The Museum Collection

First Edition of Eureka

ID #:
Creator: Edgar Allan Poe
Date: 1848
Format: book
Source: Gift of John W. Robertson
Collection: Poe Foundation, Inc.
Publisher: George P. Putnam
Place of Publication: New York
Publish Date: 1848
Copyright Page and Dedication
Last Page of Text
The Last Paragraph Reads:
"There was an epoch in the Night of Time, when a still-existent Being existed -- one of an absolutely infinite number of similar Beings that people the absolutely infinite domains of the absolutely infinite space. It was not and is not in the power of this Being -- any more than it is in your own -- to extend, by actual increase, the joy of his Existence; but just as it is in your power to expand or to concentrate your pleasures (the absolute amount of happiness remaining always the same) so did and does a similar capability appertain to this Divine Being, who thus passes his Eternity in perpetual variation of Concentrated Self and almost Infinite Self-Diffusion. What you call The Universe is but his present expansive existence. He now feels his life through an infinity of imperfect pleasures -- the partial and pain-intertangled pleasures of those inconceivably numerous things which you designate as his creatures, but which are really but infinite individualizations of Himself. All these creatures -- all -- those which you term animate, as well as those to whom you deny life for no better reason than that you do not behold it in operation -- all these creatures have, in a greater or less degree, a capacity for pleasure and for pain: -- but the general sum of their sensations is precisely that amount of Happiness which appertains by right to the Divine Being when concentrated within Himself. These creatures are all, too, more or less conscious Intelligences; conscious, first, of a proper identity; conscious, secondly and by faint indeterminate glimpses, of an identity with the Divine Being of whom we speak -- of an identity with God. Of the two classes of consciousness, fancy that the former will grow weaker, the latter stronger, during the long succession of ages which must elapse before these myriads of individual Intelligences become blended -- when the bright stars become blended -- into One. Think that the sense of individual identity will be gradually merged in the general consciousness -- that Man, for example, ceasing imperceptibly to feel himself Man, will at length attain that awfully triumphant epoch when he shall recognize his existence as that of Jehovah. In the meantime bear in mind that all is Life -- Life -- Life within Life -- the less within the greater, and all within the Spirit Divine.
This page reads:
"To the few who love me and whom I love -- to those who feel rather than to those who think -- to the dreamers and those who put faith in dreams as in the only realities -- I offer this Book of Truths, not in its character of Truth-Teller, but for the Beauty that abounds in its Truth; constituting it true. To these I present the composition as an Art-Product alone: -- let us say as a Romance; or, if I be not urging too lofty a claim, as a Poem.
What I here propound is true: -- therefore it cannot die: -- or if by any means it be now trodden down so that it die, it will 'rise again to the Life Everlasting.'
Nevertheless it is as a Poem only that I wish this work to be judged after I am dead.

E. A. P."
Image 1 of


Eureka (1848) was Edgar Allan Poe's last book, and he considered it his masterpiece. In a July 7, 1849 letter to his mother-in-law Maria Clemm, Poe wrote, "I have no desire to live since I have done 'Eureka.' I could accomplish nothing more." Poe considered the book so important that he wanted 50,000 copies printed, but the publisher only printed 500, of which this is one. This would be the last book Poe published before his death in 1849. Poe was advanced a $14 loan for this book. The loan was repaid with proceeds from the sales.

The book explains such mysteries as gravity and the origin of the universe. Some of his theories anticipate the "Big-Bang" theory of the origin of the universe. In a February 29, 1848 letter to George E. Isbell, Poe explained his theories:

"GENERAL PROPOSITION. Because Nothing was, therefore All Things are.

1 -- An inspection of the universality of Gravitation -- of the fact that each particle tends not to any one common point -- but to every other particle -- suggests perfect totality, or absolute unity, as the source of the phaenomenon.

2. Gravity is but the mode in which is manifested the tendency of all things to return into their original unity.

3. I show that the law of the return -- i.e the law of gravity -- is but a necessary result of the necessary and sole possible mode of equable irradiation of matter through a limiter space.

4. Were the Universe of stars -- (contradistinguished from the universe of space) unlimited, no worlds could exist.

5. I show that Unity is Nothingness.

6. All matter, springing from Unity, sprang from Nothingness. i e, was created.

7. All will return to Unity; i e -- to Nothingness. I would be obliged to you if you would let me know how far these ideas are coincident with those of the 'Vestiges'."