Robert Scholes and Cliff Wulfman's chapter "Modernity and the Rise of Modernism: A Review" in Modernism and the Magazines says that modernism was in many ways not as much a sythesis of sybolism and realism but a struggle between the two with certain magazines and individuals taking certain positions within the debate. For this week's assignment I looked at The Little Review v5 n5 and several of the pieces in there. Here is what I paid particular attention to:
"The Western School" by Edgar Jepson pages 4-9
T.S. Eliot "Sweeney Among the Nightingales," "Whispers of Immortality," "Dans le Restaurant," "Mr. Eliot's Sunday Service." Pages 10-14
James Joyces, Ulysses episode VI pages 17-37
Ezra Pound "Notes from an Ivory Tower" Pages 50-53
Marsden Hartley, "The Reader Critic: Divagations" Page 59-
In looking at these selections I notice that this issue of TLR includes several highest of the high modernists like Joyce, Eliot, and Pound (as well as prose fiction from Sherwood Anderson and Ford Madox Ford and poetry from W.B. Yeats) alongside articles like the ones by Jepson and Hartley on the aesthetics, functions, and sources of poetry and art. So in many ways the texts present a situation much like what Bornstein outlines in "How to read a page: modernistm and material textuality."
Bornstein describes how the sites where poems and other works appear originally is significantly different from how they are received in other publications later on (e.g. Norton Anthologies). His example is how a Keats' poem is originally published in a highly political periodical The Examiner. Bornstein's point is that the appearance of Keats' poem in a politically left periodical would perhaps associate not only Keats himself as a public figure with these left-leaning politics, but also contribute to how a reader would interpret the poem. I would argue that a similar situation is taking place in TLR. Jepson for instance is (mawkishly) praising T.S. Eliot's poetry at the expense of other American poets such as Frost, Lee Masters, and Lindsay. The fact that not only is Eliot's poetry praised in a publication in which other of his poems also appear, but Jepson and Hartley make larger claims the elements of good poetry and art. Hartley, like Jepson, praises (he's a little less effusive) Joyce's Episode IV of Ulysses against the realism of Flaubert. So we have come back around to the struggle that Scholes and Wulfman describe as a struggle between symbolism and realism that takes place in the magazines.
I would say though that some ambiguity arises because it's difficult to determine how writers like Joyce, Pound, and Eliot understood how their work was being "used" in these magazines. Of course, Pound was likely very aware considering he was on the editorial board, but I do know that he was an ardent supporter of Frost's poetry early on. However, Jepson's description of the situation opposes Pound and Eliot's work with the likes of Frost. This suggests to me that whether or not the poetry that appears alongside aesthetic manifestos like Jepson's express similar values, the poems and poets are implicated in the larger debates taking place. Having read "Signature/Event/Context" and Limited Inc. over break, I'm prepared to discuss the idea of contextual implication a bit further in class if we have some time. I think it would interact in interesting ways with Bornstein's use of Speech Act Theory and Benjamin's concept of aura.