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2020-09-15 05:43:25
POE, Edgar Allan
Eureka: A Prose Poem
New York: George P. Putnam, 1848. 12mo. Original black cloth. FIRST EDITION of Poe's last book, a cosmological prose-poem printed in an edition of only 500 copies. Early critics were widely divided on Poe's text, some awed by its convolutions, while others harshly condemned its science and method. It was seen as absurd by some, including friends, and its seriousness was even questioned due to Poe's inaccurate assumptions and comedic portrayals of famous historical thinkers. In the 20th century, it received greater attention in the English-speaking world, largely after W. H. Auden praised its style and acknowledged its "relevance to the bulk of Poe's earlier work-both poetry and prose." In France, its positive reception came much faster: Baudelaire's 1859 translation proved of great influence on the Symbolists, who found fertile inspiration in its two principal themes: the value of intuition for scientific discovery, and the affinity between consciousness and the cosmos. Paul Valery concluded that "Poe has extended the application both of the nebular hypothesis and the law of gravity. On these mathematical foundations he has built an abstract poem, one of the rare modern examples of a ... cosmogony ... one of the oldest of all literary forms." BAL 16153; Heartman & Canny 121-124. Cloth skilfully conserved, a very attractive copy. [Attributes: First Edition]
Bookseller: Riverrun Books & Manuscripts [USA]

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