Poe spent sixteen months or so in Richmond with Muddy and
Virginia. That was his longest stay in the city since he left
for the University at the age of 17. Everything in the city was
pretty much the same as it was back then, except that the
population had grown to about 20,000 citizens.
Poe kept working with the Messenger under T.W. White. He
bragged about what he had done for the paper, but White did not
agree with him. In late summer 1836 Poe was, however, given credit for
being the editor of the magazine.
The period after Poe's break with the Messenger was very quiet.
From the following two and a half years only one note and two
letters remain. Poe, Virginia and Muddy moved to New York City
and stayed there for about 15 months. They settled in the
Greenwich Village section, 6th Avenue and Waverly Place and
later moved to 113 1/2 Carmine Street.
Two weeks after begging for a non literary work, Harper and
Brothers in New York published Poe's first book of fiction. A
200 page volume entitled "The narrative of Arthur Gordon
Pym, of Nantucket". The publishing had been delayed for
about a year, to July 1838, because of the economic depression,
and a pirated version appeared in London a few months
Pym was a classic adventure story, bringing the hero
into trouble frequently and leading the reader into a world of
illusions where nothing is what it seems. Friends turn out to
be enemies, enemies to be friends, people in motion seen from
afar turn out to be rotting corpses when seen from a shorter
distance. Apart from the illusions an important ingredient is
disorder, concerning everything from material disorder
to social disorder.
The fictional figure, Arthur Gordon Pym, seems to have a lot in
common with Edgar Allan Poe. They have similar names, both are
born in New England, Pym arrives in Tsalal in January 19, Poe's
own birthday. Pym is a son of a "respectable trader in sea-
stores" and gets an academic upbringing expecting to inherit his
grandfather. Many characters in Pym resembles people in
Poe's surroundings, and the names are anagrams of real names,
or at least resemble them.
Pym attracted about two dozen reviews in New York, Philadelphia
and London. Many was positive and praised Poe for creating
entertaining adventures. Unfortunately Poe did not get much
credit for writing Pym since his name was not present
at the title page but was only mentioned in the preface. How
much money Poe made on Pym is uncertain but it cannot
have been much since he continued to beg and take loans. The
English pirated version did, of course, not pay at all.
Poe educated Virginia in their house in Philadelphia. He taught
languages and algebra, such subjects that he had been good at
in school. He also provided a piano and a harp for Sissy, to
satisfy her taste for music.