Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Mon Jul 29 19:05:11 UTC 2002

> It appears that the newspaperman opens the door expecting
> Jinks, but --
> surprise! -- it's NOT Jinks, but RATHER the "devil" with an unwelcome
> demand. Am I missing something here? Jinks just stands in for
> an anonymous
> imaginary visitor in Poe's poem, right? And I would take
> "Jinks" to be a
> nonentity-name used like "Jones" sometimes is used.

I inferred that use of "devil" is a double entendre. Not only is the poet
implying that Jinks is an evil, vexatious man for making such demands on a
poor reporter, but he is also using the printing jargon term for
assistant/apprentice ("printer's devil"). Jinks is the editor's assistant
and newspapermen would be familiar with both senses of "devil."

And yes, "Jinks" in the poem is a non-entity name like Jones. This is one of
the early uses of the name in literature, but one where we begin to see the
association with vexing behavior/bad luck.

I also hadn't realized the Captain Jinks song was so well known. I'll have
to update my site to make explicit mention of it.

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