Friday, February 22, 2019

Poe's Hoaxes

An article from the Hoaxes-dot-com website lists six of Edgar Allan Poe's works as being haoxes.  The list is as follows:

1 “Unparalled Adventures of Hans Pfall”
2 The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket
3 “The Journal of Julius Rodman”
4 “The Great Balloon Hoax”
5 “Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar”
6 “Von Kempelen’s Discovery”

Number 5,  “Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar,” was published in Britain under the title Mesmerism in Articulo Mortis. A description of the British version appears at the Poe Museum website. 

While not a hoax (as far as I know), Poe claims that his story "Mesmeric Revelation" was thought to be factual.

Here is a paragraph from a review--appearing in the October 1945 Aristidean--of Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales. Poe himself wrote the review:
“Mesmeric Revelations,” which comes next, has excited much discussion. A large number of the mesmerists, queerly enough, take it all for gospel. Some of the Swedenborgians, at Philadelphia, wrote word to Poe, that at first they doubted, but in the end became convinced, of its truth. This was excruciatingly and unsurpassably funny—in spite of the air of vraisemblance that pervades the article itself. It is evidently meant to be nothing more than the vehicle of the author’s views concerning the Deity, immateriality, spirit, &c., which he apparently believes to be true, in which belief he is joined by Professor Bush. The matter is most rigorously condensed and simplified. It might easily have been spread over the pages of a large octavo.
The tone is obviously droll. Now, was Poe being honest when he said that contemporary mesmerists found the account convincing, or that he had received letters from the Swedenborgians of Philadelphia? It looks like a hoax to me.  

Along these lines, did Poe put his name on the review he wrote of his own book?

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