'Lionizing' by Edgar Allen Poe

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-all people went
Upon their ten toes in wild wondernment.
Bishop Hall's Satires.

I AM, that is to say I was, a great man, but I am neither the author of Junius nor the man in the mask, for my name, I believe, is Robert Jones, and I was born somewhere in the city of Fum-Fudge.
The first action of my life was the taking hold of my nose with both hands. My mother saw this and called me a genius:- my father wept for joy and presented me with a treatise on Nosology. This I mastered before I was breeched.
I now began to feel my way in the science, and soon came to understand that, provided a man had a nose sufficiently conspicuous, he might by merely following it, arrive at a Lionship. But my attention was not confined to theories alone. Every morning I gave my proboscis a couple of pulls and swallowed a half-dozen of drams.
When I came of age my father asked me, one day, if I would step with him into his study.
"My son," he said, when we were seated, "what is the chief end of your existence?"
"My father," I answered, "it is the study of Nosology."
"And what, Robert," he inquired, "is Nosology?"
"Sir," I said, "it is the science of Noses."
"And can you tell me," he demanded, "what is the meaning of a nose?"
"A nose, my father," I replied, greatly softened, "has been variously defined by about a thousand different authors." [Here I pulled out my watch.] "It is now noon, or thereabouts- We shall have time enough to get through with them all before midnight. To commence then: The nose, according to Bartholinus, is that protuberance- that bump- that excresence- that-"
"Will do, Robert," interupted the old gentleman. "I am thunderstruck at the extent of your information- I am positively- upon my soul." [Here he closed his eyes and placed his hand upon his heart.] "Come here!" [Here he took me by the arm.] "Your education may now be considered as finished- it is high time you should scuffle for yourself- and you cannot do a better thing than merely follow your nose- so- so- so-" [Here he kicked me down stairs and out of the door.]-"So get out of my house, and God bless you!"
As I felt within me the divine afflatus, I considered this accident rather fortunate than otherwise. I resolved to be guided by the paternal advice. I determined to follow my nose. I gave it a pull or two upon the spot, and wrote a pamphlet on Nosology forthwith.
All Fum-Fudge was in an uproar.
"Wonderful genius!" said the Quarterly.
"Superb physiologist!" said the Westminster.
"Clever fellow!" said the Foreign.
"Fine writer!", said the Edinburgh.
"Profound thinker!" said the Dublin.
"Great man!" said Bentley.
"Divine soul!" said Fraser.
"One of us!" said Blackwood.
"Who can he be?" said Mrs. Bas-Bleu.
"What can he be?" said big Miss Bas-Bleu.
"Where can he be?" said little Miss Bas-Bleu.- But I paid these people no attention whatever- I just stepped into the shop of an artist.
The Duchess of Bless-my-Soul was sitting for her portrait; the Marquis of So-and-So was holding the Duchess' poodle; the Earl of This-and-That was flirting with her salts; and his Royal Highness of Touch-me-Not was leaning upon the back of her chair.
I approached the artist and turned up my nose.
"Oh, beautiful!" sighed her Grace.
"Oh, my!" lisped the Marquis.
"Oh, shocking!" groaned the Earl.
"Oh, abominable!" growled his Royal Highness.
"What will you take for it?" asked the artist.
"For his nose!" shouted her Grace.
"A thousand pounds," said I, sitting down.
"A thousand pounds?" inquired the artist, musingly.
"A thousand pounds," said I.
"Beautiful!" said he, entranced.
"A thousand pounds," said I.
"Do you warrant it?" he asked, turning the nose to the light.
"I do," said I, blowing it well.
"Is it quite original?" he inquired, touching it with reverence.
"Humph!" said I, twisting it to one side.
"Has no copy been taken?" he demanded, surveying it through a microscope.
"None," said I, turning it up.
"Admirable!" he ejaculated, thrown quite off his guard by the beauty of the manoeuvre.
"A thousand pounds," said I.
"A thousand pounds?" said he.
"Precisely," said I.
"A thousand pounds?" said he.
"Just so," said I.
"You shall have them," said he. "What a piece of virtu!" So he drew me a check upon the spot, and took a sketch of my nose. I engaged rooms in Jermyn street, and sent her Majesty the ninety-ninth edition of the "Nosology," with a portrait of the proboscis. That sad little rake, the Prince of Wales, invited me to dinner.
We are all lions and recherches.
There was a modern Platonist. He quoted Porphyry, Iamblicus, Plotinus, Proclus, Hierocles, Maximus Tyrius, and Syrianus.
There was a human-perfectibility man. He quoted Turgot, Price, Priestly, Condorcet, De Stael, and the "Ambitious Student in Ill-Health."
There was Sir Positive Paradox. He observed that all fools were philosophers, and that all philosophers were fools.
There was Aestheticus Ethix. He spoke of fire, unity, and atoms; bi-part and pre-existent soul; affinity and discord; primitive intelligence and homoomeria.
There was Theologos Theology. He talked of Eusebius and Arianus; heresy and the Council of Nice; Puseyism and consubstantialism; Homousios and Homouioisios.
There was Fricassee from the Rocher de Cancale. He mentioned Muriton of red tongue; cauliflowers with veloute sauce; veal a la St. Menehoult; marinade a la St. Florentin; and orange jellies en mosaiques.
There was Bibulus O'Bumper. He touched upon Latour and Markbrunnen; upon Mosseux and Chambertin; upon Richbourg and St. George; upon Haubrion, Leonville, and Medoc; upon Barac and Preignac; upon Grave, upon Sauterne, upon Lafitte, and upon St. Peray. He shook his head at Clos de Vougeot, and told with his eyes shut, the difference between Sherry and Amontillado.
There was Signor Tintontintino from Florence. He discoursed of Cimabue, Arpino, Carpaccio, and Argostino- of the gloom of Caravaggio, of the amenity of Albano, of the colors of Titian, of the frows of Rubens, and of the waggeries of Jan Steen.
There was the President of the Fum-Fudge University. He was of the opinion that the moon was called Bendis in Thrace, Bubastis in Egypt, Dian in Rome, and Artemis in Greece.
There was a Grand Turk from Stamboul. He could not help thinking that the angels were horses, cocks, and bulls; that somebody in the sixth heaven had seventy thousand heads; and that the earth was supported by a sky-blue cow with an incalculable number of green horns.
There was Delphinus Polyglott. He told us what had become of the eighty-three lost tragedies of Aeschylus; of the fifty-four orations of Isaeus; of the three hundred and ninety-one speeches of Lysias; of the hundred and eighty treatises of Theophrastus; of the eighth book of the conic sections of Apollonius; of Pindar's hymns and dithyrambics, and of the five and forty tragedies of Homer Junior.
There was Ferdinand Fitz-Fossillus Feltspar. He informed us all about internal fires and tertiary formations; about aeriforms, fluidiforms, and solidforms; about quartz and marl; about schist and schorl; about gypsum and trap; about talc and calc; about blende and horn-blende; about micaslate and pudding-stone; about cyanite and lepidolite; about haematite and tremolite; about antimony and calcedony; about manganese and whatever you please.
There was myself. I spoke of myself;- of myself, of myself, of myself;- of Nosology, of my pamphlet, and of myself. I turned up my nose, and I spoke of myself.
"Marvellous clever man!" said the Prince.
"Superb!" said his guests;- and next morning her Grace of Bless-my-soul paid me a visit.
"Will you go to Almack's, pretty creature?" she said, tapping me under the chin.
"Upon honor," said I.
"Nose and all?" she asked.
"As I live," I replied.
"Here then is a card, my life. Shall I say you will be there?"
"Dear, Duchess, with all my heart."
"Pshaw, no!- but with all your nose?"
"Every bit of it, my love," said I:- so I gave it a twist or two, and found myself at Almack's.
The rooms were crowded to suffocation.
"He is coming!" said somebody on the staircase.
"He is coming!" said somebody farther up.
"He is coming!" said somebody farther still.
"He is come!" exclaimed the Duchess, "He is come, the little love!"- and, seizing me firmly by both hands, she kissed me thrice upon the nose.
A marked sensation immediately ensued.
"Diavolo!" cried Count Capricornutti.
"Dios guarda!" muttered Don Stiletto.
"Mille tonnerres!" ejaculated the Prince de Grenouille.
"Tousand teufel!" growled the Elector of Bluddennuff.
It was not to be borne. I grew angry. I turned short upon Bluddennuff.
"Sir!" said I to him, "you are a baboon."
"Sir," he replied, after a pause. "Donner und Blitzen!"
This was all that could be desired. We exchanged cards. At Chalk-Farm, the next morning, I shot off his nose- and then called upon my friends.
"Bete!" said the first.
"Fool!" said the second.
"Dolt!" said the third.
"Ass!" said the fourth.
"Ninny!" said the fifth.
"Noodle!" said the sixth.
"Be off!" said the seventh.
At all this I felt mortified, and so called upon my father.
"Father," I asked, "what is the chief end of my existence?"
"My son," he replied, "it is still the study of Nosology; but in hitting the Elector upon the nose you have overshot your mark. You have a fine nose, it is true; but then Bluddennuff has none. You are damned, and he has become the hero of the day. I grant you that in Fum-Fudge the greatness of a lion is in proportion to the size of his proboscis- but, good heavens! there is no competing with a lion who has no proboscis at all."

Editor 1 Interpretation

Lionizing: A Literary Analysis of Edgar Allan Poe’s Satirical Tale

Are you tired of the constant need to be recognized and celebrated by others? Do you often find yourself craving the attention and admiration of people you barely know? If so, you might want to read Edgar Allan Poe's satirical tale, Lionizing. This short story, published in 1835, mocks the absurdity of social climbing and sheds light on the superficiality of human relationships.

In this essay, I will provide a detailed analysis and interpretation of Lionizing, exploring its themes, motifs, characters, and literary devices. By doing so, I hope to shed light on the genius of Poe's satire and its relevance to our modern-day society.

Overview of the Story

Lionizing is a straightforward story that revolves around a young man named Eldorado who desperately wants to be recognized as a genius by society. One day, he meets a group of intellectuals who invite him to their exclusive club, the "Lion's Head." Eldorado is delighted to be in the company of such renowned thinkers and artists, but he soon realizes that they are all fake and pretentious.

The members of the Lion's Head are more concerned with appearances and social status than with actual intellectual pursuits. They constantly flatter each other, even if they don't mean it, and they are always eager to impress new members. Eldorado, who is naive and genuine, tries to fit in but fails miserably. He is too honest and too eager to learn, which makes him an outcast in this group of vain and shallow people.

In the end, Eldorado realizes that he was better off without the Lion's Head and that true wisdom and knowledge come from within, not from external recognition.

Satire and Social Criticism

One of the most striking aspects of Lionizing is its sharp satire and social criticism. Poe uses humor, irony, and exaggeration to expose the absurdity of social climbing and the emptiness of fame and fortune.

The members of the Lion's Head are a perfect example of the type of people Poe is mocking. They are all successful and influential in their respective fields, but they are also shallow, fake, and self-absorbed. They care more about their reputation than about their actual work, and they are willing to betray their own principles to maintain their status.

For instance, one of the members, Mr. Blackwood, is a famous poet who claims to be a defender of truth and beauty. But when Eldorado confronts him about his plagiarized verses, Mr. Blackwood denies everything and accuses Eldorado of jealousy and ignorance. This scene is a clear indictment of the hypocrisy and cynicism of some artists who use their popularity to cover up their lack of originality and integrity.

Another example of Poe's satire is the absurdity of the Lion's Head's rituals and customs. They have their own secret language, their own dress code, and their own set of rules that make no sense to outsiders. They also have a bizarre habit of lionizing people who are not really worth it, just because they are famous or wealthy.

Poe's message is clear: social status and fame are not enough to make someone a true genius or a true leader. What matters most is one's character, one's knowledge, and one's ability to think for oneself. The members of the Lion's Head are too busy trying to impress each other to realize this simple truth.

Characters and Motifs

The characters in Lionizing are not very complex or multi-dimensional, but they serve the purpose of the story well. Eldorado is the protagonist and the voice of reason in the story. He represents the idealistic young man who wants to make a difference in the world by pursuing his passion for learning and knowledge. He is naive and trusting, but he is also humble and curious.

The members of the Lion's Head are all caricatures of different types of social climbers and poseurs. They are all superficial and vain, but they have different personalities and quirks. Mr. Blackwood is the pompous poet who thinks he is above criticism, while Mr. Theodore is the egotistical artist who likes to brag about his talent. Mr. Lion is the founder of the club and the epitome of self-righteousness and pretentiousness.

The motif of lions is also significant in the story. Lions are symbolic of strength, power, and royalty, but they are also predatory and dangerous. The members of the Lion's Head like to associate themselves with lions, but they are more like tame and domesticated cats who rely on the approval of others to feel important. Eldorado, on the other hand, is more like a lamb who is not afraid to question authority and to seek the truth.

Literary Devices

Poe's writing style is characterized by its elegance, precision, and vividness. He uses a variety of literary devices to create a rich and immersive narrative that engages the reader's senses and emotions.

One of the most notable devices in Lionizing is irony. Poe uses verbal irony to highlight the discrepancy between what the characters say and what they actually mean. For example, when Mr. Blackwood says that he is a defender of truth, he is actually lying and deceiving others. Poe also uses situational irony to create unexpected and humorous twists in the plot. When Eldorado finally realizes that the Lion's Head is a fraud, he is no longer interested in joining them.

Poe also uses imagery and metaphors to create a vivid and memorable setting. The descriptions of the Lion's Head's decorations, costumes, and rituals are both grotesque and fascinating. The metaphor of the lion and the lamb is also powerful, as it captures the contrast between strength and weakness, pride and humility, and aggression and gentleness.


In conclusion, Lionizing is a brilliant and entertaining satire that exposes the follies and vanities of human nature. Through its vivid characters, sharp dialogue, and clever use of literary devices, Poe creates a world that is both absurd and realistic. The story challenges us to question our own motives and values, and to seek wisdom and knowledge for their own sake, not for the sake of recognition or fame. As Eldorado learns in the end, true genius does not come from the approval of others, but from the courage to be oneself.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Lionizing: A Masterpiece of Satire by Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe is one of the most celebrated writers of the 19th century, known for his mastery of the macabre and the mysterious. However, his literary prowess extends beyond the realm of horror, as evidenced by his satirical masterpiece, "Lionizing." This short story, published in 1835, is a scathing critique of the cult of celebrity and the superficiality of fame.

The story follows the protagonist, a young man named Egaeus, who is invited to a party hosted by a famous poet named Lionizing. Egaeus is initially excited to meet the renowned poet, but soon realizes that Lionizing is nothing more than a shallow and self-absorbed individual who thrives on the adoration of his fans. As the night progresses, Egaeus becomes increasingly disillusioned with the cult of celebrity and the emptiness of fame.

The story is a biting commentary on the nature of fame and the way in which society idolizes celebrities. Poe uses satire to expose the absurdity of the cult of celebrity, highlighting the way in which people are willing to overlook the flaws and shortcomings of famous individuals simply because of their fame. He also critiques the way in which fame can be used as a tool for manipulation and control, as Lionizing uses his celebrity status to exert power over his guests.

One of the most striking aspects of "Lionizing" is the way in which Poe uses language to convey his message. The story is filled with witty and sarcastic remarks, as well as clever wordplay and puns. For example, when Egaeus first meets Lionizing, he describes him as having a "lion-like expression," which is both a literal description of the poet's appearance and a metaphor for his larger-than-life persona. This use of language adds depth and complexity to the story, allowing Poe to convey his message in a way that is both entertaining and thought-provoking.

Another notable aspect of "Lionizing" is the way in which Poe uses symbolism to convey his message. The character of Lionizing is a symbol for the cult of celebrity, representing the way in which society idolizes famous individuals and places them on a pedestal. The party itself is a symbol for the superficiality of fame, as the guests are more concerned with impressing each other than with engaging in meaningful conversation. Even the name "Egaeus" is symbolic, as it is derived from the Greek word "egos," meaning "self," highlighting the way in which the protagonist is forced to confront his own ego and the emptiness of his desire for fame.

Overall, "Lionizing" is a masterful work of satire that exposes the absurdity of the cult of celebrity and the superficiality of fame. Poe's use of language and symbolism adds depth and complexity to the story, allowing him to convey his message in a way that is both entertaining and thought-provoking. The story remains relevant today, as society continues to idolize celebrities and place them on a pedestal, often overlooking their flaws and shortcomings. "Lionizing" serves as a reminder that true greatness lies not in fame or celebrity, but in the depth of one's character and the quality of one's work.

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