Poe’s Blackwood articles

In the last post, I mentioned that Aladore was first published in Blackwood’s Magazine.

While researching the publication, I noticed that Edgar Allan Poe wrote two short humorous pieces ridiculing the overly sensation stories typical in these magazines.  They were originally published as “The Psyche Zenobia” and “The Scythe of Time” in the The American Museum of Science, Literature, and the Arts (Baltimore: Brooks & Snodgrass) November 1838.   The stories were retitled “How to write a Blackwood article” and “A Predicament” in later collections and can be found in a number of free online editions of Poe’s writing.

As a quick test project, I decided to make a mini ebook of these two short stories.

I used two source files (witnesses) that are in the Public Domain and easy to access:

1) An edited HTML version from Project Gutenberg in The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, Volume 4 (of 5) of the Raven Edition, eBook #2150, released 2008.  http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/2150

2) A scanned copy of The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, Volume IV (New York: A.C. Armstrong & Son, 1884) available at Internet Archive. https://archive.org/details/worksofedgaralla04poeeuoft

To create the ebook, I used the great open-source editing software Sigil, which I will discuss in more detail in a future post.  Unfortunately, the project is no longer actively developed, but for more info you can check out:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigil_%28application%29

https://github.com/user-none/Sigil

For this test project, I started with the HTML text from Project Gutenberg and checked it against the scanned original making edits and upgrades as needed.  Sigil helps package everything together to create a proper EPUB file (more on epub another day).  I created a quick cover from a screen shot of a scanned book page, and an automatic table of contents. Then I edited the embedded metadata file.  Sigil automatically validates the EPUB, and it is good to go!

Unfortunately WordPress doesn’t allow upload of epubs, so I can’t just immediately share it here…

I need to find a good home for distributing the file, but for now I put it up on ge.tt.

Two stories by Edgar Allan Poe relating to that “justly celebrated publication” Blackwood’s Magazine: http://ge.tt/1FcuEHz1/v/0

Updated file location: Internet Archive, Community Text Collection, https://archive.org/details/PoeBlackwoodArticle

P.S. If you are sick of reading, some nice person also created a Public Domain audio book version of these two stories available at LibriVox:

https://librivox.org/two-poe-tales

P.S. I also forgot to mention that the stories are full of some stereotypes and language that is offensive to modern ears, as you might expect from nineteenth century satire…

 

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