Page:Edgar Allan Poe - how to know him.djvu/136

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ii6 EDGAR ALLAN POE �To be novel, they must fail in essential particulars. The higher minds will avoid their frequent use. They form no portion of the ideal, and appertain to the fancy alone. �THE NATURE AND INTEREST OF PLOT �[Bulwer's Night and Morning, reviewed in Gra- ham's Magazine, April, 1841. In his Marginalia (1844) and again in Eureka (1848), Poe calls attention to the "mutuality" or adaptation in nature, or the "reciproc- ity between cause and effect." He thus summarizes and applies: "The pleasure which we derive from any exertion of human ingenuity is in the direct ratio of the approach to this species of reciprocity between cause and effect. In the construction of plot, for ex- ample, in fictitious literature, we should aim at so ar- ranging the points, or incidents, that we cannot dis- tinctly see, in respect to any one of them, whether that one depends upon any one other, or upholds it. In this sense, of course, perfection of plot is unattainable in fact, because Man is the constructor. The plots of God are perfect. The Universe is a Plot of God."] �We do not give this as the plot of "Night and Morning," but as the groundwork of the plot ; which latter, woven from the incidents above mentioned, is in itself exceedingly complex. The groundwork, as will be seen, is of no original character it is even absurdly commonplace. We are not asserting too much when we say that every second novel since the flood has turned upon some series of hopeless efforts, either to establish legitimacy, or to prove a will, or to get pos- session of a great sum of money most unjustly with- held, or to find a ragamuffin of a father, who had been ��� �