CHIVERS' LIFE OF POE by Richard Beale- Ed. Davis

CHIVERS' LIFE OF POE

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Dr. Thomas Holley Chivers began his connection with Poe in 1840 when Poe enclosed a letter with a prospectus of the Penn Magazine of which he was then editor. It was not till two years later that they began acquaintance in earnest, but from then on they formed a deep and interesting association both on the literary and psychological levels, for Chivers as a doctor was interested in Poe as a personality problem and as a writer, in Poe as a fellow penman and critic. Through the events Chivers describes- Poe's life in Baltimore with the Clemms, early days at West Point, his various editorships, his drinking, his struggles as a writer and critic, his personal relationships- Poe emerges as a normal man beset with ordinary problems magnified because of his intense temperament, rather than as a psychopath. There is too, the doctor's own rather perceptive survey of Poe's principles of criticism; that poetry should be the passionless recreation of beauty, the lack of dedication to nature in the search for pure form and so forth. Of further note is the work's authorship by an observant contemporary who was no mean master of the imaginative and traditionally hi-flown ""purple prose"" of the time. These selections from Chivers' mss. are supplemented with copious footnotes and references. Of good value to students and fanciers of Poe and American literature.

Pub Date: Feb. 28th, 1951
Publisher: Dutton