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11/4/18
This is as much by way of leaving a marker, as communicating to any remaining readers. Yesterday evening, I found the "smoking gun" which proves, in context with my other pieces of evidence, that Mathew Franklin Whittier was the original author of "The Raven." More specifically, it proves that Mathew protested Poe's theft of same.

Meanwhile, it is abundantly clear that Mathew was also the real author of the asterisk-signed reviews in the 1845/46 New York "Tribune," not Margaret Fuller. I was amused to find this sentence in the Wikipedia article about Fuller:

During her four years with the publication, she published more than 250 columns, most signed with a "*" as a byline. In these columns, Fuller discussed topics ranging from art and literature to political and social issues such as the plight of slaves and women's rights. She also published poetry; her poems, styled after the work of Emerson, do not have the same intellectual vigor as her criticism.

I suppose they wouldn't, since she didn't write the reviews. I see in the Nov. 5, 1846 edition of the "Tribune," which I pulled up as a sample, that Fuller's foreign correspondence is signed with the same asterisk. I know that Mathew began writing for the New Orleans "Daily Delta," under his middle initial, "F.," in July of 1846, the first being in the July 22 edition. He had also begun writing satires against the Mexican-American War for the Boston "Chronotype" in May 8, 1846, whereas the "Tribune" appeared to be running primarily government pro-war propaganda.

I also know that Fuller left for Europe in August of 1846. The last of the asterisk-signed reviews appears in the August 14, 1846 edition of the "Tribune." However, the last one which places the writer in New York City, is in the July 8th edition, containing as it does a mention of the weather on the Fourth of July. Some of the shorter reviews in this later period strike me as Fuller's work; some, Mathew may have left with the editor for later publication; and there is nothing to have prevented Mathew from mailing them from his new location in New Orleans. So it is difficult to use these dated pieces to prove who the author was. We only know that Mathew was in New Orleans as of July 22; while Fuller left for Europe sometime in August.

That Fuller's foreign reports were signed with an asterisk, makes Greeley (the editor of the Tribune) complicit in a fraud. Technically it would be kosher, only in the sense that Mathew was no-longer writing for the paper--but it would clearly have been unethical. Just because the subscribers had come to the erronous conclusion that Fuller was the author of those reviews, doesn't mean that the editor had the right to pander to them by allowing Fuller to adopt that pseudonym.

From a cursory examination of this Nov. 5, 1846 letter, the quality is acceptable, but it doesn't convey Mathew's depth or flair. Mathew almost always wrote entirely with the "royal we," whereas Fuller would switch back-and-forth. Note, for example, her closing paragraph in this letter:

I saw others in Edinburgh of a later date who haply gave more valuable as well as fresher revelations of the Spirit, and whose names may be by-and-by more celebrated than I have cited, but for the present this must suffice. It would take a week, if I wrote half I saw or thought in Edinburgh, and I must close for to-day. *

Greeley's decision goes to something I have encountered, before. When a popular column changed hands, the editor would continue with the same pseudonym, so as to retain its loyal following. This would be much as we see today, when the writers for a popular television series change, but no notice is given to the public.

Personally, the whole thing irks me. But it is an essential part of the puzzle, now, and must be exposed in order for the entire body of evidence to make any sense. Fuller's reputation is already sketchy--I think after this is publicly known, it will "tank" altogether. Same with Poe. And it is downright weird that Fuller and Poe are implicated in some kind of scandal. I haven't looked into that, and I don't know whether there would be any reason to do so. I do see that Poe dedicated his compilation, in glowing terms, to Elizabeth Barrett, who published Mathew's poem, "Lady Geraldine's Courtship." It would seem that they were all "thick as thieves."

Best regards,

Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.

 

Music opening this page: "Won't Get Fooled Again," by The Who,
from the album, "Who's Next"

 

   

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