After winning a contest Edgar Allan Poe's "MS. Found in a Bottle" is published
"MS. Found in a Bottle" is a short story by American writer Edgar Allan Poe.
The plot follows an unnamed narrator at sea who finds himself in a series of harrowing circumstances. As he nears his own disastrous death while his ship drives ever southward, he writes a "MS." or manuscript telling of his adventures which he casts into the sea. Some critics believe the story was meant as a satire of typical sea tales.
Poe submitted "MS. Found in a Bottle" as one of many entries to a writing contest offered by the weekly Baltimore Saturday Visiter. Each of the stories were well-liked by the judges but they unanimously chose "MS. Found in a Bottle" as the contest's winner, earning Poe a $50 prize. The story was then published in the October 19, 1833, issue of the Visiter.
In Poe's tale, an unnamed narrator, estranged from his family and country, sets sail as a passenger aboard a cargo ship from Batavia (now known as Jakarta, Indonesia). Some days into the voyage, the ship is first becalmed then hit by a Simoom—which, in Poe's story, is a combination of a sand storm, typhoon, and hurricane—that capsizes the ship and sends everyone, except the narrator and an old Swede, overboard. Driven southward by the magical Simoom towards the South Pole, the narrator's ship eventually collides with a gigantic black galleon, and only the narrator manages to scramble aboard. Once the new ship arrives, the narrator finds outdated maps and useless navigational tools throughout the ship. Also, he finds it to be manned by elderly crewmen who are unable to see him; he steals writing materials from the captain's cabin to keep a journal (the "manuscript" of the title) which he resolves to cast into the sea. This ship too continues to be driven southward, and he notices the crew appears to show signs of hope at the prospect of their destruction as it reaches Antarctica. The ship enters a clearing in the ice where it is caught in a vast whirlpool and begins to sink into the sea.
In 1833 Poe lived in Baltimore with his father's sister Mrs. Maria Clemm. After winning a prize of $50 for the short story 'MS Found in a Bottle,' he started career as a staff member of various magazines, among others the Southern Literary Messenger in Richmond (1835-37), Burton's Gentleman's Magazine in Philadelphia (1839-40), and Graham's Magazine (1842-43). During these years he wrote some of his best-known stories. Southern Literary Messenger he had to leave partly due to his alcoholism.