Differences in the BLAST issues

 I couldn't help but notice the initial visual experience that exists, even in an archived copy, of the first issue of BLAST. Lewis's obsession with pure, abstract energy is evident in his own vorticist artwork, the typeface of "Manifesto--I," and the cover design itself, whose offset block-letter "BLAST" screams off the hot-pink backdrop that seems to glow from its own radiating energy. 

However, much of Lewis' energy seems lost after the excitement of the first issue, both in content and the somber subject of the War itself. In his editorial, Lewis recognizes the effect of the war on Europe, but insists that "art should be fresher for the period of restraint." And although this issue has most of the same contributors, the lack of physical content alone shows their exasperated inability to keep up with the previous issue (with the exception of Lewis, who contributes a greater portion) but also in the more traditional typeface, and especially in the cover. Gaudier-Brzeska says it best in his "Vortex": "IT WOULD BE FOLLY TO SEEK ARTISTIC EMOTIONS AMID THESE LITTLE WORKS OF OURS." The drama in Europe, as this issue's contrast to the last shows, is not playing out on the artistic stage, but on the battlefield. As a result, BLAST's second issue cannot mimic the energy of the first, but instead adapts the aura of the era.

Bibliographic Coding in BLAST

In Bornstein’s piece we learn that “the bibliographic code corresponds to the aura and, like it, points to the work’s ‘presence in time and space’”. He states that bibliographic code is found the page layout, book design, the typeface, and the boarder of the page.  Within a work’s bibliographic code a reader is able to see the “aura” of the piece.  In Wyndham Lewis’s BLAST No. 1 the bibliographic coding speaks loudly.  That is that when readers look at the magazine they can’t help but notice the bold, bright color of the cover, with the word BLAST clearing standing out.  Lewis is already drawing readers to his work before they even open the cover.

On page 59 the piece titled ENEMY OF THE STAIRS. has an interesting form of bibliographic coding.  The piece starts of in all capital letters and a little over half way down the page the text switches back regular capitalization and a smaller font.  He seems to be describing two different characters and is creating a higher level of importance for his first character by using all caps.  After reading about the first “manish” character, readers are less enthused by the “appalling gamin” character because of the way the description is laid out on the page. 

Bibliographic coding can completely transform the way that readers look at a certain work. By changing the text and capitalizing certain words readers are able to gain a sense of what the author thinks we should stress more importance on and in doing so get a greater read of the story.


Welcome to our course website! Normally I post this video as an introduction to modernism, but since our primary source just created an introductory video, I'll embed that instead. You should feel free to write a comment on this post to introduce yourself to the rest of the group.

Be sure to look through this site to see the kinds of work that students have done in the past. We'll be adding to the body of knowlege they've started to create as part of the process of highlighting and analyzing materials for the emergent field of modern periodical studies.

Welcome To the Course

It was great meeting all of you today, and thanks for taking this course. When you have a chance, please log in to the course website with the username and password that was emailed to you individually. There are two things you should do right away:

  1. Change your password to something you'll remember by clicking on the "My account" link (in the right sidebar below your name) and then on the Edit tab. Enter a new password and click on the Save button.
  2. Write a comment to this post letting me know that you were able to log in and change your password. Click on the "Add new comment" link below.

We'll cover more website basics in our computer lab meeting on Wednesday. See you tomorrow!

For Monday 7/14; Tech Workshop Requests

I just want to say that yesterday's presentations did a good job of bringing out the conflicts and contradictions in your respective aspects of The New Age. There was some good analysis as well as the exposure of some potentially fruitful points of research. For Monday, we'll hear from the two groups that still need to present and will then discuss Ardis, Morrisson and Bornstein. This will wrap up our study of The New Age and bring us into the wider world of avant-garde magazines and cultures. Our reading for Thursday 7/17 will consist solely of what you bring to the table in your readings of the other magazines at the MJP.

You'll also notice that I've changed the Descriptive Bibliography assignment to remove the presentations and place a focus on what values your magazine ascribes to the literary. This will form the background of our discussion on Thursday. Much information might be found in the MJP’s introduction to the journal you’re studying, in the Essays section, and in the Biographies area. Those interested in further research can check out the Books and Periodicals Database. I've added more practical information to the assignment page, so please do read it over again.

Also, since some of you expressed interest in technology workshops, use the comments here to (1) make requests, (2) indicate your availability, and (3) say whether you primarily use a Mac or a PC. I'll find out what facilities we can use at Brooklyn and will set something up.

Have a great weekend!