Sunday, October 17, 2010

Longfellow on Poe (1849)

My good freind, Tom, found this at the auction site:

Daniel F. Kelleher Auctions, LLC,
Sale 622,
October 21-24, 2010,
Lot 3819 and 3820

He writes:

In 1847, John Reuben Thompson purchased the Southern Literary Messenger. Thompson returned the journal to its literary focus, publishing work by many of the most prominent southern authors, including Poe, Philip Pendleton Cooke, William Gilmore Simms, and Henry Timrod along with Northern authors like Henry W. Longfellow, John Quincy Adams and Charles Dickens.

In the summer of 1835, Poe went to Richmond to assist in the editing of The Southern Literary Messenger, and before the end of the year he had been promoted to be editor-in-chief of that magazine. He was now fairly launched on his career as man of letters. In the columns of the Messenger he republished, with slight revisions, the tales that had already appeared, and in addition a number of new tales and poems, together with a long line of book reviews, which promptly won for the Messenger popularity such as no other Southern magazine has ever enjoyed. In 1837, his resignation as editor was formally announced. Poe moved between Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York, where he published his poem The Raven.

On 7 October, 1849, Edgar Allen Poe passed away.

Henry W. Longfellow lamenting the death of Edgar A. Poe wrote this 4-page quarto letter to John R. Thompson, Esq. Southern Literary Messenger, Richmond, VA.

The letter reads:

Cambridge (Mass.) Oct. 15, 1849

“Enclosed is a short poem by Mr. [sic], whom I mentioned to you in my last [letter]. I send it as his request and really hope you may accept it, and be able to send him some remuneration. At all events, have the goodness to write him a line upon the subject. He has come to this country with his wife and children relying upon his pen for support!! His address is Mr. Randall, 291 East Broadway, New York.

“What a melancholy death is that of Mr. Poe, a man so richly endowed with genius! I never knew him personally, but have always entertained a high appreciation of his powers as a prose writer and a poet. His prose is remarkably vigorous, direct and yet affluent and his verse has a particular chain of melody, an atmosphere of true poetry about it which is very winning. The harshness of his criticisms, I have never attributed to anything but the irritation of a very sensitive nature, chaffed by some indefinite sense of wrong and certainly so far as I am concerned entirely without foundation. I am quite sure that if I had known Mr. Poe personally we would have been friends.”

Yours truly,
Henry W. Longfellow

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