Undiscovered Poe Writings

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Given Poe's fascination with life after death and his recurring themes involving "reincarnation" and cryptography, what is the possibility he left us a literary gift, secretly coded in his body of work? (See www.bealepapers.com for more details on this possibility). Thanks.

-- Anonymous, August 05, 2003


OK. My opinion. I see it as two choices. A complimentary hoax by fans of Poe, the original hoaxster, or what it claims to be. Of course, the paradigms seem to fit the same rationale for judging whether the "X-Files" is a TV show or based on reality. Otherwise they would have made their case to the scholarly community and made a lot of fame and money off the possibility.

But let's suspend that first impression and look at the work itself, though not too deeply lest it be a complex time consuming trap. Poe was sloppy in some of his big efforts like his novel or his last real cipher. That last cipher was recently solved, revealing no big deal of an unidentifiable fiction segment. The reason it was not solved was less due to its multiplexity of codes than the bad type-setting which Poe himself was sure had rendered the solution impossible. Luckily, with computers aiding, most of the passage can now be read. And the prize money was handed out. This timing, I think, under Occam's Razor shaves close to the real inpsiration for the Beale Papers.

Poe liked to brag, or at least get credit. He did not use too many hidden word games that he did not reveal. He was an open teaser and satirist, sometimes hamhanded by today's standards. If he had the time to craft this he would have marketed it. A poem or letter might go astray but not a major effort unless it was shamefully incompetent.

And I could go on justifying my impressions and misgivings. I take it a lot of work has gone into relating this mystery to Poe's whole life and work and it is an educational experience and challenge worth doing all in good fun. No malice or overly serious deceit seems intended at at all. Just a warning for the unifnormed who might stumble upon a hoax without knowing what it is.

Or I could be wrong and out of the running for something worth a mint. THAT wouldn't be the first time either.

-- Anonymous, August 07, 2003

Attributions to Poe must be considered on a case by case basis. If we are specifically addressing the Beale Papers, then the probability that they are by Poe is virtually nil. As for the cryptogram which was recently translated, it should be noted that the official author was W. B. Tyler, not Poe. Some have suggested that Poe may have been the real author and used the name Tyler as a pseudonym, but the argument is mostly wishful thinking and was not verified by the translation, as supporters of the idea had claimed.

-- Anonymous, August 07, 2003

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