The Egoist

A Voyant Perspective of The Crisis and The Egoist

I compared two magazines, The Crisis and The Egoist. The Crisis is always an interesting magazine to look at because of its vast amount of magazine issues and its distinction as an NAACP house magazine that acted as a voice for the black community of America in the racially turbulent times of the 20th century. I wanted to compare it to The Egoist because though The Egoist put a focus on the promotion of modernist literature, according to MJP, it also continued in the vein of The Freewomen by addressing social and philosophical issues. I thought that perhaps The Egoist would discuss issues surrounding race in its social or political discussions. 

I decided to search these magazines for race-related words such as "colored" "negro" and "nigger." Not surprisingly, "colored" and "negro" are among the most frequently used words in The Crisis. "Colored"  and "negro" are almost always among the top five most distinctive words in each issue of The Crisis.

My word trend search of "Nigger" showed me that it is rarely used more than once per issue by The Crisis and from looking at its usage in context; I was able to determine it was never reflected as as an appropriate title for black people. 

The results from my search for race-related words in The Egoist were surprising. Though the magazine's most frequently used words are "life" and "man," hardly any mention is made of the "colored" man or the lives of a negro or negroes. "Colored" was not once used in reference to a person or people, and "negro" was used less than 15 times in the entire corpus and never used more than twice in an issue. "Nigger" was used twice in the entire corpus and it was difficult to tell from the context whether the writer using it was regarding it as an appropriate title for a black person or not. 

I wanted to look at the word usage of these words in the corpus containing all nine magazines, but I couldn't get the download to work.  I assume however that the majority of the usage of these words would be found in The Crisis.  

Music in The Egoist and The Crisis

Brooke Boutwell and Miranda Dabney

Brooke and I chose the word Music  to look at in The Egoist and The Crisis.  We originally chose BLAST, but had some issues getting into Voyeur with BLAST, so we chose The Crisis to replace it.  

In The Egoist, some of the most frequent words used were life, man, and new.  From this, we can tell that the magaznie's focus was to talk about humanity and life, what happens in the lives of the readers or people like the readers.  The word "music" peaks in volume 5, issue 6, an issue which also references Poetry and The Little Review.  There are 25.75 uses of the word "music".  Among those mentions of music, there is an article about Debussey.  The issues tied for lowest number of "music" mentions, with zero mentions, are volume 1, issue 2; volume 5, issues 8 and 9; and volume 6, issue 4.

This lab helped us to explore more of what it means to close read using Voyeur tools.  Using the graphs and other tools to track words across different magazines helped to link what different issues focused on as well as figure out where certain words were more prevalent to narrow down issues and articles with the specific interest word.  

Potential anachronism in The Little Review

The first installment of The Little Review was published in March 1914 and is filled with essays, poetry, and literary criticism from some of early 20th Century thinkers. Most of the content is quite lofty, and it’s clear that this was a magazine meant for an intelligent, well-educated audience. It is not only the essays and poems that demonstrate the magazine’s intention to be read by the intellectual elite, though. Even the advertisements are geared toward an educated audience. In fact, every single ad is for a book or a different magazine.

One ad that especially interested me is for The Egoist, another modernist magazine with close ties to The Little Review. The ad for The Egoist does not advertise its intellectual content, though. Instead, the main selling point is that The Egoist does not publish any content about “the war.” At first I assumed that this meant World War I, but then I looked at the date of publication. This issue of The Little Review was published in March 1914. Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s assassination, the event that led Austria-Hungary to declare war on Serbia, did not occur until July. Britain did not enter the war until August 4. In early 1914 in England, the only thing remotely resembling a war was some sporadic conflict between Irish nationalists and British loyalists over the issue of Irish independence. Beyond that (unless I’m missing something major), there was no war.         

One possible explanation for this seemingly anachronistic advertisement could be that war was still a major topic of discussion in Britain and England, even in times of peace. Perhaps people were tiring of the conversation, and The Egoist felt the need to advertise their difference from the mainstream discourse. Any other ideas would be greatly appreciated!



Discourse on Censorship and Obscenity in The Egoist

I chose to resume my examination of discourses about censorship and obscenities from last week by looking into The Egoist, the sister magazine of The Little Review. I used the same graphing functions on Voyant Tools and attempted to graph the same series of words across the magazine's corpus: censorship, censor, censors, censored, obscene, obscenity, postal, free speech, espionage, objection, objections.

The data I input revealed the following Word Trends graph: 

Since part of my project focuses on the relationship between Ulysses and the suppression of The Little Review, I thought it would be interesting to look for any trends in discourse pertaining to censorship, obscenity, and suppression in the issues of The Egoist that were printed around the same time that The Egoist began serializing Ulysses in January of 1919.

From the relative frequency view of the Word Trends graph (shown), the words "censor," "obscene," "obscenity," "censorship," and "censors" only constitute a small spike in the graph for the January 1919 issue. The Keywords in Context widget shows the term in the context of the issue:

 Compared to the remarks about censorship printed in The Little Review, particularly in the May 1919 and June 1919 issues (described in one of my earlier blog posts), this antipathy toward the censor is muted. 

One slightly larger, albeit still small, spike occurs for the last issue of The Egoist from December 1919. This issue  contains the tenth episode of Ulysses, and the Keywords in Context widget reveals that the word "censor" was used in the context of something written about Joyce's work: 

A look at the actual December 1919 issue of The Egoist on the Modernist Journals project shows that the text containing the word "censor" is part of Harriet Shaw Weaver's "Notice to Readers,"  which explains that The Egoist will not be printed during 1920 and that a publisher has been located who is willing to "make an unmutilated copy" of Ulysses in book form (70).

Essays and Egoism: WWI and the MJP Timeline

Unsurprisingly, a search for "Egoism" brings up four pieces from The Egoist. The most interesting piece of these was "'The Egoist's' Employment of Words," a letter to the editor of The Egoist taking Dora Marsden to task over her earlier condemnation ( "I Am," in the January 1, 1915 issue) of the way in which other feminists attempt to fight for their rights. Moreover, clicking through to this piece gave me access to many other critical pieces on the same page, other letters to the editor questioning Dora Marsden's writings and her commitment to egoism, feminism, and logic. These writings would be intriguing to tie together with Marsden's pieces in the August 1914 issue that I examined for today, comparing the 1915 criticisms of these readers with Marsden's earlier writings and examining the common themes between them. 

A search for Dora Marsden as author only turns up four pieces. As it seemed that Marsden had at least one piece in almost every issue of The Freewoman, The New Freewoman, and The Egoist, it seems that The Egoist has not been extensively recorded within the timeline as of yet. Of the four pieces, two were ones I had added. The remaining pieces were "I Am," previously mentioned, which detailed the magazine's mission and professed a decided distaste for both words and civilization, and a "Views and Comments" section of May 1, 1915 which asserted that workers were being taken advantage of and criticizes the principles of democracy. These pieces are far less focused on war, but the "Views and Comments" piece seems to hearken back to Marsden's assertions in her earlier "Views and Comments" section of September 1914, in which she states that World War I is not inspiring men to enlist in high numbers largely because they cannot afford it.  
Under the topic of class, there is little to be found. The two previously mentioned "Views and Comments" pieces are present, as well as an intriguing advertisement from Scribner's: "If a King's Doctor told you to take Sanatogen..." The advertisement ties issues of class to the purchase of the medicine in question. 
As all of the pieces I chose were essays, there were quite a few results in this category. Significant related pieces include "The War," an article from The Crisis which deals with racial issues surrounding World War I and could make for interesting comparison with Marsden's articles on class, "Artists and the War" from BLAST II, which examines the roles of artists in the war, a topic that coincides nicely with Richard Aldington's piece. The large number of essays found here under this genre illustrates the dependence of magazines of the period on this form of content. 
The timeline features 22 entries from The Egoist. Many of these are pieces already mentioned above. The others are mainly either poetry or reviews of art, such as "Gaudier-Brzeska's Art" from the September 1, 1915 issue, which describes the evolution of the sculptor's work and laments his death (which again echoes the assertions of Aldington that artists are being killed in the war and bringing about the end of modernist art). Poetry includes "Chicago" and "Poems of France." Additionally, there are several entries marking various events in Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, which was being published as a serial in The Egoist during the period. It appears, then, that the material within The Egoist is neatly divided between literary or artistic material and discussion of Egoism and its philosohy and practice. 
I see the timeline as a promising tool for discovery with great potential. Though there were not many terribly unusual connections, the timeline did alert me to things I might not have noticed or connected otherwise, such as the recuring discussion of Kongzi (Confucius) and his philosophy, as well as discussion of other ancient Chinese philosophers. Moreover, it was intriguing just to scan through the timeline and let the names of pieces catch my eye, and to see wildly disparate pieces arrayed in chronological order, placed in temporal context. 


World War I in The Egoist, August and September 1914

I examined discussions focusing on WWI from the early part of the war within the pages of The Egoist. The pieces I examined are:

The Egoist August 15, 1914

September 1, 1914


The Portrait vs. D.H. Lawrence

The Egoist Vol. 1 No. 7.

Wordle of the segment of Joyce's Portrait: 

Wordle of the poems by D.H. Lawrence that immediately follow this segment:

 My first instinct with making a comparison between the segment of The Portrait and Lawrence's poems was that these seemed unusual bed-fellows--in comparison to the "imagism" definition that Holly highlighted today as being evident for Ezra Pound in Joyce's writing, being a focus on common speech patterns and concrete images, my experience of Lawrence's poetry is that he foregrounds his almost numinous reverence for nature, be that the countryside around Eastwood or his preoccupation with animalistic physicality between people. The Wordle went further than this feeling, however.

As Dr. Drouin said, one of the biggest comparisons is the frequency of "day" in Joyce and "night" in Lawrence, but additionally, it was interesting to see the prominence of words like "sin," "burning," "pain," and "cried" in Joyce in comparison to the frequency of "love," "hope," "heart," and "golden" in Lawrence. These kind of comparisons, I think, are useful in that they quantified this abstract feeling I'd had about the contrast between the two, lending a tangible reinforcement to my interpretation of the juxtaposition. Plus, there seemed to be some interesting convergences--the prominance of "cried" in Joyce and "eyes" in Lawrence particularly, and this seems to indicate there could be room for further analysis, for instance, of the way both writers approach looking or seeing.

Incidentally, I was also amused to see the miniature poetic phrases Wordle created, like "confession sleeve," "drunken darkness" and "trick loafers."

Advertisments in Poetry

After reading the essay "Marketing British Poetry: The Freewoman, the Egoist, and Counterpublic Spheres" by Mark Morrisson, I thought it was interesting that he pointed out that many of the different magazines at the time would have advertisements in eachother's magazines. When I browsed through the magazines I came across many instances of this particular practice. One instance was in the magazine "Poetry" which had an advertisement for the "Egoist" ( The advertisement isn't very flashy, it's pretty simple and plain. It basically listed how people can subscribe to the Egoist, who they should contact, why it is important that people subscribe, and the Terms of Subscription.

I thought this was important because although there were other ads that featured where people could find certain books, there weren't any other ads that showcased other magazines. Maybe this magazine held some importance to the editor of "Poetry". Or maybe the editor of the "Egoist" felt that they would be able to gain a lot of subscriptions from the readers of "Poetry". The author of the essay pointed out that the "Egoist" was having trouble gaining subscriptions, so this was probably one of the many different tactics they tried to use in order to get more people interested in the magazine. 

Periodical Studies and Genetic Criticism at the 2009 Buffalo Joyce Conference

Just thought I would report that there is a large amount of periodical studies and genetic criticism (the study of manuscripts, page proofs, and other avant-texte that go into the making of a published edition of a work) at the annual Summer Joyce conference, this year being held in Buffalo. The University of Buffalo houses the largest and most important collection of Joyce's papers.

Yesterday I saw a panel containing two papers dealing with The Little Review. Amanda Sigler, a doctoral candidate at the University of Virginia recontextualized the lawsuit brought against the magazine for publishing allegedly obscene sections of Joyce's novel-in-progress, Ulysses. In studying some unpublished letters of John Quinn, a well-known lawyer who defended avant-garde writers and artists against censorship in the U.S., she found references to other materials in Little Review numbers from about March-May 1918 that also alerted the authorities in the Post Office. These include erotic drawings based on Classical iconography and a pseudonymous (and fictional) letter from Ezra Pound, supposedly from a captured German soldier, ordering German soldiers go home and impregnate as many women as possible without moral or legal ramifications. Sigler's findings portray a different understanding of the Little Review lawsuit that actually takes Ulysses out of the center of it, but also highlights the ways in which various pieces in that magazine were questioning and courting censorship laws in a deliberate way.

Nancy Cushing, a doctoral candidate at Penn State, dealt with the imperial and nationalist tensions in romance fiction about South America, shedding new light on the "Nausicaa" episode of Ulysses and the story "Eveline" in Dubliners. She also recontextualized "Nausicaa" in The Little Review to show how various other pieces, as well as a novel by Henry Hudson called The Purple Land (1885), influenced the manner of Joyce's presentation of that motif in his work.

My own presentation performed a genetic reading of the "Wandering Rocks" episode of Ulysses in order to argue for influence from Einstein's special theory of relativity in the space and time relationships between events. I analyzed the fair copy manuscript to suggest evidence of Joyce's thought processes, showing that the most relativistic event-structures had been added in the margins or between the lines after the episode had been fully drafted. I then showed excerpts from articles by Dora Marsden in The Egoist from March to December 1918 that refer to relativity, as well as other examples of fiction and criticism that show an increasing editorial interest in space, time, and the nature of events.

Later this afternoon I'll be attending a presentation on archival preservation of Joyce's manuscripts and letters.