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[196] men and one woman, seated at a dinner-table laid for six, and talking of their art and of themselves. What would the others think of Poe? I fancy that Thackeray would chat with him courteously, but would not greatly care for him. George Eliot, woman-like, would pity him. Hawthorne would watch him with those inscrutable eyes and understand him better than the rest. But Stevenson would be immensely interested; he would begin an essay on Poe before he went to sleep. And Mr. Kipling would look sharply at him: he has seen that man before, in The Gate of a hundred sorrows. All of them would find in him something to praise, a great deal to marvel at, and perhaps not much to love. And the sensitive, shabby, lonely Poe-what would he think of them? He might not care much for the other guests, but I think he would say to himself with a thrill of pride: “I belong at this table.” And he does.

Walt Whitman, whom his friend O'Connor dubbed the “good gray poet,” offers a bizarre contrast to Edgar Allan Poe. There was nothing distinctively American about Poe except his ingenuity; he had no interest in American history or in American ideas; he was a timeless, placeless embodiment of technical artistry. But Whitman

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Edgar Allan Poe (4)
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