Elite Advertising in Rhythm

 In the first two issues of "little magazine" Rhythm, the absence of any advertisements suggests that the publication began with the support and patronage of a coterie of intellectual elite. John Middleton Murray, in his introductory article "Art and Philosophy," attempts to bring Bergsonian aesthetic theory into British culture by first pointing out, " in France it is a living artistic force." Throughout the magazine, French culture and artistic philosophies are glorified as a modernist standard toward which Britain's own artists, authors, and poets should strive. The magazine itself would go on to publish pieces entirely in French without translation (e.g. Francis Carco's "Aix en Provence" and "Les Huit Danseuses" in the second issue), indicating that the magazine's readers were most likely highly educated and fluent in multiple languages. 

Advertisements in Rhythm do not appear until the third issue (Winter 1911), the same issue containing the critical piece "A Plea for Revolt in Attitude,"in which Holbrook Jackson notes, that in order for "the modernist art movement...to fulfill its destiny, [it] requires to be accepted, not by a few but by a nation or a race," thus denying the magazine's seeming appeal to only a select few. Of course, in order to promote a revolution in art, one must therefore have the means to do so, and Jackson's "Plea" may have been included to provide justification for the advertisements (titled "select announcements") which suddenly appear in the back of the magazine's third installment, and would continue until the final issue in March of 1913. 

These ads, however, seem to contradict Jackson's message in that they appeal to the interests and accessibility of moneyed British intellectuals. The first ad to appear in the 3rd issue begins with the French heading, “Photographies d’Oeuvres d’Art,” advertising the photographic reproductions of modern French masters (such as Renoir and Monet, as well as “The so-called Post-Impressionists”), located at 16 Pall Mall in London. The next add is for another radical journal, T.P. O’Connor’s Weekly. The final page contains a dense block of text, with language reminiscent of a critical review, advertising a volume printed by St. Catherine’s Press (same as Rhythm) that would reproduce drawings by Henry Ospovat. The advertisement—in keeping with the magazine’s theme—discusses the modernist art movement as an artistic revolution on par with the Renaissance.


I falsely assumed that the magazine failed because of its inability to reach a public outside the sphere of the British intellectual elite whose avant-garde aesthetics echoed French sensibilities. In fact, the magazine was able to generate a sizeable following, but John Middleton Murray and Katherine Mansfield’s publication failed because they were swindled: their publisher, Stephen Swift, disappeared in Fall 1912, leaving the editors with a debt of 400 pounds, from which their subsequent magazine, The Blue Review, could not recover[1] (Demoor 133).

[1] Demoor, Marysa. "John Middleton Murry's Editorial Apprenticeships: Getting Modernist "Rhythm" into the Athenaeum, 1919-1921." English Literature in Transition, 1880-1920 52.2 (2009): 123-43. Project Muse. Web. 24 Feb. 2011.


The Random Interruption of Ads in Scribners

 In vol. 47 no. 2 of Scribner's Magazine (1910), I looked at the layout of certain ads in between the content of the magazine. I first approached Scribner's Magazine because I thought it would be interesting to observe the same magazine that we talked about in class. The ads were mostly concentrated separated apart from the content of this issue of the magazine. I noticed, however, that in one section there was a lead-up to Theodore's Roosevelet's article about traveling in Africa. Following those short "Magazine Notes," there were a series of ads for homemade products before Roosevelt's actual article on African Game Trails. I noticed that the randomness of the ads seemed completely unrelated (and maybe in direct contrast) to the tone of the content surrounding it.

The content surrounding the ads is related to Theodore's Roosevelt's adventures through Africa, "an account of the African wanderings of an American hunter-naturalist." To the American public reading the magazine, these articles would be representing something foreign, uncomfortable, and related to nature. In almost direct contrast, however, are the ads that interrupt these two articles about African adventures. The first advertisement is for soap, with the image of a young girl playing with her porcelain doll. The next advertisement is for Shredded Wheat Biscuit. Both these advertisements relate entirely to domestic, comfortable American products. Their presence makes the articles surrounding them seem even more foreign to the reader, which is perhaps the intent. 


Advertisements in The English Review

I opened the link to The English Review, Vol. 1, No. 4 and looked at what appears to be the first actual page titled, "The English Review Advertiser." This page then lists 7 different book titles, some with descriptions underneath and others with nothing more than an author and title. The first thing that I thought when glancing at this page is that there is no way anyone would give this a second glance today, particularly if it was the first page in something. A page with that much text is simply not aesthetically pleasing, something that ads try very hard today to be. The text does not stand out at all, and in fact, it almost seems like it would be a chore to read the entire page. But on one hand, it does say something about the dedication and attention span of readers at that time. If these advertisements actually worked, and I'm sure that they must have in some way because they are all throughout the magazine, then the reader must have read nearly everything on every page of the review. I think it's interesting that some of them did not include any description, like the first one titled, "The Bishop and the Bogieman." Perhaps they thought that title alone would be enough to lure in readers- I for one am curious as to what the plotline could be. 

In terms of the context of these ads, I think they fit within the terms of what else appears in The English Review and they fit the tone of the rest of the publication. People who were reading The English Review at this time certainly showed a dedication to reading, so it makes sense to advertise novels to people who are interested in reading. Now that I scroll through the thumbnails, I notice that the formatting for the ads is more inviting than most of the other pages, which just have straight text in the same font and typeface, etc. The ads tend to have boxes around them using thicker lines and some capitalized heads which are bigger than the rest of the text. So in that way, I suppose the advertisements are more aesthetically pleasing than the rest of the publication, which could have grown into what we are accustomed to in ads today.


Some Aspects of British-French relations during pre-war magazines


Some Aspects of British-French relations in pre-war magazines


In the magazine “Maintenant”, Special issue of October, November 1913, “Oscar Wild is alive”, the poet describe his struggle and incapacity for originality at the moment in Paris. He is wondering between describing romantically his feeling but through the reality of the present moment. As he is describing himself of being ‘paresseux’ lazy to make change, he has recourse to a surrealistic and imaginary visit of the defunct Oscar Wild. I find this article very interesting because it doesn’t follow the French trend of evolution through revolution by rejecting all the past, or being nationalist in the search for a French cultural identity. In the contrary the writer seeks for an international ‘British’ inspiration of the defunct Oscar Wild. In a way we can realize a continuity and not brusque rupture with the past which is quite different from the French tradition of quarrels between Ancients and Moderns that ends with the victory of the moderns and the abolition of the ancients’ literature model. We can see a combination of French romanticism, symbolism and realism all fused together in a surrealist pursue of a definition of something not given yet.
In this article we find reciprocity between past and present as well as between respect for the French classicism -the place and time unites- and Dead poet Oscar Wild’s visit which come to break this unity as a surrealist conquest for a more modernist French Literature. Somewhere between reality and dream the writer is trying to find out how to escape l’ennui of the French classic literature. There is a recall from the past through the example of Voltaire success at both levels as anti-dogmatic ideology and free spirit writings which the poet put in comparison with his incapability for the moment –Maintenant- of achieving similar success in the present status quo. Nevertheless, his revolutionary ‘état d’âme’ tainted with Ennui et Mélancolie has no effect. In a poem the poet describe his revolution as a lion sleeping on the sand but all he can do is swing his hand and indeed strangle it. In his eyes French literature Maintenant is a “ta ta ta ta ta” and needs inspiration from the Oscar Wild modernity. Oscar Wild represents an international literature that the French needs to consider and follow its modernist foot steps without radical rupture with the past. This interpretation is well articulated when the poet raise his tone in page 5. While science is developing and the world is discovering modernity, I am still in Paris and I am too weak and lazy to be able to break free.



Finally, there is a call to open the door for breaking the classicism in order to pursue the exploration.  Art is exploration of an absolute unreachable,.. Oscar Wild is described to be « more Muscial than plastique » and laugthing continuously … into and inside the absolute « riait continuellement … dans l’absolu ». In this special issue the rebel Sébastien Melmoth is or should never stop his creative production through inspiring other poets. Oscar Wild is described as a cheerful music that goes for eternity. In a Nietzsche  interpretation the poet seem to be recalling for a self realization through a stimulated sensibility through culture that should be free from chains and internalized to be transformative as there is no eternal or absolute facts but there is a historical philosophy that the artist need to understand and assess its development and its process of creation. Pursuing this thought, the French writer call not for change as there is no final word in arts but there is a continuous activity of exploring and comprehending the human life and experience through aesthetic values to attain satisfaction and contention.

French-British Relations in Rhythm

For this assignment, I found a piece published in Rhythm in Vol. 1 No. 3 during Winter 1911. It's on page 32 and it's titled "Railway Vision" by Arthur Crossthwaite.

link: http://dl.lib.brown.edu/repository2/repoman.php?verb=render&id=115989415...

First of all, before I comment on this specific piece, I would like to point out that there are French phrases scattered throughout this issue of the magazine and an entire poem published in French on page 10 called "Petite Poème." This in an of itself says something to me about the relations between France and Britian, that a magazine published in London still includes things that I assume are for French readers since many Brits wouldn't know French. Likewise, by including a poem entirely in French without any translation or explanation of it in English, it's almost as though it is solely for an inclusion of a French audience.

But for the specific piece of "Railway Vision," one of the lines towards the beginning really stuck out to me. It says, "In Paris one talks and talks, in London one dreams and does." This line strikes me as giving an attitude of the time of how British people thought of Parisians- that they are simply all talk and no action. But as the piece continues, I got a little lost in the monologue of the author. It's almost as though he claims that London is where dreams can take place, in the beginning, but then he changes his mind during the course of the piece as he talks about art and the ability of an artist to do as he pleases. One of the last lines says, "And that phrase, 'The Art of Essentials' set me dreaming again of Paris and café-talks, and I saw vague ideal visions of a misty future, until the rasp of breaks and a hoarse 'Victoria!" brought me back to reality and London." So this last sentence is in direct contrast from the start of the piece and I particularly think it's amusing that at the beginning she said that in Paris you can only talk but in London you can dream, and then once she's back in London, she's dreaming about the café talks in Paris. I think in terms of relations between the two cities, this idea can offer some of the mutual fascination between the two cities. The two cultures are interested by one another and try to include one another, as shown in this piece and the inclusion of other French phrases and works in this issue. 

Racism and The Great War in "The Crisis"

In the opinion section of The Crisis, Vol. 10, No. 3, I came across an interesting article entitled "The War," considering what effect The Great War would have on the status of Blacks in England, France, and the United States. The author weighs arguments from several different scholars, the first of whom, Saint Nihal Singh, predicts that the status of Blacks and Indians in the British and French empires will be forever changed due to recognition of their heroism on the battlefield. The second quoted author, Joseph Edward Chamberlin, questions the merit of that argument, and points to historical examples of Blacks fighting on behalf of their country. No improvement in social or economic status resulted from the participation of Black soldiers, going back to the Egyptians and all the way up to the Spanish-American War. While Chamberlin recognizes that "France is the only country that gives equality to the colored man; and presumably, in that country, the service of the Senegalese will not be forgotten," he doubts whether any real change will come about in "the white world at large."

The article goes on to quote a South African newspaper calling on the British to recognize the faithful service of the native African peoples in providing an enormous amount of wealth in gold to the empire during the war, as well as a Toronto newspaper warning against any one nation presuming to impose its values and society upon the world as a whole. It concludes: "Equality for all, because mastership for none!"

The author of this opinion piece reflects more widely-held views of the time, namely that France stands out as being more progressive on issues of race, and that both the British and French empires stand to lose a great deal of power and fortune if they do not recognize the contribution to their societies provided by the native peoples they rule. It is implied that those nations are to provide an example for the United States, where Blacks did not feel recognized for their contributions as soliders in the nation's wars, and where laws governing their treatment were so wildly inconsistent between states.

Considerations in La Nouvelle Revue Française

In the first issue of La Nouvelle Revue Française, Jean Schlumberger provides a mission statement. Unlike Wyndham Lewis' Manifesto, Schlumberger's is much quieter, and taken from a position of a sort of intellectual responsibility. He begins by pointing out that artists are faced with two considerations: those of taste or fashion, which are continually changing, but continually renewing over the course of centuries; and the more difficult considerations essentiels, in which the artist ("dans les moments les plus décisifs de sa vie) compares their own work to the canonical pantheon of past "masters," and utilize past rubrics of artistic "genius."

Schlumberger says that the difficulty of these questions draws together artists who agree on a certain set of answers, into literary groups. The strength of these groups, however, is dependent on agreement over a body of work which they recognize to represent their artistic ideals. So when something new comes along, like free verse for example, there must be a break from the old rules in order to allow new standards for new forms of expression.

This piece echoes much of our discussion from Tuesday, exemplifying the French spirit of renewal. Unlike the British sentiment to build on past traditions, Schlumberger asks the reader of this magazine to be open to styles and methods that will at first seem unfamiliar. In true French fashion, the piece ends insisting conservation of the purity of the French language, even while new stylistic choices are being made. Thus, even the break from tradition is coupled with some sense of cultural superiority. Conversely, the British possess this same sense of tradition in the recognition of past works of art, while the English language is constantly manipulated to fit the fashion of the time-period.

British French relations in "The New Age"

In looking for an example of British-French relations before the war, I decided to look through "The New Age" to find an example.  "The New Age" is a British literary magazine, and it specifically describes at the top that it focusses on politics, literature and art.  The fact that it includes politics gave me the sense that there would be some reference to the relationship with the French.  The pre-war issue that I found is from May 16, 1907.  In browsing through the issue I found that there are references to political topics such as problems with the Irish and liberals and adult suffrage.  The section that I found a reference to the French in was not in the content produced by the magazine, but in the Correspondence section.  This is like a "Letter to the Editor" section of a paper and it gives readers an opportunity to express their views.  It may refer to what "The New Age" included in an issue; negative or positive.

The letter that I read through was called "Imperial Federation," and it was signed by M.D. Eder on page 47.  The author brings up the idea that Imperial Federation is a stage towards International Federation.  The writer questions whether this would cause a barrier that joins already existant ones.  The letter specifically states, "Why seek to gather the Canadians to ourselves sooner than the French, the Australian before the German ? (Eder, 47).  This implies that there is no rush to implement anything before other powerful countries of this time have, including France.  One of the reasons that he mentions that would make it ideal is that there is common language and literature, and that acts as a sufficient reason.  I take this to mean that because the British speak the same language as the colonists means that they should attempt to gain control.

The author goes on to give examples of why just a communiry spirit would not be a good enough reason enough on its own.  He says, "When a Frenchman is as keen as myself about the discoveries of Pastor Gregor Mendel, I have found a friend" (Eder, 47).  This implies that the general similarity in interest would make action more understandable.  It also mentions what would consist of a friendship with the French. 

The overall British-French relationship that I gathered through using context clues in this letter to "The New Age," is that British readers are looking towards the Fench actions in determining what their country should do itself.  This can be seen in the way that the writer wrote that if the French haven't done it yet, why should they?  There was also a small anecdote included that showed how a friendship with a Frenchman could be formed and how that relates to the topic of Imperial Federation.

Link: http://dl.lib.brown.edu/pdfs/1140813681758511.pdf

Marat and Robespierre

 So as I think someone might have said before me, I really had no idea how to approach finding content for this blog post. It seems a bit too over-arching to make statements about pre-war French-British relations from one piece. I did, however, find an interesting piece in The New Age from an English-American author Francis Grierson. He wrote an essay on two historical figures from the French Revolution. I'm not entirely clear as to the timing or reason for the piece (placed in a British journal in 1909, about French revolutionists of the late 18th century, from an American author). It was unique, however, that I found both the style of the piece as well as the "intent" of it interesting. 

The first thing that struck me about the essay was the way it was written--in a fictional, "epic" tone that glorified two specific characters rather than their environment. There was a tone of fate and extreme levels of drama in it. Marat and Robespierre are portrayed as heroes of sorts. Oddly enough, the characters are glorified whereas the situation doesn't seem to be. I'm not sure of its significance, but I considered the need for revolution against the monarchy to not be elevated in a journal of a monarchist society.