Bibliographic Essay On Poe


Reading and Reference Texts:

Reading copy:

  • “The Philosophy of Composition” — reading copy



Comparative and Study Texts:

Instream Comparative and Study Texts:


Associated Material and Special Versions:

Miscellaneous Texts and Related Items:

  • “La génèse d‘un poème” — (French translation by Charles Baudelaire)
    • “Méthode de composition” — April 20, 1859 — Revue française
    • “La génèse d‘un poème” — 1865 — Histoires grotesques et sérieuses, Paris: Michel Lévy frères
  • “[The Philosophy of Composition]” — 1862 — Lieder und Balladenbuch Americanischer und Englischer Dichter (Hamburg) (German translation by Adolf Strodtmann, noted by Ingram, The Raven, with Literary and Historical Commentary, London: George Redway, 1885, p. 72.)
  • La philosophie de composition” — 1889 — Poésies complétes de Edgar Allan Poe, Paris: Camille Dalou  (French translation by Gabriel Mourey)
  • “The Philosophy of Composition” — 1923 — Representative English Essays, New York: Harper & Brothers (selected and arranged by Warner Taylor) (This is the only Poe essay in the book. It is included in a chapter called “Essays on the Art of Writing.”)
  • “[The Philosophy of Composition]” — 1926 — Trois Manifestes, Paris: Simon Kra (French translation by René Lalou)
  • “The Philosophy of Composition” — 2007 — Audio book (unabridged), read by Chris Aruffo (part of a 5-CD set)



[S:0 - JAS] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Essays - The Philosophy of Composition

Manuscripts and Authorized Printings:

  • Text-01 — “The Philosophy of Composition” — 1846, no original manuscript or fragments are known to exist (but this version is presumably recorded in Text-02)
  • Text-02 — “The Philosophy of Composition” — April 1846 — Graham’s (For Griswold’s 1850 reprinting of this text, see the entry below, under reprints.)



  • “The Philosophy of Composition” — 1850 — Works — Griswold reprints Text-02
  • “[The Philosophy of Composition]” — February 16, 1850 — New England Washingtonian, Boston, MA  (reprints 6 paragraphs)
  • “The Philosophy of Composition” — September 21, 1850 — The New York Tribune
  • “The Philosophy of Composition” — 1875 — The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. J. H. Ingram, Edinburgh, Adam and Charles Black (3:266-278)
  • “The Philosophy of Composition” — 1888 — The Complete Poetical Works and Essays on Poetry of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. John H. Ingram, London and New York: Frederick Warne & Co. (pp. 175-187)
  • “The Philosophy of Composition” — 1901 — World’s Greatest Literature: Essays of American Essayists, with an introduction by Chauncy C. Starkweather, New York: P. F. Collier & Son (pp. 255-266, with introductory information appearing on pp. 253-254) (This essay is the only item by Poe in this collection)


Scholarly and Noteworthy Reprints:

  • “The Philosophy of Composition” — 1895 — The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 6: Literary Criticism, eds. E. C. Stedman and G. E. Woodberry, Chicago: Stone and Kimball (6:31-46, and 6:323)
  • “The Philosophy of Composition” — 1902 — The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. J. A. Harrison, New York: T. Y. Crowell (14:193-208)
  • “The Philosophy of Composition” — 1909 — Selections from the Critical Writings of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. Frederick C. Prescott, New York: Henry Holt (pp. 150-166 and 334-337)
  • “The Philosophy of Composition” — 1917 — The Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. K. Campbell, New York: Ginn and Co. (pp. 318-328)
  • “The Philosophy of Composition” — 1984 — Edgar Allan Poe: Essays and Reviews, ed. G. R. Thompson, New York: Library of America (pp. 13-25)
  • “The Philosophy of Composition” — 2009 — Edgar Allan Poe: Critical Theory, Stuart and Susan F. Levine, eds., Chicago: University of Illinois Press (pp. 55-76)
  • Arrojo, Rosemary, “Literature as Fetishism: Some Consequences for a Theory of Translation,” Meta: Joural des traaducteurs/Translators’ Journal, June 1996, 41:208-216
  • Bonessio di Terzet, Ettore, “Introduzione,” in La filosofia della composizione, by Edgar Allan Poe, Milan: Guerrini e Associati, 1995, pp. 11-21
  • Brown, Arthur A., ‘A Man Who Dies’: Poe, James, Faulkner and the Narrative Function of Death, PhD disseration, University of California, Davis, 1995
  • Heartman, Charles F. and James R. Canny, A Bibliography of First Printings of the Writings of Edgar Allan Poe, Hattiesburg, MS: The Book Farm, 1943.
  • Mabbott, Thomas Ollive, ed., The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe (Vols 2-3 Tales and Sketches), Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1978.
  • Wilson, James Southall, “Poe’s Philosophy of Composition,” North American Review, Dec., 1926, 223:675-684.

Within these selections, all original punctuation, abbreviations and spellings have been retained. Where these spellings differ greatly from modern spellings, the most current form is noted in brackets immediately following the word. A number of obvious variants, such as “colour” for “color,” reflect conventions to which we no longer adhere, but which were considered acceptable during Poe’s lifetime and are left to stand without additional commentary. For manuscript material, including Poe’s own corrections to printed sources, text contained within angle brackets “<...>” shows annotations made by Poe himself for the main text given. Reversed double-angle brackets “>>...<<” show text that Poe has canceled by striking or scratching out. Text contained within square brackets “[...]” is not part of the original. This text is intended as notes or corrections of typographical errors. In the original printings, some text occasionally appears within square brackets “[...].” In such cases, these have been changed to standard parentheses to avoid confusion. (Note: Over time, we will be changing our previously stated policy concerning square brackets to retain Poe’s usage and distinguish our own editorial notes by enclosing these in double-square brackets “[[...]]”.)

These items are arranged alphabetically by name. Within each name, entries are listed chronologically. Some of these items were not published under any specific title and most are, therefore, given here under a title deemed appropriately descriptive. The authorship of some items is a topic long researched and debated. Most of the items included here were signed, but for some, the attribution to Poe is necessarily the result of conjecture. A few prominent items that have been rejected are also listed, including a number of poems that were erroneously ascribed to Poe by T. O. Mabbott.

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