Saturday, January 24, 2009

More Poe

So, this week I got some of the new Poe stamps being issued by the Post Office in memory of his bicentennial. They look great, with the portrait being based on the 'Thompson' daguerreotype, one of two photographs taken in Richmond three weeks before Poe's death (the other being the now-destroyed 'Traylor' daguerreotype). It's also nice to see that they got the name right, with his signature ("Edgar A. Poe") across the bottom -- although the accompanying text on the sheet when you buy a block stumbles and gives the familiar "Edgar Allan Poe" instead. But aside from that (understandable) gaff, the actual write-up's not bad, stressing as it does that Poe excelled both as a writer of fiction and a poet (which of course sets him apart from any other major figure of the century, English or American). They might also add that he's one of the few authors taught in literature courses from that era who people still read on their own, outside of classes.

This makes me regret that, while I have the excellent two-volume set of Mabbott's edition of Poe's complete TALES, I don't have the one-volume POEMS that preceded it. And while I know there was a belated fourth volume collecting together Poe's longer fiction (i.e., THE NARRATIVE OF ARTHUR GORDON PYM, THE JOURNAL OF JULIUS RODMAN, and some others -- all the things Mabbott died without getting around to), I haven't been able to find again the reference to who did edit that, or when it appeared.

So, I know one thing I'll be searching for on my next visit to Suzzallo-Allen.

--John R.

current reading: EDGAR A. POE: MOURNFULL AND NEVER-ENDING REMEMBRANCE by Kenneth Silverman [1991]

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