I am continuing my entry of this morning, having amassed some more evidence. I'm going to be trying to put this together in my own mind, prior to attempting to insert it in my sequel. Sometimes I can get things clearer that way.
Definitely, from Jan. 1, 1845 (where I picked it up), Mathew Franklin Whittier is writing book reviews for the New York "Daily Tribune," signing with his single asterisk. Occasionally, he writes a lecture review, or, in one instance, a report on an insane asylum. But 95% of these are book reviews. There is no question of his authorship. All of the book reviews appear in a standard location in the paper, on the front page, generally in the left-hand column.
In the Jan. 24, 1845 edition, Mathew writes a glowing review of a critique of Edgar Allan Poe, found in Graham's Magazine. He reproduces two of Poe's poems, which he especially liked, and with which he had been previously unfamiliar: "The Haunted Palace" (which contains some "Raven"-like lines), and "To Helen," which especially moves him. He also mentions that Poe is said to have composed this one when he was 14 years old. Mathew is suitably impressed.
When I casually scanned both of these poems, where Mathew has quoted them, I was initially impressed, as well. But when I began including them where I am adding this discussion to my sequel, it struck me that they are contrived and awkward. It would seem that Poe's philosophy of poetry, was that it is to be constructed the way one builds with Legos. This simply doesn't work, and even then, in my opinion, he wasn't that skilled at it. That means, to me, that if Mathew was publicly praising Poe's poems, he was encouraging him--and that means, he was trying to mentor him, having already met with him. It would be like encouraging a child, that their drawing was very good.
But this child was about to stab him in the back.
Mathew's reviews continue to appear roughly every other day on the front page of the "Tribune." Then, "The Raven" is published in the February edition of "American Review," under the pseudonym "---- Quarles." One source I found online offers two new bits of information: 1) that this edition was actually published in January; and 2) that "American Review" only printed work anonymously. I have some problems with these statements. This is a new magazine, and it has a January edition. So when was the January edition published, in December of 1844? Or were two editions published the same month, in January? The source didn't give any evidence, so I don't know what they base this conclusion on. I would say, if the February edition was actually published in January, it would have to have been only a few days before Feburary. Perhaps barely in time to beat the January 29, 1845 printing in the "Evening Mirror," under Poe's name.
I also note that some of the poems published in "American Review" were entirely without a signature. Poe could have taken that route. This explanation doesn't touch my objection, that Poe would never have admired Francis Quarles enough to borrow his name for a pseudonym. Poe, so far as I know, was not a practicing Christian, nor was he deeply religious. Quarles is extremely religious, to the point of austerity. Mathew Franklin Whittier would have resonated with him, but not Poe, in my estimation.
Mathew's reviews continue, until, in the February 4, 1845 edition--on the back page, in the top-left corner, where often is placed a single poem--is seen "The Raven." Oddly, it is credited to "American Review," but signed with Poe's name. Presumably, the editor, having seen it in the "Evening Mirror" under Poe's name, credited the first publication, but assumed Poe's authorship based on the "Mirror."
Keep in mind that Mathew could have provided the editor with a supply of book reviews. Therefore, even if he stops submitting them, there will be a lag. They will continue to appear for several issues.
And, in fact, they do appear, but they start thinning out. In February, we see them on the 4th, 5th, 7th, 12th, 17th, 19th, 22nd, and 26th. In January, they had appeared in the editions of the 1st, 4th, 6th, 7th, 11th, 16th, 18th, 21st, 24th, 25th, 27th, and 28th.
I could find no angry protest signed with Mathew's asterisk. However, from this time on, there are reviews being authored by other writers.
On the back page of the Feb. 8, 1845 edition, in the poetry corner, is a poem by Charles MacKay--a poet I know Mathew admired--entitled "The Struggle for Fame." The gist of it is that if one wants fame, one must earn it by strictly honest and ethical means. It begins:
If thou wouldst win a lasting fame;
If thou th' immortal wreath wouldst claim,
And make the Future bless thy name;
Begin thy perilous career,
Keep high thy heart, thy conscience clear,
And walk thy way without a fear.
* * * *
If, in thy progress to renown,
Thou canst endure the scoff and frown
Of those who strive to pull thee down:
If thou canst bear th' averted face,
The jibe, or treacherous embrace,
Of those who run the self-same race:
Note that, in line with Mathew's other protests, this one is double-edged. At one and the same time, he admonishes himself to take the high road; but it also stands as a scathing condemnation of Poe, in the manner of "If the shoe fits, wear it."
Two days later, on the 10th, the editor opens with instructions to submitters, in his "To Correspondents" column, which includes the following points as #2 and #3:
Try to disparage as little as possible, and where you must condemn, let your facts be stronger than your words.
When you assail any cause or person, always give us your real name, which we shall give up to whoever has a right to demand it. He is a sneak and a coward who could ask ut to bear the responsibility of his attacks on others.
That's all the evidence I've found in this paper, so far. My interpretation? Mathew wrote Greeley, anonymously, that Poe had plagiarized the poem. Greeley didn't believe him--whether they actually discussed it personally or not, is unknown. But instead of taking it seriously, Greeley simply dismissed it. It troubled him just enough to set forth this list of rules for submitters, with the second and third items addressed specifically to Mathew.
Meanwhile, he still had several of Mathew's asterisk-signed reviews; or, alternatively, Mathew continued submitting them, but there is a noticeable gap from the 11th--the day after Greeley's admonition--until the 16th. From then on they resume their accustomed frequency, but other writers are covering some of the lectures that Mathew might otherwise have reviewed, himself.
This, in turn, suggests to me that Mathew must have met with Poe, and shared some of his work, not in 1844 as I had surmised, but shortly before Mathew praises him in the Jan. 24, 1845 edition. This meeting had come up unexpectedly, and without context, in one of my early hypnotic regression sessions; but I don't remember it being cold, nor do I remember any snow. So there is a possible disconnect, there.
I am still confused with the historical record, as regards the first appearance of "The Raven" in the February edition of "American Review"--which some scholar says actually was published in January--and the appearance in the Jan. 29, 1845 "Evening Mirror," signed with Poe's name. Which, actually, appeared to the public first? The "--- Quarles"-signed version, or the Poe-signed version?
Whichever it was, it appears to me that everyone, including the great editor Horace Greeley, was fooled. Everyone believed that Poe had hidden his identity in "American Review" by adopting the name of a poet whose philosophy was actually opposed to his own; and that he then signed his own name, submitting it to a different publication at roughly the same time. Or, if the "Evening Mirror" got it from "American Review," how did they determine it was actually Poe's poem?
I suppose all scholars assume that Poe submitted it under his own name to "American Review," but that he was forced to adopt a pseudonym, in order to get it published in that journal. But what if it was, in fact, submitted by Mathew Franklin Whittier anonymously, under "---- Quarles," as he had been accustomed to do for many years? Poe, then, would have submitted it independently to the "Evening Mirror" under his own name. Everyone then assumed the "American Review" appearance was also written by Poe.
I haven't read everything there is on this topic, and admittedly, I may be missing something. But the more I find about it online, the more confused I get.
I'll tell you this much--it is my karmic pattern not to be believed. I would say it was also Mathew Franklin Whittier's pattern not to be believed. Why should Greeley believe him? He had never seen any of Mathew's poetry. He had only read Mathew's reviews. He didn't know that Mathew had been writing poetry since age 14--the same age that Poe claimed. He didn't know that Mathew had, in fact, been a child prodigy. He might have considered that Mathew's brother was an exceptional poet, and that they had the same upbringing and were exposed to the same influences.
If we apply crime-solving skills to this puzzle, we see that I had previously provided both motive and ability. But I had not provided evidence for opportunity. Now, we can add opportunity to the mix. Mathew was, in fact, on the scene in New York City at the time that "The Raven" was published. He could easily have met with Poe--and we see that Mathew admired him, which makes such a meeting all the more likely. Mathew was writing, regularly and prominently, for a major New York City newspaper. But he was writing reviews for them. If he wanted to publish poetry, he might have turned to another publication, as, for example, "American Review."
What's missing, is that Mathew had no outlet to protest. If he in fact did try to expose Poe's theft, nobody believed him, and they wouldn't print it. I find the same thing, today. I have some magnificent evidence--but who, exactly, am I going to tell? Who will believe me? Nobody who has a substantial audience, is going to give me the time of day. Therefore, it is as if it had never happened.
This, I think, is why we see no challenge from Mathew regarding Poe's plagiarism. If he stood on a soap box, he would be taken for a madman. If he tried to publish a protest, the editor wouldn't believe him, and wouldn't print it. He could, perhaps, have funded his own pamphlet, and hand-distributed it on the streets of New York. Same problem as he would have had with the soap box.
So there was no-one to tell--and given his personal philosophy as a Stoic Christian, he suggested that Greeley publish MacKay's poem, without telling him why, and of course Greeley was amenable to that; and then Mathew left the matter alone. That is, until it came to his attention, late the following year, that Poe had published his essay, "The Philosophy of Composition." This pissed Mathew off to such an extent that he published a parody in the New York "Yankee Doodle," signing it "E.A. Poh," and then wrote another scathing, coded message to Poe for the Portland "Transcript," both within a couple weeks of each other. Those, I've gone over in this blog, earlier.
And there the matter sits. Now I obviously have quite a few new pieces to key in. Probably more, because I have to go back into late 1845, to find where he starts writing for the "Tribune," and these reviews may continue for awhile after February, 1845.
Does this make sense to anybody, or does every single person reading this believe I'm a fruitcake? Well, never mind...it helped me get it all straight.
Let me close with one more observation--I can feel what Mathew felt about this. Perhaps it comes through in my tone, here. If you think I am trying to make myself into a big-shot by claiming to be the original author of a famous work, think again. I'm pissed. I'm just as pissed about this one, as I am about the plagiarisms of people you've never heard of. Poe was a relatively minor figure, then. One of many writers of the period who was gaining some notoriety, especially as a critic. I feel the way Mathew would have felt then, not the way I feel now, with Poe being practically a historical literary god.
But there is a difference. The thing that always threw Mathew about these plagiarists, is that when he saw their other works, he concluded they must be real geniuses. But these other works that impressed Mathew, and which disarmed his discernment, were probably plagiarized, as well. It is impossible that one man could have written "The Raven"--or the works Mathew cited, for that matter--and also write "Ulalume," which, pardon the expression, is a laughable piece of literary crap. It appears to me there is a very clear demarcation line between the poems Poe wrote on his own, and those he must have stolen. This is not true of him, only, but also of other plagiarists I've examined, in connection with my study. Albert Pike, Ossian Dodge, and George W. Light couldn't write their respective way out of a paper bag, on their own. (Dodge had to buy his work from other people, when he wasn't falsley claiming Mathew's--Pike and Light were such low-lifes that they stole the work of a 14-year-old girl.) Neither could Francis A. Durivage write a whimsical, insightful story on his own. His are all macabre, weird and convoluted. In other words, with people like this it's a total mismatch. What I wonder is, why nobody besides me has picked up on this, where Edgar Allan Poe is concerned?
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
Music opening this page: "Thief in the Night," by Eric Johnson,
from the album, "Venus Isle"