The Owl

Conservatism in The Owl

The tone of The Owl is an interesting contrast to the modern, radical tone that categorizes the majority of the magazines found in the MJP. The Owl, edited by Robert Graves, only had three issues, two published in 1919 and one published as The Winter Owl in 1923. The Owl had difficulty taking off for multiple reasons, but one of  the main reasons was because of its refusal to take a modernist approach which gave it an anarchronistic label.

      Both the cover and the foreword of the first magazine only help to give it a conservative feel. The cover and many of the illustrations within the magazine remind one of illustrations that would function well in a children's book. They are generally bright and innocent illustrations and contrast the sharp, new art often seen in more modern magazines. The foreword ( establishes that the magazine has no intent of making a political stance or attaching to any movement. Indeed, the magazine issues are mostly filled with poetry that avoids the hot topics of war and modernism and clings to topics of love and nature. Unfortunately, Graves concept was too escapist and conservative and eclectic to last long in the midst of the modern magazine movement. 

A Sad Owl Post-War

The post-war Owl was still rather dark and somber in its mood. There was a sense that the redemption of humanity might be on the horizon but the war was still very strongly present in its contents. Throughout the 1923 publication there are very dark sketches such as “The Shire Horse” and rather sad poems such as a “Winter Remembered” by John Crowe Ransom, which directly references the war.

In a “Winter Remembered” Ransom speaks about a winter at war. He says “better to walk forth in murderous air and wash my wound in the snows… because my heart would throb less painful there”. The winter imagery contributes to how horrible the war was and it’s lingering effects on society. The Owl’s choice of including this poem speaks to the lasting problems those faced with the after match of a traumatic event such as war continue to deal with.

Like wise the sketches in the post-war Owl also add to a sense of despair. "The Shire Horse" looks very dark and ominous. He is somewhat reminiscent of one of the four horseman of the apocalypse. Upon closer examination on can see a small man hanging onto the reign. He, however, looks small and insignificant next to this huge menacing looking horse. The colors used are also dark further giving a sense of despair. This sketch speaks volumes to how society was feeling shortly after the war. This negative sentiment is lightened a bit with a series of sketches by Vincent Brook, which depicts what seems to be a man under a rock. He then begins to move up through the rock until he is finally standing next to rock with a content look on his face. This can be seen as a somewhat symbolic sentiment that at this time people still very much feel effected by the war but are looking forward to eventually moving away from the horrors of the war. 

The overall post-war sentiment of The Owl has been rather dark with some hints of hope for the near future.

Due: Project 4



Valediction for The Owl

In the analysis of poetry it is essential to consider context. A single poem published in an anthology, therefore, has different implications than if the same poem were published in a magazine or, say, recited as part of a eulogy. To a certain extent, then, the consequences of context are out of an author's control. It is rather the individual who chooses to place a poem within a given context, most often an editor, who dictates its meaning. That being said, it is the nature of poetry, or arguably all art, that allows for this variability and as such even an editor's intentions may be obscured. Additionally, independent factors may contribute to a contextual change for a published poem. The final issue of The Owl, published in the winter of 1923, offers an interesting example of how verse can not only be altered by context but, moreover, communicate the objectives of an editor more so than a poet.

In the foreword of the inaugural issue of The Owl published in May, 1919, the editors insist that their magazine, "has no politics, leads no new movement, and is not even the organ for any particular generation". While it is true that unlike other "little magazines" The Owl maintained a decidedly credo free approach to publication with no manifestos or overtly agenda laden editorial prose, it would be mistaken to believe that there was, consequently, no unification of theme, particularly within individual issues. The last issue of the short-lived magazine, for example, contains many poems which specifically dwell on the topics of lost love or death. Given that The Owl was terminating its operations, these poems, however, take on secondary meaning, ostensibly serving as the editors' lamentations for their own loss.

Thomas Hardy's poem "The Missed Train" offers the first example of a poem which can be seen as indicative of the editors' regret over their folding magazine. Like most of the subsequent poems in the issue, "The Missed Train" is about loss, in this case the loss that inevitably occurs with the passage of time. Naturally, there is no reason to believe that Hardy wrote this poem in response to the transitory nature of small-press magazine publishing, but the last stanza in particular seems imbued with the precise emotions that those involved with The Owl would have felt, knowing that this would be their last offering to the public:

"Years, years as grey seas,

Truly, now stretch between! less and less

Shrink the visions then great in me. — Yes,

Then in me. Now in these."

If taken as an elegy for the magazine, the last lines especially seem interesting. Although short-lived, The Owl did publish over a span of several years, and yet while they were not able to sustain their "visions" for the magazine, many other similar publications were able to succeed.

The idea that the failure of The Owl is manifested in their peers' success speaks to a possible perception by the editors' that theirs is a public failure, one which ultimately cannot be felt in isolation. This idea is likewise apparent in the sonnet "Tracked" by Enoch Soames.  "Tracked" is a dark poem that portrays a character who is attempting to burn the evidence of his personal shame. Though he is able to do so partially, at least, from himself, he nevertheless is left with a foreboding sense. Ultimately, this sense is manifested when the character, "[kneels] down, a man most loathe to die, / And [peers] through the key-hole of the door, / [sees] there the pupil of another eye". As The Owl is exists in the public sphere, the editors thereof cannot live out their misfortune privately. Not only will continuing magazines serve as a reminder to their inability to sustain, but, furthermore, they must endure the scrutiny of the reading public.

Primarily though, it is the mere feeling of impotence that foundering precipitates. In "Full Moon" by Robert Graves, a poem which superficially deals with lost love but seems germane as well to the loss of The Owl, a feeling of futility accompanies the speaker's nostalgia. Interestingly, Graves uses an owl as one of his metaphors in the poem:

"A tedious owlet cried;

The nightingale above my head

With this or that replied,

Like man and wife who nightly keep

Inconsequent debate in sleep

As they dream side by side."

As this metaphor of idle communication among birds mirrors the speaker's own inability to communicate with his lost love, parallels for The Owl can be drawn from both as well. From the editors' perspective, as the vocalizing owlet, they are unable to effectively communicate with their readership leading to their demise. The metaphor of sleep emphasizes perhaps that while their is a seeming reciprocity between publisher and reader, fundamentally the two cannot serve one another's needs. Thus the editor's beloved publication disappears: "And love went by upon the wind / as though it had not been".

It is difficult to say whether the editor's of The Owl did in fact select the poems for their final issue, consciously or sub-consciously, based on their own feelings of loss. Indeed there is no editor's note to suggest whether it was then known that this would be the last offering by the magazine. Nevertheless, it is not unreasonable to offer a reading of these poems that considers at least their coincidental subtext. Moreover, the potential for unanticipated contextual change and the subsequent alteration of meaning, are further evidence that a work of art is a living thing not controllable by either artist or editor.

The Owl and male figures post WWI

The third and last edition of "The Owl" was published post WWI in 1923. With in their final issue the editors Robert Graves and William Nicholson produced an issue which addressed drawings of male figures and God's presence in nature. With in the fist few pages the reader is introduced to a large headed male figure titles "Swinburn on Blotting Paper by Perlligrini on page 5. The man seems to be quite depressed and unsure of his thoughts. The male is figure is walking with in a grassy area but his body language is twisted as if he was indecisive wither to continue on his path or turn around. Another male figure seen with in the issue is on page 18 titled "Mr. Belloc" http://dl.lib.brown. ... pageturner&pageno=27 by John Doyl. The "Mr Belloc" seems to be sitting in a chair with his ankles crossed towards his right side while his hands were interlocked laying on his lamp. The character in the drawing seems to have a timid expression waiting patiently for something to happen. Both characters body language and expressions can be perceived as the feeling people had after the initial shock of the end of the war. The first image was the uncertainty if the war was truly over while the second image was the was waiting to see what was next to come of the war. Both male figures have a more relaxed but concerned expressions. The aftermath of the war left all sided unease and inewaiting for the next moved from their opponents when trying to finalized the treaties which would soon be broken once again.

With in the poem "Knowledge of God" on page 59 the narrator addresses the sense of God and is he or is he not all powerful and all surrounding. With in the first stanza of the poem the speaker questions who believes they have experienced God in their surrounding or in their dream if he was truly their of a figure o imaginations. He then goes on to question id he is infinite and is he actually there with in all time and space. "To time and space they add their sum But how is Godhead there?" The nature of god is questioned with the lose of fate with in his almighty being. The narrator questions not only his existence but his creations as well. The myth that god is all knowing and all surrounding is lost and he claims one should continue on with life with out depending on gods help. Another poem addressing the same issue of Gods worth in nature was in "First Rhymes: on page 26 by Edmund Blunden. The narrator is in a mill when he notices a blackbird’s and the death of nature. The sound of the hushed bird and the meadow dying leaves him aloe alone in his trails. The subject of life and death is addressed but the scene of nature dying before the narrator’s eye. He I uncertain what to make of it but only has his memories of what once was to make him happy in the end. Nature is had an everlasting cycle or recreation and death. Like in "Knowledge of God" the narrator is unable to grasp the concept of worth of life. The feeling of devastation and grief is portrayed within poems and drawings. The uncertainty of the characters within each work shows the reality of the war and the affects it had on the many individuals.

Advertising Hostilities: The Effects of The Great War on Modernist Magazines

In June 1914 a significant confluence of events occurred which would have lasting effects on literary history. World War I collided with, and altered, both the swelling modernist magazine culture in Europe and America, and the employment of advertising therein. Though the influence the war had on the artistic content in the “little magazines” is perhaps easily understood, the economic ramifications that forced publishers to reconsider their still nascent relationships with commodity culture advertising techniques are more confounding in their myriad consequences. In some magazines which never embraced advertising, such as The Owl and Wheels, effects of the economic downturn precipitated by the war are understandably difficult to ascertain without a detailed examination of their financial records. However, other magazines of the time, The New Age, Blast, and Poetry for example, exhibit either a noticeable flux in the frequency and content of their advertising, or in the case of Blast, an advertising philosophy that was seeming inspired by the conflict. Still another category of magazines, those like Scribner's that had been publishing for a greater length of time, weathered the war with more stability, with a shift in focus in their advertisements representing the only hint of the ongoing hostilities. Nevertheless, by the conclusion of the war in 1919 many of the “little magazines” were mortally wounded or already among the causalities. Still, the experiments in advertising the avant-garde that occurred during the war were undoubtably valuable for those that survived and those for whom publication was on the horizon.

With regard to advertising, modernist magazines, prior to the war, had differing mentalities on the utilization of such.  While some avant-garde publications saw advertising as corruptive, other more mainstream publications viewed advertising as essential to both its overall flourish and further increase in circulation.  The ensuing war, “The Great War”, would test both of these approaches, as necessary adaptations were essential to a magazine’s survival.

It seems obvious enough that if advertisers sought to profit, they would furthermore have to cater to an audience more prone to buy their product.  But what becomes interesting is the shift in the aesthetic style and wording of advertisements.  While ads initially sought to merely alert consumers of a products existence, insistence on a products necessity, and subtle insinuations as to how that product was defining to a desired lifestyle, emerged.  Learning from the successes of advertising with relation to the Suffragist movement, advertisers played largely to women, who seemed to respond strongest to trends in consumerism.  Products to be peddled ranged from clothing, to books, to vaccinations for children; and the “brand-name” became something tangible, and to be desired.  The very first issue of The New Age, for example, contains over twenty individual ads, the majority of which catering to women.  Bold letters reading “A Woman’s Question” turns out being an advertisement for The Daily News.  Prunes are billed as “the perfect fruit”, preservatives lessen food sickness and “dyspepsia can be cured”…

It is arguably this fervor for material goods that alarmed avant-garde elitists, who in many cases strongly opposed the embrace for endorsement.  In publications such as Wheels and The Owl, all reliance for success was put on a small subscription base, not on advertising revenue.  These magazines (running for 6 and 3 issues, respectively) saw their content as a forum for “high art”, with no place for the intermingling of art and ad.  If advertisements reflected ubiquitous consumerism, surely these artsy magazines with their small fan bases saw the material world as corrosive to the originality they championed, and in direct combatance with the notion of artistic integrity.  But this abhorrence to advertising also made for a paradoxical conflict of interest.  While the consumer culture spurred by advertising was viewed by the Modernist movement largely as a “debasement”, it could also be self-promoting.

As the world approached its “first world war”--- a war that would seriously hinder the global economy ---it seemed that many modernist publications were faced with the dilemma of staying financially afloat.  Many magazines that scoffed at the notion of advertising as a means for revenue would go under, while other publications reliant on such revenue would either consolidate in a corporate fashion, or adjust their subscription prices accordingly.  During the war years, mergers, not just in publishing but in most any commercial spheres, increased.  Unable, and consequently unwilling to compete with each other, many publications saw a combination of content and reader base, in conjunction with a decrease of quantity, the most “democratic” approach to preserving quality.  But even with the war’s end, this approach seldom seemed sustainable.

Other publications that had embraced advertising from the get go had to make their own war-time maneuvers.  The New Age, which at its founding was dense with ads, had to adapt to the plummet in such seen by the declaration of world war.  Oddly enough, the day after England declared war (the August 13 issue of 1914), the only ad run by The New Age was an ad that beckoned subscribers to loan money to the national treasury.

The actual content of The New Age would drastically change as well, as it now featured a regular war column and other such contributions that directly addressed the global crisis.  Advertising in The New Age post-1914 became virtually non-existent until after the war’s end (which saw very little resurgence in endorsements).  To make up for this loss of revenue, the price of a subscription, from the founding of The New Age until its demise shortly after the war’s end, nearly doubled.

Scribner's Magazine, which started in 1887, had an abundance of advertisements within each issue. Every issue devoted roughly half of its pages to advertisements which were positioned in the front section of the magazine as well as the back section. The advertisements ranged from household luxury items to groceries, as well as schools and colleges in New York State. The Modernist Journal Project only carries the issues from Volume 57 to Volume 60, which is a very limited amount compared to the amount of issues that were produced from the time it started publishing to its end in 1939. One thing that was interesting was that the first issue of volume 57 has a sort of preface to the advertisement section which describes the importance of advertising in the magazine. The statement which is called "Good Company and Advertisement" explains that "Only by what a magazine prints can you judge fairly of the people who read it". The statement praises the people who take time to read the advertisements as well as the people and companies who choose Scribner's Magazine to place their ads.

The MJP carries the issues from January of 1915 to December of 1916. These two years display a particular interest in the war within the advertisements. There is also a consistent flow of war advertisements during this period. The ads that dealt with the war were usually positioned in the beginning ad section. The ads mainly solicited books that dealt with the war. The magazine devoted whole pages to books that focused mainly on war topics. There were also ads for other magazines that talked about the war. For instance, "The New York Times" was publishing a semi-monthly magazine titled "Current History of the European War". It was described as "a practical necessity for all persons who follow the war at all seriously". There were plenty of other instances within the different issues of ads about "war books". However, these instances tended to be the same kind of advertisment. They consisted mostly of full or half pages that listed and briefly described books that discussed the war. Some of them focused on America's position in the war as well as America's military involvement.

The rest of the magazine was filled with essays, poems and artwork that covered many different topics. The editors also managed to infuse essays that discussed the war in different ways. The essays as well as the ads seemed to be trying to portray America's point of view about the war. In many of the ads the war was referred to as "The European War". It wasn't seen as something that was seriously affecting the American people, so it seemed as though the editors wanted to express America's position. One of the ads in Volume 57 was for "America and the War" by Theodore Roosevelt. There were many other instances that seemed to show that the editors were trying to give America a voice within this difficult time.

Poetry was a “little magazine” based out of Chicago that began publication in 1912, two years before the outbreak out the war. As its title suggests, Poetry had a particular artistic focus and as such the magazine’s contributions, though diverse in content, were primarily uniform in terms of genre. Although other magazines of the time, such as Wheels, similarly concentrated on the dissemination of a particular category of art, Scribner's, The New Age, Blast and other publications produced contemporaneously with Poetry included a decidedly more heterogeneous mix of items. While this divergence is of little consequence in and of itself, as historical documents, the magazines of the latter category, those which embraced not only poetry but essays, stories, and drawings as well, more readily facilitate analysis of how political events influenced the many spheres of thought at the time. Therefore, in order to appreciate the full bearing World War I had on Poetry, it is important to consider the entire contents of the magazine and not simply its literary contributions. Specifically, the advertisement section in each issue should be examined.

Though the first issue of Poetry, produced in October of 1912, contained only two advertisements, one for the magazine itself and another for the Alderbrink Press, that number steadily increased in the first few years of publication. By the outbreak of the war in June, 1914, the magazine had thirteen unique advertisers, among them, not only publishing houses and other “little magazines”, but a department store and a dog breeder. This diversity speaks not only to a willingness on the part of Poetry's publishers to participate in the burgeoning commodity culture, but also to a certain amount success the magazine must have been experiencing in its distribution and sales.

This prosperity ostensibly continued for many months after the conflict in Europe began, though mention of the war did begin to appear sporadically in advertisements beginning with the September, 1914 issue. In an entirely unemotional solicitation for contest submissions, “$100 for a War Poem” is the very first reference to World War I between the covers of Poetry. The impassivity of this advertisement's wording is interesting, however, as it may speak to America's then neutral position in the hostilities overseas.  Nevertheless, the inclusion of this item indicates that there was a growing interest in the war in America.

By the November, 1914 issue of Poetry this interest had fully materialized, with almost every published poem either explicitly or implicitly referencing the war. Similarly, the advertising section reveals that other American publications were shifting their focus to The Great War. One advertisement for The Masses magazine employs numerous witticisms to demonstrate the content of their recent issue asking subscribers to “enlist now” so that they might read the “rifle-fire stories” of the contributers. Another more straightforwardly presented ad is for the Harper's Weekly “War Special” which promises readers “authentic, comprehensive” coverage. This issue of Poetry marks a new phase for the magazine in more than just its coverage of the war, however. Notably, this is the final issue in which Marshall Field & Co. department store advertises in the magazine, signaling the beginning of a general downturn in both the quantity and diversity of advertising in Poetry for the remainder of the war.

While it is difficult to ascertain the precise causes for the withdrawal of advertisers towards the end of 1914, it may be surmised that anxieties over the ongoing war, and the economic consequences thereof, at least played a role. In any case, by April of 1916, approximately one year before the US entered the war, Poetry's advertising section contained merely five unique advertisers, all of them publishing houses. Additionally, reference to the war in the advertisements between 1915 and 1917 was infrequent at best. For example, in 1916 the only mention is in the February issue where The Hutchinson Studio is announcing the availability of photographs, priced at $5.00, of the deceased poet/soldier Rupert Brooke.

Seemingly in response the dearth of ad revenue generated during the middle years of the war, the character of advertisements in Poetry changed greatly beginning in 1918. The one commodity advertiser, Horlick's Malted Milk, promoting its product in the magazine introduced a new campaign in the February, 1918 issue. Though Horlick's had been advertising in Poetry for several months, they had always appealed to the reader's frugality, their slogan being “drink it in place of tea or coffee”. Their new campaign, however, exploited American involvement in the war, asking readers to “Send [Horlick's] to your soldier boy”. By capitalizing on the sympathies of American citizen's, Horlick's connected their product with patriotism.

Similarly, book publishers advertising in Poetry manipulated the tragedies of the war to their advantage. In the January, 1919 issue, one of the last of the magazine published before the Treaty of Versailles, The Macmillan Co. included an endorsement from “a soldier in France” in its advertisement for an anthology of 20th century verse. The quote given both connects the publisher's product with the war and further elicits a sympathetic response from prospective buyers as the soldier claims that the book's “bold beauty [has] saved me from terror at moments when...the explosion of an enemy shell...fell without preface upon [him]”.

Ultimately, whether sheerly by luck or as a consequence of their willingness to adapt to the economic circumstances precipitated by the war, Poetry managed to remain financially viable well beyond the signing of the treaty, continuing, in fact, to the present day. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Blast, a London-based vorticist magazine, produced its final issue (only its second) in June of 1915. While many avant-garde publications of the time were similarly short lived, Blast in particular is interesting to contrast with Poetry in that the two magazines employed markedly different advertising strategies.

Like Poetry, each issue of Blast contained an advertising section. Unlike the “little magazine” from Chicago, however, Blast did not embrace commodity advertisers. Rather, the latter included, almost exlusively, self-promotional items. In Blast 2 the six page section at the back of the magazine contains one advertisement for contributer Ezra Pound's new book, followed by one for Blast 1, and finally four pages of advertisements for the publisher of Blast, John Lane. This type of symbiotic advertising was not atypical in “little magazines”, but the simple section is intriguing given Blast's own, more progressive, promotional techniques.

According to Mark Morrisson, Blast represented “perhaps the most radical...attempt to draw upon the energies of a promotional culture” (Morrisson 117). This manifested not only within the magazine itself, but also in the placement of ads in other modernist publications, often using unique rhetorical strategies. In The Egoist, for instance, a Blast 1 advertisement:

“used evocative phrases that obviously had no direct informational value and were staples of product-style advertisements: 'THE CUBE. THE PYRAMID. / Putrification of Guffaws Slain by Appearance of / BLAST. / No Pornography. No Old Pulp / END OF THE CHRISTIAN ERA'” (Morrisson 119)

This transformation of commodity marketing technique into something individual and avant-garde sets Blast apart from its contemporaries. Though, by the second issue of the magazine an additional factor, The Great War, altered both the content of Blast's promotional strategies and, furthermore, put into new perspective its editor's advertising philosophies.

Even before hostilities began in earnest, Wyndham Lewis, the editor of Blast was an advocate of the war. Once the war began, as well, exploited the situation to his advantage, producing, and heavily promoting, Blast 2 as the "War Number". Not only did he expound this message in his magazine, but his relationship with advertising can itself be seen as an illustration of his militant ideologies.

According to Morrisson, Lewis developed a “changing conception of the artist from the feminized... to the masculine, virile, [and] violent” (Morrisson 126). This masculine aggression Lewis believed was so important to artists speaks not only to his support of the war but also to the two sides of Blast's employment of advertising: on the one hand insistent on self-promotion by way of a bold message, and on the other, allowing very little advertising to enter into the magazine from the outside. In other words, advertising was akin to sexual intercourse in Lewis' mind and as such he insisted on being the aggressor, the penetrator, rather than the passive receiver.

Without the context of the war this connection might be difficult to discern. In fact, it is likely that Lewis' promotional mindset was bolstered by the onset on World War I. Nevertheless, Blast failed to sustain itself past its first two issues perhaps due to Lewis' insistent, one-sided relationship with advertising.

Despite Blast's failure to produce a third issue, the guerrilla advertising tecniques Wyndham Lewis adopted from the sufferists, as well as the apurpt, sometimes bizarre, alteration of commodity marketing methods continue to have an influence today. Similarly the principled, if perhaps fatal, refusul of magazines like The Owl and Wheels to support themselves through ad revenues can be seen as an inspirational touchstone for countercultural publications, Adbusters for example, today. The lessons taught by The New Age, Poetry, and Scribner's are, however, perhaps the most influencial to current magazines. Ultimately, these publications showed that with in an uncontrolable politcal or economic climate it is, first and foremost, best to be have an established readership. Short of that, adaptation and experimentation is the only lifeline and even then success is far from ensured.

-Nickeisha, Natanya, Charlie

Nationalism, Race and WWI

by Michal Mechlovitz, Kim Velez, and T. Noelle Williams

Under Construction

The commencement of World War I possessed great influence over national sympathies around the world. From 1914, through the duration of the war in 1919, people's nationalistic identities were strongly affected due to the circumstance of crisis and turmoil that proved rampant throughout the international strata. Not only were feelings swayed in regard to people's own native lands, but they were respectively moved when considering foreign cultures, and the races therein as well. Whether positive, negative, or indifferent, nationalistic and race oriented views became evident throughout the literary and artistic world, which hold true to be apparent in Blast, The New Age, The Owl, Poetry, Scribner's, and Wheels magazines. Each of these literary magazines had published issues at some point during the war itself, (some had existed before and after the fact as well,) and each possess context that, while unique to the individual, parallels the inner thought process of authors and artists of the era in regard to the subjects of Nationalism and Race in a time when international tensions and weariness of cultural identity thrived.

Prior to the start of the World War I feeling of nationalism could be seen within mangy publications. Within the First issue of Blast the one is exposed to the extreme thoughts of the Manifesto I of Vorticism. The writers combine their thoughts on all countries together and bring their readers their opinions on the how one country compare to another. At first glance the writer seems to criticizes England and France on pages 11-14  describing how naive and they were and set in their ways which did not allow other to succeed in their own light. The narrator disagrees with the Victorian outlook of he English people as vampires who suck the life out of others and police the world so others would not over ride them in any shape or form. England was a machine, which others must obey, if not cursed thoughts that went against it. Once England was blasted for its position of power France was then criticized for set ways as well.

“Complacent young man,
so much respect for Papa
and his son ! –Oh ! Papa
is wonderful: but all papas
are! (pg 13)

The respect for ones country was described through the comparison of a son to his father. The thought process of the French and English people was no country was greater than theirs. The narrator depicts the feeling of nationalism the people held for their countries. Even though he described them as naïve and empty, the land, which they reside, is never wrong in their action only those who surround them are at fault.

Within the Second Manifesto within Blast’s fist issue a combination of writers described how battles are fought on the basis of which side one is on. 

“We fight first on one side, then on the other
but always for the same cause, which is
neither side or both sides and ours” (pg 30).

The narrator describes the use of nationalism once again for the reason one fights for any cause within time of war or focal point in that matter. Even with the success of developing new views and strives for equality and peace primitive thoughts still lived on. The cause is not revaluate in many cases due to the face that the cause can not be seen by thoughts who fought. “ Our cause is NO Man’s (pg 35). He then goes on describing how England produces the greatest artist due to the style compare to that of the Americas or Russia ect.. The sense of Nationalism is felt through out the Manifesto when describing the success of the modern world. . The Englishmen where thought to have own influenced the European world in modern technology as France on did to the world of Art. The Modern world was the product of Anglo Saxon genius and the success of others could never be compared. 

With in The New Age the reader was overcome with many different aspects of the war and what it brought to the home front. With in the weekly section "Notes of The Week" many of its main focal point was an incite on government issues including nationalism and the conflicts on foreign policy. With in the Feb Issue of "The New Age" 1918 the editor The editor includes a quote which sets the tone for the whole issue. He states “ It is difficult, of course, for good – nature Englishmen such as we will allow our pacifists to be, to conceive that there can exist in modern civilized State  like Prussia a ruling class rhar does not mean weill in their sense of the world” ( Vol XXII No. 17 pg 331). The sense of pride and superiority of Great Britain was felt the thought of was continuation of the article in when discussing the socialist government and the independence of the Ukraine.

  With in the article Land Power or Sea Power Ramiro de Maeztu  in the February 18,1918 issue of New Age the debate between the effectiveness of German army to the armies of Britain, Japan and The United States. The feel of nationalism with in this article is seen when the Maeztu begins to discuss how the aim of the Allies is to prevent Germany from making use of the people of other nations such as the Slav race. Even with the fact that Germany as a result of war expanded and expanded their influence over the slave nations its land power dose not compare to the power brought by the Sea. The Northern armies remained convinced that these armies were able to arrive in time because sailing vessels to move at the speeds five or six times greater than armies which proceeded at the place of an infantry march. Even with Germany’s influence over the Slavic nations and their home front advantage Maeztu still proved his argument of the effectiveness of the English sea power. He praised their tactics and embraced the greatness of  the Allies and Great Britain.
The literary magazine Poetry was first published by author and poet Harriet Monroe in 1911. Based out of Chicago, Poetry put hundreds of poetry works into print, with issues published monthly, through the duration of World War I. The magazine appears to take a somewhat pacifist approach towards the war, despite the national cry for disunion from foreign correspondence. In several of the works published in the war's earlier years, the concept of feeling the nationalistic need to separate from foreign races is not only defied, but is somewhat portrayed as ignorant arrogance. In Amy Lowell's poem "The Foreigner", the poet depicts a battle scene from the perspective of a soldier from the opposing end of the war. He discusses how he was ill spoken of by the white natives, but still is certain of his own profound human qualities. The narrator is confident and certain of his cunning, as well as his superiority to the negativity he finds himself the target of. Indeed, he rises above because he is certain he will have the last word: "You Apes! You Jack-Fools!/ You can show me the door,/ And jeer at my ways,/ But you're pinked to the core./ And before I have done,/ I will prick my name in,/ With the front of my steel,/ And your lily- white skin/ Shall be print with me./ For I've come here to win!" Lowell includes a description of the foreigner's unusual attire, as well as his awkward hair, stature, and the shape of his nose. It is clear that she does not see this character as a lesser human being whatsoever, and that she does not necessarily hold a firm belief in the cause of the war, if she should say the opposing end has more courage and advantage.

In the next month's issue, Harriet Monroe includes an editorial commentary titled "The Enemies We Have Made." A note to her fervent subscriber's four years after the first publication of the magazine, and well into the early months of World War I, Monroe's commentary discussed the vitality of friends from various cultures. Monroe discusses her wide international readership base with a grateful tone, one that reads success to her cause. She writes: "From France, Italy, and England, from India, China, and New Zealand, and even from our next-door neighbors, these salutations have come; from poets laurelled and obscure, from editors and critics, classicists and radicals. To all who send them, much thanks; their greetings have power to change paper and ink into flesh and blood." Such an outlook is one that is truly humanist; a sympathizer to all humanity, Monroe puts forth these issues with the need to reach beyond a national level. It is evident in her contribution to Poetry that despite the war, communications and interactions with other cultures and races remain a vital aspect of what makes Poetry thrive. While the war may have affected the contents of the medium of poetry, the intention of it remains universal and cosmopolitan.

The Owl is another literary magazine based out of London from around the same era; however, only three were ever printed, and each of the three printed in a different season four years apart. The first issue was published in 1915, a good year into the war. It is difficult to derive what kind of emotional charge The Owl had towards other races. The magazine itself is filled with poetry of a light-hearted nature, mostly clever bits of optimism, or rhyming, sing song like poems on general topics such as love and nature. It seems as though it's opinion is somewhat ambivalent; in fact, it is stated that the aim of the magazine was not to be political, nor was it geared to any particular Modernist movement. Its purpose was a simple one: to publish and share art. Due to the minimal number of issues, very few works can be found that have any relevance to the issue of race. It is not a particularly well founded theme of The Owl. Still several unusual drawings can be found; one a watercolor called "The Indian", and the other a drawing titled "Gyp." Both works are portraits of people that would seem out of the norm, or somewhat exotic to a youthful poetic magazine from London. Both works possess aspects of these people being foreign; however, neither are viewed in a delicate sense. Both drawings seem only to be studies, an ambiguous observance of a different life than one familiar to artists.

The copies of Scribner's that we have available to us through the MJP fall on interesting dates. The first magazine, dated January 1915, is a year after WWI started and the last issue, dated December 1916, is a year before the US entered combat and three years before the end of the war. From the first issue available the war is a popular issue for the magazine. After wading through many many advertisments - the first and last third of each issue seems to be ads - the reader will find six articles in the first issue alone that deal with the war. One story in this issue, "Coals of Fire" by Mary R.S. Andrew, disscusses the issues of Nationalism verses the Suffragist cause. The main character stands at a suffrage rally agruing for the women to put aside the cause to stand up for the English men who are dying. When an older lady states that the war is not thier cause, she replies "Aren't we English before anything else?" The story illustrates discussions that must have been going on at the time. While some suffragettes believed that England came before the movement others felt they were women above all else. It is an interesting discussion in Nationalism verses the individual.

The magazine Wheels was mainly a way for a few poet friends to publish their work. The magazine was first published just three years before the end of the war and stops running three years after the end. During the war Wheels mentions the war very little if at all, yet its influence, the overall dark and disheartened pitch that the world was in during the war is evident in the poetry that is published in it. One would be hard pressed to find a happy poem in Wheels. For instance the poem, "The Mother" by Edith Sitwell, begins very sweetly, yet with a single line at the end of the second stanza the caring is sucked out of the poem. The poem has waves of sweetness - the care that goes into creating and raising a child - and bitterness - "They live to curse us; and they die." This dark look at motherhood is born out of a world that is losing its sense of humanity which is what many people saw in WWI. Wheels also takes on the war after its end in the issue that is dedicated to Wilfred Owen, a poet who died in battle. The poetry in this issue is full of thoughts against the war and there is no blame placed on any nation nor is there a rally cry to help one. To the poets in Wheels the evil seems to be the war itself.

In some instances the writers of the time saw nationalism as a reason to go to war orto put aside other causes during war, yet we also see that a great deal of writers during the time saw the war as an evil towards the entire human race. For every article found praising the war and calling people towards the war effort, there were three denouncing the war, sometimes within the same article. The authors of the time showed that no matter how much a person loved their country, some things were to atrocious to seam reasonable.

Gender and The Great War

 By Elsie Dwyer, Calgary Martin, and Abra Stokowski

Various magazines during and immediately following the first World War dealt with gender in a variety of ways, both subtle and explicit.  While publications like Blast  sought outright to affirm specific essentialist beliefs about both men’s and women’s roles during wartime, others, like The Owl, shied away from making overt political statements.  However, even within the pages of The Owl and similar magazines with a strictly literary mission, like Poetry and the Sitwells’ Wheels, gender roles were often explored and re-imagined.  While male poets like W.J. Turner depicted female objects as symbolic of the innocence and harmony which was lost as a result of the war, female poets like Edith Sitwell and Iris Tree defied Blast creator Wyndham Lewis’s view of women’s domestic roles during wartime, by writing poems with female speakers whose interior lives are far richer than Lewis’s or even Turner’s simplistic, essentialist vision would allow.  Further, essays in The New Age, such as Alice Morning’s piece “The Enemy in the House,” imagined roles for women as dissenters who could affect the war’s outcome despite being removed from the action and relegated to the home.
     Blast magazine, and Vorticism in general, was male dominated. The magazine’s general impression of the war was that it was a necessary fight for the country of England and for the freedom of art.  On the contrary, the magazine’s impression of women was that they had a very specific role in society, and very little to do with war, a concept that the editors believed women could not possibly understand due to the fundamental differences between the genders.  Blast’s July 1916 issue is called the War Number and is dedicated almost exclusively to World War I. It speaks openly about the war, discussing it explicitly and implicitly in essays and poems. The masculine magazine establishes a pro-war agenda immediately, and leaves no question of allegiance.
      In Wyndham Lewis’ piece “The European War and Great Communities,” he analyzes specifically what brought on the war. He also examines what makes men fight, deciding that it is a fundamental need for their gender, as they have had to fight for their lives for centuries and will continue to have to do so in the future. He explains that it does not matter what they fight about, or who is correct, because “they are as willing to fight for one immediate thing as another, under these circumstances; since, ‘life is the only thing that matters,’ and it is for life both sides fight, and therefore both are right,” (No. 2, page16).  He asserts that war will never go away, for as long as men vie for power as communities, which they inevitably will, there will always be war. In proclaiming this he begins to explore gender roles.

Murder and destruction is man’s fundamental occupation. Women’s function, the manufacturing of children (even more important than cartridges and khaki suits) is only important from this point of view, and they evidently realize this thoroughly. It takes the deft women we employ anything from twelve to sixteen years to fill and polish these little human cartridges, and they of course get fond of them in the process. However, all this is not our fault, and is absolutely necessary. We only begin decaying like goods kept too long, if we are not killed or otherwise disposed of. Is not this a proof of our function? (17) 

Ignoring the fact that women also age and “decay,” Lewis decides that this is a woman’s only role in war: to make male babies that will eventually entrench themselves in battle to serve their primary duty. He goes on to state that women, due to the basal differences between the genders and thus their different roles in society, will never understand war. “I overheard two ladies the other day conversing on this subject, and one, with an immense jaw, flabby cheeks, and otherwise very large, said: ‘It is such a waste of good human flesh!’” (17)  Other than in the production of soldiers, women have no role in war because they cannot understand the duty that drives men to fight.
     One of the few female Vorticists, Jessie Dismorr, writes about wartime London in the same July issue of Blast, in a piece entitled “London Notes.” She writes about the ways in which public meeting places in London were completely unaffected by the fighting that raged on around them. Describing the places and people in rather grotesque terms, she does not mention the war. She merely makes implications by ignoring it, in the same way that regular citizens tried to ignore it. The war was not an issue for The Reading Room or Fleet Street. These were not literally the battlegrounds. She describes Hyde Park saying,

[A]ll the morning women sit sewing and knitting, their monotonous occupation accompanying the agreeable muddle of their thoughts. In the Row. Vitality civilized to a needles-point; highly-bred men and horses pass swiftly in useless delightful motion; women walk enamoured of their own accomplished movements. (66)

Despite being a woman, Dismorr sticks to the agenda of the magazine. She describes women in wartime as being mostly useless, and all but thoughtless. The men are well bred and on horseback. Calling to mind images of battle, they are described as being almost heroic. Though they are not literally at war, they seem to possess the same qualities of the men at war. The women sit and knit, thinking frivolous things, and find it difficult to walk and think at the same time. They cannot understand the concept of war, if questions about war even occur to them at all. They stick to their sewing, and their subordinate role as the mothering twits of society.
     While there is little mention at all of feminism or suffrage in the English magazine Blast, American bred Scribner’s magazine has many essays and stories about the movement. These pieces, however, do not tend to coincide with anything about the Great War. It was evidentially the view of the editors of both magazines that a woman’s role in war was at home, where they desperately missed their husbands, who were fighting out of a sense of masculine duty.  “The Misgivings of a Male Suffragette” is an anonymously written piece appearing in the October 1915 issue of Scribner’s. It is about a male feminist wondering in which direction the suffrage movement is heading. He begins by explaining that his wife Mary is a suffragette. She convinces him to go to a parade in honor of their movement, telling him that a friend of hers, Mrs. Watson, is also going but has not told her husband. Mary hopes that the writer will come just in case Watson finds out what his wife is doing, as the writer will be able to calm the angry husband down. (He is, in fact, Watson’s superior at work, and also on a membership committee for a club Watson would like to be involved with.)  The writer explains how Watson’s wife eventually came clean about the scenario, and how Watson joined the cause.  Ultimately, the writer is impressed with the success of his wife’s plan. “As far as it goes it is stupendously efficient, the feminine way of doing things!”  (Volume 58, no. 4, page 494) The writer implies that diplomacy, the attempt to avoid conflict, is inherently feminine. Indeed later, when a policeman speaking to the writer says that he is willing to “give” women the vote, Mary becomes infuriated, saying that they will not have it given to them; they will take it. As the writer puts it, he had “never seen [his] wife look more handsome.” (496). When his wife demonstrates the will to fight, he begins to see her as masculine. He goes on to struggle with the fact that he thinks the same way that the policeman did. As a man, he envisioned himself giving the vote to women, who would otherwise not be allowed it. While the writer seems to embrace feminism as an ideal, he cannot wrap his mind around men and women being equal. To him their differences naturally and bodily prevent such a thing. They are not equal. Women have children and men fight. After a lengthy argument that higher taxes discourage women from having more children, he comes to the conclusion that children are work, and are in fact the work that women so desperately seek. He discusses this theory with Mr. Watson, who adds to the argument the dynamic of what war does to women:

‘It explains why in England they have militants. The colonization of the empire has drained the home country of its men, leaving upward of a million women who haven't a ghost of a show even for a husband.’ A slow grin wreathed his face. ‘And the real war-cry of the suffragettes, as they roll bombs beneath the great chair of the prime minister is: '’Give us back our husbands! Give us back our husbands!’ (500)

In their eyes even suffragettes find little value in their lives outside of their domestic lives, and with their husbands away they find little value in the war. Like the editors and contributors of Blast, this writer seems to find that women have one role in society in a time of war: to be home waiting for their husbands to arrive back. They have no concept of why the war is important, and they have no palpable role in battle.
     One of the most obvious roles of women on the battlegrounds is that of army nurse. With this in mind, one might expect to see some mention of these vital cogs in the war machine in a Scribner’s piece called “War-Time Sketches in France.”  Appearing in the June 1916 issue, the piece is an essay by Herbert Ward, accompanied by the writer’s drawings. The main subject is soldiers and the soldiers’ stories. A harsh look at the atrocities of battle, the writer often discusses the backdrop of the beautiful French countryside against which the dreadful fighting is taking place. Despite mentioning ambulances, doctors, and hospital shelters, there is no mention of women on the frontlines. In fact, there is only one mention of women at all throughout the entire essay, which comes after a description of the gorgeous land marred by battle: “I have had occasion to read some of the letters of these splendid, simple French soldiers, written under shell and rifle fire, wherein they actually described the beauty of the sunrise to their womenfolk at home” (Vol. 59, no. 6, page 679). Even when women were tangibly involved in the war effort they were ignored, and their rightful place was thought to be at home.
     While magazines like Blast and Scribner’s were defining or even ignoring women's roles during the war, the engagement of such issues in publications like The Owl and Wheels was less explicit.  The former, which distributed two issues at the close of the war in 1919, and another in 1923, purported itself to "ha[ve] no politics and lead[] no new movements" (The Owl, no. 1, page 5).  As such, the war, no doubt on the minds of both The Owl's authors and readership regardless of any mission statement, infiltrated the magazine in more subtle ways: various pieces expressed a longing for a return to innocence and carefree beauty, while others were characterized by feelings of darkness and fear.  "Petunia" by W.J Turner, from the October 1919 issue, relates the speaker/poet's vision of a future daughter he will call Petunia, who will

dance, her small face
So bright that no sorrow'll befall her.
From this dark pot of earth, from this sun-clouded hollow
Like a rainbow she'll spring and a blue sky shall follow"
(No. 1, pages 10-12)

This “dark pot of earth" and "sun-clouded hollow" may easily represent the climate of hopelessness and gloom created by the war; consequently, Petunia becomes an emblem of hope for a less complicated future, one that is "bright" and free of sorrow.  Turner also envisions Petunia to be a lover of the natural world, of a more primitive and carefree existence.  Imagining that he will teach his daughter "the songs of Apollo," he goes on to describe the cult of the sun god, whose disciples are "white-armed maidens/ Sing[ing] in the soft dusks of summer."  Contrary to a world marred by the violence and destruction of war, the picture he paints of his daughter represents not only the hope for a lighter, more joyful existence, but also for a return to the fertile simplicity of a life in harmony with nature.  The worshippers of Apollo with whom he associates Petunia and in “the green” of whose eyes and “tresses,/ The forests of ocean are blowing,” are further described as personifications of that harmony.  The fact that the poem has projected all this hope onto a female child rather than a male one is significant when one considers the masculinist attitudes (like those prevailing in Blast) which motivate war.  Petunia represents a kind of mystical femininity, a source of magic “that flows up at dawn/ Out of earth’s darkness leaping” (No. 1, page 11) which can renew the poet, who envisions himself “wrinkled and worn,” as a symbolic representative of the war-torn world.
     Another interesting example from The Owl 2, of feminine associations with nature, can be found in a drawing by Pamela Bianco entitled “Fairyland.”  This drawing affirms the Blast position of a woman’s place in times of war: Bianco depicts the two central figures, both female, as stereotypic earth mothers, attired in clothes adorned with details from the natural world, and as caretakers, surrounded by naked, unself-conscious babies with angel wings.  This is a scene of peace and tranquility, with absolutely no associations or references to war whatsoever.  However, as with Turner’s poem and any work published during a war, the violent climate at the time of publication must be considered.  While the war raged outside the pages of the magazine, this illustration represents an ideal in contrast with reality.  Additionally, as Turner’s vision of his future daughter Petunia expresses a desire to return to a less complicated, innocent state of being, the appearance of Bianco’s painting immediately following the poem suggests a relationship between the two.  Indeed, the painting may easily be viewed as a visual representation of the world Turner imagines for Petunia: that is to say, a place in the future, a kind of utopia, which embodies ideals from the past.  The gowns worn by the women in the painting are in the Victorian style and reference a less complicated time, of a pastoral lifestyle, of fertility and harmony with nature.  The absence of men in this utopia is significant: war, quite clearly depicted as the domain of men in magazines throughout the era, like Blast and even Scribner’s which aligned itself with suffragist/feminist politics, is inextricably linked with the masculine; as such, the female figures in Bianco’s painting, depicted in wreaths of flowers, with leaves traveling up their skirts and bodices, represent a rejection of masculinist ideals and the war.  Rather, the ideal is represented here as it is in Turner’s poem: a celebration of the mystical feminine, of joy and harmony in nature, of peace precluding discord.
     Although themes of female gender and the war were touched on opaquely in The Owl, the magazine noticeably lacked any female authorship to express the opinions and feelings of women themselves during the war.  Wheels, however, featured woman poets regularly, particularly the work of Edith Sitwell and Iris Tree.  Contrasting with the view of women as frivolous beings whose only occupation during wartime lies within the domestic sphere, Sitwell’s poem “The Mother”, from the March 1917 issue, presents a more complicated view of motherhood.  While the presence of children in Turner’s and Bianco’s work ostensibly represents fertility, growth, innocence, tranquility and is, for writers like Wyndham Lewis, emblematic of women’s true role in wartime, Sitwell both reaffirms this trope and destroys it.  She admits that the birth of her son was a time of great joy heralding “the spring,” “birds,” and blossoms,” and releasing streams from “winter run,” but goes on to lament the loss of the child as he grows to manhood (Vol. 1, page 48).  During their time together, in the boy’s youth, his “sunlit hair was all [her] gold,” but when he becomes a man, he leaves her empty and resentful of the female lover who has come to take her place in the child’s life.  This retelling of women’s roles in the lives of their children defies the simplistic, rather disdainful view taken by masculinist authors like Lewis, who saw women’s roles in the domestic sphere as inferior to the great acts performed by men in war.  While women were expected by society to devote their lives to the rearing of children, the speaker in Sitwell’s poem explores the interior world of the mother, and the physical and emotional realities of those expectations, which are characterized by feelings of abandonment and a lost sense of self.  When her child becomes a man, the poet imagines that her son plots to “kill her while [she] slept,” merely in his decision to leave her protection and take a lover.  “The Mother” is a poem which paints women’s lives during this period of war and upheaval as equally marred by violence and loss as those of their fighting male counterparts.  No longer occupied by the all-consuming demands of parenting, the speaker, as the mother of a grown child, must nagivate her way through a world in which she no longer serves any purpose: no longer actively functioning as a mother, she considers herself already dead, yet forever haunted by the memory of her beloved child, whose name her “pierced heart scream[s] …within the dark” of her barren existence (49).  Another possible reading of the poem casts the mother’s enemy, not as a female lover, but as the world itself, in which wars are fought and sons are murdered.  The poem closes with the mother’s lament that she has failed her child, whose body hangs like a “blackened rag/ Upon the tree—a monstrous flag” (50).  In this reading, the mother is consumed by her grief and feels responsible for her failure to protect the child she loved with so much of her being.  She says, “All mine, all mine the sin; the love/ I bore him was not deep enough.”  In this way, the death the mother experiences comes as a result of her child’s death; she has failed the son and thus finds no more joy in living.  Regardless of women’s expected or prescribed passivity during times when men fought for their countries and their homes, Sitwell’s poem makes explicit the anguish and violence that women experience, regardless, even as they are kept at a distance from the fighting.
     Another poem written by a female and published in the fourth cycle of Wheels, which came out in 1919, is Iris Tree’s “Changing Mirrors.”  Like Sitwell, Tree complicates conventional views of women in the post-war era.  Her poem depicts a scene in which the speaker (presumably female) sees herself “in many different dresses,” each representing different facets of her personality and desires (No. 4, page 48).  Interestingly enough, none of the speaker’s visions of herself include motherhood.  Instead, she constructs a female identity which consists of a variety of other types, specifically “poisoners, martyrs, harlots and princesses.”  Just as the above-mentioned authors in both Wheels and The Owl opaquely reference the dark climate of the world associated with the war, Tree’s speaker refers to a “grey” world “where solemn faces/ are silence to [her] mirth—a flame that blesses/ From yellow lamp the darkness which oppresses.”  While the world around her is one of darkness, the female speaker is not consumed by it. Rather, the current of despair and oppression affects her just as it affects anyone, male or female, declaring: “Within my soul a thousand weary traces/ Of pain and joy and passionate excesses.” Like Sitwell, Tree imagines for her female speaker a deep interior life which belies the view that women were uncomplicated beings, incapable of fully understanding the ramifications of the war being fought by men.  Unlike Sitwell’s poem, however, Tree’s is rather universal, speaking of a world in which all people, not just women or men exclusively, experience the same kinds of happiness and sorrow.  Her speaker, shifting through different moods and feelings throughout her life, symbolized by her ever-changing dresses, considers not only herself but all beings when she names, in her conclusion, the “eternal beauty our [emphasis mine] brief life chases.”  By exploring, however simply, the interior life of a woman, otherwise neglected and simplified by male authors of the war and post-war era, Tree simultaneously equalizes her female subject with its male counterparts.  The poem asserts that joy and pain are emotions experienced by all creatures and contradicts the notion that either feeling is essentially male or essentially female. 
     In Poetry, as in The Owl and Wheels, gender and war are not topics addressed together directly at length, although both are ostensibly present in the minds of the poets whose writing filled the publication. When the two subjects are at play simultaneously, the consideration of both war and gender is very subtle: women often appear as caretakers, lovers, mothers, and subjects of adoration, which gives hints of how women’s roles were primarily defined, even in war times. So, in poems about female figures, the war is presented as a non-subject around which the woman’s role molds itself, but does not enter into. On the other hand, poems which do deal with the war directly, tend to be about men, and are written by men. One poem in which the female viewpoint of war’s effects can be seen in a January 1914 poem titled “A Woman and Her Dead Husband.”  The poem hauntingly describes a woman addressing her deceased husband directly, apparently from their own bed, with the cause of his death left entirely ambiguous. Perhaps his death was due to war.  If not, however, the focus in the poem is upon death, a war-time subject, and the poem is actually written by a male, D. H. Lawrence, who maybe imagines the reverberation of a soldier’s potential death through his household. The subject of this poem is a reflection of the idea, reiterated so often in Blast and Scribner’s, that a woman has no direct role in the battles herself, although her own role, as lover and wife, may be entirely destroyed by her husband’s death.  The pleas of the woman to her husband, asking if he is playing a joke on her, being so cold and pale, serves to magnify the horror and sympathy the reader feels for the woman.
     Another poem from Poetry was published in August of 1918, and is titled “To a Grey Dress.” In this poem, gender roles are more pronounced, and the subject of World War I is not present except for in the very conspicuousness of its absence. In the piece, a woman whose face is never seen is admired by a male as she walks through the trees: just a gray dress and the curves which fill the garment. The man watching her is thrown into fantasies based simply upon the femininity of her figure, although her identity is entirely unknown. The tone of the poem is one of happy distraction, and even the title itself is playful in its slight absurdity. This is another example of women’s perceived roles during World War I: as figures of joyous, simple preoccupation, creatures who stand apart from the violence of the battle, although nameless and faceless, without identities of their own.
     While Poetry considered the conflict in a more indirect and emotional fashion, another magazine, The New Age often featured articles which addressed the war in a more theoretical way. The New Age included opinion pieces, reviews, and creative writing, and two such articles in the magazine were published by Alice Morning. The first was included in January of 1916, and was a quite heavy-handed allegorical tale called “Feminine Fables: The Style of the Peri.”  The story describes a female angel who is banished from Paradise for one day, due to missing the closing of the gate at dawn. It was assumed that if an angel is late, he or she was committing an indiscretion while visiting the mortals. Rather than sulking over her temporary banishment, the angel declares, “I shall not walk in solitude around this idiotic style!” referring to the “distorting column” around which the excluded are expected to pace in distress (Vol. 7, no. 4, page 257). In the lone paragraph of the story which diverges from the symbolic tone, the author’s voice seems to shine through with passion, stating that similar punishments exist in the world of mortals: men, like the Peris--and like the devil, Morning adds--only punish what is detected. Had the angel been committing indiscretions, but returned on time, there would have been no punishment. Having missed the dawn, it is assumed that she was engaged in disallowed behavior. Whether this refers to lack of loyalty to one’s country is unclear, but it seems that a political and perhaps gender-based unfairness is being pointed out by Morning. The angel is described as exceedingly feminine, with a full bust, wide hips, jewelry, and the pouting tone of a spoiled child. In the end, however, the angel makes peace with her fate and feels “very good friends with herself.” (258) The independence of the angel is contrasted with the entitled and flippant attitude with which Morning generally characterizes this very feminine creature, suggesting perhaps a changing sense of female identity.
     Another article by Morning was published in June of 1916, an essay about the terrors of war, called “The Enemy in the House.”  In this piece, Morning argues that the so-called "impotent horror" (Vol. 8, no. 3, page160) of war needs to be transformed into “horror potent” (161). This outcry against war, she writes, most naturally comes from women themselves, who provide a kind of check on violence by voicing their objections. That, she argues, is a woman’s role during war: as a protester.  Under no circumstances should women mingle freely and routinely among scenes of violence. She believes that a woman’s horrified reaction to violence is the key to preventing barbarism. In writing this article, with confidence and an outspoken quality, the author asserts her ability to form her own opinions and hold them firmly. However, the role which she advocates for women is rather stereotypical. While the piece affirms a woman’s ability to think independently, ultimately her ideas about women’s roles away from the violence and action of war do not defy convention.
     Clearly, gender proved, as ever, to be a complicated, even contentious issue both during and after the Great War.  While some male authors persisted in their belief that women could not serve any useful purpose outside the home and were thus inferior to the valorous men who risked their lives to protect their countries, other writers sought to depict women in less benign ways: as symbols of the very peace and freedom of spirit which male soldiers fought for.  Less romantically, female authors depicted women as mere humans whose emotions and interior lives were as rich as their brave male counterparts.  Regardless, or perhaps as result of the divergent and often dichotomous positions taken by writers and artists of the time, the “little magazines” provide an interesting glimpse into the interplay between men and women as they struggled to reconcile their evolving roles in a world forever changed by the four-year war.  

Poetry during WWI

Rosanna Cinquemani

Angela Provenzano

         World War I was a war that involved many of the world’s great powers which were assembled in two opposing alliances; the Entente and the Central Powers. The cause of this war was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28th, 1914 and lasted five years, until 1919. During this time there were six magazines, in which we will be working with, that expressed feelings, emotions, opinions, poetry and even art work regarding the war. These six magazines were Blast, The New Age, The Owl, Poetry, Scribner’s and Wheels. A magazine is not only utilized as a marketing tool but is used as a voice for the community. Our group will focus on poetry written throughout these magazines and analyze the different styles, themes, mood and reason behind a selected poem. Each magazine has a style of its own and different techniques of expressing their ideas. As we continue to read further into the magazines, as the year’s progress, we begin to see the mood of the poems changing. Some poems begin to express anger while others use metaphors to demonstrate how the war, although it has ended, will always remain in our hearts.  
            Blast was one of the earliest magazines which produced articles of art and poetry. The poetry studied in this magazine was written by Ezra Pound. His poems were still not yet speaking about the war in depth. However, many of his poems illustrated life in general, for instance, social order. One of the more analyzed poe ms is called “The Social Order”, by Ezra Pound. This poem was written in volume 2 of 1915, during the beginning of the Great War, yet doesn’t actually speak about the war directly. The style of this poem is very descriptive. Therefore, this poem holds a lot of imagery where the reader can imagine the order in which the king viewed his wives; as things not people and replaceable. In line 12 the poet says “Go before her into avernus”; avernus was a lake near Naples, Italy, looked upon in ancient times as an entrance to hell. The second wife as mentioned in line 5 of part II is already destroying the house of the first wife. Once one wife died, there was another to take her place. The most imagery in this poem is portrayed in line 3 and 4 in part II, “is now surrounded by six candles and a crucifix”. You can imagine here the first wife lying in her death bed, surrounded by candles and a crucifix. Although this poem was not directly speaking about war, perhaps the poet was inspired to write this poem because of the war that was going on during the time. People were dying but during that time it was just seen as a part of life and they quickly moved on. Even though this poem speaks about death and cremation “Suttee”, it continues to say “save a squabble of female connections”, in other words, at least she (the first wife) left peacefully and there was no fight between the two females. The mood is depressing yet, optimistic because the poet goes on to say, “It is to be hoped that their spirits walk with their tales up”, to basically rest in peace.
            The second poem I chose was in The New Age, entitled “God and Man” by Fitzgerald Lane in January of 1915. This poem uses metaphors, such as games to describe life, which can also portray war, “that life is a gallant game” last line- Stanza 6. This poem contains a mood of superiority because it seems as if God is speaking to everyone and he says “The moment they felt my will was slack, the nations all fought like dogs” Stanza 5. This can be analyzed as God telling the world that as soon as things went wrong or people didn’t agree with one another, all the world became like dogs and began barking or fighting with one another. The author uses God as imagery to help the reader in vision him being hurt and looking down at these men as if they are disappointing him. As the years go on we begin to see that poets start to express the feelings that are formed due to the Great War. Fitzgerald Lane uses a line in his poem to express how god is crying over everyone because of what was going on and says, “That I shed great thunder tears” stanza 3. He uses thunder and rain as a metaphor to describe God’s tears. The mood of this poem is powerful, especially for someone who is catholic because God is a big part of their moral decisions. This poem was very “in your face” and expressed emotions thoroughly. Fitzgerald Lane does a good job in making the reader or the people in war feel guilty for causing such destruction. As we continue to look forward into the magazines we begin to distinguish how the poems, either directly or indirectly, use words to describe the emotions of people during the Great War. 
             The Poem entitled "Something" written in The Owl of volume one by Robert Nichols is a short but complex poem. There are many factors that contribute to making the poem complex. If you take a look at the first two lines, you can see that they contradict one another: “How long I have wished for something I know well, but what that something is I cannot tell.” The poet says how he knows very well about the thing that he wishes for, but then in the second line he says that what that something is, he cannot tell. At first I didn’t know why the contradiction occurred, but I soon realized that the poet is in a state of sadness and despair because he is alone and feels emptiness inside of him. He uses personification (sad tears) as well as imagery and emotion (shivering with=2 0longing for its sake) to strengthen the intensity of the meaning of the poem. He mentions moon time and twilight to show how time has passed, as well as mentioning that he is a broken man, to show that he has yet to heal. The last two lines of the poem are almost identical to the first two lines of the poem, in that they both don’t give a definite or complete thought as to where the poet is taking us. He repeats the line of “But what that something is I cannot tell” to bring you back to the same point, and to show a disconnection with the reader. Nothing has changed, the poet is still alone and unaware of his surroundings. I think that this poem can relate to the topic of war because during a time of war, many people lose hope and lose direction. Many people feel broken either fighting in the war, or waiting for a loved one to return home. Many people feel broken when they find out that a loved one has passed during the war as well. More often than not, a person feels at a loss for words, and their emotions are all over the place, thus not really knowing where to find themselves, or if they ever will. I feel that this poet conveys those feelings and emotions. Likewise, in a poem right below this one, written by the same author is called “A Wandering Thing.” Both poems contribute to what is called The Three Poems of Enigma, so they share very common themes. This poem, even shorter, also has that same sense of despair and not know ing why the feel the way that they do. Personification is also prevalent in this poem (hopeless rain) as well as a melancholy tone “A profound grief, an unknown sorrow wanders always my strange life thoro.” The fact that the sorrow is always unknown shows the emotional state that consumed the lives of many people during The Great War. “I know not ever what brings neither it hither, nor whence it comes . . . nor goes it whither.”
             In volume four of the Poetry Magazine, Nicholas Vachel Lindsay writes two simultaneous poems that clearly depict what was going on during The Great War. In “The Cyclists” the poem moves very quickly and talks about how these so called cyclists fly around and circle over the dying bodies of England. Right there, you can have numerous images in your mind of dead bodies and a sense of heartbreaking events. The first mention of “she” in the poem threw me off, but I soon realized that the line She lies with her bosom beneath them, no longer The Dominant Mother, The Virile—but rotting before time” is obviously in reference to how England started off strong in the war, but over time became powerless and defeated. It shows how England is no longer the dominant mother, bu t instead portrays England’s weakness as rotting before time. The poem goes on to say how “The smell of her, tainted, has bitten their nostrils. Exultant they hover, and shadow the sun with foreboding.” This poem gives England a terrible image; it says how England is sinister and tainted. It makes more than one attempt in saying how England gives off a bad smell whether it is from her rotting, or from the smell of her being tainted. This poem directly relates to the topic of war because everything about it is made as an attempt to portray England’s emotional and physical state during the time of the war.
                It would be safe to conclude that each of these poems include some aspect of The Great War. Even though each poet might not have directly mentioned a relation to World War One, we can definitely sense the tone, mood, and emotions evoked by each poet. Many of the poems selected have a dry, somber tone to it that usually deals with the topic of death. We also found it extremely interesting to read poems written for those dealing with the effects the war can bring. This intended audience wasn’t necessarily in combat, but instead dealing with the hardships at home. Many of the poems did not view the war in a positive light. The idea of social order was mentioned as well as the mention of England and of God. Destruction was said to be all around, as well as unknown sorrow for what the future might bring. We feel that these magazines collaboratively center around a common feeling towards the war. The magazines definitely help to shape a better understanding about how many Americans felt and reacted to such a time in history.  

The Conflicted Role of Women during World War I

Maja Vukosavljevic, Anna Chanie Istakhorova and Jenny Luczak

         The depiction of gender in modernist magazines during World War I can be deceivingly derogatory at first glance. In many of the magazines cataloged in the MJP from the war period there are poetry, narratives and essays which speak condescendingly of women. However, the topic of gender in the magazines should not be based on these instances alone. A closer examination of the world behind the publication shows the influence women had on the magazines during the era. Many of the magazines were edited solely by women, and many of the advertisements were directed towards female readers. This essay will illustrate that while the image of women in the modernist magazines may have been condescending, women were invaluable to the life of the modernist magazine.

          Wyndham Lewis' Blast was one of the more condescending magazines to woman. Its depicts females being solely in existence for reproductive purposes or being dumb and easily influenced by shiny objects. In it's second issue Wyndham makes his opinions about woman clear in "The European War and Great Communities" when he says: "Murder and destruction is man’s fundamental occupation. Women’s function, the manufacturing of children (even more important than cartridges and khaki suits) is only important from this point of view, and they evidently they realize this thoroughly" (July 1915 No. 2 16). He implies that a woman's sole role is in supporting the man's primeval urges for destruction by filling the ranks with fresh young blood; that there is no greater calling for women, in war or life, then to merely subordinate their male counterparts. Blast further carries on his negative attitude towards woman in short poems such as "Women Before A Shop" which is blatantly negative in it's views on woman. He recites "the gew-gaw of false amber and false turquoise attract them"(June 1914 No.1 49) this illustrates the author's belief that women are only interested in shallow and useless things. In this quote there is also the sense that the author believes women are incapable of comprehending anything in reality. The use of the word "false" in front of amber and turquoise particularly speaks to his thoughts on women not being in touch with reality and shallow. This sentiment of woman as being inferior and shallow is then further carried over in "Pastoral"(June 1914 No.1) a poem that depicts the appealing physical features of a woman but then quickly follows it up with an insult of her heinous laugh. As illustrated above, Blast depicts women as objects to be used by men but there is no appreciation for anything deeper.

            The Owl is another magazine that depicts women in a poor light such as being frivolous or inferior through drawings of women. One drawing in particular, above a fable called "Careless Lady," portrays a woman in a dress waving good bye to a beggar holding a child-her child. (May 1919 No 1 between pg 12 and 13, plate number IX) It also seems as though the lady was dancing up the stairs. The fable at the bottom of the page explains to the reader why this lady is shown in such a carefree manner: she gave her child away to the beggar when he came to her to ask for help. And after everything was said and done the lady tells the beggar "Bring her back...the next time you call." (May 1919 No 1 between pg 12 and 13, plate number IX) This fable along with the picture doesn't portray women in a very intelligent light, rather it's silly.

             Another literary work published in the same issue of The Owl  is called "The Sun," written by John Galsworthy. (May 1919 No 1 23-27) This is a play involving two men and a girl. It is implied that the girl was dating one of the men and then he was sent to fight in World War I, and she began to date another man. The play begins with the girl and her current boyfriend waiting for the old boyfriend to come back home. The girl wants to tell the old boyfriend that she no longer wants to date him. However, the girl's current boyfriend doesn't give her a chance to do so by coming out of hiding.

Soldier [old boyfriend]: ... Give us a kiss, old pretty.

The Girl: (drawing back) No.

Soldier: (blankly) Why not?

The Man with a swift movement steps along the hedge to the Girl's side.

The Man [current boyfriend]: That's why, soldier. (May 1919 No 1 26)

The man didn't give the girl a chance to tell the soldier what she wanted to say possibly because he thought that she was not smart enough to figure out how to do it herself.

            It seems that the man didn't want to even give the girl a chance to speak. After a little bit of bickering between the two men, the soldier says, "that's all right, then. You keep 'er." (May 1919 No 1 26) Basically, the girl's old boyfriend did not really care about her enough since he just gave her up so quickly. It also seems that the girl's current boyfriend only wanted her because he was able to steal her from someone else. "I don't want 'is charity. I only want what I can take." (May 1919 No 1 27) In the play, Galsworthy shows women as an inferior creature, and one that doesn't deserve to be loved. Rather, the woman is a sort of prize to be argued over. Both the fable and the play portray women negatively by showing their carelessness and showing how men treat them without respect.

           Unlike The Owl, The New Age did not have a specific agenda against women. This is not to say that women were not scolded for their poor behaviors. However, men were also scolded for their actions as well. There is a particular recurring article titled "Man and Manners. An Occasional Diary" that points out the mistakes that women AND men make. For instance, in the January 6, 1916 issue the author states, "Men are child-like too seldom. Women are childish too often." (Jan 1916 Vol 18 No 10 230) This is the first issue that this column appears in during the war and it seems that the author might criticize women and their ways in later columns as well as this one. In addition, in the February 24th issue the author rants about the way women carry themselves during the war. She states, "Woman herself will be to blame, for women are accompanying their war-services with manners that will surely forfeit their expected reward." (February 1916 Vol 18 No 14 399) It seems that women were trying to do what men did by wearing khakis. However, "mens' khaki is to conceal them, so I'm told. Womens' is to attract?" (February 1916 Vol 18 No 14 399) It seems that women are copying men just for the sake of copying them. The author asks women, "if the doing of mens' work involves the adoption of mens' manners and even their costume, how, please, shall we discover the superiority of women's ways?" (February 1916 Vol 18 No 14 399) The author scolds women again by saying, "Women are on trial... women-your khaki manners will be used against you... it will have profited you nothing. Ridicule and worse-contempt and neglect." (February 1916 Vol 18 No 14 399) Not only does the author scold women but while she scolds them she tries to make them see that they can be treated in a better way by changing their ways.

           Conversely, in another issue the author of this column relates a story to the reader in response to men "always complaining that women don't play the game with them." (January 1916 Vol 18 No 12 278)

Once upon a time there were two men who kept grumbling and grumbling that their wives-Heigho!-took up so much of their time they couldn't do any work. One fine morning the two wives went away for a holiday. "This is good," said their husbands. "Now, indeed, we shall get on with our work!" With these words the two men sat talking and talking and drinking and drinking till far into the dawn. "We will meet again to-morrow," and the elder of the tow as they parted long after the cockcrow. "With all my heart," cried his friend. "Then I will show you a photo of the little but of fluff I met when my wife-Heigho!-took up so much of my time I couldn't do any work!" On the morrow the two friends lay sleeping and sleeping till long past noon, but as soon as evening came they began talking and talking and drinking and drinking till far into the dawn. "To-morrow at the same hour," they agreed, as they parted long after the cock-crow. "Plenty of time to work when the wives come marching home!" (January 1916 Vol 18 No 12 278)

This shows a transition between the way women are viewed in The New Age.

            In another issue of The New Age the author attacks men and their rudeness for calling their waitresses "Miss" instead of just using the word "please." The author states, "The chief source of the trouble, I believe, is in the implication that no man takes a woman's work seriously." (February 1916 Vol 18 No 14 326) The author continues to say that if women don't need to use the word "Miss" to get their waitresses' attention then why should men use that word. She ends off that thought with the following: "For me they are all settled by the general theory that the world is man's home, and his women visitors therein are his guests, while the paid officials, during their hours of office, are his servants. Would a man expect a woman whom he visits to curtsy to her servants? Servants should be directed without words. The more non-existent they become, the more perfect." (February 1916 Vol 18 No 14 327) In the February 10, 1916 issue the author relates her experiences in a cafe where she noticed that men mistreat women by not discussing important topics with women. "For ten minutes no one spoke more than the weather permitted. Then three of the men returned to a formulary philosophical discussion in which they were joined for an hour by a man who had left his woman-companion alone in another corner of the cafe." (February 1916 Vol 18 No 15 351) The author insists that men include women in their conversations. Basically, this column has something negative to say about the way men and women act and interact with each other. There are times when the author particularly blames men for the wrongs that she sees and there are times when the author says that women have dug their own graves by acting silly and childish.

        Although the previously mentioned magazines tended to portray women negatively in their content, Wheels serves as an example of the power women had as editors of modernist magazines. At first glance, the 1916 issue might be pegged as a woman's magazine since it illustrates a simple line drawing of a woman pushing a baby stroller (December 1916- Second Edition published March 1917 Vol. 1 Cover). This image has nothing to do with the poetry included, it's sun-shiny scene is actually antithetical to the publications poetry, which is consistently morbid. By the third volume, the editors had entirely revamped the magazines image, replacing simplistic images such as the woman and baby, with intense and angular futurist paintings such as "The Sky Pilot" (1918 Vol.3 Cover). The tone of this and further cover images continues the tone depicted here. It seems to be a move away from the feminine visual qualities of the first issue, yet the same issue which began this new trend also made it a point, for the first time in its  publication, to indicate that Edith Sitwell was the magazine's editor(1918 Vol.3). Throughout it's publication, the magazine was organized and edited by Edith and Osbert Sitwell, whereas issues in the past deferred to Osbert by publishing his poetry first, this issue indicated an editorial move in Edith's favor. In this way, Wheels serves as an example of the way masculine elements were often favored in the content of the magazine, while in the side-lines women were moving into positions of greater power.

            Another magazine illustrating the role of women in this way is Poetry, one of the longest running magazines in the MJP, for much of it's life it was predominately edited by two women. Hariet Monroe and Alice Corbin Henderson were the predominant editors, with Ezra Pound as a foreign corespondent. As the magazine's proprietor, Monroe made it her mission from the beginning not to espouse a particular political or literary opinion, but for the magazine to serve as means to foster the culture of poetry in the United States and abroad (October 1912 Vol.1 No.1 26-28). Monroe herself lived the life of a feminist (whether self-professed or not); she was a business woman, a poet, an essayist and a critic. Yet, Poetry's content gives little attention to the female role or the suffrage movement. Instead, Monroe continually uses her space for editorial commentary to publish opinion essays on the society of poetry and government policy. An example of such an essay is "Give Him Room" ( May 1915 Vol.6 No.2 81-84), which does not--as its title belies--give relationship advice to women, but speaks to the way society should treat their poets. Again in, "The City and the Tower" (April 1917 Vol. 10 No.1 36-39) Monroe extrapolates on linguistics and the spread of the English language as a result of the war. In this essay she makes biblical references and comments with authority on society, but again makes no reference to the feminist agenda.

           In her editorial policy, Hariet Monroe exemplified the goals of the feminist movement by acting in a position of power, but she did it without affiliating her magazine with the movement. Much like Edith Sitwell's Wheels, her magazine published predominately male authors, but did include female poets. The success of her magazine drew the attention of Ezra Pound, who, despite his involvement with Blast, a magazine which overtly demeaned women, worked with Monroe for many years, serving her magazine with poetry and criticism alike.

The powerful role of women within the magazine culture can also be seen in Scribner's advertisements. Scribner's devoted about half of it's pages to advertisements and many of which speak to the role of women in society during and before the war. The prominence of placement and quantity of advertisements geared towards women speak directly to the size and importance of the magazine's female readership. In February 1915 edition of Scribner's we're greeted by a full page advertisement for Tiffany's and Co. (Feburary 1915 Vol.57 No.2). The advertisement's placement on the 3rd page, second only to the context page, indicating the importance of grabbing the attention of the female patronage. Scribner's is peppered with advertisements promoting things such as "Royal Baking Powder," baker's cocoa (Feburary 1915 Vol.57 No.2), and Harper's Bazzar advertising Parisian Dress Makers (Janurary 1915 Vol.57 No.1). Each of these advertisements indicate the magazine's female readership. The opinions expressed throughout the various journals might vary in their view of women but through these advertisements we clearly see the role women did indeed play in the culture of modernist magazines. We see through these advertisements that woman not only helped the war effort by joining the work force but also by running the household. As a result of their contribution to both fields they became one of the chief demographics targeted by various advertisements indicating how indispensable they were to society.

            As this essay has illustrated, the role of women during World War I as seen through the modernist magazines, was a conflicted one. In many cases, women were in positions of power in the publishing industry, and often made up a strong portion of a magazine's readership. However, the content which the magazine's published predominantely depicted women in an unfavorable light. Seen in this way, the women's movement did not only assert influence by overtly proclaiming beliefs about human rights, but was also apparant in the more subtle way women were incorporated into the business of periodical literature.