The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket Read online
THE NARRATIVE OF ARTHUR GORDON PYM OF NANTUCKET
BY EDGAR ALLAN POE
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY HARPER & BROTHERS, 1838
THIS EDITION REPRINTED FROM THE WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE, RAVEN EDITION, PUBLISHED BY P. F. COLLIER & SON, 1903
COPYRIGHT © 2013 BY MELVILLE HOUSE PUBLISHING
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The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket
Other Titles in the Art of the Novella Series
Illuminations for the Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket
1. Sources, Precursors, Contemporary Accounts
Poe and the Sea—Letter from John Allan Poe to Charles Ellis.
The Catalyst for Pym—Letter from James Kirke Paulding to Thomas Willis White.
Illustration: “Chart of the Southern Hemisphere” by Captain Cook (1777).
A Case for Mapping the Southern Hemisphere—Selections from Jeremiah Reynolds’s Address on the Subject of a Surveying and Exploring Expedition to the Pacific Ocean and South Seas.
Poe’s Support of Reynolds and the Antarctic Expedition—Poe’s review of Reynolds’s Address.
An Account of Exploration—Selections from Benjamin Morrell’s A Narrative of Four Voyages.
2. Reading I: “MS. Found in a Bottle” by Edgar Allan Poe.
3. A Guide to the Nautical Life
Illustration: “U.S. Brig Porpoise” (1836).
A Glossary of Nautical Terms—Selections from William Henry Smyth’s The Sailor’s Word-book.
Dinner at Sea—Selections from sailors’ narratives of the mid- to late-nineteenth century.
Illustration: Preserved image of a sailor’s mermaid tattoo (ca. 1808).
4. The Whiteness
The Hue of the Skin of the Figure—Selection from Chapter XXV of The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket.
The Ice Was All Between—Part I of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
The White Whale—Selection from Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick.
The Iceberg—Selection from Richard Henry Dana’s Two Years Before the Mast.
5. The Half-Breed
Dirk Peters—Selection from Chapter IV of The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket.
Contemporary Perceptions of Mixed-Race Individuals—Selections from accounts and literature of the mid- to late-nineteenth century.
Reading II: Selections from A Strange Discovery by Charles Romyn Dake.
Cryptography in The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket—Selection from the posttextual note.
A Cryptographic Challenge—Newspaper article by Poe.
Poe Triumphant—Poe’s “A Few Words on Secret Writing.”
Cryptography in Poe’s Short Fiction—Selection from Poe’s “The Gold-Bug.”
7. The Hollow Earth Theory
Warm Weather at the South Pole—Selection from Chapter XVII of The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket.
Theorizing the Hollow Earth—Selection from The Symmes Theory of Concentric Spheres.
Fiction of the Hollow Earth—Selections from nineteenth- and twentieth-century novels.
Illustration: “Symmes’s Hole, as It Would Appear to a Lunarian with a Telescope.”
Illustration: The first page of The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket in the Southern Literary Messenger (January 1837).
Illustration: The title page of The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket as published by Harper & Brothers (July 1838).
Contemporary Reviews—Selected magazine reviews of 1838.
“A Voyage to Cythera”—Poem by Charles Baudelaire.
Reading III: Selections from An Antarctic Mystery by Jules Verne.
Upon my return to the United States a few months ago, after the extraordinary series of adventure in the South Seas and elsewhere, of which an account is given in the following pages, accident threw me into the society of several gentlemen in Richmond, Va., who felt deep interest in all matters relating to the regions I had visited, and who were constantly urging it upon me, as a duty, to give my narrative to the public. I had several reasons, however, for declining to do so, some of which were of a nature altogether private, and concern no person but myself; others not so much so. One consideration which deterred me was that, having kept no journal during a greater portion of the time in which I was absent, I feared I should not be able to write, from mere memory, a statement so minute and connected as to have the appearance of that truth it would really possess, barring only the natural and unavoidable exaggeration to which all of us are prone when detailing events which have had powerful influence in exciting the imaginative faculties. Another reason was, that the incidents to be narrated were of a nature so positively marvellous that, unsupported as my assertions must necessarily be (except by the evidence of a single individual, and he a half-breed Indian), I could only hope for belief among my family, and those of my friends who have had reason, through life, to put faith in my veracity—the probability being that the public at large would regard what I should put forth as merely an impudent and ingenious fiction. A distrust in my own abilities as a writer was, nevertheless, one of the principal causes which prevented me from complying with the suggestions of my advisers.
Among those gentlemen in Virginia who expressed the greatest interest in my statement, more particularly in regard to that portion of it which related to the Antarctic Ocean, was Mr. Poe, lately editor of the “Southern Literary Messenger,” a monthly magazine, published by Mr. Thomas W. White, in the city of Richmond. He strongly advised me, among others, to prepare at once a full account of what I had seen and undergone, and trust to the shrewdness and common-sense of the public—insisting, with great plausibility, that however roughly, as regards mere authorship, my book should be got up, its very uncouthness, if there were any, would give it all the better chance of being received as truth.
Notwithstanding this representation, I did not make up my mind to do as he suggested. He afterward proposed (finding that I would not stir in the matter) that I should allow him to draw up, in his own words, a narrative of the earlier portion of my adventures, from facts afforded by myself, publishing it in the “Sout