Anna Cora Mowatt and Edgar Allan Poe
Anna Cora Mowatt and Edgar Allan Poe were contemporaries. They lived, worked, and achieved fame in New York City at exactly the same moment in history. Although Poe had been on the literary scene for some years, he had his first real taste of public acclaim when he published poem “The Raven” in January of 1845. Mowatt, an almost complete unknown, burst on to the dramatic scene with her hit comedy “Fashion” in March of the same year. She caused almost as great a sensation when she made her debut as an actress only a few months later.
The literary world of New York in the 1840’s was miniscule when compared to how it exists today. As well as existing together in this small club of U.S. literati and therefore having many mutual acquaintances, there were other random lines of intersections between Poe and Mowatt. One very important thing was that in addition to being a poet and author, Poe was publishing a literary journal in 1845 that included a drama review column. In another more haphazard piece of circumstance, it would later turn out that Poe had been an acquaintance of Mowatt’s second husband, William Foushee Ritchie, as a young man in Richmond. This association would lead to Mowatt being a source of a piece of old gossip about Poe that would linger after his death.
These pages attempt to traces some of the interesting point of contact between these two fascinating figures of the early U.S. literary scene.
Edgar Allan Poe’s Favorite Poe's Portrait of Mowatt Was Poe T. T. Twinkle?
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