Friday, June 29, 2012

Deathday: Poe Friend & Poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning 1861

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (March 6, 1806 – June 29, 1861) was one of the most prominent poets of the Victorian era. Her poetry was widely popular in both England and the United States during her lifetime. A collection of her last poems was published by her husband, Robert Browning, shortly after her death.

At age 20 Elizabeth began to battle with a lifelong illness, which the medical science of the time was unable to diagnose. She began to take morphine for the pain and eventually became addicted to the drug. This illness caused her to be frail and weak. Her illness meant that Browning composed her poems primarily in her home.

Meeting Robert Browning

Elizabeth Barrett Browning's 1844 Poems made her one of the most popular writers in the land at the time and inspired Robert Browning to write to her, telling her how much he loved her poems. Kenyon arranged for Robert Browning to meet Elizabeth in May 1845, and so began one of the most famous courtships in literature. Elizabeth had produced a large amount of work and had been writing long before Robert Browning had ever published a word. However, he had a great influence on her writing, as did she on his; it is observable that Elizabeth’s poetry matured after meeting Robert. Two of Barrett’s most famous pieces were produced after she met Browning: Sonnets from the Portuguese and Aurora Leigh.

Some critics, however, point to him as an undermining influence: "Until her relationship with Robert Browning began in 1845, Barrett’s willingness to engage in public discourse about social issues and about aesthetic issues in poetry, which had been so strong in her youth, gradually diminished, as did her physical health. As an intellectual presence and a physical being, she was becoming a shadow of herself."

Among Elizabeth's best known lyrics are Sonnets from the Portuguese (1850)— the "Portuguese" being her husband's pet name for her. The title also refers to the series of sonnets of the 16th-century Portuguese poet Luís de Camões; in all these poems she used rhyme schemes typical of the Portuguese sonnets. The verse-novel Aurora Leigh, her most ambitious and perhaps the most popular of her longer poems, appeared in 1856. It is the story of a woman writer making her way in life, balancing work and love. The writings depicted in this novel are all based on similar, personal experiences that Elizabeth suffered through herself. The North American Review praised Elizabeth’s poem in these words: “ Mrs. Browning’s poems are, in all respects, the utterance of a woman—of a woman of great learning, rich experience, and powerful genius, uniting to her woman’s nature the strength which is sometimes thought peculiar to a man.”

Courtship and marriage to Robert Browning

The courtship and marriage between Robert Browning and Elizabeth were carried out secretly. Six years his elder and an invalid, she could not believe that the vigorous and worldly Browning really loved her as much as he professed to, and her doubts are expressed in the Sonnets from the Portuguese, which she wrote over the next two years. Love conquered all, however, and after a private marriage at St. Marylebone Parish Church, Browning imitated his hero Shelley by spiriting his beloved off to Italy in August 1846, which became her home almost continuously until her death. Elizabeth's loyal nurse, Wilson, who witnessed the marriage at the church, accompanied the couple to Italy.

Mr. Barrett disinherited Elizabeth, as he did each of his children who married. As Elizabeth had some money of her own, the couple were reasonably comfortable in Italy, and their relationship together was harmonious. The Brownings were well respected in Italy, and even famous, for they would be asked for autographs or stopped by people because of their celebrity. Elizabeth grew stronger and in 1849, at the age of 43, she gave birth to a son, Robert Wiedemann Barrett Browning, whom they called Pen. Their son later married but had no legitimate children, so there are apparently no direct descendants of the two famous poets.

“Several Browning critics have suggested that the poet decided that he was an "objective poet" and then sought out a “subjective poet” in the hope that dialogue with her would enable him to be more successful.”

At her husband's insistence, the second edition of Elizabeth’s Poems included her love sonnets; as a result, her popularity shot up (as well as her critical regard), and her position as Victorian poetess du jour was cemented. In 1850, upon the occasion of the death of William Wordsworth, she was thought to be a serious contender for Poet Laureate, but the position went to Tennyson.


At the death of an old friend, G.B. Hunter, and then of her father, her health faded again, centering around deteriorating lung function. She was moved from Florence to Siena, residing at the Villa Alberti. In 1860 she issued a small volume of political poems titled Poems before Congress. These poems related to political issues for the Italians, “most of which were written to express her sympathy with the Italian cause after the outbreak of fighting in 1859.” She dedicated this book to her husband. Her last work was A Musical Instrument, published posthumously.

In 1860 they returned to Rome, only to find that Elizabeth’s sister Henrietta had died, news which made Elizabeth weak and depressed. She became gradually weaker and died on 29 June 1861. She was buried in the English Cemetery of Florence. “On Monday July 1 the shops in the section of the city around Casa Guidi were closed, while Elizabeth was mourned with unusual demonstrations.” The nature of her illness is still unclear, although medical and literary scholars have speculated that longstanding pulmonary problems, combined with palliative opiates, contributed to her decline.

Critical reception

American poet Edgar Allan Poe was inspired by Barrett Browning's poem Lady Geraldine's Courtship and specifically borrowed the poem's meter for his poem The Raven. Poe had reviewed Barrett's work in the January 1845 issue of the Broadway Journal and said that "her poetic inspiration is the highest—we can conceive of nothing more august. Her sense of Art is pure in itself." In return, she praised The Raven and Poe dedicated his 1845 collection The Raven and Other Poems to her, referring to her as "the noblest of her sex."

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Deathday: Poe Fiancee & Poet Sarah Helen Whitman 1878

Sarah Helen Power Whitman (January 19, 1803 – June 27, 1878), was a poet, essayist, transcendentalist, Spiritualist and a romantic interest of Edgar Allan Poe.

Early life

Whitman was born in Providence, Rhode Island on January 19, 1803, exactly six years before Poe's birth.[1] In 1828, she married the poet and writer John Winslow Whitman. John had been co-editor of the Boston Spectator and Ladies' Album, which allowed Sarah to publish some of her poetry using the name "Helen." John died in 1833; he and Sarah never had children.

Sarah Helen Whitman had a heart condition that she treated with ether she breathed in through her handkerchief.[2]

Whitman was friends with Margaret Fuller and other intellectuals in New England. She became interested in transcendentalism through this social group and after hearing Ralph Waldo Emerson lecture in Boston, Massachusetts and in Providence. She also became interested in science, mesmerism, and the occult.[3] She had a penchant for wearing black and a coffin-shaped charm around her neck and may have practiced séances in her home on Sundays, attempting to communicate with the dead.[4]

Relationship with Edgar Allan Poe

Whitman and Poe first crossed paths in Providence in July 1845. Poe was attending a lecture by friend and poet Frances Sargent Osgood. As Poe and Osgood walked, they passed the home of Whitman while she was standing in the rose garden behind her house. Poe declined to be introduced to her.[5] By this time, Whitman was already an admirer of Poe's stories. She admitted to friend Mary Hewitt:

A friend, Annie Lynch, had asked Whitman to write a poem for a Valentine's Day party in 1848. She agreed, and wrote one for Poe, though he was not in attendance. Poe heard about the tribute, "To Edgar Allan Poe," and returned the favor by anonymously sending his previously-printed poem "To Helen." Whitman may not have known it was from Poe himself and she did not respond. Three months later, Poe wrote her an entirely new poem, "To Helen," referencing the moment from several years earlier where Poe first saw her in the rose garden behind her house.[7]
"I can never forget the impressions I felt in reading a story of his for the first time... I experienced a sensation of such intense horror that I dared neither look at anything he had written nor even utter his name... By degrees this terror took the character of fascination—I devoured with a half-reluctant and fearful avidity every line that fell from his pen."[6]
Poe was on his way to see Whitman at the time of his alleged suicide attempt. Before boarding a train to Boston from Lowell, Massachusetts on his way to Providence, he took two doses of laudanum. By the time he arrived in Boston he was very sick and close to death.[8] He spent four days in Providence with her immediately after. Though they shared a common interest in literature, Poe was concerned about Whitman's friends, many for whom he had little regard, including Elizabeth F. Ellet, Margaret Fuller, and several other Transcendentalists. He said to her, "My heart is heavy, Helen, for I see that your friends are not my own."[9]

The two exchanged letters and poetry for some time before discussing engagement. After Poe lectured in Providence in December 1848, reciting a poem by Edward Coote Pinkney directly to Whitman, she agreed to an "immediate marriage".[10] Poe agreed to remain sober during their engagement — a vow he violated within only a few days. Whitman's mother discovered that Poe was also pursuing Annie Richmond and childhood sweetheart Sarah Elmira Royster. Even so, the wedding had come so close to occurring that, in January 1849, a newspaper in New London, Connecticut and others announced their union and wished them well.[11] At one point, they chose the wedding date of December 25, 1848,[12] despite criticism of the relationship from friends and enemies alike. Whitman supposedly received an anonymous letter while she was at the library suggesting that Poe had broken his vow to her to stay sober, directly leading to an end of the relationship. Poe said in a letter to Whitman (addressed "Dear Madam") that he blamed her mother for their split.[8] Rufus Wilmot Griswold, Poe's infamous first biographer, claimed that Poe purposefully ended his relationship with Whitman the day before their wedding by committing unnamed drunken "outrages"[13] that, as he wrote in his biography, "made necessary a summons of the police."[14]

Later life

Whitman's collection Hours of Life, and Other Poems was published in 1853. In 1860, eleven years after his death, she published a work in defense of Poe against his critics, aimed especially at Rufus Griswold, entitled Edgar Allan Poe and His Critics. A Baltimore newspaper said the book was a noble effort "but it does not wipe out the... dishonorable records in the biography of Dr. Griswold."[15] The work likely inspired William Douglas O'Connor to write The Good Gray Poet, a similar defense of Walt Whitman, published in 1866.[16]

She died at the age of 75 in 1878 at the home of a friend at 97 Bowen St. in Providence, Rhode Island,[17] and is buried in the North Burial Ground.[12] In her will, she used the bulk of her estate to publish a volume of her own poetry and that of her sister. She also left money to the Providence Association for the Benefit of Colored Children and the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.[18]


1.^ Meyers, Jeffrey. Edgar Allan Poe: His Life and Legacy. New York: Cooper Square Press, 1992: 226. ISBN 0-8154-1038-7
2.^ Sova, Dawn B. Edgar Allan Poe: A to Z. New York: Checkmark Books, 2001: 254. ISBN 081604161X
3.^ Silverman, Kenneth. Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance. New York: Harper Perennial, 1991: 347–348. ISBN 0060923318
4.^ Benton, Richard P. "Friends and Enemies: Women in the Life of Edgar Allan Poe" as collected in Myths and Reality: The Mysterious Mr. Poe. Baltimore: Edgar Allan Poe Society, 1987: 18. ISBN 0961644915
5.^ Benton, Richard P. "Friends and Enemies: Women in the Life of Edgar Allan Poe" as collected in Myths and Reality: The Mysterious Mr. Poe. Baltimore: Edgar Allan Poe Society, 1987: 17. ISBN 0961644915
6.^ Thomas, Dwight and David K. Jackson. The Poe Log: A Documentary Life of Edgar Allan Poe, 1809–1849. Boston: G. K. Hall and Co., 1987: 614. ISBN 0816187347
7.^ Silverman, Kenneth. Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance. New York: Harper Perennial, 1991: 347–351. ISBN 0060923318
8.^ Benton, Richard P. "Friends and Enemies: Women in the Life of Edgar Allan Poe" as collected in Myths and Reality: The Mysterious Mr. Poe. Baltimore: Edgar Allan Poe Society, 1987: 19. ISBN 0961644915
9.^ Silverman, Kenneth. Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance. New York: Harper Perennial, 1991: 358–359. ISBN 0060923318
10.^ Thomas, Dwight and David K. Jackson. The Poe Log: A Documentary Life of Edgar Allan Poe, 1809–1849. Boston: G. K. Hall and Co., 1987: 778–779. ISBN 0816187347
11.^ Silverman, Kenneth. Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance. New York: Harper Perennial, 1991: 385–388. ISBN 0060923318
12.^ Ehrlich, Eugene and Gorton Carruth. The Oxford Illustrated Literary Guide to the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 1982: 70. ISBN 0195031865
13.^ Chivers, Thomas Holley. Chivers' Life of Poe, Richard Beale Davis, editor. New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., Inc., 1952: 71–72
14.^ Stashower, Daniel. The Beautiful Cigar Girl: Mary Rogers, Edgar Allan Poe, and the Invention of Murder. New York: Dutton, 2006: 283. ISBN 0-525-94981-X
15.^ Moss, Sidney P. Poe's Literary Battles: The Critic in the Context of His Literary Milieu. Southern Illinois University Press, 1969: 128–129
16.^ Loving, Jerome. Walt Whitman: The Song of Himself. University of California Press, 1999: 327. ISBN 0520226879
17.^ Miller, John Carl. Poe's Helen Remembers. 1979. Charlottesville: Univ Press of Virginia, 1979: 502.
18.^ Silverman, Kenneth. Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance. New York: Harper Perennial, 1991: 521. ISBN 0060923318

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Lost World Media's "The Gold Bug"


"Short film made in 72 Hours for a competition in October 2009. The festival coordinators passed out the secret criteria (similar to the 48 Hour Festivals) on Thursday night at 9PM. Things we had to include in the film were Edgar Allan Poe and a man staring at spilled toothpicks. The film was due the following Sunday at 9PM."

Thursday, June 21, 2012

"The Gold Bug" Published 1843

"The Gold-Bug" is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe. Set on Sullivan's Island, South Carolina, the plot follows William Legrand, who was recently bitten by a gold-colored bug. His servant Jupiter fears him to be going insane and goes to Legrand's friend, an unnamed narrator who agrees to visit his old friend. Legrand pulls the other two into an adventure after deciphering a secret message that will lead to a buried treasure.

The story is often compared with Poe's "tales of ratiocination" as an early form of detective fiction. Poe became aware of the public's interest in secret writing in 1840 and asked readers to challenge his skills as a code-breaker. Poe took advantage of the popularity of cryptography as he was writing "The Gold-Bug" and the success of the story centers on one such cryptogram. The character of Jupiter has been criticized as racist from a modern perspective especially because his speech is written in dialect and because of his often-comical dialogue.

Poe submitted "The Gold-Bug" as an entry to a writing contest sponsored by the Philadelphia Dollar Newspaper. His story won the grand prize and was published in three installments, beginning in June 1843. The prize also included $100, likely the largest single sum Poe received for any of his works. "The Gold-Bug" was an instant success and was the most popular and most widely-read of Poe's works during his lifetime. It also helped popularize cryptograms and secret writing.

Plot summary

William Legrand becomes obsessed with searching for treasure after being bitten by a scarab-like bug thought to be made of pure gold. He notifies his closest friend, the narrator, telling him to immediately come visit him at his home on Sullivan's Island in South Carolina. Upon the narrator's arrival, Legrand informs him that they are embarking upon a search for lost treasure along with his African-American servant Jupiter. The narrator has intense doubt and questions if Legrand, who has recently lost his fortune, has gone insane.

Legrand captured the bug but let someone else borrow it; he draws a picture of the bug instead. The narrator says that the image looks like a skull. Legrand is insulted and inspects his own drawing before stuffing it into a drawer which he locks, to the narrator's confusion. Uncomfortable, the narrator leaves Legrand and returns home to Charleston.

A month later, Jupiter visits the narrator and asks him to return to Sullivan's Island on behalf of his master. Legrand, he says, has been acting strangely. When he arrives, Legrand tells the narrator they must go on an expedition along with the gold-bug tied to a string. Deep in the wilderness of the island, they find a tree, which Legrand orders Jupiter to climb with the gold-bug in tow. There, he finds a skull and Legrand tells him to drop the bug through one of the eye sockets. From where it falls, he determines the spot where they dig. They find treasure buried by the infamous pirate "Captain Kidd," estimated by the narrator to be worth a million and a half dollars. Once the treasure is safely secured, the man goes into an elaborate explanation of how he knew about the treasure's location, based on a set of occurrences that happened after the discovery of the gold bug.

The story involves cryptography with a detailed description of a method for solving a simple substitution cipher using letter frequencies. The cryptogram is:


The decoded message is:

A good glass in the bishop's hostel in the devil's seat
forty-one degrees and thirteen minutes northeast and by north
main branch seventh limb east side shoot from the left eye of the death's-head
a bee line from the tree through the shot fifty feet out.


"The Gold-Bug" includes a cipher that uses polyphonic substitution.[1] Though he did not invent "secret writing" or cryptography (he was likely inspired by an interest in Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe[2]), Poe certainly popularized it during his time. To most people in the 19th century, cryptography was mysterious and those able to break the codes were considered gifted with nearly supernatural ability.[3] Poe had drawn attention to it as a novelty over four months in the Philadelphia publication Alexander's Weekly Messenger in 1840. He had asked readers to submit their own substitution ciphers, boasting he could solve all of them with little effort.[4] The challenge brought about, as Poe wrote, "a very lively interest among the numerous readers of the journal. Letters poured in upon the editor from all parts of the country."[1] In July 1841, Poe published "A Few Words on Secret Writing"[5] and, realizing the interest in the topic, wrote "The Gold-Bug" as one of the few pieces of literature to incorporate ciphers as part of the story.[6] Poe's character Legrand's explanation of his ability to solve the cipher is very like Poe's explanation in "A Few Words on Secret Writing".[7]

The actual "gold-bug" in the story is not a real insect. Instead, Poe combined characteristics of two insects found in the area where the story takes place. The Callichroma splendidum, though not technically a scarab but a type of Cerambycidae, has a gold head and slightly gold-tinted body. The black spots noted on the back of the fictional bug can be found on the Alaus oculatus or click beetle, also native to Sullivan's Island.[8]

Poe's depiction of the African servant Jupiter is often considered stereotypical and racist from a modern perspective. Jupiter is depicted as superstitious and so lacking in intelligence that he cannot tell his left from his right.[9] Poe likely included the character after being inspired by a similar character in Sheppard Lee (1836) by Robert Montgomery Bird, which he had reviewed.[10] Black characters in fiction during this time period were not unusual, but Poe's choice to give him a speaking role was. Critics and scholars, however, question if Jupiter's accent was authentic or merely comic relief, suggesting it was not similar to accents used by blacks in Charleston but possibly inspired by Gullah.[11]

Though the story is often included amongst the short list of detective stories by Poe, "The Gold-Bug" is not technically detective fiction because Legrand withholds the evidence until after the solution is given.[12] Nevertheless, the Legrand character is often compared to Poe's fictional detective C. Auguste Dupin[13] due to his use of "ratiocination."[14][15][16] "Ratiocination," a term Poe used to describe Dupin's method, is the process by which Dupin detects what others have not seen or what others have deemed unimportant.[17]

Publication history and reception

Poe originally sold "The Gold-Bug" to George Rex Graham for Graham's Magazine for $52 but asked for it back when he heard about a writing contest sponsored by Philadelphia's Dollar Newspaper.[18] Incidentally, Poe did not return the money to Graham and instead offered to make it up to him with reviews he would write.[19] Poe won the grand prize; in addition to winning $100, the story was published in two installments on June 21 and June 28, 1843, in the newspaper.[20] His $100 payment from the newspaper may have been the most he was paid for a single work.[21] Anticipating a positive public response, the Dollar Newspaper took out a copyright on "The Gold-Bug" prior to publication.[22]

The story was republished in three installments in the Saturday Courier in Philadelphia on June 24, July 1, and July 8, the last two appeared on the front page and included illustrations by F. O. C. Darley.[23] Further reprintings in United States newspapers made "The Gold-Bug" Poe's most widely-read short story during his lifetime.[20] By May 1844, Poe reported that it had circulated 300,000 copies,[24] though he was likely not paid for these reprints.[25] It also helped increase his popularity as a lecturer. One lecture in Philadelphia after "The Gold-Bug" was published drew such a large crowd that hundreds were turned away.[26] As Poe wrote in a letter in 1848, it "made a great noise."[27] He would later compare the public success of "The Gold-Bug" with "The Raven," though he admitted "the bird beat the bug."[28]

The Public Ledger in Philadelphia called it "a capital story."[22] George Lippard wrote in the Citizen Soldier that the story was "characterised by thrilling interest and a graphic though sketchy power of description. It is one of the best stories that Poe ever wrote."[29] Graham's Magazine printed a review in 1845 which called the story "quite remarkable as an instance of intellectual acuteness and subtlety of reasoning."[30] Thomas Dunn English wrote in the Aristidean in October 1845 that "The Gold-Bug" probably had a greater circulation than any other American story and "perhaps it is the most ingenious story Mr. POE has written; but... it is not at all comparable to the 'Tell-tale Heart'—and more especially to 'Ligeia.'.[31] Poe's friend Thomas Holley Chivers said that "The Gold-Bug" ushered in "the Golden Age of Poe's Literary Life."[32]

The popularity of the story also brought controversy. Within a month of its publication, Poe was accused of conspiring with the prize committee by Philadelphia's Daily Forum.[24] The publication called "The Gold-Bug" an "abortion" and "unmitigated trash" worth no more than $15.[33] Poe filed for a libel lawsuit against editor Francis Duffee. It was later dropped[34] and Duffee apologized for suggesting Poe did not earn the $100 prize.[35] Editor John Du Solle accused Poe of stealing the idea for "The Gold-Bug" from "Imogine; or the Pirate's Treasure", a story written by a schoolgirl named Miss Sherburne.[36]

"The Gold-Bug" was republished as the first story in the Wiley and Putnam collection of Poe's Tales in June 1845, followed by "The Black Cat" and ten other stories.[37] The success of this collection inspired[38] the first French translation of "The Gold-Bug" published in November 1845 by Alphonse Borghers in the Revue Britannique[39] under the title, "Le Scarabée d'or," becoming the first literal translation of a Poe story into a foreign language.[40] It was translated into Russian from that version two years later, marking Poe's literary debut in that country.[41] In 1856, Charles Baudelaire published his translation of the tale in the first volume of Histoires extraordinaires.[42] Baudelaire was very influential in introducing Poe's work to Europe and his translations became the definitive renditions throughout the continent.[43]


"The Gold-Bug" inspired Robert Louis Stevenson in his novel about treasure-hunting, Treasure Island (1883). Stevenson acknowledged this influence: "I broke into the gallery of Mr. Poe... No doubt the skeleton [in my novel] is conveyed from Poe."[44]

Poe played a major role in popularizing cryptograms in newspapers and magazines in his time period[3] and beyond. William F. Friedman, America's foremost cryptologist, initially became interested in cryptography after reading "The Gold-Bug" as a child - interest he later put to use in deciphering Japan's PURPLE code during World War II.[45] "The Gold-Bug" also includes the first use of the term "cryptograph" (as opposed to "cryptogram").[46]

Poe had been stationed at Fort Moultrie from November 1827 through December 1828 and utilized his personal experience at Sullivan's Island in recreating the setting for "The Gold-Bug."[47] It was also here that Poe first heard the stories of pirates like Captain Kidd.[48] The residents of Sullivan's Island embrace this connection to Poe and have named their public library after him.[49] Local legend in Charleston says that the poem "Annabel Lee" was also inspired by Poe's time in South Carolina.[50] Poe also set part of "The Balloon-Hoax" and "The Oblong Box" in this vicinity.[48]


The story proved popular enough in its day that a stage version opened on August 8, 1843.[51] The production was put together by Silas S. Steele and was performed at the American Theatre in Philadelphia.[52] The editor of the Philadelphia newspaper The Spirit of the Times said the performance "dragged, and was rather tedious. The frame work was well enough, but wanted filling up."[53]

In film and television, an adaptation of the work appeared on Your Favorite Story on February 1, 1953 (Season 1, Episode 4). It was directed by Robert Florey with the teleplay written by Robert Libott. A later adaptation of the work appeared on ABC Weekend Special on February 2, 1980 (Season 3, Episode 7). This version was directed by Robert Fuest with the teleplay written by Edward Pomerantz.[54] A Spanish feature film adaptation of the work appeared in 1983 under the title En busca del dragón dorado. It was written and directed by Jesús Franco, using the alias "James P. Johnson."[55]

"The Gold Bug" episode on the 1980 ABC Weekend Special series, which starred Roberts Blossom as Mr. LeGrand, Geoffrey Holder as Jupiter, and Anthony Michael Hall, won three Daytime Emmy Awards: 1) Outstanding Children's Anthology/Dramatic Programming, Linda Gottlieb (executive producer), Doro Bachrach (producer), For episode "The Gold Bug"; 2) Outstanding Individual Achievement in Children's Programming, Steve Atha (makeup and hair designer), For episode "The Gold Bug"; and, 3) Outstanding Individual Achievement in Children's Programming, Alex Thomson (cinematographer), For episode "The Gold Bug."


1.^ Hutchisson, 112
2.^ Rosenheim, 13
3.^ Friedman, William F. "Edgar Allan Poe, Cryptographer" in On Poe: The Best from "American Literature". Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1993: 40–41. ISBN 0822313111
4.^ Silverman, 152
5.^ Sova, 61
6.^ Rosenheim, 2
7.^ Rosenheim, 6
8.^ Quinn, 130–131
9.^ Silverman, 206
10.^ Bittner, 184
11.^ Weissberg, Liliane. "Black, White, and Gold", Romancing the Shadow: Poe and Race, J. Gerald Kennedy and Liliane Weissberg, eds. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001: 140–141. ISBN 0-19-5137116
12.^ Haycraft, Howard. Murder for Pleasure: The Life and Times of the Detective Story. New York: D. Appleton-Century Company, 1941: 9.
13.^ Hutchisson, 113
14.^ Sova, 130
15.^ Stashower, 295
16.^ Meyers, 135
17.^ Sova, 74
18.^ Oberholtzer, Ellis Paxson. The Literary History of Philadelphia. Philadelphia: George W. Jacobs & Co., 1906: 239.
19.^ Bittner, 185
20.^ Sova, 97
21.^ Hoffman, Daniel. Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe. Louisiana State University Press, 1998: 189. ISBN 0807123218
22.^ Thomas and Jackson, 419
23.^ Quinn, 392
24.^ Meyers, 136
25.^ Hutchisson, 186
26.^ Stashower, 252
27.^ Quinn, 539
28.^ Hutchisson, 171
29.^ Thomas and Jackson, 420
30.^ Thomas and Jackson, 567
31.^ Thomas and Jackson, 586–587
32.^ Chivers, Thomas Holley. Life of Poe, Richard Beale Davis, ed. E. P. Dutton & Co., Inc., 1952: 36.
33.^ Thomas and Jackson, 419–420
34.^ Meyers, 136–137
35.^ Thomas and Jackson, 421
36.^ Thomas and Jackson, 422
37.^ Thomas and Jackson, 540
38.^ Silverman, 298
39.^ Salines, Emily. Alchemy and Amalgam: Translation in the Works of Charles Baudelaire. Amsterdam-New York: Rodopi, 2004: 81–82. ISBN 904201931X
40.^ Thomas and Jackson, 585
41.^ Silverman, 320
42.^ Salines, Emily. Alchemy and Amalgam: Translation in the Works of Charles Baudelaire. Amsterdam-New York: Rodopi, 2004: 82. ISBN 904201931X
43.^ Harner, Gary Wayne. "Edgar Allan Poe in France: Baudelaire's Labor of Love", Poe and His Times: The Artist and His Milieu, Ed. Benjamin Franklin Fisher IV. Baltimore: The Edgar Allan Poe Society, 1990: 218. ISBN 0961644923
44.^ Meyers, 291
45.^ Rosenheim, 146
46.^ Rosenheim, 20
47.^ Sova, 98
48.^ Poe, Harry Lee. Edgar Allan Poe: An Illustrated Companion to His Tell-Tale Stories. New York: Metro Books, 2008: 35. ISBN 978-1-4351-0469-3
49.^ Urbina, Ian. "Baltimore Has Poe; Philadelphia Wants Him". The New York Times. September 5, 2008: A10.
50.^ Crawford, Tom. "The Ghost by the Sea". Retrieved February 1, 2009.
51.^ Bittner, 186
52.^ Sova, 268
53.^ Thomas and Jackson, 434
54.^ ""ABC Weekend Specials" The Gold Bug (1980)".
55.^ IMDb: En busca del dragón dorado


Bittner, William. Poe: A Biography. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1962.
Hutchisson, James M. Poe. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2005. ISBN 1-57806-721-9
Meyers, Jeffrey. Edgar Allan Poe: His Life and Legacy. Cooper Square Press, 1992. ISBN 0-8154-1038-7
Quinn, Arthur Hobson. Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998. ISBN 0801857309
Rosenheim, Shawn James. The Cryptographic Imagination: Secret Writing from Edgar Poe to the Internet. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997. ISBN 9780801853326
Silverman, Kenneth. Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance. New York: Harper Perennial, 1991. ISBN 0060923318
Sova, Dawn B. Edgar Allan Poe: A to Z. New York: Checkmark Books, 2001. ISBN 0-8160-4161-X
Stashower, Daniel. The Beautiful Cigar Girl: Mary Rogers, Edgar Allan Poe, and the Invention of Murder. New York: Dutton, 2006. ISBN 0-525-94981-X
Thomas, Dwight and David K. Jackson. The Poe Log: A Documentary Life of Edgar Allan Poe, 1809–1849. Boston: G. K. Hall and Co., 1987. ISBN 0-7838-1401-1

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Deathday: Poet & Editor William Cullen Bryant 1878

William Cullen Bryant (November 3, 1794 – June 12, 1878) was an American romantic poet, journalist, and long-time editor of the New York Evening Post.


Although "Thanatopsis," his most famous poem, has been said to date from 1811, it is much more probable that Bryant began its composition in 1813, or even later. What is known about its publication is that his father took some pages of verse from his son's desk and submitted them, along with his own work, to the North American Review in 1817. The Review was edited by Edward Tyrrel Channing at the time and, upon receiving it, read the poem to his assistant, who immediately exclaimed, "That was never written on this side of the water!" Someone at the North American joined two of the son's discrete fragments, gave the result the Greek-derived title Thanatopsis ("meditation on death"), mistakenly attributed it to the father, and published it. With all the errors, it was well-received, and soon Bryant was publishing poems with some regularity, including "To a Waterfowl" in 1821.

Bryant spent months working on "The Ages," a panorama in verse of the history of civilization, culminating in the establishment of the United States. That poem led a collection, entitled Poems, which he arranged to publish on the same trip to Cambridge. For that book, he added sets of lines at the beginning and end of "Thanatopsis." His career as a poet was launched. Even so, it was not until 1832, when an expanded Poems was published in the U.S. and, with the assistance of Washington Irving, in Britain, that he won recognition as America's leading poet.

His poetry has been described as being "of a thoughtful, meditative character, and makes but slight appeal to the mass of readers."

Editorial career

Writing poetry could not financially sustain a family. From 1816 to 1825, he practiced law in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and supplemented his income with such work as service as the town's hog reeve. Distaste for pettifoggery and the sometimes absurd judgments pronounced by the courts gradually drove him to break with the legal profession.

With the help of a distinguished and well-connected literary family, the Sedgwicks, he gained a foothold in New York City, where, in 1825, he was hired as editor, first of the New-York Review, then of the United States Review and Literary Gazette. But the magazines of that day usually enjoyed only an ephemeral life-span. After two years of fatiguing effort to breathe life into periodicals, he became Assistant Editor of the New-York Evening Post under William Coleman, a newspaper founded by Alexander Hamilton that was surviving precariously. Within two years, he was Editor-in-Chief and a part owner. He remained the Editor-in-Chief for half a century (1828–78). Eventually, the Evening-Post became not only the foundation of his fortune but also the means by which he exercised considerable political power in his city, state, and nation.

Ironically, the boy who first tasted fame for his diatribe against Thomas Jefferson and his party became one of the key supporters in the Northeast of that same party under Jackson. Bryant's views, always progressive though not quite populist, in course led him to join the Free Soilers, and when the Free Soil Party became a core of the new Republican Party in 1856, Bryant vigorously campaigned for John Frémont. That exertion enhanced his standing in party councils, and in 1860, he was one of the prime Eastern exponents of Abraham Lincoln, whom he introduced at Cooper Union. (That "Cooper Union speech" lifted Lincoln to the nomination, and then the presidency.)

Bryant edited the very successful Picturesque America which was published between 1872 and 1874. This two-volume set was lavishly illustrated and described scenic places in the United States and Canada.

Later years

In his last decade, Bryant shifted from writing his own poetry to translating Homer. He assiduously worked on the Iliad and The Odyssey from 1871 to 1874. He is also remembered as one of the principal authorities on homeopathy and as a hymnist for the Unitarian Church—both legacies of his father's enormous influence on him.

Bryant died in 1878 of complications from an accidental fall suffered after participating in a Central Park ceremony honoring Italian patriot Giuseppe Mazzini.

Critical response

Poet and literary critic Thomas Holley Chivers said that the "only thing [Bryant] ever wrote that may be called Poetry is 'Thanatopsis,' which he stole line for line from the Spanish. The fact is, that he never did anything but steal—as nothing he ever wrote is original."

Contemporary critic Edgar Allan Poe, on the other hand, praised Bryant and specifically the poem "June" in his essay "The Poetic Principle":

"The rhythmical flow, here, is even voluptuous—nothing could be more melodious. The intense melancholy which seems to well up, perforce, to the surface of all the poet's cheerful sayings about his grave, we find thrilling us to the soul—while there is the truest poetic elevation in the thrill... the impression left is one of a pleasurable sadness."

Although he is now thought of as a New Englander, Bryant, for most of his lifetime, was thoroughly a New Yorker—and a very dedicated one at that. He was a major force behind the idea that became Central Park, as well as a leading proponent of creating the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He was one of a group of founders of New York Medical College. He had close affinities with the Hudson River School of art and was an intimate friend of Thomas Cole. He defended immigrants and, at some financial risk to himself, championed the rights of workers to form labor unions.

As a writer, Bryant was an early advocate of American literary nationalism, and his own poetry focusing on nature as a metaphor for truth established a central pattern in the American literary tradition.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Dickens of London (1976) TV Miniseries

Dickens of London is a 1976 television miniseries from Yorkshire Television based on the life of English novelist Charles Dickens. Both Dickens and his father John were played by British actor Roy Dotrice. The series was written by Wolf Mankowitz and Marc Miller. In the United States, the series was shown in 1977.

The series of 13 episodes of 60 minutes was directed by Michael Ferguson (6 episodes) and Marc Miller (7 episodes), who was also the series' producer, with David Cunliffe as executive producer. Mankowitz's book, Dickens of London, published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson in 1976, was based on the detailed research he made while writing the screenplay.


Each of the 13 episodes of Dickens of London is a separate flashback, with Charles Dickens (Roy Dotrice), by now an internationally famous novelist, in America during a reading tour of 1869, looking back over his life. Dickens the boy (Simon Bell) is shown unhappily pasting labels onto pots of shoe blacking, while Dickens as a young man (Gene Foad) is revealed as a young genius who is becoming aware of his powers and trying to find his own way in the world. Mary Hogarth (Lois Baxter) is the middle one of the three Hogarth daughters and is portrayed as the one person with whom Dickens seems to have been able to share his work with. She died suddenly aged seventeen and Dickens wore her ring on his little finger for the rest of his life. Georgina Hogarth (Christine McKenna), the youngest of the three Hogarth daughters, comes to live with the couple at the request of her oldest sister Catherine Dickens to help run the household. The real life relationship Dickens developed with the young actress Ellen Ternan is not mentioned in the series, nor is Dickens' separation from his wife, Catherine, in 1858.

The series instead focuses on Dickens' improvident father, John Dickens (Roy Dotrice), who was a Naval clerk and who always spent more than he earned. He is portrayed as an alcoholic and that this was the source of the family's financial difficulties. The script includes passages from Dickens' own works, woven skilfully into the dialogue spoken by the series' characters, creating recognizable signposts for readers of Dickens' work.


Episode 1: Mask (broadcast 28 September 1976), Episode 2: The Deed (broadcast 5 October 1976), Episode 3: Blacking (broadcast 12 October 1976), Episode 4: Love (broadcast 19 October 1976), Episode 5: Success (broadcast 26 October 1976), Episode 6: Fame (broadcast 2 November 1976), Episode 7: Money (broadcast 9 November 1976), Episode 8: Possession (broadcast 16 November 1976), Episode 9: Dreams (broadcast 23 November 1976), Episode 10: Magic (broadcast 30 November 1976), Episode 11: Nightmare (broadcast 7 December 1976), Episode 12: Angel (broadcast 14 December 1976), Episode 13: Memories (broadcast 21 December 1976).


Roy Dotrice ... Charles Dickens
Roy Dotrice ... John Dickens
Diana Coupland ... Elizabeth Dickens
Adrienne Burgess ... Catherine Dickens
Gene Foad ... Charles Dickens as a young man
Lois Baxter ... Mary Hogarth
Simon Bell ... Charles Dickens as a boy
Graham Faulkner ... Frederick Dickens
Holly Palance ... Miss Baldwin
T.R. Bowen ... John Forster
Robert Longden ... Hablot Knight Browne
Lynsey Baxter ... Orfling
Paul Lavers ... James Lamert
Michael Macowan ... Sir Giles
Claire McLellan ... Letitia Dickens
Pheona McLellan ... Fanny Dickens as a Child
George Waring ... Huffam
Karen Dotrice ... Maria Beadnell
Derek Francis ... Stage Manager
Raymond Francis ... Mr. Beadnell
Robin Halstead ... Kolle
Richard Hampton ... Daniel Maclise
William Hoyland ... Count D'Orasy
Patsy Kensit ... young Georgina Hogarth
Christine McKenna ... adult Georgina Hogarth
Ben Kingsley ... Dr. John Elliotson
Richard Leech ... Mr. Hogarth
Anthony May ... Hullah
John Nettles ... Mr. Macrone
Vernon Dobtcheff ... Legal gentleman
Connie Booth ... Sophie

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Deathday: Poe Copyright Ally & Novelist Charles Dickens 1870

Charles John Huffam Dickens (February 7, 1812 – June 9, 1870) was the most popular English novelist of the Victorian era and he remains popular, responsible for some of English literature's most iconic characters.

Many of his novels, with their recurrent concern for social reform, first appeared in magazines in serialised form, a popular format at the time. Unlike other authors who completed entire novels before serialisation, Dickens often created the episodes as they were being serialized. The practice lent his stories a particular rhythm, punctuated by cliffhangers to keep the public looking forward to the next instalment. The continuing popularity of his novels and short stories is such that they have never gone out of print.

His work has been praised for its mastery of prose and unique personalities by writers such as George Gissing, Leo Tolstoy and G. K. Chesterton, though others, such as Henry James and Virginia Woolf, criticised it for sentimentality and implausibility.

During his first American tour, Charles Dickens arrived in Philadelphia on March 5, 1842 and took lodgings at the United States Hotel. Poe, living and working in the city, wrote Dickens, requesting an interview. With the letter, he sent his TALES OF THE GROTESQUE AND ARABESQUE as well as his two reviews of Dicken's BARNABY RUDGE.

Dickens replied to Poe the next day:

"I shall be very glad to see you, whenever you will do me the favor to call. I think I am more likely to be in the way between half past eleven and twelve, than at any other time.

"I have glanced over the books you have been so kind as to send me; and more particularly at the papers to which you called my attention. I have the greter pleasure in expressing my desire to see you, on their account.

"Apropos of the 'constrcution' of Caleb Williams. Do you know that Godwin wrote it backwards -- the last volume first -- and that when he had produced the hunting-down of Caleb, and the Catastrophe, he waited for months, casting about for a means of accounting for what he had done?"

The next day, March 7, Poe had two long interviews with Dickens at the United States Hotel. They discussed the state of American poetry. Poe read Emerson's poem "To the Humble Bee." Dickens promised to find an English publisher for Poe's work. Poe gave Dickens an invitation from publisher George R. Graham to contribute to his magazine.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Deathday: Poe Enemy, Historian & Poet Elizabeth Fries Lummis Ellet 1877

Elizabeth Fries Lummis Ellet (October 18, 1818 – June 3, 1877) was an American writer, historian and poet. She was the first writer to record the lives of women who contributed to the American Revolutionary War.[1]

Born Elizabeth Fries Lummis, in New York, she published her first book, Poems, Translated and Original, in 1835. She married the chemist William Henry Ellet and the couple moved to South Carolina. She had published several books and contributed to multiple journals. In 1845 she moved back to New York and took her place in the literary scene there. She was involved with a public scandal involving Edgar Allan Poe and Frances Sargent Osgood and, later, another involving Rufus Wilmot Griswold. Ellet's most important work, The Women of the American Revolution, was published in 1845. The three volume book profiled the lives of patriotic women in the early history of the United States. She continued writing until her death in 1877.

Early life

Elizabeth Fries Lummis was born in Sodus Point, New York, on October 18, 1818. Her mother was Sarah Maxwell (1780–1849)[2][3] the daughter of American Revolutionary War captain John Maxwell. During the Revolution, John Maxwell was lieutenant of the first company raised in Sussex County, New Jersey, he was promoted to captain, and attached to the Second Regiment Hunterdon County Militia.[4] He was also a captain in Colonel Spencer's regiment of the Continental Army, from February 7, 1777, to April 11, 1778. He later joined the Army of General George Washington as captain of a company of 100 volunteers known as "Maxwell's Company.[5]

Her father was William Nixon Lummis (1775–1833), a prominent doctor who studied medicine in Philadelphia under the famous physician Dr. Benjamin Rush.[5] In the early part of 1800, Dr. Lummis left Philadelphia and purchased the Pulteney estate in Sodus Point, Wayne County, New York.[6] Elizabeth Lummis attended Aurora Female Seminary in Aurora, New York, where she studied, among other subjects, French, German, and Italian. Her first published work, at age 16, was a translation of Silvio Pellico's Euphemio of Messina.[7]


In 1835, Elizabeth Lummis published her first book, entitled Poems, Translated and Original, which included her tragedy, Teresa Contarini, based on the history of Venice, which was successfully performed in New York and other cities. Around this time she married William Henry Ellet (1806–1859), a chemist from New York City.[8] He graduated from Columbia College in New York and earned a gold medal for a dissertation on the compounds of cyanogen. The couple moved to Columbia, South Carolina, when he was made professor of chemistry, mineralogy, and geology at South Carolina College in 1836. He also discovered a new and inexpensive method of preparing guncotton, for which the state of South Carolina presented him with a service of silver plate.[9]

During this time Ellet published several books. In 1839 she wrote The Characters of Schiller, a critical essay on the writer Friedrich Schiller and included her translation of many of his poems.[10] She wrote Scenes in the Life of Joanna of Sicily, a history of the life styles of female nobility, and Rambles about the Country, a lively description of the scenery she had observed in her travels through the United States, in 1840.[11] She continued writing poems, translations, and essays on European literature which she contributed to the American Monthly, the North American Review, the Southern Literary Messenger, the Southern Quarterly Review, and other periodicals. Ellet wrote abundantly in a wide variety of genres.[12]

In 1845, Ellet left her husband in the south and moved back to New York City where she resumed her place as a member of literary society along with such writers as Margaret Fuller, Anne Lynch Botta, Edgar Allan Poe, Rufus Wilmot Griswold, Anna Cora Mowatt and Frances Sargent Osgood.


During this time Ellet was a participant in a notorious scandal involving Edgar Allan Poe and Frances Sargent Osgood, both of whom were married to others. Accounts as to the particulars of the scandal and the sequence of events differ. At the time, Poe was at the height of his fame, thanks to his work, "The Raven." A number of women active in literary society sent him letters, including Ellet and Osgood. Some of the letters sent may have been flirtatious or amorous ones. Ellet also spent time with Poe discussing literary matters. It is possible that Ellet felt in competition with Osgood for Poe's affections.[1] During this time Poe had written several poems to and about Osgood, including "A Valentine."[13]

On one visit to Poe's home in January 1846,[14] Ellet allegedly observed letters from Osgood, shown to her by Poe's wife Virginia, and subsequently advised Osgood to ask for their return, implying to Osgood that they were an indiscretion.[14] On behalf of Osgood, Margaret Fuller and Anne Lynch Botta asked Poe to return the letters. Poe, angered by their interference, suggested that Ellet had better "look after her own letters."[15] One such letter, written in German, asked Poe to "Call for it at her residence this evening," a phrase presumably meant to be seductive, though Poe ignored it or did not understand it.[16] He then gathered up these letters from Ellet and left them at her house.[14] Despite her letters already having been returned, Ellet asked her brother "to demand of me the letters."[15] Her brother, Colonel William Lummis, did not believe that Poe had already returned them and threatened to kill him. In order to defend himself, Poe requested a pistol from Thomas Dunn English, who did not believe that Ellet ever sent Poe any letters.[14]

Frances Sargent Osgood

Osgood's husband, Samuel Stillman Osgood, threatened to sue Ellet unless she formally apologized. She retracted her statements in a letter to Osgood saying, "The letter shown me by Mrs Poe must have been a forgery created by Poe himself."[17] She put all the blame on Poe, suggesting the incident was because Poe was "intemperate and subject to acts of lunacy."[18] The rumor that Poe was insane was spread by Ellet and by other enemies of Poe and eventually reported in newspapers.[19] After Osgood reunited with her husband, the scandal died down.[18] Poe's sick wife Virginia, however, was deeply affected by the scandal. She had been receiving anonymous letters, possibly from Ellet, which reported her husband's alleged indiscretions as early as July 1845. On her deathbed Virginia claimed that "Mrs. E. had been her murderer."[20] As Poe described years later: "I scorned Mrs. E simply because she revolted me, and to this day she has never ceased her anonymous persecutions."[21] It is believed that Poe wrote the short story "Hop-Frog" as a sort of literary revenge on Ellet.

The Women of the American Revolution

Around 1846, Ellet began a major project in historical writing; to profile the life stories of women who sacrificed and were committed to the American Revolution. She did this by searching out private, unpublished letters and diaries, and by interviewing descendants of Revolutionary era and frontier women. She was the first historian of the Revolution to carry out such an effort.[8] She noted the "abundance of materials for the [masculine] history of action" and attempted to add balance by telling the feminine side, referring to the founding "mothers" as providing "the nurture in the domestic sanctuary of that love of civil liberty which afterwards kindled into a flame and shed light on the world."[22]

She found so much information about so many female patriots that the first edition of The Women of the American Revolution (1848) had to be published in two volumes. These volumes were well received and a third volume of additional material was published in 1850. Later historians consider these volumes her most important work.[11] In addition, Ellet also authored Domestic History of the American Revolution which summarized the same material in narrative form, which was also published in 1850.

Ellet told the stories of women from every colony and from all ranks of society, with the exception of African Americans, whose role she chose to ignore. Some of the women she wrote about, such as Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Mercy Otis Warren and Ann Eliza Bleecker, among others, were famous in their own right. She also wrote of the women who were more obscure but equally valuable, the wives of heroes, who in the face of British encroachment, bravely raised children and defended their homes.[23] She wrote: "It is almost impossible now to appreciate the vast influence of woman's patriotism upon the destinies of the infant republic."[23]

Anthologist and critic Rufus Wilmot Griswold had aided Ellet in the production of the book and granted her access to the records of the New York Historical Society, of which he was a member. She did not acknowledge his assistance, angering the vindictive Griswold.[24] In a review Griswold said, "with the assistance of a few gentlemen more familiar than herself with our public and domestic experience, she has made a valuable and interesting work."[25]

Further work

Now an established and respected author, Ellet went on to write Family Pictures from the Bible in 1849. In 1850, she wrote Evenings at Woodlawn, a collection of German legends and traditions and Domestic History of the American Revolution, possibly the only history of the American Revolution told from the perspective of both men and women. From 1851 to 1857 she wrote Watching Spirits, Pioneer Women of the West, Novelettes of the Musicians and Summer Rambles in the West. This book was inspired by a boating trip along the Minnesota River in 1852. The local town, Eden Prairie, Minnesota, got its name from Ellet and has dedicated a nature trail in her honor.[26]

In 1857, Ellet published a 600-page encyclopedia on American home economics entitled The Practical Housekeeper. The guide, which seemed to target middle to upper class, was well organized into three parts: cooking, housekeeping and pharmaceutical concerns. Its contents included thousands of recipes and advice, with references to philosophers, scientists, and ancient civilizations. There were also 500 wood engraving illustrations. She wrote in the Preface "No complete system of Domestic Economy, within the limits of a convenient manual, has been published in this country."[8]

Later works included Women Artists in All Ages and Countries (1859), the first book of its kind to represent a history of women artists.[27] She wroteThe Queens of American Society (1867), and Court Circles of the Republic (1869), a look at the social life of eighteen presidents from George Washington to Ulysses S. Grant.[25]

Later years

In 1850, Ellet and her husband relocated to New York, where he spent his final years as a chemical consultant for the Manhattan Gas Company.

Ellet became involved with the divorce case between Rufus Griswold and his second wife, Charlotte Myers, in 1852. Ellet and Ann S. Stephens wrote to Myers telling her not to allow the divorce, as well as to Harriet McCrillis, who intended to marry Griswold after the divorce, to end her relationship with him.[28] After it was granted, Ellet and Stephens continued writing to Myers and convinced her to repeal the divorce on September 23, 1853.[29] On February 24, 1856, the appeal went to court, with Ellet and Stephens providing lengthy testimony against Griswold's character. Neither Griswold nor Myers attended and the appeal was dismissed.[30] When Griswold died in 1857, Sarah Anna Lewis, a friend and writer, suggested that Ellet had worsened Griswold's illness and that she "goaded Griswold to his death."[31]

In 1857 Ellet replaced Ann Stephens as literary editor of the New York Evening Express.[32] Ellet's husband died two years later in 1859. She continued to write, and although they had no children, she promoted charities for impoverished women and children by speaking in public to raise funds. An Episcopalian most of her life, she converted to Catholicism in her later years.[8] She died of Bright's disease in New York City on June 3, 1877,[2] and was buried beside her husband at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.[3]


Ellet was the first historian to extensively write about the relationship of women to the American Revolution. She felt that women shaped history by their influence, which was done with "sentiment" and "feeling". This was so hard to define that she stated "History can do it no Justice."[33] Her book The Women of the American Revolution is still studied by historians today.

List of works

List of works taken from MSU Historic American project.[8]

Euphemio of Messina (1834) a translation
Poems, Translated and Original including the play Teresa Conarini (1835)
The Characters of Schiller (1839)
Joanna of Sicily (1840)
Rambles about the Country (1840)
The Women of the American Revolution (1848–50) (3 volumes)
Evenings at Woodlawn (1849)
Family Pictures from the Bible (1849)
Domestic History of the American Revolution (1850)
Watching Spirits (1851)
Nouvelettes of the Musicians (1851)
Pioneer Women of the West (1852)
Summer Rambles in the West (1853),
The Practical Housekeeper (1857)
Women Artists in All Ages and Countries (1859)
The Queens of American Society (1867)
Court Circles of the Republic (1869)


1.^ "Librarycompany". Elizabeth F. Ellet.
2.^ "Elizabeth Fries Lummis". Rootsweb.
3.^ Diamant, Lincoln (1998). Revolutionary Women in the War for American Independence. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group.
4.^ "New Jersey State Library". Official Register of the Officers and Men of New Jersey in the Revolutionary War by William Stryker.
5.^"Southern New York". MARDOS Memorial Library.
6.^ "New York Times Archives" (PDF). Elizabeth Fries Ellet Obituary. June 4, 1877.
7.^ "Britannica". Elizabeth-Fries-Lummis-Ellet.
8.^ "MSU Library". Historic American Project.
9.^ Drake, Francis Samuel (1872). Dictionary of American Biography. Boston: James R. Osgood and Co.. pp. 301.
10.^ Elfe, Wolfgang; James N. Hardin, Günther Holst (1992). The Fortunes of German Writers in America: Studies in Literary Reception. South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press. pp. 22. ISBN 0872497860.
11.^ "Ellet, E. F. (Elizabeth Fries), 1818-1877". Literature Online Biography.
12.^ "For women". Elizabeth F. Lummis Ellet.
13.^ "E.A. Poe Society". Lectures and Articles on Edgar Allan Poe.
14.^ Meyers, Jeffrey. Edgar Allan Poe: His Life and Legacy. New York Cooper Square Press, 1992: 191. 15.^ Silverman, Kenneth. Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance. New York: Harper Perennial, 1991: 290. ISBN 0060923318.
16.^ Silverman, Kenneth. Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance. New York: Harper Perennial, 1991: 291. ISBN 0060923318.
17.^ Moss, Sidney P. Poe's Literary Battles: The Critic in the Context of His Literary Milieu. Southern Illinois University Press, 1969: 215
18.^ Silverman, Kenneth. Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance. New York: Harper Perennial, 1991: 292. ISBN 0060923318.
19.^ Meyers, Jeffrey. Edgar Allan Poe: His Life and Legacy. New York Cooper Square Press, 1992: 192. ISBN 0684193701.
20.^ Moss, Sidney P. Poe's Literary Battles: The Critic in the Context of His Literary Milieu. Southern Illinois University Press, 1969: 213–214
21.^ Phillips, Mary E. Edgar Allan Poe: The Man. Volume II. Chicago: The John C. Winston Co., 1926: 1388
22.^ Douglas, Ann. The Feminization of American Culture. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1977: 184. ISBN 0-394-40532-3
23.^ "History From America's Most Famous Valleys". The Women of the American Revolution.
24.^ Bayless, Joy. Rufus Wilmot Griswold: Poe's Literary Executor, Hardcover ed. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 1943. p. 143–144.
25.^ "Legacy Profile by Carol Mattingly". Elizabeth Fries Lummis Ellet (1818–1877).
26.^ Jerde, Lyn. "Elizabeth Fries Ellet Interpretive Trail is signed, dedicated", Eden Prairie Sun-Current. August 9, 2007. p. 9A
27.^ Langer, Sandra L.; Ellet, Elizabeth Fries Lummis (1980). "Women Artists in All Ages and Countries by Elizabeth Fries Lummis Ellet". Woman's Art Journal (Woman's Art Journal, Vol. 1, No. 2) 1 (2): 55–58. 28.^ Bayless, Joy. Rufus Wilmot Griswold: Poe's Literary Executor. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 1943: 217–220.
29.^ Bayless, Joy. Rufus Wilmot Griswold: Poe's Literary Executor. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 1943: 227.
30.^ Bayless, Joy. Rufus Wilmot Griswold: Poe's Literary Executor. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 1943: 251.
31.^ Phillips, Mary E. Edgar Allan Poe: The Man. Volume II. Chicago: The John C. Winston Co., 1926: 1575
32.^ Meyer, Annie Nathan; Julia Ward Howe (1891). Woman's Work in America. New York: Henry Holt and Company. pp. 128.
33.^ Kerber, Linda (1997). Toward an Intellectual History of Women: Essays. Chapel Hill, NC: UNC Press. pp. 67–68.

Friday, June 1, 2012

"Dream-Land" Published 1844

Dream-Land (1844)

by Edgar Allan Poe

By a route obscure and lonely,
Haunted by ill angels only,
Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,
On a black throne reigns upright,
I have reached these lands but newly
From an ultimate dim Thule-
From a wild clime that lieth, sublime,
Out of SPACE- out of TIME.

Bottomless vales and boundless floods,
And chasms, and caves, and Titan woods,
With forms that no man can discover
For the tears that drip all over;
Mountains toppling evermore
Into seas without a shore;
Seas that restlessly aspire,
Surging, unto skies of fire;
Lakes that endlessly outspread
Their lone waters- lone and dead,-
Their still waters- still and chilly
With the snows of the lolling lily.

By the lakes that thus outspread
Their lone waters, lone and dead,-
Their sad waters, sad and chilly
With the snows of the lolling lily,-
By the mountains- near the river
Murmuring lowly, murmuring ever,-
By the grey woods,- by the swamp
Where the toad and the newt encamp-
By the dismal tarns and pools
Where dwell the Ghouls,-
By each spot the most unholy-
In each nook most melancholy-
There the traveller meets aghast
Sheeted Memories of the Past-
Shrouded forms that start and sigh
As they pass the wanderer by-
White-robed forms of friends long given,
In agony, to the Earth- and Heaven.

For the heart whose woes are legion
'Tis a peaceful, soothing region-
For the spirit that walks in shadow
'Tis- oh, 'tis an Eldorado!
But the traveller, travelling through it,
May not- dare not openly view it!
Never its mysteries are exposed
To the weak human eye unclosed;
So wills its King, who hath forbid
The uplifting of the fringed lid;
And thus the sad Soul that here passes
Beholds it but through darkened glasses.

By a route obscure and lonely,
Haunted by ill angels only,
Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,
On a black throne reigns upright,
I have wandered home but newly
From this ultimate dim Thule.

Dream-Land (1844)

First published in the June 1844 issue of Graham's Magazine, "Dream-Land" (also called "Dreamland") was the only poem Poe published that year. It was quickly republished in a June 1845 edition of the Broadway Journal.

This lyric poem consists of five stanzas, with the first and last being nearly identical. The dream-voyager arrives in a place beyond time and space and decides to stay there. This place is odd yet majestic, with "mountains toppling evermore into seas without a shore." Even so, it is a "peaceful, soothing region" and is a hidden treasure like El Dorado. Poe biographer Arthur Hobson Quinn called it "one of [Poe's] finest creations," with each phrase contributing to one effect: a human traveler wandering between life and death.

Deathday: New York Herald Editor & Publisher James Gordon Bennett, Sr. 1872

James Gordon Bennett, Sr. (1 September 1795 – 1 June 1872) was the founder, editor and publisher of the New York Herald and a major figure in the history of American newspapers.


Born to a prosperous Catholic family in Newmill, Banffshire, Scotland, at 15 Bennett entered the Catholic seminary in Aberdeen, where he remained for four years.[1]

After leaving the seminary he read voraciously on his own and traveled throughout Scotland. In 1819 he joined a friend who was sailing to North America. After four weeks they landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where Bennett briefly worked as a schoolmaster till he had enough money to sail to Portland, Maine, where he again taught school in the village of Addison, moving on to Boston by New Year's 1820.[1] He worked as a proofreader and bookseller before the Charleston Courier hired him to translate Spanish news reports. He moved to New York City in 1823 where he worked as a freelance paper writer and editorial assistant.

In May 1835, Bennett began the Herald after years of failing to start a paper. In April 1836, it shocked readers with front–page coverage of the murder of prostitute Helen Jewett; Bennett conducted the first-ever newspaper interview for it. The Herald initiated a cash–in–advance policy for advertisers, which became the industry standard. Bennett was also at the forefront of using the latest technology to gather and report the news, and added illustrations produced from woodcuts. In 1839, Bennett was granted the first ever exclusive interview to a United States President, Martin Van Buren.[2]

The Herald was officially independent in its politics, but endorsed William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, James K. Polk, Franklin Pierce, and John C. Frémont. Bennett supported James Buchanan as tensions rose over slavery. He endorsed John C. Breckinridge for the 1860 presidential campaign, then shifted to John Bell. He promoted George B. McClellan in 1864, but endorsed no candidate. Although he opposed Abraham Lincoln, Bennett backed the Union, then took the lead to turn the president into a martyr after his assassination. He favored most of Andrew Johnson's Reconstruction proposals.

By the time Bennett turned control of the Herald over to his son James Gordon Bennett Jr. in 1866, it had the highest circulation in America. However, under the younger Bennett's stewardship, the paper declined, and, after his death, it was merged with its arch-rival, the New York Tribune.

On 6 June 1840 he had married Henrietta Agnes Crean in New York. They had three children incuding James Gordon Bennett and Jeanette Gordon Bennett, who married Isaac Bell, Jr.

The phrase "Gordon Bennett" which denotes exasperation or shock derives from the son, or amongst the FDNY where it is highest medal a New York City Firefighter can earn (compared to the Medal of Honor for the US Military), "That meal was so good, it should win the Gordon Bennett!"

He also has a street named for him from West 181st to Hillside Ave in Northern Manhattan a.k.a. Washington Heights, a park named in his honor is also along Fort Washington Ave.

Bennett's account of the Helen Jewett murder in the Herald was selected by The Library of America for inclusion in the 2008 anthology True Crime.


1.^ James L. Crouthamel (1989). Bennett's New York Herald and the Rise of the Popular Press. Syracuse University Press.
2.^ Paletta, Lu Ann and Worth, Fred L. (1988). "The World Almanac of Presidential Facts."