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date: 28 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

Success in the literary marketplace of Jacksonian America required shrewdness, and Edgar A. Poe sought to increase the publication and circulation of his work during his editorial stints at the Southern Literary Messenger, Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine, Alexander’s Weekly Messenger, Graham’s Lady’s and Gentleman’s Magazine, the New York Evening Mirror and Weekly Mirror, and The Broadway Journal. Unlike most of the literati of his day, who pursued belles-lettres as a leisure activity, Poe earned his living, meager as it was, as a “magazinist.” A formidable critic, poet, and short story writer, Poe developed an aesthetic of “unity of effect” that was influenced but not dictated by the literary marketplace. This article examines Poe’s engagement with the literary marketplace, his experiences with the “magazine prison-house,” and his ultimate aspiration to own and edit a magazine of the highest quality that would elevate the status of American literature worldwide.

Keywords: antebellum print culture, international copyright, American literati, editorial stints, magazines, Magazine Prison-House, magazinist, mass audience, periodicals, printing

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