Friday, October 16, 2009

Another Balloon Hoax in Magazine History. Poe, Mongolfier and Jules Verne

What's in a word?

The most recent story about a "Balloon Hoax" brings to mind other references to balloons in the periodical literature.

The most interesting balloon hoax story is an article published in a newspaper, The New York Sun, on April 13, 1841, by none other than Edgar Allan Poe, the center of many controversies in his day..." Originally presented as a true story, it detailed European Monck Mason's trip across the Atlantic Ocean in only three days in a gas balloon". It was later revealed as a hoax and the story was retracted two days later. for more details see:

Of course, the first balloon flight was inFrance in June 1783 by the Montgolfier brothers, and was reported in America in Boston Magazine with the following illustration:

From a magazine collectible standpoint, my greatest "balloon" find was this May 1852 issue of Sartain's Magazine I found in Connecticut for $7 (along with another 1852 issue, similarly priced, that contained the first appearance of Thoreau's "Walden"). It contains a story entitled "A Voyage in a Balloon" attributed to Anne T. Wilbur (the translator) on the rear wrapper, but correctly inside to the real author Jules Verne. This is Verne's first American appearance and the story was the basis for the 5 Oscar winning 1956 movie "Around the World in Eighty Days".

Here's the text with some additional information about Sartain and his magazine:
and, more importantly, here's the original magazine, one that may not elsewhere exist in its original state!

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