The Tale of Jerusalem and Bon-Bongreenspun.com : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread
I cannot fully comprehend those two tales...the tale of jerusalem and bon-bon...i was wondering if anyone can enlighten me...please notify me asap
-- Anonymous, June 29, 2002
My former answer to your request is ... decidedly lost, I fear. Probably by some mailing-bug... You have before you two of Poe's earliest tales, at the very dawn of his short-story teller's career, when deeply deceived by the poor public reception of his last 1831- volume of "Poems", together with strong need of money as well as literary success. Poe decides now to become a prose-writer, but in the peculiar conditions of his days. The easiest market is the Magazines, all of them servilely following the taste of their British models. And, from the beginning, Poe understands the crucial necessity of reforming this precise state, just in the way of a new War of Independance. Originality! His permanent fight! He thus composes sketches showing all the defects of the genre, ironically apeing, burlesquing, parodying the prominent literary glories of the periodical press, almost all totally forgotten today. Thence the great difficulty for us to catch/grasp the complete meaning of Poe's first prose fiction texts. "A Tale of Jerusalem" is a kind of "Reader's Digest" for H. Smith's opulently documented historical romance "Zillah - A Tale of the Holy City". Poe has compacted on three pages all the exotism, erudition, effectiveness and interest sprayed in the three volumes of the original work (rather hard to find, by the way, though a famous hit at the time...). "Bon-Bon" is the revised form of "The Bargain Lost", an anti- Faustian/Melmoth "pochade" with a lot of direct or indirect allusions requiring much time to trace and develop... Note that the two tales you allude to both possess a curious touch of Voltairian humour (religion & philosophy) Poe was very well acquainted with, since his 1826-Academic Year in Charlottesville! This French polygraphist has given Poe the argument for his first poem "Tamerlane", as well as many matters, if not manners, of reflection. A point not sufficiently investigated, I think. You surely know that the two tales belong to Poe's early "Folio Club" project. The best thing you can find about it on the web is A. Hammond's "A Reconstruction of Poe's 1833 Tales of the Folio Club", at www.eapoe.org/pstudies/ps1970/p1972201.htm - a really excellent start to jump into the real imaginary world of the author of the "Raven" and "Ligeia"...! Yours sincerely, Raven's Shade (Belgium).
-- Anonymous, July 06, 2002