I’m reading some Edgar Allan Poe tales in anticipation of an outdoor discussion tomorrow in Bryant Park, and I am charmed to discover (in the helpful endnotes) his habit of making up epigraphs. Or at least no one seems to be able to find his sources. Maybe they just didn’t have Google.

I’m a sucker for a good epigraph myself. Every chapter of The Information has one. But I always thought the point was discovering people whose aphoristic talents I can’t match. It seems Poe has no lack of self-confidence in this regard—in English or in Latin.

Here are some of the “quotations” he uses, along with his attributions. Are any of them real? You tell me.

[quote]What ho! what ho! this fellow is dancing mad!

He hath been bitten by the Tarantula. (All in the Wrong)[/quote]

[quote]And the will therein lieth, which dieth not. Who knoweth the mysteries of the will, with its vigor? For God is but a great will pervading all things by nature of its intentness, Man doth not yield himself to the angels, nor unto death utterly, save only through the weakness of his feeble will. (Granville)[/quote]

[quote]Nothing is more hateful to wisdom than cleverness. (Seneca)[/quote]




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