He was very successful as Captain Cuttle in John Brougham's dramatization of Dombey and Son, and in other low comedy parts in plays from Charles Dickens's novels. Burton was the author of a large number of plays, one of which, Ellen Wareham (1833), was produced simultaneously at five London theatres.
Poe left the magazine in June 1840. Burton and Poe had a tumultuous working relationship. Burton tried selling the magazine without telling Poe, and Poe made plans to launch his own competing Philadelphia-based magazine called The Penn without mentioning it to Burton. Additionally, Burton may have written a particularly scathing negative review of Poe's novel The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket and spread rumors of his drunkenness, which Poe denied. Poe told a friend that Burton was a "blackguard and a villain. Poe's friend Joseph E. Snodgrass thought Burton's rumor-mongering was enough for Poe to sue for slander but Poe noted his own name-calling was enough for a countersuit.
Burton died February 10, 1860, in New York City. At the time of his death, he had collected a library of over 500,000 volumes, especially rich in books by and relating to William Shakespeare.
William Evans Burton was the father of the English painter William Shakespeare Burton.
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