The earliest foreign study of the life and works of Edgar Allan Poe, the text presented in this volume is something of a landmark in the history of comparative literature. Baudelaire’s first and longest essay on Poe was published in the Revue de Paris is 1852; it was revised and abridged for use as the preface of the first volume of his translation of Poe’s tales, Histoires extraordinaires. This study was significant especially in the area of Franco-American literary relations because it was the basis of not only the French attitude toward Poe, but of his reputation throughout Europe—one might almost say, throughout the world.
The essay on Poe has never been the subject of a separate publication. This edition reveals for the first time the sources of information used by Baudelaire. It shows that a considerable part of the study was translated literally from articles by John M. Daniel and John R. Thompson in the Southern Literary Messenger (1849–50). Previous editions vary widely in excellence because almost all suffered from the mistaken belief that Baudelaire was acquainted with the American edition of Poe’s works when he wrote the 1852 essay and that it was largely based on Rufus Griswold’s Memoir contained in that edition. This led to the commentary and notes that were unconsciously misleading and in many cases false.
The introduction to this edition presents a complete and accurate account of the genesis of Baudelaire’s essay, with supporting documents showing his indebtedness to American, French, and British sources. It enables the reader to distinguish clearly between what Baudelaire himself knew or thought about Poe and what he borrowed from other writers.
|Publisher:||University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division|
|Series:||University of Toronto Romance Series|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)|
About the Author
W.T. Bandy (1903-1989) was director of the Center for Baudelaire Studies at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenessee. He published numerous books and articles.