Early American Fiction Collection
Edgar Allan Poe:
The Literati of New York City: Some Honest
Opinions at Random Respecting Their Autorial
Merits, with Occasional Words of Personality.
From May to October 1846, Godey's Lady's Book published a series of 38 sketches by Edgar Allan Poe entitled "The Literati of New York City: Some Honest Opinions at Random Respecting Their Autorial Merits, with Occasional Words of Personality." In these sketches, Poe gave his "unbiased opinion of the literati (male and female) of New York," and "at the same time, very closely if not with absolute accuracy, that of conversational society in literary circles." In his introduction, Poe argues that what was being said in these literary circles was more valid than those opinions published in journals of the day. Many of the authors discussed by Poe have long since been forgotten but most of his opinions of the better-known authors have been borne out by the judgment of time.
Because of their high degree of candor, Poe's sketches shocked the readership of Godey's and the literary world in general. From the standpoint of the circulation manager, the series was a great success; the May issue of Godey's sold out by the first of May. The series created a flurry of responses by the public.
In 1850, Rufus Griswold collected all of the literati papers and published them as Volume III of The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe. Seventy-eight authors are discussed in the complete Literati.
The Literati has given us one of many potential frameworks around which we can arrange our Early American Fiction editions: one that will highlight both prominent and lesser-known authors.
Quotations from The Literati will be linked to the works themselves, including such well-known works as The Last of the Mohicans, The Scarlet Letter, and Poe's Tales, but would also include more obscure works such as The Adventures of Harry Franco or Forest Life. We will include all the works of Poe, Cooper, Longfellow, and Hawthorne that fall within the scope of the EAF project. For the lesser known authors, we will use works mentioned by Poe in The Literati or a work selected from the EAF list if no work is specifically mentioned.
The Literati sample includes seventeen of eight-one
EAF authors, or 50 of the 441 EAF works (in 560 volumes).
AUTHORS IN THE LITERATI SUBSET
Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque
"X-ing a Paragrab"
The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. Comprising the Details of a Mutiny and Atrocious Butchery on Board the American Brig Grampus on her Way to the South Seas, in the Month of June, 1827
Hawks of Hawk Hollow
Letters Found in the Ruins of Fort Braddock
The Adventures of Harry Franco
Tales of the Glauber-Spa (selection: The Skeleton's Cave)
Last of the Mohicans
Jack Tier; or, The Florida Reef
The Deerslayer; or, The First Warpath
The Pathfinder; or, The Inland Sea
The Pilot: A Tale of the Sea
The Pioneers; or, The Sources of the Susquehanna
The Spy: A Tale of the Neutral Ground
The Water-Witch; or The Skimmer of the Seas
Wyandotte; or, the Hutted Knoll . . .
The Scarlet Letter
Twice Told Tales
Selections from Moral Tales
Selections from Tales for the Times
Selections from Tales of Humor
Selection from Tales for You
Fanshawe: A Tale . . .
Mosses from an Old Manse . . .
The Celestial Railroad . . .
The Gentle Boy . . .
Tales of a Traveller
A New Home
The Bald Eagle - from Tales of Humor
Hyperion: A Romance . . .
Kavanagh: A Tale . . .
Outre-Mer: A Pilgrimage beyond the Sea. No. I
New England Tale
The Wigwam and the Cabin
Romance of Travel