Margaret Fuller, Critic: Writings from the New-York Tribune, 1844-1846

By Judith Mattson Bean; Joel Myerson | Go to book overview

Edgar A. Poe

GRAHAM'S MAGAZINE, February 1845.

This number of Graham's Magazine has a likeness of Edgar A. Poe, with a critique upon that critic and a brief outline of his career thus far, by James Russell Lowell.1

This article is frank, earnest, and contains many just thoughts, expressed with force and point. We quote the following:

“Talent may make friends for itself, but only genius can give to its creations the divine power of winning love and veneration. Enthusiasm cannot cling to what itself is unenthusiastic, nor will he ever have disciples, who has not himself impulsive zeal enough to be a disciple. Great wits are allied to madness only inasmuch as they are possessed and carried away by their demon, while talent keeps him, as Paracelsus did, securely prisoned in the pommel of his sword. To the eye of genius, the veil of the spiritual world is ever rent asunder, that it may perceive the ministers of good and evil that throng continually round it. No man of mere talent ever flung his inkstand at the devil.” **

“In judging of the merit of an author, and assigning him his niche among our household gods, we have a right to regard him from our own point of view, and to measure him by our own standard.—But in estimating his works, we must be governed by his own design, and, placing them by the side of his own ideal, find how much is wanting.”

Among the poems quoted from Mr. Poe, before unknown to ourselves, two please us so much, that they must be inserted here. The first must have been copied, on every side; yet we may introduce it to the eye of some whom it might otherwise escape;

____________________
1
The article on Poe in the February 1845 Graham's Magazine by James Russell Lowell has been widely reprinted.

-42-

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