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Women Editing Modernism

Women Editing Modernism: "Little" Magazines and Literary History

Jayne E. Marek
Copyright Date: 1995
Edition: 1
Pages: 264
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  • Book Info
    Women Editing Modernism
    Book Description:

    For many years young writers experimenting with forms and aesthetics in the early decades of this century, small journals known collectively as "little" magazines were the key to recognition. Joyce, Stein, Eliot, Pound, Hemingway, and scores of other iconoclastic writers now considered central to modernism received little encouragement from the established publishers. It was the avant-garde magazines, many of them headed by women, that fostered new talent and found a readership for it. Jayne Marek examines the work of seven women editors -- Harriet Monroe, Alice Corbin Henderson, Margaret Anderson, Jane Heap, H.D., Bryher (Winifred Ellerman), and Marianne Moore -- whose varied activities, often behind the scenes and in collaboration with other women, contributed substantially to the development of modernist literature. Through such publications asPoetry,The Little Review,The Dial, andClose Up, these women had a profound influence that has been largely overlooked by literary historians. Marek devotes a chapter as well to the interactions of these editors with Ezra Pound, who depended upon but also derided their literary tastes and accomplishments. Pound's opinions have had lasting influence in shaping critical responses to women editors of the early twentieth century. In the current reevaluation of modernism, this important book, long overdue, offers an indispensable introduction to the formative influence of women editors, both individually and in their collaborative efforts.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-4928-8
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xi)
  4. 1 Making Their Ways Women Editors of “Little” Magazines
    (pp. 1-22)

    These passages, quoted from two publishers who were closely associated with the foremost innovators in modernist literature, give a sense of context for discussing women’s contributions to the development of modern literature, particularly in terms of publishing. In any such discussion one ought to bear in mind the climate of opinion suggested by these quotations. McAlmon’s comment implicitly relies on masculinist assumptions and privileges—he characterizes women as “high—minded” and worth acknowledgment because of their promotion of Joyce’s writings, although his tone carries a distinct note of regret, or surprise, that women’s support was integral to Joyce's success. In...

  5. 2 Beginning in Chicago Harriet Monroe, Alice Corbin Henderson, and Poetry
    (pp. 23-59)

    Poetry, A Magazine of Verse,founded by Harriet Monroe in 1912, is one of the best-known of the little magazines that ushered in the gathering energies of modernism in English-language literature.¹Poetryintroduced and printed nearly every major figure in twentieth-century poetry and served as a forum for critical debate on a number of fundamental aesthetic issues. In its pages were waged the debates—over such topics as vers libre, Imagism, artistic elitism, the role of audience, American literary identity, and the value of regional writing-that engaged many literary figures besides Monroe and her first coeditor, Alice Corbin Henderson. Even...

  6. 3 Reader Critics Margaret Anderson, Jane Heap, and the Little Review
    (pp. 60-100)

    Among the little magazines identified by Frederick J. Hoffman, Charles Allen, and Carolyn Ulrich as vital to the development of twentieth-century literature, theLittle Reviewserves as the paradigm. Its irreverent tone, its eclectic selections, and the idiosyncratic opinions of editors Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap characterized the magazine throughout its run of fifteen years, from 1914 to 1929, during which time it became the premier forum for avant garde literary and artistic activity. Even for the explosively creative age in which the magazine arose, the accomplishments of theLittle Revieware impressive, including serializations of works by Ford Madox...

  7. 4 Toward International Cooperation The Literary Editing of H.D. and Bryher
    (pp. 101-137)

    The activities of H.D. and of Bryher in literary editing and publishing during the rise of modernism deserve careful examination. Both women affected modernist thought in their contributions to the appreciation of cinematic art as well as through their support for avant garde literature. This chapter treats these two women in tandem because their long-term association led to work that was historically intertwined, from the early years of their collaboration for the Egoist Press through their attention to issues important to modern aesthetics inClose Up.

    H.D.’s literary work during her first several years in London represents a critical period...

  8. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  9. 5 The Ironic “Editorial We” Marianne Moore at the Dial
    (pp. 138-166)

    Marianne Moore’s work as editor of theDialduring 1925-29 has garnered only modest attention in studies of her life and art and in critical examinations of the magazine itself, partially because of Moore’s own claims that she did nothing to violate the editorial dictates set out for the magazine before she joined its staff.¹Dialhistorians Nicholas Joost (Scofield Thayer andThe Dial [1964]) and William Wasserstrom (The Time ofThe Dial [1963]), for example, have explored the roles of Scofield Thayer and James Sibley Watson, whose collaboration provided the intellectual, aesthetic, and financial bases that helped the magazine...

  10. 6 A Distorting Lens Ezra Pound and Literary Editors
    (pp. 167-192)

    Any study of modern little magazines and their editors—especially if those editors were women—must assess the influence of Ezra Pound and the mythology surrounding his many involvements with publications. Literary historians often presume that Pound was the most important editorial force behind little magazines, which is understandable given Pound’s high visibility during early modernism and the subsequent influence of his pronouncements about what was significant at the time. But such a presumption simplifies and distorts the evidence of the many interactions of editors, contributors, publishers, and patrons that affected the development of these little magazines over time. Such...

  11. Afterword Further Speculations
    (pp. 193-202)

    The magazines that women edited created new opportunities for their voices to engage in conversation with the modernist world at large. In contributing to ongoing debates about literature, film, art, aesthetics, psychology, politics, and war, these women also characterized and discussed themselves and each other. All well, these editors’ and critics’ consciousness about being women in their particular culture charged their work in a number of ways. Gender affected both the contemporary and the historical reception of women’s editorial dealings, notably in the cases of Harriet Monroe, Jane Heap, and Margaret Anderson. Gender was part of the nexus of issues...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 203-226)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 227-240)
  14. Index
    (pp. 241-252)