When it appeared in the monthly magazine Godey's Lady's Book in 1846, "The Cask of Amontillado,'' like most short stories published in locally distributed magazines, attracted no special critical attention. A year earlier, Poe had published a collection of Tales, which had been widely reviewed. Most of these reviews were favorable, praising Poe's powers of imagination and control of language. George Colton's review in the American Whig Review was typical in heralding the volume's "most undisputable marks of intellectual power and keenness; and an individuality of mind and disposition, of peculiar intensity.'' A few were not only negative but scathing, including Charles Dana's review in the Brook Farm Harbinger in which he describes Poe's stories as "clumsily contrived, unnatural, and every way in bad taste.'' Significantly, the collection of tales was read and reviewed in all parts of the country, and helped bring Poe to a much larger audience than he had previously enjoyed.
After Poe's death in 1849, his literary executor Rufus W. Griswold wrote an obituary in the New York Tribune, in which he slanderously exaggerated Poe's weaknesses. He described Poe as a ‘‘shrewd and naturally unamiable character'' who "walked the streets, in madness or melancholy, with lips moving in indistinct curses.’’ The following year, Griswold published an edition of Poe's Works. In response to the two Griswold projects came...
(The entire section is 767 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of The Cask of Amontillado Critical Essays. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!