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.
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.
, 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.