Applied Stephen

Lots of focus on the individual in the "Meaning of Rhythm." It also marks a clear line between the artist, the journalist, and the ordinary person. The artist is so in love with life that their spirit floods out into its creativity. Honestly sounds a lot like the neo-romantic idea we were talking about a few weeks ago. The only difference is that the setting of the romanticism is enabled by modernity, that is—modern aesthetics—by thinking in abstract forms of work, whether by abstracted hands, like machines, or abstracted concepts and forms, like shapes, colors, and borders. But the imagery is natural and non-Western at some points, so there are some natural (romantic?) landscapes that seem relevant, even if they are laden with undertones of Orientalism and colonialist exoticism. The Edenic cover image echoes those sentiments as well.

The ads partially designed by the magazine’s artists (in Rhythm) remind me of the developments we discussed in advertising, which showed how images can be way more suggestive and effective than words/text in advertising and marketing.


Above are my informal notes from last week that I didn’t end up posting, but Stephen addresses rhythm directly in his esthetic philosophy. The meaning and buzz of rhythm are in the air at the beginning of the twentieth century.

As Lynch indulges Stephen in his rumination, Stephen describes rhythm as “the first formal esthetic relation of part to part in any esthetic or whole to its part or parts or of any part to the esthetic whole of which it is a part” (1154-57, 181). Through the jarring definition, it’s clear that rhythm involves the relation between things--it is fluctuation, it is the discursive back-and-forth between part and whole. The first “part” that comes to mind, in the context of Rhythm, is the individual and (the whole) society. But on the other hand, I am drawn to read these parts and wholes as meta-textual—the relations of constituent parts in magazines (like images, advertisements, fictions, and poetry) to the whole of the magazine. Similarly, Joyce exemplifies Stephen’s opinions about rhythm through his parsing of the prose of the novel into five distinct parts. Joyce asks us to read rhythm into his novel that, reflexively, defines rhythm. How does Rhythm work similarly with its editors?


Nathan, I like your connections of Stephen's description of rhythm to the relation of the different elements of periodical studies. As you say, the first part is the relationship between the magazine itself (Rhythm) and the individual, and the (whole) is the society. This implicates a relationship between what I think is the context of the magazine and the society, the Rhythm that exists between the magazine and the society of readers. Your other example of a rhythmic relation between the constituent parts of magazines (the images, advertisements, fiction, and poetry) are individual parts that comprise the whole of the magazine. All of these parts make up the entire magazine. Stephen in this same way is a part of a greater whole in the context of the individual and his surroundings/ society.