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

§ 7. Philadelphia

The next six years (1838–1844) he spent in Philadelphia. During the first year he was engaged largely in hack-writing, busying himself with a work on conchology (published in 1839) among other things, though he also composed at this time some of the best of his tales. In May, 1839, he became associate editor of Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine, but a year later he quarrelled with Burton and lost his place. From April, 1841, to May, 1842, he edited Graham’s Magazine. And in 1843 he had for a while some tacit connection with a Philadelphia weekly, The Saturday Museum. In Burton’s and in Graham’s he published a number of the ablest of his book-reviews and some of the most striking of his tales. At the end of 1839 he brought out at Philadelphia a collection of his tales, in two volumes; and in 1843 a further edition of his tales was projected, of which, however, only one fascicle, containing but two of his stories, was published. In the same year he won a prize of a hundred dollars for his story The Gold Bug. But at no time during these years was his income from his writings or from his editorial labours sufficient to enable him to live in comfort. During his later years in Philadelphia, moreover, his weakness for drink had grown on him, and he had as a result lost many of his friends; his wife, too, frail from childhood, had become an invalid in 1841 or in 1842; and so, early in 1844, the poet concluded to seek a new field.