modjourn

Le Petit Journal des Refusees

Le Petit Journal des Refusées only published one issue in 1896. Published in an age of anxiety and discontent, Le Petit Journal presents a prototype of the modernist visual and literary art of the World War I era, which would start less than twenty years after the magazine's publicaton. The description of Le Petit Journal in the Modernist Journals archive describes the magazine as giving "hints of Dada and Surrealism before these modes of modernism actually developed" -- a similar sentiment ties Le Petit Journal and post-WWI movements, such as Dadaism, together. The publication, it seems, would appeal to a very niche group - as evidenced by the fact the magazine never published more than one issue.

Page sixteen of Le Petit Journal des Refusées displays an advertisement advertising the engraving services of Union Photo Eng. Co. in San Francisco. It is on a leftside page, across from The Ghost of A Flea. This doesn't seem to hold any significance in and of itself, however these are the last two pages of this particular copy of the magazine. Nowhere else in the magazine is there an advertisement, and the address of the company advertised is the same as the publication's. While this is clearly a modern publication, the existence and placement of this advertisement displays an obvious self-awareness which matches up with a post-modern ethos. The entire magazine seems to be self-aware, and clearly pokes at contemporary publications by including the name of the magazine by which each piece was refused. The ad, in that case, seems to poke fun at advertisements of the time.

A Brigade in Scribner's Magazine

I decided to take a look at Scribner's Magazine. The directory notes that "many bound copies remain"--and I was curious as to why that would be the case. Why would especially many copies of a particular publication remain? Something must be unique about the construction, the presentation, or the way it was preserved. The entire thing hasn't been digitized (although the magazine ran from 1870-1939, only the editions from 1910-1922 have been digitally archived on modjourn.org). Interesting that only the very latest twelve years have been converted into a digital format. The directory mentioned something about microfilm, so I looked into that, and apparently microfilm emerged as a method of document preservation in 1839 but didn't become widespread until after 1900. My guess is that magazines already imprinted on microfilm have proven easier to digitize, thus influencing the volumes we have access to in archives.

Scribner's contains a truly impressive amount of advertising. The information page about it on modjourn.org estimates the proportion of advertising to total pages to be about half, and I'd say that's correct. But the magazines are actually quite long--the first two I checked out were 150 pages and 230 pages. So, there was a solid 75-115 pages of solid content in each edition. Accompanying illustrations are of good quality and ubiquitous.

I found a ballad called "The Old Niagara" by Arthur Guiterman with drawings by John Walcott Adams on page 47 of the August 1912 (Volume 52, Issue 2) Scribner Magazine. The title refers to a fire engine. The way the illustrations are laid out around the metered text is fascinating. It's positioned between two other works that have a flavor of loss. That's intriguing, since Guiterman's ballad ends on a note of humor, and it's almost possessed by a kind of energy--the living spirit of a town rallying to fight a fire. I mean, there's loss in the ballad, but it's funny. The pieces in its area take wildly different perspectives on loss, forgetting, and destruction.