Text: Edgar Allan Poe, “ Pay of American Authors [Part III]” (A), Evening Mirror (New York), January 27, 1845, p. 2, col. 2


[page 2, column 2, continued:]

PAY OF AMERICAN AUTHORS — THE MAGAZINES. — The impossibility, in general, of getting pay from the booksellers for the copyright of books, has driven nearly all the American literateurs to Magazines contribution. There are few names of eminence in cis-Atlantic letters which are not occasionally seen, in starting capitals, in the content-table of one or more of our Monthlies: — the Quarterlies are anonymous, and for no better reason than that the British Quarterlies have been anonymous before them. Who, to-day, is so weak as to value an anonymous opinion and, unluckily, our reviews are for the most part either disingenuous essays concocted from the material of the book reviewed, or summaries of sheer opinion. Besides, who shall undertake to determine whether an anonymous criticism is or is not written by the author of the work criticised; or, if not precisely this, then through his instrumentality, or at his dictation?

But to our sheep: — Not long ago we observed, in the Democratic Review, an essay on “American Criticism” in which we were startled by the assertion that the contributions in “Graham” and “Godey” were without exception, trash. We quote from memory, but are sure of the sense of the passage. Now an assertion of this kind is “mere pride and arrogance, and the evil way, and the froward mouth.” it will not do to maintain, even in the choicest phraseology, that the writings of such persons as Mrs. Osgood, Mrs. Sigourney, Mrs. Child, Mrs. Kirkland, Mrs. Stephens, Mr. Seba Smith, Mrs. Ellet, Mrs. Embury, Mrs. Hale, Miss Leslie, Miss Sedgwick, Fanny Kemble, “Fanny Forrester,” Cooper, Paulding, Simms, Kennedy, Hawthorne, Longfellow, Halleck, Bryant, Lowell, Hoffman, Mathews, Duyckinck, Tuckerman, Grattan, and so forth — it will not do, we say, to maintain, even in the pages of the Democratic Review, that the contributions of these writers are trash. And we have merely glanced over the long list in our mind — there are numerous other names equally eminent which no doubt we have omitted. Such are the “regular contributors” to “Graham,” to “Godey,” and to “The Columbian,” — the three principal three-dollar Magazines.




This article may be attributed to Poe with some confidence. The four articles in the “Pay of Authors in America” series (January 24 - 31, 1845) are clearly related and presumably by the same hand. The final item is demonstrably Poe’s by repetition of material in his “Marginalia.”


[S:0 - NYEM, 1845] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Essays - Pay of American Authors [Part III] (A)