Home  »  Volume XVI: American EARLY NATIONAL LITERATURE: PART II LATER NATIONAL LITERATURE: PART I  »  § 4. The Literary Magazine; The Port Folio

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

§ 4. The Literary Magazine; The Port Folio

No literary periodical established before 1800 deserves individual consideration. The Literary Magazine and American Register (Philadelphia, 1803–1807) was a serious and creditable work, containing reviews and miscellaneous contributions in prose and verse, but it is better remembered because of its editor, Charles Brockden Brown, than because of its intrinsic merits. A more important Philadelphia periodical was The Port Folio, during the editorship of Joseph Dennie. Dennie, who signed himself “Oliver Oldschool,” and accepted complacently the nickname of the “American Addison,” was a conservative in letters, though he welcomed some of the earlier work of the romantic school in England. During his editorship The Port Folio was devoted to what at the time was called “elegant literature”; and though to a taste less influenced by eighteenth-century standards it seems formal and sentimental, it exerted a strong influence for good during a critical period of American literature. Among the contributors were Charles Brockden Brown and John Quincy Adams.