The Museum Collection
First Edition of Eureka
Description:Eureka (1848) was Edgar Allan Poe's last book, and he considered it his masterpiece. In a July 7, 1849 letter to his mother-in-law Maria Clemm, Poe wrote, "I have no desire to live since I have done 'Eureka.' I could accomplish nothing more." Poe considered the book so important that he wanted 50,000 copies printed, but the publisher only printed 500, of which this is one. This would be the last book Poe published before his death in 1849. Poe was advanced a $14 loan for this book. The loan was repaid with proceeds from the sales.
The book explains such mysteries as gravity and the origin of the universe. Some of his theories anticipate the "Big-Bang" theory of the origin of the universe. In a February 29, 1848 letter to George E. Isbell, Poe explained his theories:
"GENERAL PROPOSITION. Because Nothing was, therefore All Things are.
1 -- An inspection of the universality of Gravitation -- of the fact that each particle tends not to any one common point -- but to every other particle -- suggests perfect totality, or absolute unity, as the source of the phaenomenon.
2. Gravity is but the mode in which is manifested the tendency of all things to return into their original unity.
3. I show that the law of the return -- i.e the law of gravity -- is but a necessary result of the necessary and sole possible mode of equable irradiation of matter through a limiter space.
4. Were the Universe of stars -- (contradistinguished from the universe of space) unlimited, no worlds could exist.
5. I show that Unity is Nothingness.
6. All matter, springing from Unity, sprang from Nothingness. i e, was created.
7. All will return to Unity; i e -- to Nothingness. I would be obliged to you if you would let me know how far these ideas are coincident with those of the 'Vestiges'."