IN no affairs of mere prejudice, pro or con, do we deduce inferences with entire certainty,even from the most simple data. It might be supposed that a catastrophe such as I have justrelated would have effectually cooled my incipient passion for the sea. On the contrary, Inever experienced a more ardent longing for the wild adventures incident to the life of anavigator than within a week after our miraculous deliverance. This short period provedamply long enough to erase from my memory the shadows, and bring out in vivid light allthe pleasurably exciting points of color, all the picturesqueness, of the late perilousaccident. My conversations with Augustus grew daily more frequent and more intenselyfull of interest. He had a manner of relating his stories of the ocean (more than one half ofwhich I now suspect to have been sheer fabrications) well adapted to have weight with oneof my enthusiastic temperament and somewhat gloomy although glowing imagination. It isstrange, too, that he most strongly enlisted my feelings in behalf of the life of a seaman,when he depicted his more terrible moments of suffering and despair. For the bright side ofthe painting I had a limited sympathy. My visions were of shipwreck and famine; of deathor captivity among barbarian hordes; of a lifetime dragged out in sorrow and tears, uponsome gray and desolate rock, in an ocean unapproachable and unknown. Such visions ordesires-for they amounted to desires-are common, I have since been assured, to thewhole numerous race of the melancholy among men-at the time of which I speak Iregarded them only as prophetic glimpses of a destiny which I felt myself in a measurebound to fulfil. Augustus thoroughly entered into my state of mind. It is probable, indeed,that our intimate communion had resulted in a partial interchange of character.
About the Author
Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) was an American poet, short-story writer, writer of detective fiction, and critic. After publishing this novel he wrote TALES OF THE GROTESQUE AND ARABESQUE (1840) and THE RAVEN AND OTHER POEMS (1845). Richard Kopley isProfessor in the Department of English at Pennsylvania State University and Vice-President of the Poe Studies Association.
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Table of ContentsAcknowledgements List of Illustrations Introduction Edgar Allan Poe: A Brief Chronology A Note on the Text
The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket
Appendix A: Sources for the Novel
- From R. Thomas, Remarkable Shipwrecks, A Collection of Interesting Accounts of Naval Disasters (1813)
- From John Cleves Symmes, Symzonia: A Voyage of Discovery by Captain Adam Seaborn (1820)
- From [James McBride], Symmes’s Theory of the Concentric Spheres (1826)
- From Jane Porter, Sir Edward Seaward’s Narrative of His Shipwreck (1831)
- From Archibald Duncan, The Mariner’s Chronicle (1804–05)
- From Jeremiah N. Reynolds, The Voyage of the Potomac (1834)
Appendix B: Contemporary Reviews
- From The New-Yorker (1 August 1838)
- From The New-York Mirror (11 August 1838)
- From Albion (18 August 1838)
- From Knickerbocker Magazine (August 1838)
- From Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine (September 1838)
- From Family Magazine (1838)
- From The Torch (13 October 1838)
- From The Spectator (27 October 1838)
- From The Monthly Review (October 1838)
Appendix C: Other Writers’ Responses to Pym
- From Herman Melville, Moby-Dick (1851) and Israel Potter:His Fifty Years of Exile (1855)
- From “The Mast-Head,” Chapter 35 of Moby-Dick
- From “The Whiteness of the Whale,” Chapter 42 of Moby-Dick
- From “Chapter 12. Israel Returns to the Squire’s AbodeHis Adventures There,” in Israel Potter: His Fifty Years of Exile
- From Charles Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du mal (1857)
- “La Géante”
- “A Voyage to Cythera”
- From Jules Verne, Le Sphinx des glaces (1897)
- From Henry James, The Golden Bowl (1904)