The Museum Collection

Poe's Quotations from Shakespeare

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Creator: Edgar Allan Poe
Date: ca. 1829
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Source: Roger Griswold, Anna G. Fletcher, Margaret G. Locke (grandchildren of Rufus Griswold, Poe's literary executor)
Collection: Poe Foundation, Inc.
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Description:

This early manuscript contains Poe's quotations of lines from twelve of Shakespeare's plays including King Lear, Romeo and Juliet, and The Tempest. Two of the lines copied would be direct sources for Poe's early prose. The motto about grape eating at the beginning of Poe's story "The Bargain Lost" was taken from Shakespeare's As You Like It. A line from Poe's "The Assignation" ("fallen in the flames of thine own youth") corresponds to a line from Measure for Measure ("falling in the flames of her own youth").

Although Poe was evidently inspired by Shakespeare's works, he also expressed a dislike of them. According to Poe's acquaintance Lambert A. Wilmer, "On Literary subjects Poe held some singularly heterodox opinions. As for Milton, Shakspeare, and the whole array of illustrious British poets, he professed to hold them in great contempt."

The piece was given to the Poe Museum by the grandchildren of Edgar Allan Poe's literary executor, Rufus W. Griswold, on December 20, 1948.

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