Okay, so this is nuts. I didn’t realize this press release had gone out when we posted our last Poe bit, otherwise I would have included it.
Bloomsbury Auctions in New York apparently has an unpublished manuscript from Mr. Poe with “never before seen verse.” It’s going up for auction on December 10th. It’s a version of “Irene” or “The Sleeper” and it showed up in rural Virginia. There’s little point in me reiterating the press release to you, since it’s just really wild and cool and all. So the full text is below for your dancing and dining pleasure.
I checked the Bloomsbury website–no updates on this and no image. I’ve pinged them to see if there’s anything else we can share on this.
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NEW YORK, Oct. 29 /PRNewswire/ — A recently discovered version of “Irene” or “The Sleeper,” one of Poe’s most important poems, has surfaced in rural Virginia. This is the first time the poem has been available for view to anyone outside of the family for whom it was written. It is not only the unpublished and earliest extant version of a poem that Poe considered even better than “The Raven,” but it also features new verse never before seen by the public.
The poem was written in 1830 during an especially turbulent period in Poe’s short troubled life. His foster mother had recently died and Poe was battling with his foster father John Allan. He was also about to be dishonorably discharged from West Point. Penned in a lovely cursive hand, it was written in the friendship album of a local belle of antebellum Richmond. The poem is the earliest example of one of the poet’s most potent themes — a lamentation on the death of a beautiful woman.
Poe renamed it “The Sleeper” in 1841. Poe wrote his admirer George W. Eveleth on December 15, 1846, “In the higher qualities of poetry, it is better than ‘The Raven’ — but there is not one man in a million who could be brought to agree with me in this opinion.” Rufus W. Griswald included it in The Poets and Poetry of America (1842). The poem is an extraordinary discovery and contains a new one long stanza and other textual variants not found in the published versions. The provenance of this poem is impeccable and truly extraordinary.
“Lady Irene” will be offered for auction in New York City on December 4th as part of Bloomsbury’s Important Books, Manuscripts, Literature, and Americana sale ($100,000-200,000). Other highlights from the sale include a letter discussing religion typed and signed by Einstein ($40,000-60,000), an Assyrian palace foundation brick from 1305 – 1274 BC with cuneiform describing the reinforcement of a canal ($8,000-12,000), an autographed letter signed by John Adams wishing for retirement from public life and revealing his disdain for factional politics ($30,000-40,000), and a rare separate state printing of The Constitution of the United States following its ratification ($30,000-40,000).
Viewings of Important Books, Manuscripts, Literature, and Americana sale will be held on Saturday 6 December, Monday 8 December-Tuesday 9 December from 10:00am until 5:00pm, Wednesday 10 December from 10:00am-12:00pm. The auction will begin promptly at 2:00pm on Wednesday 10 December.
Bloomsbury Auctions is the world’s leading auction house for rare books and works on paper and is headquartered in London with salerooms in New York and Rome.
Source: Bloomsbury Auctions