Rythm and coding

The magazine Rhythm, which was produced from 1911 until early 1913, had a consistent lay out which was followed through its issues. The magazine’s cover and table of contents as well as the back cover and advertisements page was printed on its signature blue paper while the inside of the magazine was printed on the traditional white. The context of the magazine follows the same similar pattern through out every issue. Rhythm starts off with a few stories moving into portraits going in to play and poems and end off with one or several books reviews and a few advertisements for the magazine its self and other press releases.     

Is there always bibliographic coding?

After reading several blogs from my fellow peers and skimming through all of The English Review magazines, I felt as though there wasn't any real reason why certain poems and/or short stories were placed together or right after one another. I noticed that every issue - there are 15 issues with a special supplement - beings with a title page that is blue and has either all or most of the contributing authors on it. There is nothing special about the title page, everything is generally written in uppercase letters and in the same "Plain Jane" typeface. Then the magazine starts off with advertisements that generally speak about new books that are coming out or have just been released. There are other advertisements that are trying to sell pens, ink, desks, or other writers materials. Generally speaking the advertisements are directed to those who enjoy reading or writing or maybe even the serious literary critic. I also noticed that a great deal of the work in the magazines are short stories or essays. I noticed that there were no pictures, except for the advertisements that had maybe a grand total of 20 pictures of the 15 issues. I began to feel that there was no bibliographic coding in this particular magazine. But then I remembered that the bibliographic coding is any and all context of the writings. So maybe the editor of this particular magazine were trying to reach a more literary audience as opposed to an audience that Blast, for example, was trying to reach with their bold typeface and drawings. Maybe this is why most of the contributing authors were already well established, for instance, Fyodor Dostoevsky, H. G. Wells, and Ezra Pound.

I think that if the works in The English Review were taken out and put into an anthology I would not read the works differently, since the magazine already feels like an anthology with some advertisements thrown in for flavoring.

The New Age

       The article I read that I felt included bibliographic coding was written by W.D.P Bliss of The New Age. This article entitled Mark Twain was a direct critique of how Bliss views Twain as a writer and as a person. He quotes Twain many times, mentioning that Twain was a gifted writer that made many laugh. He goes onto say how he finds it hard to believe that such a writer was born from a country that seems to be so very serious about everything. At first it was hard to tell if the author was for or against the writings of Twain. Bliss took a lot of what Twain wrote about and tried to put his own spin on it, essentially trying to convince his readers about the kind of writer Twain was, instead of presenting his opinion as being his and only his. Bliss also quotes Abraham Lincoln, saying that Lincoln once said "Well, he looks like a man", in reference to Walt Whitman, and goes onto say that Lincoln would have said the very same thing about Twain. I felt that Bliss was taking away the real meaning of what Lincoln meant by his comment of Whitman by trying to assume that Lincoln would have made the same comment for both men.

       Although I too enjoy reading the works of Mark Twain, many readers may not have the same opinion that Bliss does, but the way in which he presents his arguement and opinion shows that he took the original content and tried to make something else come out of it. I think that this is a good example of bibliographic coding because it shows how a writer chose to let his perception of another writer shine through his article, allowing no room for dispute or any other conception of it to occur. I guess he tried to open the eyes of others who are not familiar with the works of Twain, by allowing them to judge Twain the same that he has.


page 180 of the July 18th, 1907 issue

King Diarmuid and Song in Dana

William Buckley's story "King Diarmuid" appears in August of 1904 in Dana magazine. It is about a traveling king who dreams of a stunning woman. He wakes up, and tells his best friend about it, who laughs. He is approached by an old woman who tells him that she once betrayed the honor of a great man, and was doomed. She was cursed to age immediately, and never die. She explains that if she can have the pity of a greater man, and talk to him for twenty minutes the curse will be reversed. She sobs and tells him that being old is terrible and hard. He sympathizes, and she transforms into the woman of his dream while he transforms into a feeble old man. The story ends tragically as the woman seduces his unknowing best friend, who takes her away from the disgusting old man in a royal chariot. Immediately following the story is one of James Joyce's first published poems: "Song." It is about nature, and the nature of love. The speaker seems delighted to be outside, in the presence of the woman he adores, and not at all afraid that she will turn him into a bitter old man. Perhaps Dana is suggesting that while one should certainly be cognizant of the deceitfulness of some, strange women, there are a few others that will age you slowly into a content man.

The New Age

In "The New Age" magazine I found a form of bibliographic coding in the article intitled "The Difficulties of Temperance". In this article, they discussed the liquor trade being the core reason behind the troubles of society. G.R.S Taylor discussed in the first paragraph of this article how the reason for those troubles cannot be blamed on the liquor trade alone and the people who either sell or buy liquor. It continues to discuss how men can buy better houses and get better jobs if they stop spending their money on beer. I found this to be a form of bibliographic coding because from what I observed from our class lecture, bibliographic coding is where a writer takes a piece of literature or in this case a statement and writes it in their own perception or changes the original content of the meaning. I believe that after reading that article, the reader's perception or perhaps what they first thought of the liqour trade, may change because of G.R.S Taylors influencial words. When one's opinion is given and a strong opinion none the less, the readers perception may change, even if the original meaning or what Sir Toby Belch ment to say was correct during the time he wrote or said it.

Bibliograhic Coding in Poetry

        The journal, Poetry, published from 1912 to 1922, issued over twenty volumes of verse. In the early stages of its publication, the cover page was printed in caligraphic text, outlined by what appears like a wood block printed design, and displays the symbol of pegusus in the opening of the capital "P" in "Poetry." The design is traditional in appearance, and strikingly different from other journals such as The New Age, The Blue Review, or Cosmopolitan. It was not until the eighth volume, printed in April of 1916 that the journal removed the wood block design and changed the font to a more modern face, however keeping the pegasus image in the title. This shift in design might inform the reader something of the pre-war poet's positive attitude towards their lyric tradition. This argument might also be supported by the presence of an Whitman quote on the final page of the first issue to display the new cover. The quote reads, "To have great poets there must be great audiences, too." While the actual quote may be of little interest to this discussion, the fact that it is written in the calligraphic font face used in previous issues illustrates the editor or publisher's reluctance towards change.

"Blessed the Hairdresser"

"Blessed the Haridresser" is a poem published in "The Blast" (No. 1). Why did this, of all things, stick out to me? Well, it was the first thing I read that I didn't have to read four more times to understand. I thought it was a simple, clever little poem about what a hairdresser does. I liked how the hairdresser is compared to a soldier going to war wth Mother Nature with lines like, "He attacks Mother Nature for a small fee (Pg. 27)" and "He makes systematic mercenary war on this WILDERNESS (Pg. 27)." The hairdresser is also seen as an artist. From the wilderness he's declared war on he is able to create something with "CLEAN ARCHED SHAPES" AND "ANGULAR PLOTS (pg.27)." These terms make me think of the precision and care that goes into the little details of an artists work.

I felt like this poem coicides with the conversation we were having about the "Life Has No Taste" poem shown to us during our first class. It works with the idea of finding beauty and creating art from the everyday. One may feel that someone who writes poems about hairdressers has no taste, but to my understanding "The Blast" magazine is suppose to reflect this movement where people are challenging the idea of what is good or bad taste and/or art. Why can't a poem or a song or a painting about a haridresser be considered good art?


Art Theory in Blast

The two articles "Inner Necessity" by Edward Wadsworth and "A Review of Contemporary Art" by Wyndham Lewis, appearing in the first and second issues of Blast respectively, offer interesting examples of early Modernist philosophies of painting and, moreover, the evolution thereof. As Malcolm Bradbury and James McFarlane put it in "Movements, Magazines, and Manifestos": Within this period... innovation sometimes develops out of what has gone before; equally it sometimes repudiates it" (Bradbury and McFarlane 198). This assertion reads particularly true when analyzing the two Blast essays given that they were published one year apart by the same Vorticist journal and yet their particular opinions on painting are markedly different.

In order to understand the divergence of "Inner Necessity" and "A Review of Contemporary Art" is it perhaps advantageous to note where they are united in aim. "Inner Necessity" is essentially a recapitulation of Wassily Kandinsky's book Concerning the Spiritual in Art in which the author argues for a break from representative painting in favor of abstraction. This, he avers, will facilitate what should be the chief goal for artists, namely, to express the eternal, or that which "is particular to all art" (Wadsworth 119). Likewise, Lewis is interested in a break from tradition and similarly he argues that representation is an obstacle to true innovation in painting.

This rejection of corporeal depiction, however, does not alone satisfy the needs of a truly modern style, at least not for Lewis. In fact, "A Review of Contemporary Art" has equal criticism for Kandinsky's brand of mystical abstraction as well. It is, therefore, in this censure that the difference between the two arguments becomes apparent, though, given the context,also somewhat problematic.

In that Wydham Lewis was not only a contributer to, but also the editor of Blast, the criticism he levels of Kandinsky seems incongruent with his publication of "Inner Necessity" in the inaugural issue of his journal. The answer to this contradiction may simply be chronological, however. By the summer of 1915, when the second issue of Blast was produced, the tenets of Vorticism may have coalesced and as such a rejection of the other Modernist schools is a delimiting statement. Regardless, it is revealing to read these articles in their original context as it provides greater insight into the development of the ideas of the time.

Two Stories

I discovered “Coals of Fire” by Mary Raymond Shipman Andrews because of Alonzo Kimbault’s illustration that goes with it. On the first page alone, Andrews brings up a few of the big issues facing women of that time: World War I and suffrage. Her protagonist, Aileen O’Hara, begins the story convincing a rally of suffragists that they should give up their fight for the right to vote and put all of their effort, time and money into the war. The discussion at the rally is an incredible feat of displaying different views on the subject, views that were probably being discussed at the time. Should women put aside their longstanding struggle for suffrage to help their country? When one suffragist states that the cause is not theirs another asks if they aren’t all English to which the woman replies, “No. I am a woman first” (54). The story is a very interesting look into the issues women faced in that time period.

I first noticed the D.H. Lawrence story because I recognized his name from a modern British poetry class. I’ve read a lot of his poetry and one of his books, but I wanted to see how he handled the short story genre. The Soiled Rose is about a man returning to his old hometown and visiting an old girlfriend. The story is naturalist in that only the mundane happens and none of the characters seem to make any free will decisions. Also, Lawrence spends a lot of time making the flowers of the fields surrounding his characters reflect their emotional state. When the main character, Syson, first looks down the slope that leads to his old girlfriend’s house, he is struck by the beauty of it. Then the man he just met, Arthur, who wants to marry his old girlfriend, accuses him of wrongdoing in their relationship and suddenly the very same hillside changes to something ironic (9-10).  There are no big revelations or extraordinary circumstances, just people dealing with the circumstances of their situations.

The Surface, and Otherwise

A first glance through some modernist magazines leaves us with a sense of unrest, shifting norms, and social tension.  As I looked more thoughtfully at some pieces, my first impression did not change, but gained more ground with each scanned page.

The New Age, a socialist magazine, advertised along with butter and socialism a brand of suffragism I have never encountered before.  As a student of several women's suffrage and feminism movements, I took for granted the idea that, just as black people were the front runners of the civil rights movement, and gay people were the front runners of the gay rights movement, women were the front runners of the movement for their own rights.  What I found in this magazine was an advertisement that called a meeting for women's suffrage that was to specifically include only men.  It appears that in 1907, concepts like participation, collective voice and public presence were not considered integral to the earning and progressing of women's suffrage.  The very things that separated women from politics, science, education, business, and society at large were in fact perpetuated by the leaders of a movement that claimed to create equality and rights for women.  So the thing on the surface, as is demonstrated by the crux of modernist culture, in actuality has the opposite intentions and results.  What on the surface is a meeting for women's suffrage turns out to be a publicly acceptable, and even advertisable, exercise of exclusion and continued oppression of women.

In contrast to the streamlined essay message of The New Age, Wheels is much more the literary and artistic voice of modernism.  Sandwiched between vintage sea-man illustrations and full-color ads are small literary gems.  These are the kinds of things you may find ruffling through the desk of a great novelist.  Coming upon a scrap of napkin with a few lines of verse, you can at once detect the small human parts that make up the grandiose whole you might see on a shelf in the library.  This is the sense of the several narrative prose pieces from Aldous Huxley.  Each bit contains within it a deep internal darkness, a sceptical view of the world, a fear of machinery and intrusion, a wall that at once blocks off and absorbs inside itself a sharp and putrid reality.  One of these snips, "Fatigue" is both the surface and the things that can be smelled through it.  There is the narrator, the human mind, the social machine, the mechanical machine.  They each have a surface, and something disturbing lurking directly beneath it.  Such is Huxley, and such appears to be the essence of modernity.