Monday, August 31, 2009

Broadway Journal, R.I.P.

On January 2, 1846, Cornelia Walter, editor of the "Boston Transcript" (who had been conducting a public feud with Poe for several months,) published an odd little poem celebrating the recent demise of Poe's publication, the "Broadway Journal":

"To trust in friends is but so so,
Especially when cash is low;
The Broadway Journal's proved 'no go'--
Friends would not pay the pen of Poe."

This poem, which seems to gleefully hint at dirty work having been played against her antagonist, makes an interesting partner to a letter Poe himself wrote to Fitz-Greene Halleck on December 1, 1845:

"On the part of one or two persons who are much imbittered [sic] against me, there is a deliberate attempt now being made to involve me in ruin, by destroying the "Broadway Journal." I could easily frustrate them, but for my total want of money, and of the necessary time in which to procure it: the knowledge of this has given my enemies the opportunities desired."

I've long suspected that if we had a complete and accurate account of the machinations that took place behind the scenes of the "Broadway Journal," it would tell quite a tale. This is just idle speculation on my part, but I have also wondered if these machinations had any link to the famous feud/scandal involving the Poes with Elizabeth Ellet, Frances S. Osgood, and Thomas Dunn English (who had his own link to the "Broadway Journal through his business partner, Thomas Lane.) The fact that this scandal--and we still do not know for sure exactly what it was--had its nuclear explosion in late January of 1846, just days after the "Broadway Journal" folded, seems a bit too coincidental.

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