July 7th, 2018

Jingle Man

Perhaps Emerson was being small-minded about his competition:

'Emerson, irked by Poe’s lack of moral gravity, called him “the Jingle Man.”'

The linked article mentions the strange phenomenon that the American critical establishment has never much cared for Poe, while the French critical establishment raved about him. It's an earlier version of the Jerry Lewis controversy.

I'm a poor student of Emerson's poetry, which I find boring. But two poems of Poe's I always find enchanting - The Raven and The Bells - so I periodically reread them with pleasure.

I like moral gravity well enough,
But not as all-in-all.
When Poe unleashes his jingly stuff,
I fall into his thrall.

Poe At Sea

I came across that Emerson quotation about Poe, because I was looking at books about Poe at the library, because I was reading a couple of stories by Poe: The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, and A Descent into the Maelström. I remember that I was supposed to read them in college, for a seminar devoted to Moby Dick. I neglected to read these works back then, so I decided it was time to make up my coursework belatedly. These 2 works are often thought to have influenced that mega novel about the Great White Whale.

Poe wrote many a big-whopper tale
But none, I believe, involving a whale.