Edgar Allan Poe and the Masses: The Political Economy of Literature in Antebellum America

By Terence Whalen | Go to book overview

NOTES

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION: MINOR WRITING AND THE CAPITAL READER
1
“Letter to Mr. —— ——,” Edgar Allan Poe: Poetry and Tales, ed. Patrick F. Quinn (New York: Library of America, 1984), 14. Henceforth referred to as PT.
2
Vernon Louis Parrington, Main Currents of American Thought, vol. 2 (1927; New York: Harvest-HBJ, 1954), 56; F. O. Matthiessen, “Edgar Allan Poe,” Literary History of the United States, ed. Robert E. Spiller et al. 3rd ed. (1948; New York: Macmillan, 1963), 321, 323; Arthur Hobson Quinn, Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1941), 271; Frank Lentricchia, After the New Criticism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980), 206. Kenneth Silverman, Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance (New York: Harper Collins, 1991), 148. According to Silverman, “Poe for the most part lived and wrote apart from the whirl, preoccupied with feeding himself and family, imagining a ghostly afterlife” (148). Finally, see Louis D. Rubin, Jr., The Edge of the Swamp: A Study in the Literature and Society of the Old South (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1989), 178.
3
This advice came from John Pendleton Kennedy, novelist and congressman from Baltimore. See Dwight Thomas and David K. Jackson, The Poe Log: A Documentary Life of Edgar Allan Poe, 1809-1849 (Boston: G. K. Hall, 1987), 149. Henceforth referred to as Poe Log.
4
White to Minor, 17 February 1835. Quoted in David K. Jackson, Poe and the Southern Literary Messenger (Richmond: Dietz Press, 1934), 94.
5
Lucian Minor, “Letters from New England,” Southern Literary Messenger 1 (April 1835): 425.
6
Lucian Minor, “The New Year,” Southern Literary Messenger 4 (Jan. 1838): 1.
7
For an informative account of Minor's life, especially between the years 1833 and 1838, see James Norman McKean, “Lucian Minor: Cosmopolitan Virginia Gentleman of the Old School,” M.A. thesis, College of William and Mary, 1948.
8
In his pathbreaking article “American Romanticism and the Depression of 1837,” for example, William Charvat refers to Poe only grudgingly: on one occasion to observe dismissively that he “of course, was rarely out of financial difficulties, be the times good or bad”; and on another occasion, to claim that a minor sketch called “The Business Man” was “Poe's only literary reaction to the depression.” See Charvat, Science and Society 2 (winter 1937): 75, 78. Given the state of critical practice at the time, Charvat understandably measures a text's “literary reaction” to history by its class affiliation and thematic content. In what follows I measure history on a broader scale in order to explore why Poe tended to register social antagonisms primarily at the level of form.
9
R. Jackson Wilson, Figures of Speech: American Writers and the Literary Marketplace, From Benjamin Franklin to Emily Dickinson (New York: Knopf, 1989). See also Alan Trachtenberg's review, “Writers and the Market,” The Nation 249.1 (July 3, 1989): 23–24.
10
Michael T. Gilmore, American Romanticism and the Marketplace (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985), 12.

-275-

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