Reference > Cambridge History > Early National Literature, Part II; Later National Literature, Part I > Poe > The Southern Literary Messenger
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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XVI. Early National Literature, Part II; Later National Literature, Part I.

XIV. Poe.

§ 6. The Southern Literary Messenger.


In the summer of 1835, Poe went to Richmond to assist in the editing of The Southern Literary Messenger, and before the end of the year he had been promoted to be editor-in-chief of that magazine. He was now fairly launched on his career as man of letters. In the columns of the Messenger he republished, with slight revisions, the tales that had already appeared, and in addition a number of new tales and poems, together with a long line of book reviews, which promptly won for the Messenger a popularity such as no other Southern magazine has ever enjoyed. In May, 1836, relying on his suddenly acquired prosperity, he married. His wife was Virginia Clemm, 3  a child of thirteen and the daughter of a paternal aunt, in whose home he had lived for a time in Baltimore. In the fall he was absent from his post for several weeks in consequence of illness brought on by excessive indulgence in drink; and though on his recovery he returned to his duties with his accustomed vigour, he was unable to satisfy his employer as to his stability of habit; and with the initial number of the Messenger for 1837 his resignation as editor was formally announced.   7
  From Richmond he went to New York, where he hoped to find employment with The New York Review. In October, 1837, he was in Richmond again, posing as editor still of the Messenger, though we cannot be certain that he contributed anything to its columns at this time. At the end of the year he was again in New York; and in the following summer he moved to Philadelphia. In July he published at New York, in book form, the longest of his tales, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym.   8

Note 3. A license for marriage to Virginia Clemm was procured at Baltimore in September, 1835, but it has not been established that there was a wedding at that time. [ back ]

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