Browsing named entities in Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Short studies of American authors.
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Preface. These brief papers were originally published in The literary world (Boston), and are here reprinted in a revised form, with some additions. Cambridge, Mass., Dec. i, 1879.
Poe. It happens to us rarely in our lives to come consciously into the presence of that extraordinary miracle we call genius. Among the many literary persons whom I have happened to meet, at home or abroad, there are not half a dozen who have left an irresistible sense of this rare quality; and, among these few, Poe stands next to Hawthorne in the vividness of personal impression he produced. I saw him but once; and it was on that celebrated occasion, in 1845, when he startled Boston by substituting his boyish production, Al Aaraaf, for the more serious poem which he was to have delivered before the Lyceum. There was much curiosity to see him; for his prose-writings had been eagerly read, at least among college-students, and his poems were just beginning to excite still greater attention. After a rather solid and very partisan address by Caleb Cushing, then just returned from his Chinese embassy, the poet was introduced. I distinctly recall his face, with its ample forehead