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Maginn, William

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1794-1842) Irish journalist and author, in England from 1824, an early contributor to Blackwood's Magazine's famous series, Noctes ambrosianae, in which imaginary characters (Maginn's guise was Sir Morgan Odoherty) discuss the world and its figures; his contributions were assembled as The Odoherty Papers (coll 1855 2vols). After a story of some fantastical interest, "The Man in the Bell" (November 1821 Blackwood's), which was an acknowledged influence on Edgar Allan Poe, he published Whitehall; Or, the Days of George IV (1827) anonymous, a spoof Future History supposedly published in Yankeedoodoolia in 2227 CE and gazing backward 400 years upon early nineteenth-century London. The Satire was rumbustious; intriguingly, Maginn in his preface refers to the tale as "a species of alternate history", which may be the first use of the term Alternate History in any sense cognate with contemporary usage.

"Daniel O'Rourke's Wonderful Voyage to the Moon" in Fairy Legends of the South of Ireland (anth 1825) edited by Thomas Crofton Croker is a fantastical spoof in which the drunken O'Rourke is transported to the Moon, converses with the Man in residence, and is returned to Earth by a flock of geese. It was included as the title story in Daniel O'Rourke's Wonderful Voyage to the Moon (coll circa 1840 chap) anonymous; Alexandre Dumas "adapted" it (under his own name) as "Un Voyage à la Lune" in Causeries (coll 1857), where O'Rourke (renamed Mocquet) is plucked from a mysterious Island and returns to Earth only after some time. [JC]

William Maginn

born Cork, Ireland: 10 July 1794

died Walton-on Thames, Surrey: 21 August 1842



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