The Journal of Julius Rodman

Extracts from the Journal of a "Julius Rodman" appeared in a series of six installments in Burton's Gentlemen's Magazine between January and June 1840. The journal purported to detail a 1792 expedition led by Julius Rodman up the Missouri River toward the Far North. This 1792 expedition, if true, would have made Rodman the first European to cross the Rocky Mountains.

Julius Rodman's expedition was subsequently noted by a member of the U.S. Senate, Robert Greenhow, who wrote in a Senate document, "It is proper to notice here an account of an expedition across the American continent, made between 1791 and 1794, by a party of citizens of the United States, under the direction of Julius Rodman, whose journal has been recently discovered in Virginia, and is now in course of publication in a periodical magazine at Philadelphia."

Rodman was actually a fictitious character invented by Edgar Allan Poe. To create this ruse Poe penned the entire journal, relying heavily on sources such as Washington Irving's Astoria and Lewis and Clark's History of the Expedition to give his account a veneer of authenticity. Poe's motive for perpetrating this elaborate hoax is unclear.
Links and References
  • John J. Teunissen and Evelyn J. Hinz. "Poe's Journal of Julius Rodman as Parody." Nineteenth-Century Fiction, Vol. 27, Issue 3 (Dec., 1972): 317-338.


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