
1067
October 1845
1073
October u IM
1081
November 22 1845
1093
December 13 184
1099
December 27 1845
1109
THE LITERATI OF NEW YORK CITY
1118
Gillespie
1130
Anna Cora Mowatt
1137
Lewis Gaylord Clark
1204
SOUTHSEA EXPEDITION
1227
Maelzels ChessPlayer
1253
A Few Words on Secret Writing
1277
Chapter of Suggestions
1292
MARGINALIA
1309
Chronology
1473
Note on the Texts
1482
Notes
1493
G R THOMPSON
1511
Index
1513
Copyright

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About the author (1984)

Read throughout the world, translated by Baudelaire, and admired by writers as different as Dostoevsky and H. G. Wells, Edgar Allan Poe has become a legendary figure, representing the artist as obsessed outcast and romantic failure. His nightmarish visions, shaped by cool artistic calculation, reveal some of the dark possibilities of human experience. But his enormous popularity and his continuing influence on literature depend less on legend or vision than on his stylistic accomplishments as a writer.

G. R. Thompson, volume editor, is professor of English at Purdue University. He was editor of Poe Studies from 1968 to 1980 and is the author of Poe's Fiction: Romantic Irony in the Gothic Tales.