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XX.— THE POE-GRISWOLD CONTROVERSY 

In any serious consideration of Poe's life and character 
it will be necessary to take account of Griswold's estimate 
of the poet. This estimate was set forth in two articles 
published during the year following Poe's death — one, an 
obituary notice published in the New York Tribune of 
October 9, 1849 ; the other, the memoir of Poe included 
by Griswold in his edition of Poe's works and first pub- 
lished in September, 1850. Out of these two papers sprang 
the bitterest of all the controversies that have been waged 
about Poe. Most of Poe's editors and biographers of the 
present generation have ranged themselves on the side of 
Poe and have condemned Griswold; but there have been 
some — and among them some that may speak with the 
highest authority — who have held that Griswold's estimate 
of Poe is essentially just and fair. The present paper 
attempts a fresh examination of the case in the light of the 
evidence collected by Poe's biographers, and also brings to 
bear on the case a number of documents, mainly from the 
periodicals of Griswold's time, that have heretofore been 
either overlooked or ignored. 

The discussion will naturally center in Griswold's two 
papers — the obituary notice of Poe, commonly known 
(from the pseudonym adopted by Griswold on its original 
publication) as the " Ludwig Article," and Griswold's 
Memoir of Poe. But I shall first briefly review the 
relations of Poe and Griswold down to the poet's death 
in 1849, by way of indicating the ultimate grounds of 
the animosity existing between the two. And I shall 
conclude with an inquiry into the integrity of Griswold's 

436 



THE POE-GRISWOLD COSTROVEKST 437 

editing of Poe, about which question has from time to 
time been raised. 



Poe and Griswold first met in March, 1841. 1 Poe was 
at that time editor of Graham's Magazine, and Griswold 
was busily at work on the first of his anthologies, The 
Poets and Poetry of America. Poe's first public mention 
of Griswold appears to have been a brief notice in his 
" Autography " (published in Graham's for December, 
1841 ). 2 He here describes Griswold as " a gentleman of 
fine taste and sound judgment " and as possessing a 
" knowledge of American literature, in all its details, [such 
as] is not exceeded by that of any man among us." Gris- 
wold's first public mention of Poe appears to have been the 
sketch of him printed in the Poets and Poetry of America 
in the spring of 1842. Griswold is silent, in this sketch, 
as to Poe's character, but he declares his verses to be 
" highly imaginative " and " eminently distinguished for 
their spirituality and skilful versification." s During the 
summer of 1842 Poe wrote a review of Griswold's book 
in which he reaffirmed his faith in Griswold as a critic 
and pronounced his anthology " the most important addi- 
tion which our literature has for many years received " ; 4 

1 Griswold's edition of Poe's works, I, p. xxi. This edition is here- 
after referred to merely by Griswold's name. My references are to 
the edition of 1856. 

2 Virginia Poe, ed. Harrison and others, XV, p. 215. 

3 At the same time, however, he limits the number of Poe's poems 
that he includes in his anthology to three, although he had made 
room for twenty-five of Percival's poems and no fewer than thirty- 
three of Charles Fenno Hoffman's. 

4 See the Boston Miscellany for November, 1842, and the Virginia 
Poe, xi, p. 156. There was also a review in Graham's Magazine for 
June, 1842, which Poe probablv wrote. 

7 



438 KILLIS CAMPBELL 

and in a letter to Griswold, written about the same time, 
he assures him that his anthology, though not without 
faults, was " a better book than any other man in the 
United States could have made of the materials." 5 

Early in the summer of 1842, Griswold succeeded to 
the place that Poe had lately vacated as editor of Graham's 
Magazine, and shortly thereafter a coolness sprang up be- 
tween the two. On July 6, 1842, Poe wrote to a corre- 
spondent at the South that he intended, in a magazine that 
he was projecting, to " make war to the knife against the 
]STew England assumption of ' All the decency and all the 
talent ' which has been so disgustingly manifested in 
the Eev. Eufus W. Griswold's ' Poets and Poetry of 
America.' " 6 He abused Griswold, also, in other letters 
of this period ; 7 and in delivering a lecture on the " Poetry 
of America " at Philadelphia in November, 1843, and 
again in Baltimore in January, 1844, he is said to have 
been " witheringly severe " on Griswold. 8 In 1843, more- 
over, there appeared two anonymously written articles, both 
of which have been attributed to Poe, in which Griswold 
was held up to ridicule. In the first of these, published 
in the New World of March ll, 9 Griswold is declared to 
be " wholly unfit, either by intellect or character, to occupy 
the editorial chair of Graham's" ; in the other, published 
a little later in the Philadelphia Saturday Museum, he is 
severely attacked and mercilessly ridiculed, his anthology 
being described as " a very muttonish production," and its 

• Griswold, I, p. xxi. 

"The Critic, April 16, 1892. 

' Woodberry's Life of Poe, I, p. 353 ; n, p. 87. 

'Modem Language Notes, March, 1913, xxvm, p. 68. 

•Not included among Poe's works by any of his editors, but 
assigned to him by W. M. Griswold in Passages from the Correspond- 
ence of Rufus W. Griswold, p. 118, and, apparently also by L. G. 
Clark, in the Knickerbocker, April, 1843 (xxi, p. 380). 



THE POE-GRISWOLD CONTEOVEESY 439 

editor as " one of the most clumsy of literary thieves " and 
as knowing no more about poetry than " a Kickapoo 
Indian." 10 Griswold, on his part, although Poe had 
condescended on June 11, 1843, 11 to appeal to him for a 
loan of five dollars on the plea of his wife's illness, is said 
to have circulated some " shocking bad stories " about 
Poe ; 12 and Poe mentions in one of his letters a " beastly 
article " at his expense, published apparently in 1843, 
which he suspected Griswold of having written. 13 There 
followed a period of a year or more when the two were not 
on speaking terms. 

But early in 1845 Poe made an attempt to patch up his 
quarrel with Griswold ; 14 and they soon resumed, osten- 
sibly, their former amicable relations. On repeating his 
lecture in ISTew York in February, 1845, Poe omitted, as 
he took pains to assure Griswold, all that might have been 
offensive to him ; 15 and during the course of the year he 
published in the Broadivay Journal two brief notices in 
praise of Griswold and his editorial accomplishments. 16 
GrisAvold also published during the year an article in which 
he praised Poe ungrudgingly. This article, which, it 

*"Ihe article is republished by W. F. Gill in his Life of Edgar 
Allan Poe, pp. 327-346, and is accepted as Poe's both by Harrison 
(who prints it in the Virginia Poe, XI, pp. 220-243) and by Wood- 
berry (n, p. 48). 

11 Griswold, I, p. xxi. 

" Letter of Briggs to Lowell, quoted by Woodberry, n, p. 123. 

"Griswold, i, p. xxii. 

M See Griswold, I, p. xxii ; Virginia Poe, xvil, pp. 196,198. 

a Griswold, I, p. xxii ; Virginia Poe, xvn, p. 203. 

M In his review of " The Magazines " in the Broadway Journal of 
May 17, 1845 (in a note on Hoffman's sketch of Griswold in 
Graham's Magazine for June, 1845), and in his notice of Griswold's 
edition of The Prose Works of John Milton in the Broadway Journal 
for September 27, 1845 (reprinted in the Virginia Poe, xn, pp. 244- 
247). 



440 KILLIS CAMPBELL 

seems, has escaped Poe's biographers, appeared in the 
Washington National Intelligencer of August 30, 1845, 
and is devoted to a consideration of the chief " Tale 
writers " of America. Charles Brockden Brown, Haw- 
thorne, Cooper, Irving, Willis, and Simms are treated in 
turn, but Poe is given larger space and fuller praise than 
any of these. " He belongs to the first class of tale writers," 
so wrote Griswold, and his stories not only possess " a 
great deal of imagination and fancy," but are " the results 
of consummate art." The same year Griswold generously 
responded to an appeal from Poe for a loan of fifty dollars 
to tide over a crisis in the affairs of the Broadway Jour- 
nal. 1,7 In his Prose Writers of America, moreover — a 
second famous anthology, compiled largely in 1845 18 — he 
made room for The Fall of the House of Usher in its 
entirety, prefacing it with a sketch of the poet in which 
he praised both his poems and his tales. 19 

Poe, it seems, published in 1847 a letter relating in 
some way to Griswold — a notice of the Prose Writers, 
perhaps ; but this I have been unable to find. 20 It is clear, 
though — whatever may have been the nature of this 
article — that another rupture, or partial rupture, between 
the two had come about in 1846. 21 Their correspondence 

"See Poe's letters of October 26 and November 1, 1845: Griswold, 
i, p. xxii. 

M Not published till the spring of 1847. 

™ He mildly condemns Poe's work as a critic, however ; and in 
later editions he was less liberal in his praise of the tales. 

25 See the list given by him of articles he had published about 
Griswold, in a letter written in the year of his death (Griswold, I, 
p. xxii), in which he includes the item "Letter in Int., 1847." 
" Int." is perhaps an abbreviation for Intelligencer, but a fairly 
careful hunt through the columns of the National Intelligencer for 
1847 reveals nothing that I can recognize as Poe's. 

21 Or, possibly, late in 1845 : see Poe's animadversions on Griswold's 
poetical anthology in the Broadway Journal of November 29, 1845. 



THE POE-GEISWOLD CONTEOVEESY 441 

lapsed during the years 1846-1848 ; and Mrs. Clemm in- 
forms us, in a notice prefixed to the first volume of the 
Griswold edition of Poe, that their " personal relations " 
prior to 1849 had " for [some] years been interrupted." 22 
Griswold is said to have indulged during these years in 
something of backbiting at Poe's expense ; 23 and he fur- 
ther aroused the ill-will of Poe by publishing in the fall of 
1848, in the New England Weekly Gazette, an article in 
which he touched on certain flaws in The Raven. 2i 

A reconciliation between the two again took place, how- 
ever, with the beginning of the year 1849. Poe in 
February published in the Southern Literary Messenger a 
favorable notice of Griswold's Female Poets of America. 25 
Griswold, in turn, in bringing out a new edition of the 
Poets and Poetry of America, enlarged the number of 
Poe's poems there collected to fourteen. And in June 
their friendly relations had so far been resumed that Poe 
felt at liberty to call on Griswold for aid in disposing of 
certain of his literary wares. 26 On October 7, 1849, Poe 
died, and it developed soon afterwards that he had ex- 
pressed the wish shortly before his death that Griswold 

Evidently this breach did not extend to a complete severance of 
relations; see Griswold's Correspondence, p. 230, for mention of a 
meeting in 1847, and Griswold's Memoir (Poe's Works, I, p. xlii) 
for a meeting in 1848. 

23 Griswold, i, p. iii. 

sa See, in this connection, Sartain, Reminiscences of a Very Old 
Man, p. 215. 

'* This article I have not seen, nor do I know precisely at what 
date it appeared; but something of its nature we may glean from a 
letter of Poe's written at the time apparently to Eveleth ( see Ingram, 
Life and Letters of Poe, p. 222), and a clue to the date is furnished 
by his reference to it in a letter to Mrs. Whitman, written Novem- 
ber 26, 1848 (Last Letters of Edgar Allan Poe to Mrs. Barah Helen 
Whitman, p. 43). 

"Griswold, in, pp. 289-292. 

*• Ibid., I, p. xxiii. 



4:42 KILLIS CAMPBELL 

should serve as his literary executor. On the second day 
after Poe's death Griswold published in the New York 
Tribune (evening edition) the obituary notice of Poe 
already referred to as the " Ludwig Article," and in 
September of the following year he published his 
" Memoir " of Poe. 

II 

The " Ludwig Article " — Griswold's obituary sketch of 
Poe — is mainly a summary of the facts of Poe's life, based 
for the most part on the sketch already published in Gris- 
wold's Poets and Poetry of America,; but it contains also 
a section devoted to Poe's mind and character. 1 It is here 
that Griswold's chief strictures on the poet occur. 

The main observations derogatory to Poe that appear 
in the " Ludwig Article " are these : 

(1) That Poe "had few or no friends"; and that, 
although the announcement of his death " will startle 
many, . . . few will be grieved by it." 

(2) That in character he was unamiable, arrogant, 
irascible, envious, a cynic, and a misanthrope. 

(3) That " you could not contradict him but you raised 
quick choler ; you could not speak of wealth, but his cheek 
paled with gnawing envy." 

(4) That " there seemed to him [I quote Griswold's 
words] no moral susceptibility; and . . . little or noth- 
ing of the true point of honor." 

Griswold's article called out a magnanimous defence of 
the poet by N. P. Willis in the Home Journal of October 
20, 1849, 2 in which disapproval was expressed of the 
severity of Griswold's judgment, and the poet's alleged 

1 The article is reprinted in the Virginia Poe, I, pp. 348-359. 

2 Ibid., i, pp. 360-367. 



THE POE-GEISWOLD COSTTROVEBSY 4:43 

irregularities of conduct — of which Willis professed to 
have no first-hand knowledge 3 — were attributed to a 
" reversed side of his character " displayed by him only 
when under the influence of drink. There was also a 
protest by Henry B. Hirst in the Philadelphia Saturday 
Courier of the same date, in which Griswold's sketch was 
pronounced " brilliant," but " unjust." And three weeks 
later (on November 13) there appeared in the New York 
Tribune a verse-tribute to the poet's memory, by an anony- 
mous contributor from Chicago, in which Griswold's state- 
ment that Poe died friendless was warmly challenged. 
The attack was continued in the early months of the follow- 
ing year (1850) with the publication (in January) of the 
first two volumes of Griswold's edition of Poe (the first 
volume of which included Willis's article, into which the 
" Ludwig Article " had been incorporated in part) . The 
most vigorous of the protests now published was that of 
George E. Graham, 4 proprietor of the magazine which 
bore his name and which Poe and Griswold had succes- 
sively edited. Graham denounced Griswold's sketch as 
" unfair and untrue," " a fancy sketch of a perverted, 
jaundiced vision," " an ill-judged and misplaced calumny 
upon [a] gifted son of genius." Griswold was hotly assailed 
also by John Neal, in an article published in the Portland 
Advertiser on April 26, 1850. And a defense of the poet, 
more temperate in tone, was made by the editor of the 
American Whig Review, 5 G. W. Peck, who based his dis- 
sent from Griswold on an examination of Poe's writings, 

3 It should be noted, however, that this testimony conflicts with 
the testimony given by Willis in an earlier notice of Poe (Home 
Journal, December 19, 1846), in which he tells of having seen Poe 
on one occasion when the poet was suffering from the effects of drink. 

•In Graham's Magazine for March, 1850 (xxxvi, pp. 224-226). 

'American Whig Review, March, 1850 (xi, pp. 308-315). 



444 KILLIS CAMPBELL 

and who concluded on this basis that Poe " had as much 
heart as other men," that he was " a pure-minded gentle- 
man," and that there was no ground for believing that he 
was " mainly destitute of moral and religious principle." 
But there were also those who sided with Griswold. 
Lewis Gaylord Clark published in the Knickerbocker for 
February, 1850, a notice of Griswold's first two volumes 
in which he endorsed both Griswold and his appraisal of 
Poe ; 6 and William Wallace wrote a reply to Neal's attack 
on Griswold. 7 Others, without specifically mentioning 
Griswold or writing avowedly in his defence, advanced 
much the same view as Griswold of Poe's temper and 
character. Charles F. Briggs, Lowell's friend, published 
a paper in Holden's Review for December, 1849, 8 in which 
he describes Poe as " a strange and fearful being," and 
declares that it would be a bold biographer who would dare 
to make such a revelation of his life as the task demanded. 
George Ripley, in reviewing these volumes in the Tribune 
of January 17, 1850, remarked that while Poe was a man 
of " uncommon genius," " he had no earnestness of char- 
acter, no sincerity of conviction, no faith in human excel- 
lence " ; and John M. Daniel, a fire-eating editor of Rich- 
mond, wrote an article for the Southern Literary Messenger 
of March, 1850, 9 in which, while condemning Griswold, 
he went even farther than Griswold or his defenders in 
condemnation of Poe. 10 

6 The Knickerbocker, xxxv, pp. 163-164. 

' See Woodberry, n, pp. 452-453. I have not seen this article. 

'Holden's Review, iv, pp. 765-766. The article was unsigned, but 
was evidently by Briggs, who was editor of the magazine. 

* Southern Literary Messenger, xvi, pp. 172-187. 

10 It is only fair to Poe to say that three of these five — Briggs, 
Clark, and Daniel — nursed a grudge of some sort against Poe. 
Briggs and Poe had quarrelled in 1845 over the Broadway Journal, 



THE POE-GRISWOLD CONTROVERSY 445 

These articles made it clear that Poe had a number of 
bitter enemies ; but they also served to show that he was not 
without loyal friends, and they tended to discredit, in a 
measure, Griswold's statements as to the perversity of his 
character. 

Ill 

Griswold's " Memoir " of Poe was first published in 
1850 as a part of the third volume of the Griswold edition 
of Poe, in which it comprises some thirty pages. 1 It is 
introduced by a note from Griswold in which he endeavors 
to justify his course in publishing the " Ludwig Article " 
on the ground that he was unaware, at the time, of his 
appointment as Poe's executor; and he intimates that he 
had felt impelled to write this article by the attacks that 
had been made upon him by Graham and ISTeal. 

It may be noted, however, in passing, that although 
there is nothing to show that Poe, in selecting Griswold as 
his executor, intended that he should also serve as his 
biographer — Mrs. Clemm's statement (in a notice " To the 

and Poe had been attacked by Briggs in the Literati papers (Vir- 
ginia Poe, xv, pp. 20-23) ; Clark, also, had been "used up" by Poe 
in the Literati papers (Virginia Poe, xv, pp. 114-116) ; and Daniel 
had been challenged by Poe to fight a duel in the summer of 1848 
(Woodberry, ir, pp. 273, 443 3.; Whitty, The Complete Poems of 
Poe, p. Ixix) . 

1 It first appeared about the middle of September, 1850: see the 
New York Tribune for September 14, 1850, and the Literary World 
for September 21, 1850. It was also published about the same time 
in the International Monthly Magaeine (for October, 1850) ; see the 
New York Tribune of September 25 and the Literary World of Sep- 
tember 28, 1850. 

The " Memoir," though first published in the third volume of Gris- 
wold's edition, was transferred to the first volume on the publication 
of a second edition in 1853, and it continued to occupy this position 
on the publication of an edition of four volumes in 1856. 



446 KILLIS CAMPBELL 

Reader " prefixed to the first volume of the Griswold 
edition) is fairly explicit to the effect that it was the poet's 
desire merely that Griswold should act as literary executor 
and " superintend the publications of his works," 2 while 
Willis was looked to for " observations on his life and 
character " — there is evidence tending to show that Gris- 
wold had set about collecting material for a memoir within 
a few weeks after the poet's death. This evidence is 
afforded by a letter of John R. Thompson's to Griswold, 
written December 21, 1849, in which the following sen- 
tence occurs : " I have too long delayed sending you the 
promised mems of poor Poe, and I fear that what I now 
enclose will be of little value, scarcely sufficient to warrant 
their incorporation into the Life." 3 That he was further 
actuated in the writing of the Memoir by the attacks made 
upon him by Graham and others there is no reason to 
doubt. 4 

In the " Memoir " Griswold enters much more fully 
into a consideration of Roe's writing than he had done in 
the obituary sketch, and he also develops at greater length 
the details of Poe's life. His judgments on Poe's writings 
are, for the most part, commendatory, and coincide, in the 
main, with the view now generally held. In his observa- 
tions on Poe's life and character, however, he is much 
more severe than he had been in the Tribune article. The 
old charges of arrogance, envy, misanthropy, and a debased 

a Griswold, also, in a note prefixed to the Memoir interprets his 
office to be simply " the collection of his works and their publication." 

3 This letter is preserved among the Griswold Papers in the Boston 
Public Library. See also a letter of Griswold to John Pendleton 
Kennedy (Sewanee Review, April, 1917, xxv, p. 198). 

*See in this connection a letter to J. T. Fields (of September 25, 
1850), published in Passages from the Correspondence of Griswold, 
p. 267. 



THE POE-GKISWOLD CONTEOVEESY 447 

sense of honor are renewed, and the following additional 
charges are brought forward : 

(1) That while a student at the University of Virginia 
Poe had " led a very dissipated life," and that he had been 
expelled in consequence of his excesses there. 4 " 

(2) That after leaving West Point he had enlisted it 
the United States Army, but had deserted soon after- 
wards. 5 

(3) That he had been guilty of a still darker crime in 
his relations with the second Mrs. Allan. 6 

(4) That he had in certain of his publications — among 
them his Conchologist's First Booh — been guilty of 
plagiarisms that were " scarcely paralleled for their 
audacity in all literary history." 7 

(5) That his " unsupported assertions and opinions 
were so apt to be influenced by friendship or enmity . . . 
that they should be received in all cases with a distrust of 
their fairness." 8 

(6) That he exhibited " scarcely any virtue in either 
his life or his writings," and that both his life and his 
writings were " without a recognition or a manifestation 
of conscience." 9 

This sketch, coming as it did from the approved editor 
of Poe and presented with much circumstantiality, had the 
effect of silencing for a time most of Poe's defenders and 
apologists. It was adopted as authentic in all save a very 
few of the contemporary notices of Griswold's edition that 
I have seen, and in virtually every other edition of Poe's 
writings that appeared during the first two decades after 
Poe's death. Among reviews in which it is accepted as 

** Griswold, I, p. xxvi. * Ibid., p. xlviii. 

'Ibid., p. xxvii. 'Ibid., p. xlix. 

'Ibid., p. xxvii. 'Ibid., p. xlvii. 



448 KILLIS CAMPBELL 

authentic (or largely so), are those published in the Rich- 
mond Whig for September 28, 1850 ; the Knickerbocker 
for October, 1850 ; the Democratic Review for December, 
1850, and January and February, 1851 ; the Westminster 
Review for January, 1852 ; Tait's Magazine for April, 
1852 ; 10 Chambers's Edinburgh Journal for February 26, 
1853; 1X Gilfillan's Third Gallery of Portraits, 1854; 12 
the North American Review for October, 1856 ; Fraser's 
Magazine for June, 1857; and the Edinburgh Review for 
April, 1858. 

The writer of the first of these reviews, John R. Thomp- 
son, 13 editor of the Southern Literary Messenger, took 
occasion in commenting on Griswold's memoir to say that 
it was, in his judgment, " truthful," and that such " hard 
things " as Griswold had brought out, " seem to have been 
brought out because their suppression would have been as 
palpable a departure from an honest estimate of the poet, 
as a direct misstatement of any of his qualities." Lewis 
Gaylord Clark, editor of the Knickerbocker, who had, in 
February, 1850, vouched for the correctness of the "Lud- 
wig Article," also made occasion to vouch for the correct- 
ness of this second article of Griswold's. 14 And there were 
some who did not scruple to enlarge on Griswold's story. 
The writer of the notice in the Edinburgh Review, for 
instance, declared that Poe was " a blackguard of unde- 
niable mark " and that " the lowest abyss of moral imbe- 

10 Reprinted in Littell's Living Age, xxxm, pp. 422-424. 

11 Ibid., xxxvn, pp. 157-161. 

M First published in the London Critic, and reprinted in the 
Southern Literary Messenger for April, 1854, and in Littell's Living 
Age, xli, pp. 166-171. 

"That this review was from the pen of Thompson is established 
by a letter of Thompson's, of September 30, 1850, to Griswold; now 
among the Griswold Papers. 

"See the Knickerbocker, October, 1850 (xxxvi, pp. 370-372). 



THE POE-GEISWOLD CONTKOVEESY 449 

cility and disrepute " had never been attained until Poe's 
advent into this world ; 15 while the reviewer in the London 
Critic, George Gilfillan, a British clergyman, boldly as- 
serted that Poe's " heart was as rotten as his conduct was 
infamous," that he had " absolutely no virtue or good 
quality," and that he broke his wife's heart, " hurrying 
her to a premature grave, that he might write ' Annabel 
Lee ' and ' The Raven.' " 16 

Of outspoken public protests at this time there were 
amazingly few. The only vigorous protest that was 
promptly forthcoming, so far as I know, was that of an 
anonymous contributor to the Saturday Evening Post of 
September 21, 1850. This reviewer, 17 while admitting 
that he held " no very exalted opinion of Mr. Poe's char- 
acter," insists, nevertheless, that he is unable to find any 
excuse for Griswold's course ; and he suggests that Gris- 
wold probably understood literary executor to mean " one 
who executes." Continuing he says : 

Considering this biography as the work of a literary executor we 
must say that a more cold-blooded and ungenerous composition has 
seldom come under our notice. Nothing so condemnatory of Mr. 
Poe, so absolutely blasting in its character, has ever appeared in 
print. ... It is absolutely horrible (considering the circumstances 
under which Mr. Griswold writes) with what cool deliberateness he 
charges upon Mr. Poe the basest and most dishonorable actions. 

Others, while not excepting to the facts as set down by 
Griswold, demurred to the spirit of his article. The 
reviewer in Fraser's Magazine, for example, Eev. A. K. H. 

" Edinburgh Review, evil, pp. 420-421. 

16 A Third Gallery of Portraits, London, 1854, p. 376. Another 
clergyman, A. K. H. Boyd (Critical Essays of a Country Parson, p. 
248, — see also Fraser's Magazine for June, 1857), is perhaps echoing 
this statement of Gilfillan's when he asserts that " Poe starved his 
wife, and broke her heart." 

w Probably the editor of the Post, Henry Peterson. 



450 KILLIS CAMPBELL 

Boyd, remarked that it was " curious . . . how little 
pains the biographer takes to conceal the shortcomings of 
his hero " ; 1S and the editor of the Democratic Review 
remonstrated against any unnecessary " rattling of Poe's 
bones." 10 E. A. Duyckinck, editor of the Literary World, 
while apparently accepting Griswold's account of Poe's 
life, inquired whether Griswold in republishing the 
Literati papers had not tampered with his text, and drew 
attention to the fact that Griswold was careful to omit 
" any unhandsome references " to himself. 20 

Graham is said to have written Mrs. Clemm in the fall 
of 1850 that he and other friends were determined to come 
to Poe's defense; 31 but in the December number of his 
magazine he dismissed the matter with the statement that 
" by the decision of several discreet friends of the lamented 
Poe " he was omitting '' a number of letters and articles 
which [had] been collected in relation to his life and writ- 
ings," giving as his reason that " the wounds made by his 
criticisms are too fresh — the conflicting interests too many, 
to hope to do that justice which time and the sober second 
thought of educated minds will accord to his memory; " 
and he concludes with the promise (made good in Graham's 
for February, 1854) to perform at some later time "the 
grateful duty " which he felt himself to owe to the poet. 22 
Willis appears to have contented himself with republish- 
ing, in his Hurrygraphs in 1851, his reply to the " Ludwig 
Article," and with branding the article published in the 
North American Review in 1856 as " uncharitable," and 

"Fraser's Magazine, June, 1857 (lv, pp. 684-700). Also in Cri- 
tical Essays of a Country Parson, London, 1867, pp. 210-248. 
38 Democratic Review, February, 1851 (xxvrn, p. 172). 
*> Literary World, 'September 21, 1850 (vn, pp. 228-229). 
M Ingram's Life and Letters of Poe, p. 432. 
23 Graham's Magazine, December, 1850. 



THE POE-GEISWOLD CONTROVERSY 451 

" needlessly severe," and, in some of its conclusions, 
" merciless." 23 He had also republished in the Home 
Journal of March 16, 1850, Graham's first article on Poe, 
declaring at the time that it was " most creditable to 
Graham," and he admitted to the columns of the Home 
Journal (March 30, 1850) a stinging reply to Daniel's 
article in the Messenger. See also a letter of his to George 
P. Morris in October, 1859 (quoted by Ingram, Poe's 
Works, 1874, i, pp. xlvii-xlviii). 

But as time passed, the number of those who were 
unwilling to accept Griswold's account steadily increased. 
In February, 1852, C. C. Burr, who had known Poe in 
his darkest days, contributed to the Nineteenth Century 24 
a brief article in which he dissented from Griswold's 
imputation to Poe of ingratitude and heartlessness. " He 
was," writes Burr, " in the core of his heart, a grateful, 
single-minded, loving kind of man ... a very gentle, 
thoughtful, scrupulously refined, and modest kind of man," 
who although " he had faults and many weaknesses," had 
also " a congregation of virtues which made him loved as 
well as admired by those who knew him best." Stoddard, 
in spite of his animosity to Poe, admitted, in an article 
in the National Magazine for March, 1853, that the bio- 
graphical sketches of Poe had been written " by indifferent 
friends or open foes," and that they had been " needlessly 
cruel." 25 In August, 1853, an anonymous contributor to 
the Waverley Magazine, in speaking of the inaccuracy of 
Griswold's Memoir, expressed the hope that it would not 
be long before an " unbiased life and collection of Poe's 
works " should be published. In the following year 
Graham published his second article in defense of Poe, in 

23 See the Home Journal for October 18, 1856. 

24 Nineteenth Century, v, pp. 19-33. 
35 National Magazine, n, p. 197. 



452 KILLIS CAMPBELL 

which he again protested against the accusations of loose- 
ness in money matters and of habitual unfairness in his 
criticisms. 26 Two years later appeared Baudelaire's 
famous sketch of Poe, 27 in which a vehement protest was 
made against the tone and spirit of Griswold's account. 
The next year (1857) a lively defense of Poe by J. Wood 
Davidson appeared in Russell's Magazine. 2 * In the same 
year, L. A. Godey, editor of Oodey's Lady's Book, wrote 
to the editor of the Knickerbocker to say that he was not 
to be " counted in among those ... to whom . . . Poe 
proved faithless," and that the poet's conduct toward him 
was " in all respects honorable and unblameworthy." 29 In 
1859, another Philadelphia acquaintance of Poe's, L. A. 
Wilmer, in his book, Our Press Gang, remonstrated against 
Griswold's treatment of Poe. 30 And toward the end of the 
year 1859 appeared Mrs. Whitman's book, Poe and his 
Critics, an entire volume devoted to the defense of Poe 
and directed mainly against Griswold, whose Memoir 
of Poe she declares to be unjust and misleading and to 

M See Graham's Magazine, February, 1854, xliv, pp. 216-225. He 
further declares that Poe was a " long-suffering, much-persecuted, 
greatly -belied man [who] had a soul as soft, as delicate, as tender as 
a child's " and that " every effervescence of excess, of anger, of irrita- 
tion, or of wrong done to others, was followed by an agony of peni- 
tence, and oftentimes by earnest, long-sustained and half-successful 
efforts at reformation." He explains the attacks upon Poe after his 
death as dictated largely by a spirit of revenge on the part of those 
whom he had antagonized by his criticisms and reviews. But he 
admits that Poe's criticisms were in some cases unjust; and he 
instances his attacks upon Longfellow as among the few that were 
" utterly unjust." 

" " Edgar Poe : sa vie et ses ceuvres " ; published as an introduction 
to his translation of Poe's tales. 

"Russell's Magazine, November, 1857 (n, p. 171). 

29 Knickerbocker, January, 1857 (ixl, p. 106). 

80 See especially pp. 284-285. iSee also a more detailed defense of 
Poe by Wilmer in the Baltimore Daily Commercial, May 23, 1866. 



THE POE-GRISWOLD CONTEOVEBSY 453 

involve a " remorseless violation of the trust confided to 
him." 31 Among other articles in defense of Poe that 
appeared during the next decade are the articles by Mayne 
Reid, 32 who had known the Poes in Philadelphia, and T. 
C. Clarke, a Philadelphia printer and publisher who had 
known him intimately. 33 There appeared also, in 1866, 
a strange article by one who styles himself Parke Van 
Parke S4 and who professes to write at the instance of the 
poet's sister, Rosalie Poe, in which Griswold's memoir is 
pronounced the most " atrocious instance of human in- 
iquity . . . since the days of Cain." 

Such was the contemporary attitude to Griswold's 
Memoir of Poe. What, now, does an examination of 
Griswold's sketch in the light of our maturer knowledge 
of Poe as brought out by his editors and biographers reveal 
as to the trustworthiness of Griswold's account ? Such an 
inquiry reveals, first of all, that some of the ugliest charges 
made by Griswold against Poe were based on Poe's own 
misstatements to Griswold. The authority for the state- 
ment that Poe led, while at the University of Virginia, a 
" very dissipated life," 35 turns out to be a document in 
Poe's handwriting sent to Griswold in March, 1841, 36 and 
now preserved among the Griswold Papers. Chargeable 
to Poe also are Griswold's inaccuracies as to the date of 
Poe's birth, 37 as to the duration of his stay in London 
when a boy, 38 and as to an alleged second expedition to 

'"•Poe and his Critics, pp. 11, 14, 15. 
■" Onward, April, 1869, I, pp. 305-308. 
'"Newark Northern Monthly, January, 1868. 
"Discussions and Diversions, by Parke Van Parke, p. 264. 
" Griswold, I, p. xxv. 
M Virginia Poe, I, pp. 344-346. 

87 Griswold, relying on Poe's autobiographical memorandum, gives 
the date as 1811. 
38 Griswold had followed Poe in stating that the period of his stay 

8 



454 IQLLIS CAMPBELL 

Europe in 1827. 39 Investigation has also shown that 
Griswold was correct in charging that Poe had made im- 
proper use of another's materials in the composition of 
his C onchologist' s First-Book. i0 And it is now reasonably 
clear that Poe was sometimes governed by considerations 
of friendship or by a feeling of jealousy in his critical 
notices. 

But there is a good deal of error in Griswold's Memoir 
for which we can be sure that Poe was not responsible. 
It has long since been established that Poe was not ex- 
pelled from the University of Virginia. Nor is there any 
reason to believe that he ever deserted from the army. 
And the sole basis for the vile insinuation of an attempted 
assault upon the person of Mrs. Allan is the quite unsup- 
ported assertion of John M. Daniel, 41 in whose testimony, 
obviously, little reliance may be placed. That Poe was 
without friends at the time of his death or that he was 
incapable of gratitude for service done has been disproved 
over and over again by the testimony of those who knew 
him best. And the charge that he was without a sense of 
honor or without any manifestation of conscience is too 
sweeping to call for serious consideration. 42 

in England was 1816 to 1822; in reality it covered the years 1815 
to 1820. 

'"This yarn survives in several different versions, all apparently 
traceable to Poe. See Woodberry, I, pp. 72 ff., 365 ff., and the Sewanee 
Review for April, 1912 (xx, pp. 209-210). 

* See the Virginia Poe, I, pp. 146-148, and Woodberry, I, pp. 194- 
198. Griswold, however (i, pp. xlviii-xlix), badly overstates the 
case against Poe as a plagiarist. 

"■ Southern Literary Messenger, xvi, p. 176. 

"Among minor inaccuracies in Griswold's account are the allega- 
tions (1) that Poe was not born at Boston (Griswold, i, p. xxxvii) ; 
(2) that "not a line by Poe was purchased for Graham's Magazine" 
for "four or five years" before the poet's death {ibid., p. li: in 
reality two articles by Poe appeared in Graham's in 1849) ; and 



THE POE-GEISWOLD CONTBOVEBSY 455 

Other charges, affecting certain contemporaries of Poe, 
were specifically denied by those affected, either publicly 
or by letter, soon after the appearance of the Memoir. 
Within ten days after the publication of the Memoir, 
Longfellow wrote to Griswold to correct his statement 
that he had " been shown by Mr. Longfellow ... a series 
of papers which constitute a demonstration that Mr. Poe 
was indebted to him for the idea of ' The Haunted 
Palace.' " 43 In the New York Tribune of June 7, 1852, 
W. J. Pabodie, a friend of Mrs. Whitman, made a formal 
denial of Griswold's charge that Poe had, at some time in 
1848, committed at the home of Mrs. Whitman . " such 
outrages as made necessary a summons of the police." 
Further denials were made by Mrs. Whitman herself in 
her book, Edgar Poe and his Critics. 44 A score of years 
later Col. J. H. B. Latrobe corrected some inaccuracies in 
Griswold's account of the deliberations of the judges on 
the occasion of the awarding to Poe his first short-story 
prize in 1833. 45 

It is proper to note also — what the reader can hardly 
escape — that Griswold, although he wrote as literary exe- 
cutor, assumes in his comments on Poe as a man an 
attitude of undisguised hostility. He does, indeed, intro- 
duce the gracious testimony of Mrs. Osgood as to Poe's 
chivalrous conduct toward women and as to his affection 
for his invalid wife; but he is careful to state that Mrs. 

(3) that Poe "prepared with his own hands" the sketch of his life 
contributed by H. B. Hirst to the Saturday Museum in February, 
1843 {ibid., p. 1). 

"Griswold, i, p. xlviii; Virginia Poe, xvn, pp. 408-409. 

44 Mrs. Whitman {I. c, p. 15) speaks also of an article in the 
Borne Journal, in 1859, or slightly earlier, in which a " calumnious 
story " proceeding from Griswold was refuted. 

"Griswold, I, p. xxviii; Edgar Allan Poe: A Memorial Volume, 
ed. Miss S. S. Rice, p. 59. 



456 KILLIS CAMPBELL 

Osgood accepted his analysis of Poe's character and meant 
to testify only as to the character assumed by the poet 
when in the presence of women. 46 And in justification 
of his course he argues, forsooth, that " it has always 
been made a portion ■ of the penalty of wrong that its 
anatomy should be displayed for the common study and 
advantage." 47 

Our conclusions, then, as to Griswold's Memoir of Poe 
are (1) that a number of the charges there made by Gris- 
wold were true, and (2) that certain inaccuracies in his 
account rest upon Poe's inaccurate statements to him ; but 
(3) that most of the more damaging things alleged by 
Griswold against Poe were without substantial basis in 
fact or were greatly exaggerated; and (4) that Griswold 
both discredited himself and discounted his judgments on 
Poe by consistently assuming, in his observations on the 
poet's character, an attitude of unabashed hostility to him. 

It remains to inquire into the charge that has been made 
against Griswold of garbling certain of Poe's letters in his 
effort to strengthen his case against him. 

In the preface of his Memoir, Griswold collects eleven 
letters written by Poe to him. The originals of only six 
of these are now preserved. 48 Four of these six originals 
differ but slightly from the versions printed by Griswold ; 
but two of them 49 exhibit noteworthy variations from 
Griswold's text. To make these discrepancies as graphic 

*• Griswold, I, pp. lii-liv. 

" Ibid., p. xlvii. 

"Five of these (see the Virginia Poe, xvn, pp. 83-84, 198, 200-201, 
202-203, 216) are in the Boston Public Library (four of the number 
being postmarked originals); and the sixth {ibid., pp. 346-347) — 
which is unhappily incomplete as preserved — is in the Wrenn 
Library of the University of Texas. 

"One of these is printed in the Virginia Poe (xvii, pp. 200-202) 
with the two versions juxtaposed. 



THE POE-GKISWOLD CONTROVERSY 457 

as possible, I give here the two letters as printed by Gris- 
wold, putting in italics the more important passages which 
do not appear in the postmarked originals and enclosing 
in brackets certain passages that appear in the originals 
but are omitted in Griswold's text. 49 " 

The first of these letters, dated February 24, 1845, runs 
as follows : 

My dear Griswold: — A thousand thanks for your kindness in the 
matter of those books, which I could not afford to buy, and had so 
much need of. Soon after seeing you, I sent you, through Zieber, 
all my poems worth republishing, and I presume they reached you. 
/ was sincerely delighted with what you said of them, and if you will 
write your criticism in the form of a preface, I shall be greatly 
obliged to you. I say this not because you praised me: everybody 
praises me now : but because you so perfectly understand me, or what 
I have aimed at, in all my poems: I did not think you had so much 
delicacy of appreciation joined with your strong sense; I can say 
truly that no man's approbation gives me so much pleasure. I send 
you with this another packaige, also through Zieber, by Burgess & 
Stringer. It contains, in the way of essay, " Mesmeric Revelation," 
which I would like to have go in, even if you have to omit the 
" House of Usher." [I send also a portion of the " Marginalia," in 
which I have marked some of the most pointed passages.] I send 
also corrected copies of (in the way of funny criticism, but you don't 
like this) " Flaccus," which conveys a tolerable idea of my style; 
and of my serious manner "Barnaby Budge" is a good specimen. 
[In " Graham " you will find these.] In the tale line, " The Murders 
of the Rue Morgue," " The Gold Bug," and the " Man that Was Used 
Up " — far more than enough, but you can select to suit yourself. I 
prefer the " G. B." to the " M. in the R. M." [but have not a copy 
just now. If there is no immediate hurry for it, however, I will get 
one & send it you corrected. Please write & let me know if you 
get this.] I have taken a third interest in the " Broadway Journal " 
and will be glad if you could send me anything [at any time, in the 
way of " Literary Intelligence "] for it. Why not let me anticipate 
the book publication of your splendid essay on Milton? 

Truly yours, 

Poe. 



"* For each of these letters I use Griswold's text ( I. c, I, p. xxii ) 
as the basis for comparison. Certain minor variations from the 
manuscript originals are not taken account of. 



458 KILLIS CAMPBELL 

The second letter is " without date " (and is so described 
by Griswold), but the original manuscript as mailed to 
Griswold hears the postmark " New York Apr. 19," and 
it is evident, both from Griswold's statement that it was 
Poe's " next " letter after the letter of February 24, 50 and 
from the reference to Poe's New York lecture (delivered 
February 28, 1845), that it was written in 1845. 

Dear Griswold: — I return the proofs with many thanks for your 
attentions. The poems look quite as well in the short metres as in 
the long ones, and I am quite content as it is. [You will perceive, 
however, that some of the lines have been divided at the wrong place. 
I have marked them right in the proof; but lest there should be any 
misapprehension, I copy them as they should be. . . . 51 Near the 
beginning of the poem you have " nodded " spelt " nooded."] In 
" The Sleeper " you have " Forever with unclosed eye " for ra " For- 
ever with unopen'd eye." Is it possible to make the correction? 
I presume you understand that in the repetition of my Lecture on 
the Poets, (in N. Y.) I left out all that was offensive to yourself." 8 
/ am ashamed of myself that I ever said anything of you that was so 
unfriendly or so unjust j hut what I did say I am confident has oeen 
misrepresented to you. See my notice of 0. F. Hoffman's ( ? ) 
sketch of you. 

Very sincerely yours, 

Poe. 

How to account for these discrepancies is not entirely 
clear. Possibly the passages that I have italicised in these 
two letters were interpolated by Griswold; possibly he 
relied on rejected drafts of these letters, found (on this 
supposition) by him among Poe's papers. 54 But on either 

w Griswold, i, p. xxii. 

51 Here Poe quotes four lines from The Raven, dividing them each 
into two lines: see the Virginia Poe, xvrt, p. 202. 

61 The original manuscript has "the line" where Griswold has 
"you have," and "should read" where Griswold has "for"; and 
also has the word " alteration " where Griswold has " correction." 

"This sentence appears as a postscript in the original manuscript. 

54 That Griswold did, in one instance, follow a discarded first draft 
of one of Poe's letters — a letter to Mrs. Jane E. Locke — is established 



THE POE-GKISWOLD CONTROVERSY 459 

supposition it is plain that Griswold was at fault. He had 
in his hands the postmarked originals that Poe had ad- 
dressed to him, and he was obviously under obligations to 
follow them or to give some reason for not doing so. 55 
Whether he actually found variant versions of these letters 
among Poe's effects, I am unable to say. So far as I am 
aware, no such variant versions exist. 56 

IV 

What, finally, of the integrity of Griswold's editing of 
Poe? Evert A. Duyckinck in his review of the third 
volume of the Griswold edition of Poe (printed imme- 
diately after the appearance of that volume) * raises the 
question whether the Literati papers (first collected there) 
had not " undergone editorial revisal." Both Ingram 2 and 

by examination of the manuscript (now in the Boston Public Lib- 
rary) on which he based his text of this letter (Griswold, I, p. xli). 
In this instance, however, he did not have the original manuscript 
in hand: see Griswold's Correspondence, p. 265. 

"Griswold points out in his Memoir (i, p. li) two instances in 
which Poe, in quoting from letters received by him, departed slightly 
from his originals. But Poe's derelictions in this particular will 
scarcely be held to excuse or to palliate Griswold's. 

56 It seems that Griswold also took liberties with at least one other 
letter. In his Memoir (i, p. xlvii) he quotes a brief excerpt from 
a letter of Poe's to P. P. Cooke, one sentence of which differs in one 
important particular from the original. The second sentence of this 
excerpt, as quoted by Griswold, reads as follows : " The last selection 
of my tales was made from about seventy by one of our great 
little cliquists and claquers, Wiley and Putnam's reader, Duyckinck." 
In the manuscript of this letter as preserved among the Griswold 
Papers the words, "one of our great little cliquists and claquers," 
do not appear. He also took the liberty, it seems, as Professor Har- 
rison has pointed out (Virginia Poe, xvn, p. 198), of abridging and 
otherwise altering, in his Memoir, one of his own letters to Poe. 

1 Literary World, September 21, 1850. 

* Poe's Works, Edinburgh, 1874, I, p. Ixi. 



460 KILLIS CAMPBELL 

Gill 3 have made a similar imputation of editorial reckless- 
ness against Griswold, instancing, in particular, the article 
on Thomas Dunn English as bearing the marks of having 
been tampered with. More recently the editors of the 
Virginia Poe have charged that Griswold not only tam- 
pered with the text of the Literati;, but that he also took 
indefensible liberties with still other papers. Specifically, 
it is alleged that Grriswold substituted for five of the 
Literati papers (those on Briggs, English, Lawson, Mrs. 
Osgood, and Mrs. Hewitt) " other papers in the Poe 
manner," 4 and that in the case of a number of Poe's 
reviews he made free to combine two •or more papers into 
one, to omit or to transpose numerous passages of consid- 
erable length, and to mutilate in still other ways his 
originals. 5 

Such comparison as I have made of Griswold's text of 
the poems and essays with their originals leads me to be- 
lieve — indeed, convinces me — that Griswold, judged by 
standards of to-day, was not a careful editor. It is reason- 
ably plain that he silently altered the titles of several of 
the poems and that he omitted the sub-titles of others. 6 
It is all but certain that he did not always adopt Poe's 
latest text. 7 He allowed numerous typographical errors 
to escape him. 8 And he omitted from his edition some 
things of importance that were surely known to him — 
among them the earlier lyric To Helen. That he also 
made bold here and there to prune away matter that he 

'Life of Edgar Allan Poe, p. 179. 

* Virginia Poe, xv, pp. ix, 263. 

'Ibid., x, pp. vi-vii. 

•See the variant readings as reported by Stedman and Woodberry, 
by Harrison, and by other editors. 

'See, for instance, the variant readings of The Raven, Lenore, and 
Dream-Land. 

' See the list of errata collected by the editors of the Virginia Poe. 



THE POE-GRISWOED CONTROVERSY 461 

felt to be unimportant, or that he even transposed parts 
of certain papers and combined others, I think not im- 
probable. 9 

But that Griswold made any very substantial changes 
in the texts of Poe's critical papers or that he introduced 
any papers not actually written by Poe I doubt very much. 
The article on Mrs. Osgood as printed by him among the 
Literati papers 10 turns out to be, as Professor Woodberry 
has already noted, 11 a review of Mrs. Osgood's poems con- 
tributed by Poe to the Southern Literary Messenger of 
August, 1849. Another of the Literati papers whose 
authenticity has been questioned, that entitled " Thomas 
Dunn Brown," 12 survives in a manuscript in Poe's auto- 
graph, owned by the Rosenbach Company of Philadelphia. 

The three remaining Literati papers supposed to have 
been substituted by Griswold without authority — namely, 
those on Briggs, Lawson, and Mrs. Hewitt — were, I im- 
agine, similarly based either on manuscripts found by Gris- 
wold among Poe's papers (as in the case of the article on 
English) or had already been published in some periodical 
(as in the case of the article on Mrs. Osgood). Professor 
Woodberry suggests 13 that these articles (he includes also 

' It is altogether probable, for instance, that Griswold was respon- 
sible for the combining of the several articles in reply to " Outis " 
into one article. 

"Griswold, m, pp. 87-99; reprinted in the Virginia Poe, xv, pp. 
271-288. 

u In an unsigned review in the New York Nation for December 4, 
1902, p. 446. I owe it to Professor Woodberry to say that I have 
been anticipated by him in still other points made in this section of 
the present paper and, likewise, in the general conclusions that I 
have reached as to Griswold's editing. I trust that it will not seem 
improper for me to add that I reached my main conclusions inde- 
pendently and before I knew of Professor Woodberry's article. 

"Griswold, in, pp. 101-104; Virginia Poe, xv, pp. 266-270. 

M The Nation, I. c, p. 446. 



462 KILLIS CAMPBELL 

the article on English) were a part of a volume variously 
entitled 14 " The American Parnassus," " A Critical His- 
tory of American Literature," " Living Writers of 
America," and "The Authors of America in Prose and 
Verse," on which Poe was engaged for half a dozen years 
before his death; and this suggestion is confirmed, so far 
as the article on English is concerned, by the manuscript 
containing the " Thomas Dunn Brown " article, which 
contains also autographic copies of the Literati papers on 
Richard Adams Locke and Christopher Pease Cranch, and 
which bears the title, " Literary America." 15 

So, also, it seems to me most likely that the longer pas- 
sages believed to be unauthentic in G-riswold's texts of 
Poe's reviews 16 are, in reality, the work of Poe, and that 

"Either in Poe's references to it in his letters or in contemporary 
advance notices of it in the press. 

35 The rest of the title-page of this manuscript, which is dated 
" 1848," runs in part as follows : " Some Honest Opinions about our 
Autorial Merits and Demerits / with / Occasional Words of Person- 
ality. / By Edgar A. Poe." 

M The chief reviews which exhibit important variations in the 
Griswold edition are those on Hawthorne (Griswold, ni, pp. 188- 
202; Virginia Poe, xin, pp. 142-155, XT, 104-113), the Davidson sis- 
ters (Griswold, ni, pp. 219-228; Virginia Poe, X, pp. 174-178, 221- 
226), P. M. Bird (Griswold, m, pp. 257-261; Virginia Poe, vin, pp. 
63-73, rs, pp. 137-139), Griswold (Griswold, in, pp. 283-292; Vir- 
ginia Poe, xi, pp. 147-160), Longfellow (Griswold, in, 292-334; Vir- 
ginia Poe, xii, pp. 41-106), a second paper on Longfellow (Griswold, 
in, pp. 363-374; Virginia Poe, xi, pp. 64-85), Mrs. Browning (Gris- 
wold, m, pp. 401-424; Virginia Poe, Xii, pp. 1-35), and E. H. Home 
(Griswold, m, pp. 425-444; Virginia Poe, xi, pp. 249-275). By a 
most unhappy oversight, the last six paragraphs of the second of the 
two papers on the Davidson sisters (as published in Graham's Maga- 
zine for December, 1841) are omitted in the Virginia Poe (x, p. 226), 
thus making Griswold's supposed irregularities in the case of this 
article appear much more serious than they actually are. 

The paper on Mrs. Lewis (Griswold, in, pp. 242-249; Virginia Poe, 
xm, pp. 215-225) for which no place of prior publication has hitherto 



THE POE-GRISWOLD COI^TEOVEEST 463 

Poe, likewise, was responsible for much, if not most, of 
the curtailing and rearranging exhibited in Griswold's 
edition. 17 As is well known, Poe was constantly revising 
work that he bad already published. Some of the recasting 
which he may be supposed to have made in his critical 
articles was made, in all likelihood, with a view to incor- 
porating these articles in bis " Literary America," which 
was to include, not only the writers of New York City (to 
which the Literati papers as published in Oodey's and the 
Democratic Review had been restricted), but in addition 
writers of note from all parts of America — in fact, is 
described, in one of the titles under which it is referred to, 
as " A Critical History of American Literature." 18 

But what most inclines me to doubt that Griswold wrote 
any considerable part of the matter thought to have been 
interpolated or substituted by him in Poe's essays is the 
complete lack of motive for such a course. 19 Griswold 

been pointed out, appeared condensed and freely paraphrased in the 
sketch of Mrs. Lewis included by Griswold in his anthology of The 
Female Poets of America. The papers on Bayard Taylor and William 
Wallace, which Griswold prints as separate articles (in, pp. 207-209, 
240-241), were printed originally in the Marginalia (Virginia Poe, 
xvr, pp. 145-148, 175-177). 

17 In the case of the Marginalia the order adopted by Griswold is 
so radically different from that originally adopted as to present a 
veritable puzzle to one who would unravel the mystery of their 
arrangement. So far as I can discover, no logical system of arrange- 
ment has been followed by Griswold. It looks as though the separate 
items might have been thrown pellmell into a basket and then taken 
out at haphazard and published in the order drawn. 

M See Woodberry, n, p. 96. In a notice of this projected work, in 
the Philadelphia Saturday Courier of July 25, 1846, moreover, the 
statement is made that it will " embrace the whole Union"; and a 
similar statement was made by Hirst in his sketch of Poe in the 
Saturday Museum. 

"This point has been dwelt on by Professor Woodberry, I. c, 
p. 446. 



464: KILLIS CAMPBELL 

was a busy man; and there was in the case of these 
papers — the case was different with Poe's letters — nothing 
for him to gain by tampering with them : there is in these 
suspected passages nothing that would tend to exhibit Poe 
in a darker light, nothing that would in any way inure to 
Griswold's benefit. And there is, besides, the test of style. 
Griswold wrote at times with exceptional pungency and 
vigor ; but it is not very difficult to distinguish his manner 
from Poe's. There is, I feel, no one of the papers — or of 
the brief passages — whose genuineness has been called in 
question that does not bear the stamp of Poe's manner. 

Accordingly, I believe we are justified in concluding 
that Griswold's chief delinquencies as editor were the 
minor delinquencies of careless proofreading, of a willing- 
ness to set his own judgment against Poe's in the matter 
of certain textual readings and probably of the form of 
certain articles, and of the omission of sundry more or 
less important items. As editor — that is, merely as 
editor — he probably performed the task committed to him 
as well as any other American editor of his time, save 
possibly Lowell, could have done. It was as biographer, 
not as editor, that Griswold sinned against Poe. 

Killis Campbell.