Home  »  Volume XVI: American EARLY NATIONAL LITERATURE: PART II LATER NATIONAL LITERATURE: PART I  »  § 13. The South: The Southern Literary Messenger

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.

XX. Magazines, Annuals, and Gift-books, 1783–1850

§ 13. The South: The Southern Literary Messenger

Most of the Southern magazines were still conducted in a spirit of patriotism and local literary pride, rather than as paying business ventures. The most famous of these, The Southern Literary Messenger, was founded at Richmond in 1834. It was at first a semi-monthly, but soon changed to a monthly, though its appearance seems to have been at times somewhat irregular. Poe began to contribute to the Messenger in 1835, and later in the same year became editor. His tales and poems, and particularly his reviews, which were more independent in tone than had been common in America, added greatly to the fame of the magazine, but his editorship ceased with the beginning of the year 1837. Among later editors were Benjamin Blake Minor, who was both editor and proprietor from 1843 to 1847, and who later wrote a reminiscent history of the magazine; and John R. Thompson, who was Minor’s immediate successor. Though it was distinctly Southern in tone the Messenger numbered among its contributors many distinguished Northerners—more, probably, than any other Southern magazine.