Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Poemas!

I have a fondness for "Raven" parodies--19th century writers found them irresistible--and this one is particularly suited for the holiday season. I first found this ode to the more sinister side to Christmas puddings in the humor publication "Tit-Bits" on December 23, 1882, but it continued to be republished in newspapers and magazines at least until early the next century.

The happiest of holidays to you all!

Listen, all ! I tell what happened on the night of Christmas Day,
After I'd been eating pudding in a very reckless way.
Just as Christmas Day was dying, as I on my bed was lying,
When to slumber I was trying, when I'd just begun to snore,
I became aware of something rolling on my chamber floor—
Of a most mysterious rumbling, rolling on my chamber floor.
Only this and nothing more!

Partly waking, partly sleeping, all my flesh with horror creeping,
I could hear it tumbling, leaping, rolling on my chamber floor;
Underneath the bedclothes sinking, I betook myself to thinking
If it might not be a kitten that had entered at the door;
"Yes," said I, "it is a kitten, entered at the open door.
This it is and nothing more."

Presently my heart grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Cat," said I, "or kitten, kindly stop that rolling on the floor."
But it was most irritating, for the sound was unabating.
On my nerves for ever grating was the rolling on the floor;
Till at last I cried in anguish, "Stop that rolling I implore;"
And a voice said, "Nevermore."

This convinced me of my error, up I rose in greatest terror,
Certain that 'twas not a kitten that had spoken just before;
Then into the darkness peering, shivering, wondering, doubting, fearing,
I could dimly see a pudding rolling on my chamber floor;
I could see a big plum pudding rolling on my chamber floor;
May I see it nevermore!

From its mouth a vapour steaming, while its fiery eyes were gleaming,
Gleaming fiercely bright, and seeming fixedly to scan me o'er;
Soon it rolled and rumbled nearer, and its aim becoming clearer,
I could see that it intended jumping higher than the floor;
Yes, it jumped upon my chest, and when in pain I gave a roar,
All it said was, "Nevermore."

Though my back was nearly broken, this reply so strangely spoken.
Seemed to me to be a token that it wished for something more;
So my thoughts in words expressing, I began my sins confessing,
Saying I had eaten pudding many a time in days of yore,
But although I'd eaten pudding many a time in days of yore,
I would eat it nevermore.

Still in spite of my confessing, that plum pudding kept on pressing,
Pressing with its weight tremendous ever on my bosom's core.
Till I cried, "O, monster mighty, in my work I'm often flighty.
But, if you will now forgive me, I'll work hard at classic lore!"
At the end of this vacation I'll work hard at classic lore,
Quoth the pudding "Nevermore."

" Be that word our sign of parting, pudding!" then I shrieked, upstarting,
" Get thee back — get off my stomach, roll again upon the floor!"
Thus I struggled, loudly screaming, till I found I had been dreaming.
Dreaming like a famous poet once had dreamt in days of yore;
But although 'twas like the poet's dream he dreamt in days of yore.
May I dream it nevermore!

[Note: Many thanks to Chris Woodyard for bringing this poem to my attention.]

Friday, November 13, 2015

Poe and Ludwig II

A lesser-known bit of Poeana is that that most romantic and perplexing of "mad kings," Ludwig II, was a passionate admirer of Poe. More than that, Ludwig deeply identified with Poe, seeing the poet as a kindred spirit. His perceived parallels with Poe fascinated the troubled monarch. (Rather eerily, Ludwig was not to know that, like his idol, he too would suffer a mysterious and hotly-debated death--and when one remembers that Rufus Griswold used the pen-name "Ludwig" for his infamous obituary of Poe, it is hard not to feel a bit creeped out.)

One of our main sources--in English, at any rate--for Ludwig's sense of kinship with Poe comes from an interview he gave to the American journalist Lew Vanderpoole. Vanderpoole's account of this meeting, "Ludwig of Bavaria: a Personal Reminiscence" appeared in Lippincott's Magazine for November 1886.

The adjustment of the estates of three of my French ancestors, who died in Rouen about eight years ago, necessitated my going to Bavaria. As the three deaths, being almost simultaneous, resulted in unprecedented complications, it was manifest, from the very first, that audience must be had with the Bavarian king. So, in leaving France, I bore with me, to Ludwig, a letter of introduction from M. Gambetta, which fully explained my mission and requested the king to facilitate my endeavors as far as possible. Arriving in Munich, I sent my letter to his royal highness, expecting, of course, to be turned over to the tender mercies of some deputy, after his usual custom. To my surprise, Gambetta's letter resulted in my being requested to wait upon the king at the royal palace the next morning at ten o'clock. Punctual to the second, I was shown into a beautifully-decorated sitting- room, where the monarch joined me after a brief delay.

To others he may have always been brusque, morose, and taciturn, but no one could have been more affable and gracious than he was that morning. He examined my papers with the most courteous interest, and weighed the whole matter with as much thoughtful consideration as if it had been something of vital concern to him. Waiving several Bavarian customs, for my convenience, and setting me straight in every possible direction, he was about ending the interview, when he suddenly caught sight of something which prolonged my audience with him for two of the most delightful hours which were ever owed to royal clemency. Leaving France, as I did, a day earlier than I had intended, in my haste I accidentally packed with my legal documents the proof-sheets of a paper which I had been writing for Figaro on Edgar Allan Poe. The proofs were left unnoticed with the other papers until the whole package was opened and spread out on the king's table. Until then his manner had been quiet and gentle, almost to effeminacy; but the moment he saw Poe's name be became all eagerness and animation. His magnificent eyes lit up, his lips quivered, his cheeks glowed, and his whole face was beaming and radiant.

"Is it a personal account of him?" he asked. "Did you know Poe? Of course you did not, though: you are too young. I cannot tell you how disappointed I am. Just for a moment I thought I was in the presence of someone who had actually known that most wonderful of all writers, and who could, accordingly, tell me something definite and authentic about his inner life. To me he was the greatest man ever born, -greatest in every particular. But, like many rare gems, he was fated to have his brilliancy tarnished and marred by constant clashings and chafings against common stone. How he must have suffered under the coarse, mean indignities which the world heaped on him ! And what harsh, heartless things were said of him when death had dulled the sharpness of his trenchant pen ! You will better understand my enthusiasm when I tell you that I would sacrifice my right to my royal crown to have him on earth for a single hour, if in that hour he would unbosom to me those rare and exquisite thoughts and feelings which so manifestly were the major part of his life."

His voice softened into a low monotone-almost a wail-as he approached the end of his sentence, and his head kept settling forward until his chin rested upon his breast. He kept this attitude, in dead silence, for several minutes, his face wearing an expression of the most intense sorrow. Suddenly arousing himself, he glanced at me in startled surprise, as if he had for the moment forgotten my presence. Then his eyes beamed pleasantly, and he laughed-clear, merry, ringing laugh-at being caught in a day-dream.

"Will you be good enough to let me read, what you have written?" he asked. "I see that it is in French, the only language I know except my own." 
I handed him the proofs, and watched him as be read them. As the paper was chatty and gossipy, rather than critical, he seemed to enjoy it. 
"I see by this that you, also, are fond of Poe," he said, handing the proofs back to me; "and so I will tell you of a little fancy which I have cherished ever since I first began reading the works of your great fellow-American. At first, because of my respect for his genius and greatness, the lightest thought of what I am going to tell you would make my cheeks bum with shame at my presumption. After a time, I would occasionally write out my fancy, only to burn it, always, as soon as finished. Eventually I confided it to two trusted and valued friends; and now, in some unaccountably strange way, moved, perhaps, by the sympathy born of our common interest in Poe, I am going to take you into my confidence in this particular, stranger though you are. What I have to say is this : I believe, for reasons which I will give you, that there is a distinct parallel between Poe's nature and mine. Do not be misled by assuming that I mean more than I have said. I but compared our natures: beyond that the parallel does not hold. Poe had both genius and greatness. I have neither. He had, also, force and strength, so much of both that he could defy the world, sensitive and shrinking as be was. That I never can do. Not that I am a coward, as the word is generally understood, because pain and death can neither shake nor terrify me. Yet any contact with the world hurts me. The same as Poe's, my nature is abnormally sensitive. Injuries wound me so deeply that I cannot resent them : they crush me, and I have no doubt that in time they will destroy me. Even the laceration my heart received from indignities which I suffered as a child are still uneffaceable. A sharp or prying glance from the eyes of a stranger, even though he be only same coarse peasant, will annoy me for hours; and a newspaper criticism occasions me endless torture and misery. The impressionable part of me seems to be as sensitive as a photographer's plate : everything with which I come in contact stamps me indelibly with its proportions. My impulses, it can be no egotism to say, are generous and kindly; yet I never, in my whole life, have done an act of charity that the recipient did not in some way make me regret it. People disappoint me; life disappoints me. I meet some man with a fine face and fine manner, and believe in the sincerity of his smile. Just as I begin to feel certain of his lasting love and fidelity, I detect him in some act of treachery, or overhear him calling me a fool, or worse."

Arising, he began to walk slowly up and down the room.

"Apparently," he continued, after a brief silence, "there is no place in the economy of life except for one kind of man. If one would be respected, he must be coarse, harsh, and phlegmatic. Let him be anything else, and friends and foes alike unite in declaring him eccentric. Much as I despise the gross, sensual creatures who wear the form and receive the appellation of man, I sometimes regret that I am not more like them, and, so, more at ease. They plunge into excesses with no more concern than a duck feels in plunging into a lake. With me the thought, or rather the dread, that I may some day so far forget myself as to debase and degrade myself, according to the common custom of man, is in itself sufficient cause for the most excruciating torture. When I look upon men as they average and see the perfect nonchalance with which they commit this, that, or the other abuse from which I would recoil with utter repugnance, I wonder if, after all, they are not really to be envied. My condition is as much of a puzzle to me as it possibly can be to you. Logically, there is no reason for it. My father and mother were neither abnormally sensitive nor excessively moral. So far as I am able to ascertain, they regarded things in life very much as every one else does. It was the same, I believe, with the parents of Poe. Things he has written prove to me that he felt the same disgust for whatever demoralizes that I have always felt, only he saw how the world would behave towards him if he did not seem in sanction and approve of its rottenness. I do not blame him. His way was wisest. Deceit is best in such a case, if it can only be assumed. With his sensitiveness were associated force and defiance,-two traits which I seriously lack. Perhaps, though, he could endure the world more easily than I can, because his childhood was less dreadful than mine. All through my infancy things were done which stung and wounded me. Not that I was treated more harshly than children commonly are, but because my nature was so unlike that of children in general that the things which never disturbed them were offensive to me. I soon learned that companionship meant pain, and that I could never know or feel anything like content unless I held myself aloof from every one. This, for a man, is hard enough to do; for a child it is next to impossible. I was forced to subject myself to the will of harsh, unfeeling teachers, and to the society of those who, scarcely more than animals themselves, accredited me with no instincts finer than their own. Most of the studies thrust upon me seemed dull, stupid, and worthless : because they so jarred upon me that my understanding faculties were dulled and blunted with pain, I was declared half-witted. For hours I would sit and dream beautiful day-dreams; and that won for me similar epithets. It is a misfortune to be organized as I am; yet I am what I am because a stronger will and power than mine made me so. In that lie my so]e solace and comfort for having lived at all. If my reading and observation have not been in the wrong direction, much of the phenomenon which is called insanity is really over-sensitiveness. It is often hinted, and sometimes openly declared, that I am a madman. Perhaps I am; but I doubt it. Insanity may be self-hiding. An insane man may be the only person on earth who is not aware of his insanity. Of course I, for such reasons, may not be able to comprehend my own mental condition, except in an exaggerated and unnatural way. But I believe myself a rational being. That, though, may be proof of my insanity. Yet I doubt if any insane person could study and analyze himself as I have done and still do. I am simply out of tune with the majority of my race. I do not enter into man's common pleasures, because they disgust me and would destroy me. Society hurts me, and I keep out of it. Women court me, and for my safety I avoid them. Were I a poet, I should be praised for saying these things in verse; but the gift of utterance is not mine, and so I am sneered at; scorned, and called a madman. Will God, when he summons me, adjudge me the same?" 
With tearful eyes, he pressed my hand, smiled, and left the room. The learned doctors have already declared Ludwig of Bavaria insane, and kindlier judgment from those who loved him would very likely be counted wasted sympathy by the world.

[Note: As a postscript, here is an intriguing blog post theorizing that the "Poe Toaster" had a connection to King Ludwig.]

Monday, August 31, 2015

The Poisoning of Edgar and Virginia Poe

Rene Van Slooten, one of the more original and insightful Poe scholars out there, has an interesting article about how analysis of Edgar and Virginia's hair shows that the couple (particularly Virginia) had been poisoned with various toxic substances (largely from illuminating gas) during the years they lived in New York City.

Van Slooten goes on to suggest that this environmental poisoning was responsible for at least some of Poe's health problems and notoriously erratic behavior during this period.  Although Van Slooten does not mention this, I found myself wondering if this poisoning contributed to Virginia's early death.

As that popular blogging saying goes, read the whole thing.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Today's PSA For the Historically Illiterate

To All You Nincompoops Who Have Been Posting This on Pinterest, Reddit, and Tumblr as a Genuine Photo of Edgar Allan Poe and Abraham Lincoln:

This photo is a fake.  F.A.K.E.  It was never even intended to be seen as legitimate.  It originates from the book "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter," which, (though a chilling number of people seem unaware of this,) was meant to be satire.  Poe and Lincoln never even met.  Please stop making fools of yourselves and stripping me of whatever minuscule shred of hope for the human race I have left.  After all, I can only drink so much therapeutic gin.

That is all.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Yet Another Reason Why the Internet is a Poe Blogger's Hell

The above photo is one I have been seeing all over the internet lately, particularly on Twitter. It is always described, without reservations, as a daguerreotype showing Poe at Philadelphia's Academy of Natural Sciences, circa 1842. (He is supposedly the seated fellow with the impressive set of whiskers.)

Such dogmatism ignores the fact that this attribution was made only in recent years, and has very little to back it up. The man in the photo was first identified as Poe by Benjamin J. McFarland and Thomas Peter Bennett in their article "The Image of Edgar Allan Poe: A Daguerreotype Linked to the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia."  (Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, Vol. 147, 1997.)

This daguerreotype was first published in 1937. We do not know for certain who took this picture, who any of the men in the image are, or even exactly when it was taken. In 1950, the magazine "Frontiers" published the photo, suggesting that Poe might be the standing man in the top hat. (The only evidence proposed for this theory was the fact that Poe "was in Philadelphia in the period," and "he wrote a small book on shells." They gave the date of the photo--again, on no evidence--as 1838.)

McFarland and Bennett, through a detailed analysis of the daguerreotype, presented a well-reasoned case that the image was taken at the Academy by Paul Beck Goddard, "an early Philadelphia experimental daguerreotypist" sometime after the summer of 1842, most likely during the winter of 1842-43.

It is in the identification of the seated man as Poe--which, after all, is the only reason the daguerreotype is of general interest today--that their arguments begin to falter. Their theory that this is Poe rests on these statements:

*Poe knew a number of men who were part of Philadelphia's scientific society, such as Academy member Dr. John K. Mitchell, conchologist Isaac Lea, who was one of Poe's publishers, and poet Henry Hirst, who mounted specimens for the Peale Museum.

*Poe's name appeared on the byline of the scientific work "The Conchologist's First Book." (Although McFarland and Bennett admitted that this book was essentially written by others.)

*Poe had "a populist scientific bent," who may have been "America's first enduring science journalist."

Surely, the authors argue, these "associations and Poe's own measure of fame" "opened the Academy's doors for Poe; his interest in science and new technology provided a motive for him to be involved with the process [of daguerreotyping.]" In short, Poe "could have been in Goddard's photo."

McFarland and Bennett then went on to a forensic analysis of the daguerreotype. To make a long story (or journal article) short, they did a side-by-side visual comparison of the "McKee" daguerreotype of Poe from ca. 1843 with the Academy daguerreotype (direct superimposition of the two images could not be done,) and decided, by golly, the two looked alike.

Enlargement of the Academy daguerreotype,
showing the Man Who Would Be Poe. 
The "McKee" daguerreotype of Poe.

That's all this comes down to: Two people looking at an old daguerreotype and saying "Gosh, that might be Edgar Allan Poe!" Were they right? Who knows? Unfortunately, the Academy daguerreotype is too indistinct to make any sort of solid identification possible. I personally do not see much of a resemblance between Poe and the "Academician," but others may disagree. My point is, McFarland and Bennett's theory that this is a long-lost photograph of Edgar Allan Poe is just that--a theory, and in all honesty should always be presented as such. I can't prove that it's not Poe, but they certainly can't prove it is. The daguerreotype is merely one of many "Poe" photos or paintings that are either questionable or downright bogus. (See Michael Deas' "The Portraits and Daguerreotypes of Edgar Allan Poe" for an entertaining rundown on all the many fake Poe images that have appeared over the years.)

I realize that this is a minor matter compared to the numerous blood-curdling frauds and libels that are continually perpetrated against Poe (hi, Lynn Cullen!) but it still annoys me.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Birthday Bash, in Every Sense of the Word

I do not like thee, Griswold, R.,
I hate thee near, I hate thee far.
I hate the bios that you write,
I hate them day, I hate them night.
Your poetry gives me the chills,
And dreadful, dreadful bouts of ills.
I'm through now with this birthday puff,
Of you, of you, I've had enough!

For the past two years now, we here at World of Poe have marked the anniversary of the birth of Rufus Wilmot Griswold with, I hope, all the honor and ceremony the day deserves.  (The earlier posts can be found here and here.)  Even though I have largely put this blog on hold, I could hardly ignore mention of that accursed notable day when that miserable lying hack was foisted upon an undeserving planet in 1815.

In fact, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that Griswold's birthday deserves to be a national commemoration.  So many of America's holidays have become controversial or "politically incorrect."  Columbus Day, Thanksgiving, even Christmas are meaningless, or actually offensive, to one segment or another of our population.  What this country needs is a special day where we can all unite as one.

What better choice than Griswold's birthday?  I am calling upon the President and members of Congress to make February 13 an official Day of Hate, when all Americans, no matter what their social, religious, or political views may be, can come together to express our shared disgust and contempt for the man.  For one day, we can put our many differences aside, and recognize that we are all brothers and sisters on at least that one issue.

I really should get the Nobel Peace Prize for this one.

On to the 2014 collection of tributes:

"[Griswold's memoir of Poe was the most] atrocious iniquity since the days of Cain."
-Edmund Gosse, quoting Rosalie Poe

"...[A] busybody of letters...a failed poetaster fattening on the writings of others as does a moth eating Gobelin tapestries."
-Daniel Hoffman, "Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe"

"We refer to no less a character than the Rev. Rufus Wilmot Griswold, D.D., a person so notorious in this community that to trace a calumny to him, suffices effectually to disprove of it."
-"New York Tribune," December 15, 1855

"...[A] man of fickle fancies, of violent temper, which often fell upon his dearest friends, of monstrous vanity, and of ungoverned passions."
-Mary Clemmer, writing in the "Independent," 1871

"I could not have loved such a man...I came to pity him, because he was his own worst enemy."
-Mary Clemmer quoting poet Alice Cary, who was deeply dismayed by rumors that she
and Griswold had been romantically involved.

"...[H]is favorite pastime of character assassination."
-Frances Winwar, writing in the New York Times, November 30, 1941

"Griswold's talents were small potatoes, indeed."
-Margurite Young, writing in the New York Times, July 31, 1977

"He takes advantage of a state of things which he declares to be 'immoral, unjust and wicked,' and even while haranguing the loudest, is purloining the fastest." - Joel T. Headley

"The fires of truth are gathering round, closer and closer, hemming in to consume him--this serpent-biographer."
-James Wood Davidson, speaking of Griswold in a letter to George W. Eveleth, May 28, 1866

New Albany Ledger, January 9, 1856
"New York Courier," February 6, 1856

"He [Neilson Poe] told me something about Griswold which I was very glad to hear. That malignant scoundrel went to So. Carolina, and there married a lady for her wealth. Almost immediately after the marriage, he found that her property was not of the extent, or in the position, he supposed, so he applied for a divorce to a New York court. The decree was granted, and he re-married straightway. The lady appealed, the former decree was reversed, and a suit for bigamy instituted against the Rev. Rufus, who, luckily for him, died before it came to trial. This was Poe’s defamer! I suppose Griswold’s biographers will keep that little incident in the dark."
-William Hand Browne, letter to John H. Ingram, August 17, 1875

“Nor do I consider Mr. Griswold competent, with all the opportunities he may have cultivated or acquired, to act as his judge,-- to dissect that subtle and singularly fine intellect, to probe the motives and weigh the actions of that proud heart. His whole nature-that distinctive presence of the departed which now stands impalpable, yet in strong outline before me, as I knew him and felt him to be--eludes the rude grasp of a mind so warped and uncongenial as Mr. Griswold’s.”
-George R. Graham, "The Late Edgar Allan Poe," "Graham's Magazine," March 1850

"Most of the associations of this man in private life are too vile to place before refined readers...Had Griswold lived in Othello’s time, no one could have disputed with him the position of 'mine ancient,' honest Iago."
-Poe biographer William Gill, "Laurel Leaves," 1875

"The following pertinent anecdote, related to us by Mr. Graham, well illustrates the character of Poe’s biographer. Dr. Griswold’s associate in his editorial duties on “Graham’s” was Mr. Charles J. Peterson, a gentleman long and favorably known in connection with prominent American magazines. Jealous of his abilities, and unable to visit his vindictiveness upon him in profria persona, Dr. Griswold conceived the noble design of stabbing him in the back, writing under a nom de plume in another journal, the 'New York Review.' In the columns of the 'Review' there appeared a most scurrilous attack upon Mr. Peterson, at the very time in the daily interchange of friendly courtesies with his treacherous associate. Unluckily for Dr. Griswold, Mr. Graham saw this article, and, immediately inferring, from its tone, that Griswold was the undoubted author, went to him with the article in his hand, saying, 'Dr. Griswold, I am very sorry to say I have detected you in what I call a piece of rascality.' Griswold turned all colors upon seeing the article, but stoutly denied the imputation, saying, 'I‘ll go before an alderman and swear that I never wrote it.' It was fortunate that he was not compelled to add perjury to his meanness, for Mr. Graham said no more about the matter at that time, waiting his opportunity for authoritative confirmation of the truth of his surmises. He soon found his conjectures confirmed to the letter. Being well acquainted with the editor of the 'Review,' he took occasion to call upon him shortly afterwards when in New York. Asking as a special favor to see the manuscript of the article in question, it was handed to him. The writing was in Griswold’s hand. Returning to Philadelphia, Mr. Graham called Griswold to him, told him the facts, paid him a month’s salary in advance, and dismissed him from his post, on the spot."
-William Gill, "The Life of Edgar Allan Poe"

"Under a show of impartiality, he is a judge, who leans against the prisoner at the bar. Edgar A. Poe is the arraigned poet, offering no plea, no excuse, no palliation for the 'deeds done in the body'--but standing mute, stiff and motionless, at the bar-his glorious eyes quenched forever, and his fine countenance overspread with the paleness of death; and the Rev. R.W. Griswold, a Radamanthus, who is not to be bilked of his fee, a thimble-full of newspaper notoriety. Laboring to be very perpendicular, ostentatiously upright, lest peradventure he might be suspected of a friendly inclination toward the memory of a man who had trusted him on his death-bed; with no measure about him--above or below--to compare himself with, or to steady himself by, he leans backward, with a simper and a strut, such as you may see every day of your life in little, pompous, fidgety men, trying to stand high in the world, in spite of their Creator."

"While pronouncing a judgment upon the dead body of his old associate, who had left the world in a hurry, and under a mistake, which the Reverend gentleman took the earliest opportunity of correcting--by telegraph--at a penny a time, for a newspaper, and in such a way, as to leave it doubtful whether, in his opinion, Edgar A. Poe had ever had any business at all here, and whether on the whole, it were not better for himself, and for the world, that he had never been born--with that millstone round his neck, which had just fallen off--he seems to take it for granted that all this parade of sympathy will not be seen through--that, when he lifts the handkerchief to his eyes, and snuffles about poor Poe, and his melancholy want of principle--the ancient grudge still burning underneath this show, will be forgotten--and that he, at least, will have credit for whatsoever Poe had not. Peradventure he may find it so; for most assuredly, the reverse of the proposition is true. Whatsoever Edgar A. Poe had--that Mr. R. W. Griswold had not."
-John Neal, "Edgar A. Poe," "Daily Advertiser," April 26,1850

"It is a pity that so many of these biographies [in "Graham’s Magazine"] were entrusted to Mr. Griswold. He certainly lacks independence, or judgment, or both.”
-Edgar Allan Poe, letter to James Russell Lowell, October 19, 1843

"No lie was too great for Griswold, no slander too outrageous."
-website of the Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore

"I puff your books, you know, without any regard to their quality.”
-The Reverend gentleman himself, showing a rare moment of honesty in a letter to publishers Ticknor & Co., July 10, 1842

And to show how popular my proposed holiday would be, here is a mere brief sample of the outpouring of admiration for Reverend Griswold that can be found every day in the Twitterverse:

Is there anyone whose heart does not warm from reading these eulogies of Doctor Griswold? Come on, everyone, let's make this national--nay, worldwide--holiday happen!

[P.S. Go visit the Reverend himself on Twitter and send some generous, sincere birthday abuse his way.  Tell him Undine sent you.]

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Poe Libel of the Day

Behold, as the city of Boston presents the Rufus Griswold Biography of memorial statues.

After all these years, the Frogpondians have finally gotten their revenge on him.