[L] The Walnut Coffin Papers
These satires extended the satirical treatment Lippard gave in the “Spermaceti Papers” to the Philadelphia literary coterie of Graham, Griswold, et al. Even Lippard seemed to concede here, however, that his satirical energy had deteriorated: in the third of the “Walnut Coffin Papers,” he concluded by acknowledging honestly that readers in the “country” might find the satire incomprehensible, and the allegory opaque. (Readers in the metropolis may also have found it a bit threadbare, and merely petulant.) Rumpus Grizzle (like his real-life model, Rufus Griswold) purported to make literary reputations, and here he bestowed critical recognition upon a young apprentice who polished babies’ coffins in a warehouse but dreamed of literary celebrity. What exactly was this allegory about, however? It does, finally, seem rather impenetrable, as if Lippard’s critique of “literary charlatans” (L3) had now degenerated into hit-or-miss ridicule driven by stale resentments. His editorial stint with The Citizen Soldier was soon ended.