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Southern Literary Messenger


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(1834–64, 1939–44), magazine founded at Richmond by Thomas W. White, whose first nine numbers were edited by James E. Heath. Poe's first contribution was “Berenice” (March 1835), and in December of that year he became the editor, at a salary of $15 per week. He published 83 reviews, 6 poems, 4 essays, and 3 stories, and increased the magazine's subscription list from 500 to more than 3500. His “tomahawk” method of criticism made the Messenger famous, and led to literary feuds with such authors as those of the Knickerbocker Group. His persistent drinking led to his loss of the editorship (Jan. 1837). White then became editor, with aid from others, until his death (1843), after which Benjamin B. Minor became publisher and editor. Although Poe wrote two unimportant articles, and other former contributors continued, the magazine declined in literary significance, and gave great attention to military and naval affairs. Under J.R. Thompson (1847–60), G.W. Bagby (1860–64), and Frank H. Alfriend (1864), it dwindled to death. The Contributors and Contributions to the Southern Literary Messenger was published in 1936, and the magazine was revived (1939–44).

Subjects: Literature.


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