Text: Edgar Allan Poe, “Burton's Gentleman's Magazine,” Alexander’s Weekly Messenger, vol. 4, no. 5, January 29, 1840, p. 2, col. 6


[page 2, column 6:]

Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine.

We have had an opportunity of looking over the sheets of the next forthcoming number of this Journal (the number for February) and have no hesitation in saying that it is one of the best specimens, if not the very best specimen, of a monthly Magazine, which has yet been issued in this country. We are sure, too, that all our readers will agree with us in this opinion. It commences with a biographical notice of Mr. and Miss Vandenhoff — written by Mr. Burton — and, as a matter of course, written well. No account of these popular histrions has yet appeared in this country, we believe, certainly no satisfactory account; and the sketch now given will be read with interest by all the numerous admirers of the father and daughter. Two fine portraits on steel, by Forrest, accompany the article.

Mr. Burton has two or three other pieces in this number, if we are not greatly mistaken. We recognized his pen in the critical account of “Shakspeare’s Jest Book,” and, especially, in one of the bitterest doses, by way of Review, with the redoubted Captain Marryatt has yet had occasion to swallow — whether he will swallow it quietly is the question — he had better do so, however, than be funnelled.

Thaumaturgia, No. 1. is the title of a paper to which Mr. B. has prefixed his name, and of whose paternity we are, therefore, pretty sure. It is the commencement of a Yankee’s adventures in the regions of Pluto. The down-Easter has obtained leave of absence from his Satanic Majesty, for the purpose of acting as cicerone to a party of illustrious ancients desirous of paying a visit to the United States. The next paper we presume, will let us into the doings of the party in Yankee-land. The whole idea is good, and so far is capitally carried out.

The Journal of Julius Rodman is continued, and a vivid description given of the persons and equipments of the travellers, who proceed up the Missouri as far as the mouth of the Platte. We prophecy that this will prove an intensely interested narrative. Mr. Dow’s excellent “Log” is also continued, as well as the “Miami Valley” — we seldom see better Magazine papers than these. We notice, too, an original article, of great merit, from Captain Chamier, of England; likewise a most ludicrous quiz upon Fanny Kemble’s Journal, from the pen of Judge Haliburton the celebrated author of Sam Slick. Mr. Burton indeed makes no great boast of his list of contributors, but they form quite as strong a literary body as that in the service of any Magazine whatever. Mr. Poe has a very singular story. Mr. P. P. Cook [[Cooke]] of Manchester [[Winchester]], (one of Virginia’s finest minds) has a beautiful poem. But we cannot pretend to enumerate one third of the good things in the February number. We have indeed almost forgotten to speak of a burlesque poem about the Eglintown Tournament — a laughable affair, with a laughable cut from Crowquill. Neither have we said a word about the article on Sailing crafts (two capital wood designs) nor about the Review — one of which shows up Professor Longfellow as a plagiarist of the first water — but it is impossible to speak of everything. We say in brief that the Gentleman’s Magazine is a model in its way — original, independent, vigorous, racy. It is by far the best journal of its kind in America.




This notice was first attributed to Poe by T. O. Mabbott in Clarence S. Brigham, Edgar Allan Poe’s Contributions to Alexander’s Weekly Messenger, 1943, pp. 27-28. Mabbott admits that Burton might just as well be the writer of this review, but feels that it “is rather more in Poe’s manner,” noting that “histrion” is “a favorite word of Poe.” Mabbott also comments that the review draws specific attention to several of Poe’s own contributions, including “The Journal of Julius Rodman” and “Peter Pendulum” (the “very singular story”), and to the “beautiful poem” by Poe’s good friend Phillip Pendleton Cooke, who in 1840 was living in Winchester, VA. In addition to Mabbott’s reasons, the description of the Magazine as “original, independent, vigorous” reminds one of Poe’s prospectus for The Stylus, in which he promises that his magazine will be “more vigorous, more pungent, more original, more individual, and more independent” (“Prospectus for the Stylus,” Saturday Museum, March 4, 1843). One must also note the reference to Longfellow as a plagiarist, one of Poe’s most recognizable battles.


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