3 New Words

It took me a minute to figure out how to post the blog.

In the Crisis (colored, negro, education) issue, there are two words that jump out at the audience: colored and negro. The word “colored” is used 106 times while “negro” is used 32 and “negroes” is used 30; as this is just a pluralization, I’ve decided to count them together, meaning that it is the second most frequently used word in the text, totaling 62 usages. This publication is put forth by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, so the prominent usage of these words make sense as the publication targets people of color. There is also an emphasis on education and achievement, which is reflective of the “advancement” that the publication wishes to make possible; this emphasis is not only found in lower levels of education (see St. Mary’s School advertisement) but also in a buzz word like “co-educational” as found in the higher ed advertisement for Morris Brown University. The magazine also captures important milestones of civil rights, including “Federal Anti-Lynching Bill Introduced in Congress” and the status of the “colored” soldier talks (76).

Like Crisis, the Egoist (symbol, organic, time)also contains key words that reflects its mission to give the most relevant, early intellectual advancements. In this issues, these are most notably “symbol” and “organic,” which are both used 27 times. The publication is known for publishing early modernist poetry and fiction, but also includes philosophy and other important intellectual pieces, including a tribute to a famous musician. The largest portion of this issue is dedicated to Marsden’s “Our Philosophy of the ‘Real,’” which discusses “symbol-making powers” (77). Marsden’s account reads like early psychoanalysis. His other most frequently used term is “organic,” which is also central to Marsden’s argument as he discusses the term in regards to a movement, time, and culture (79-84). In The Little Review (love, new, like), another literary magazine geared toward readers who seek intellectualism, one of the most frequently used words is “like.” While most readers would miss such a word, in a magazine that publishes literary pieces, “like” makes a lot of sense as it is used to indicate enjoyment, compare, and frequently employed in the literary device of simile. Consistently, throughout the magazine, like is used in simile. For example, in Kohen’s “Angiora,” the word is used to compare the narrator’s hands to “the black plague eating the wheat” (31) and in a different story altogether, Barne’s “Finale,” the word is used for a different purpose, to emphasize “those who like the round, the complete, the final” (29). The versatility of this word in the English language and in literature is revealed consistently throughout this magazine issue as nearly every author uses it once. However, it is a word that most would miss (I would have missed it had I not been using a word mapping strategy).

Three Words and Search Biases

This blog post ended up being more difficult than I was expecting it to be, which I will speak to in a moment. These are the words I came up with for each issue:

The Crisis: War, School, Fight

The Egoist: Power, Creative, Experience

The Little Review: Love, New, Song

The Crisis was by far the easiest one to find words for, due to my previous experience with this issue, which resulted in some bias in my word search. Knowing this was published close to the end of WWI, it's obvious that the whole issue is centered around the war effort and the fight over in Europe. However, the advertisements in the issue are focused on the reincorporation of soldiers on the homefront, fighting for civil rights and education for veterans.

Meanwhile, The Egoist and The Little Review are more focused on the artistic explorations of modernism, as opposed to the explicit social concerns in The Crisis. The pieces in The Little Review seem to be focused on the content of the art, while The Egoist, emphasized by the lengthy editorial by Dora Marsden questioning the "real," is concerned with the more philisophical elements of modernism, and the creative experinces the movement allows for.

However, something I realized doing this excercise was the amount of influence my previous biases had on the words I looked for. As I mentioned in my brief paragraph on The Crisis, my working knowledge of the context and paratext of the issue impacted how I looked for terms, on top of the generally exhausted mindset I was in while hunting for terms. So my distant reading of this issue was obviously greatly affected by my biases, which is something we should keep in minds while doing this sort of work algorithmically. Algorithims are still written by humans, so they are just as vulnerable to biases. I'd say the biases could be mroe dangerous, since algorithms move much faster and search for patterns faster than any human could.

Work War Write New

(I was initially attempting to write a paragraph for each word before realizing this would be much too lengthy, so…here’s a bit of a front-heavy response.)

The Crisis: education, work, war

The Egoist: organic, real, time, new (also a curious absence of war?)

The Little Review: new, light, write/r

One of first word that I was struck by while once more reading the June 1918 edition of The Crisis was "college", and additionally from this, "university", "teacher", "teaching", and similar words focused upon the overarching topic of education. This wasn't simply because the edition begins with almost an overabundance of advertisements for schools that one might attend, but because, after this initial introduction to the topic (which is perhaps indicative of, or else an argument for, the African American of 1918 being deeply concerned with education), the edition returns to the subject again and again throughout. From the relation of a most "astonishing occurrence" of the mistreated schoolteacher, Miss M. C. Euell (who actually relates her own experience in this narration--pretty cool) to the subtle inclusion of teacher's salaries as determined by the Board of Education in Louisville, Kentucky which notes that, while some "White teachers (boys)" can receive a salary of up to $2,000, with many variations depending upon the class being taught, "For colored teachers there is only one class — Class A , the salary for which is $1,200 maximum, $1,000 minimum" (88). Such a prevalence for discussion not only of possibilities for education but of actual schools and schoolteachers at work seems an intentional pushback against the obvious ignorance expressed by one "learned editor" (as wryly described by one covering the story for The Crisis) who declares that he considers "the white man as just a little lower than the angels, and the Negro as just a little higher than the brutes" (61). Although the response by the writer for The Crisis' is rather scathingly splendid: "To this we simply add, in paraphrase: the more we see of angels the more we like brutes" (61), it is remarkable to me that, in many instances, the writers and editors of The Crisis are often content to allow the irrational cruelty of racism speak for itself. “Look about this volume alone”, The Crisis seems to argue, “and see on every page unquestionable evidence of the ignorance permeating such rhetoric.” 

Another word I noticed throughout The Crisis was persistent the topic of work, both explicitly advocated or simply assumed as necessary and valuable. Much of the work mentioned is either political or physical in nature, such as The Horizon section, and the many entries in the Personal column which details the many new jobs or promotions given to African Americans. From the frequent discussions (or even straight up lists) concerning what has been done, what has been attempted, and what has yet to be done, I feel a firm insistence that there is much work to do, and the reader ought to add their own efforts to the mix, too. Intricately connected to this topic of “work” in 1918 is, of course, the presence of war. Although a fixation upon the soldier’s experience is certainly unsurprising for a June 1918 wartime edition, I was quite struck by some of the pieces on WWI. Take the image on page 72, for instance (I tried to insert it but was unable). Although my first exposure to The Crisis was during our course last year on the topic of WWI, upon first reading this I don’t think I quite realized just how late in the war this volume was published, and what that meant to much writing. I have since been used to thinking that by June 1918 the fervor or idealism surrounding the war would likely have faded to bitterness in the face of wartime loss and atrocity, and so was rather surprised to see this image, centered upon an African American figure who is being freed from the economic slavery by a stern, sword wielding man simply named “The War” and titled “War, the Grim Emancipator”, featured without irony. This caused me to wonder if perhaps even by this moment the American perception of the war had not yet reached the desperation experienced in Europe?

Turning to these editions of The Egoist and The Little Review, I begin with a query: there is quite a notable absence of the topic of war in this June 1918 volume of The Egoist. I’m curious why this might be so, when surely the entire world is thinking of little else? I thought at first that perhaps literary/philosophy journals preferred to keep to themselves, but then the war is present in some material of The Little Review. As for the words above, organic and real I noticed immediately, since they are repeated rather frequently in the manifesto presented at the start of volume, and both are often linked to the concept of time (since “Time is organic movement” (79). I’m not always able to follow the philosophical arguments made here in entirety, but it is clear that it is of chief concern to The Egoist that the “modern” writer attempts to systematically yet philosophically (and even poetically, with the “lion and the lamb” simile, etc, and through literature), work through the nature of human existence and, in doing so, human art.

Additionally, the term new (also often italicized!) crops up again and again in The Egoist. This reminds me, of course, of Ezra Pound’s oft-quoted idiom. Although Dr. Laird rather effectively argued in our Modernism class last year that a translation closer to his intent would be something akin to a charge to “Renovate yourself” (which has some distinct differences from an all-encompassing order to “Make it new”), I am in any case used to associating the call to novelty and the new as intrinsically linked to Modernist thought, and so it was fun to actually recognize those philosophical threads. This word is also used in The Little Review to a lesser extent but to (perhaps) greater effect when the cover asserts of the journal itself that “The philosophical articles which The Egoist publishes, by presenting the subject-matter of metaphysics in a form which admits of logical treatment […] is investing that commonest but laxest of literary forms—the novel (as written in English)—with a new destiny and a new meaning.” Wow! I jest, but there is something interesting in considering (as we’ve already been doing, I realize) how one’s impression of a work is altered depending upon the format in which one first meets said work. Even though some of the stated goals within both The Egoist and The Little Review seem a bit lofty and conceited to me, what I notice first and foremost is their earnest commitment to reading, printing and valuing newly written stories, accounts, poems, etc., that are often being told in unusual ways.

3 Words

Alright, so I'm currently fighting through some major wisdom tooth pain in order to get this together. Any problems you see should be 100% blamed on those worthless protrusions we call "wisdom" teeth.

 

The Little Review: Love, Art, Good

The Little Review is pretty clear about its purpose from the cover. "A Magazine of the Arts: Making No Compromise With the Public Taste." While it puts itself forth as an art magazine, and it does so forcefully, that does not mean that they have a complete understanding of what art is. I got a general feeling that The Little Review spent its ~84 pages trying to figure out what "good" Art is, and seemed to rely on the presence/communication of "love" as a concept to be an element of effective art. To be a bit more nuanced, I would say that they feel art should convey emotion, and love is a rather obvious emotion to try and convey, so that would explain its abundant presence in the text.

 

The Egoist: Idea, Experience, Modern

I'm with Caleb in his reaction to The Egoist's advertisment in The Little Review. I can't say I was awfully surprised to see that from a magazine for which Eliot served as assistant editor, but I would expect something like The Egoist and it's opening section entitled "Our Philosophy of the 'Real'" from Pound, if we're being totally honest.

Friendly jabs at Eliot and Pound aside, this magazine is trying desperately to figure out the formation of ideas, and how to do form appropriately modern ideas. A focus around experience is seen, and I suppose it makes sense. But I would like to track the use of "idea" and "experience" throughout the MJP's copies of The Egoist, and see just how hard they cling to these words.

 

The Crisis: Race, Training, Study

In an obvious point to anyone that is familiar with The Crisis, race plays a huge part of the magazine. This issue, though, conflates World War I, the lifting up of black people through training programs and their service in the military. This is a marked contrast to The Crisis issue that was released just before/after American joined World War I, and it's largely due to the intense patriotism/propaganda movement that gripped America as the horrors of World War I took hold.

This is seen first and foremost in the words I listed. While there is a focus on race, and the war at large, the magazine also has many advertisements for "training" schools that are open to either men or women. They also urge readers to "study" prominent issues such as new laws or other points of concern. World War I saw with it a larger allowance in what black people were allowed to take part in as members of society -- mostly out of necessity -- and The Crisis is aiming to capitalize on that newfound freedom by cheerleading their readers into not only a pride over their abilities, but a hunger to do more.

The Crisis, The Egoist, and The Little Review

The Crisis : Soldier, Colored, advancement

Considering the fact that the magazine was edited by W. B. Dubois, this magazine seems to show value of black people in USA of 1918. The articles suggested in the magazine keep emphasizing the value of black soldiers, and their ability to deal with the problems in their own tasks. For example, in a letter from General Ballou, the speaker says, “there is no longer any occasion to resent race discrimination, because there was none.”(62) The writer even says that colored office could do their work properly. Such idea of foreigners inside the army who perform well their tasks can be also found in the exemplary dialogue between Socrates and Eudices. By explaining that the foreign soldiers also should be well treated, the story seems to emphasize embracing racial others in the society. A sonnet to negro soldiers also depict the value of black people who can do their task well by saying “…shall rise and fro their blows cast down the thoron of prejudice”(64) As such, this magazine keeps suggesting examples that depict the exemplary successful figures in the black society, and try to uphold the value of black people.

 

The Egoist : Symbol, music, science

This magazine shows the main idea on aesthetics of Modernism and its relationship with philosophical idea or cultural stuffs like music. The first article written by D. Marsden, ‘Our Philosophy of the Real’ shows agents of human development as manual labor and symbol making. By positioning each of agents as intension of actual thing and extension of mental process, the writer says that these forces would allow people to recreate their lives. He mainly deals with symbol which depicts sensuality made from the mind. What he tries to suggest is that while traditional idealism believed that symbolic language would correspond to the reality, nowadays, it is not possible, and the symbol is used by one’s own imagination and process of the mind which cannot directly refer to reality. The article ‘Claude Debussy’ makes connection between poetry and music, and this also makes us think about the relationship between sensuality and literary language. T.S Eliot’s article, Contemporanea also suggests certain traits of modernist thought. While emphasizing the influence of French poetry, he also says that “A poet, like a scientist, is contributing toward the organic development of culture”(84). This reminds us the line from his work, ‘the tradition and the individual talent’ which says that poet should operate like catalyst, by making connection with existing traditions without transformation of original meaning of the texts.

 

The Little Review : Abstraction, tradition, imagery

This magazine also implies techniques of modernism. Poems of Wallace Stevens show how the modernist poem is working. Abstraction is the most salient characteristic in modernism and we can read such traits in his poem ‘anecdote of men by the thousand.’ In this poem, the writer makes connection between soul and the external world, so makes us imagine abstract image of thinking that existence of people can become a territorial place. William Carlos Williams’ prose about love explains about his complex thought on love. He does not uphold the passion in love, and recommends us to be careful to the relationship with one another by alluding many traditional litearry texts in European culture. Both the content which tries to negate one’s free emotion and the form which alludes many literary works seem to show us a characteristic of modernism. A poem, ‘Dreams in war time’ depicts vivid images of the town, so this also reminds us technique of modernism.

Three Words, Three Magazines

How is it possible to be so tired on a Monday? Good lord. Anyways, below I’ve compiled a table of 3 words per each of the 3 magazines that we read. I chose the words based on the frequency with which they occur in their respective texts (the minimum amount of times that they could recur was 10).

The Crisis: * War  * Colored  * Soldier 

 

The Egoist: * Power * New  * Modern 

 

The Little Review: * Art * Life * Body

 

The Crisis is undoubtedly the most immediately political magazine of the bunch (and incidentally the magazine that I found most intriguing). It also seemed to be the most community-based publication out of the three that we viewed - contrast the "Complain" section in The Crisis (p. 61) with the one in The Little Review (p. 64). Moreover, I was surprised to find that, while WWI is front and center in The Crisis, it's largely absent from the other two magazines. 

The Egoist, a journal "of interest to virile readers only” according to its advertisement in The Little Review (eye roll), was definitely not as accessible, with Dora Marsden's long philosophical treatise and Arthur Symons' long, flowery tribute to Debussy. Meanwhile, with The Little Review, which was less critically focused than this issue of The Egoist, it was a little harder to pin down some words that I felt spoke to an overall cohesion to the text. I might, however, be alone in this. I felt like the poetry ("Haunts" was a personal favorite) and the prose were a bit more immediate and corporeal than the largely abstract writing in The Egoist, hence the words I picked. Also, the Glossary is delightful. 

I'll be interested to hear what everyone else thought about these magazines and their relationships with each other. Overall, it was incredibly interesting to read three magazines that were so different despite being produced at the same time. 

Voyeur Tools

I mostly applied the program to readings of The Smart Set. I plugged any words to do with gender, from obvious ones like "men v. women" to less obvious terms like maid or butler.

It was interesting to see how engendered terms actually seemed to increase with each subsequent issue. While I couldn't see any clear pattern to whether one gender was preferred over the other, I thought was most interesting was thinking about why gendered terms became more prevalent in later issues. My assumption would be that The Smart Set, the self proclaimed magazine of cleverness, often flourished when their pieces were biting satire of social norms. As the style of the journal became more developed and focused, it was cool to see the writers taking a more vested interest in dissecting gender roles in early American culture.

Bibliographic Coding in The Smart Set

What attracted me to The Smart Set specifically was it's self-proclaimed wit, the cover always subheadlined with "A Magazine of Cleverness" This kind of self-aware almost-pretentiousness, I think, is an interesting tone that most might consider to be more representative of contemporary writing. I wanted to see what kind of snobbish, high-culture wit was like back in the early 1900's.

The specific issue I picked was the 4th issue of the 50th volume, dated December of 1916. I picked this one because I wanted to get a feel for the magazine later in it's run, assumably when it's readership and subsequently the writers who submitted material would have developed a pretty consistent idea of what the journal was like stylistically.

Stolen Time Archive

In communications, information is seen as a resistance to the natural entropy of the world. Patterns and facts are ways that we impose order on an otherwise chaotic and shifting reality. An archive then, is a physical manifestation of this concept. Through the categorization and storage of information, we build a structure from which we can base some sort of continuous identity. But how does the accessibility of a given archive influence it's effectiveness. 

On the surface, the assumption is that the ease at which a given person can access necessary information is directly proportional to it's utility. While I'd agree, the Stolen Time Archive is special in that it is purposefully counter-intuitive and obtuse, but to what end? One might argue that the creation of archives themselves is inherently 'stealing time'. By imposing order on our naturally chaotic world, we're essentially 'stealing time' by creating long-lasting time-biased media. The whole concept of an archive is to defeat the inevitable erosion that time enacts on everything. This archive then, sort of steals time back from us. A reminder that the world isn't necessarily easily categorized and no matter how much we try to impose our version of reality, we should always be wary of connections that aren't readily apparent.

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