The Little Review, an American literary magazine founded by Margaret Anderson, published literary and art work from 1914 to May 1929.With the help of Jane Heap and Ezra Pound, Anderson created a magazine that featured a wide variety of transatlantic modernists and cultivated many early examples of experimental writing and art. Many contributors were American, British, Irish, and French. In addition to publishing a variety of international literature, The Little Review printed early examples of surrealist artwork and Dadaism. The magazine's most well known work was the serialization of James Joyce's Ulysses.
Margaret Anderson conceived The Little Review in 1914 during the Chicago Literary Renaissance, naming it in honor of the Chicago Little Theatre,a leader in championing new drama and prime mover in the nascent Little Theatre Movement. In The Little Review’s opening editorial, Anderson called for the creation of a new form of criticism for art, emphasizing, “... criticism as an art has not flourished in this country. We live too swiftly to have time to be appreciative; and criticism, after all, has only one synonym: appreciation”. This philosophy would shape the magazine throughout its fifteen-year run. In the early years, The Little Review published a variety of literature, essays, and poetry. The magazine advocated themes like feminism and even anarchism for a short time. Emma Goldman was a key figure during The Little Review’s brief affiliation with anarchism: Goldman was a regular contributor and Anderson wrote editorials advocating anarchism and art. In 1916, Heap became the magazine's co-editor and stayed with the magazine until 1929.
Ezra Pound approached Anderson in late 1916 to help with the magazine, explaining, “[T]he Little Review is perhaps temperamentally closer to what I want done”.Pound became foreign editor in 1917.
In the same year, The Little Review moved to Greenwich Village in New York City.
The magazine serialized James Joyce's Ulysses starting in 1918. The Little Review continued to publish Ulysses until 1921 when the Post Office seized copies of the magazine and refused to distribute them on the grounds that Ulysses constituted obscene material. As a result, the magazine, Anderson, and Heap went to trial over the Ulysses questionable content. John Quinn, a lawyer and well-known patron of modernist art, defended them at the trial, ultimately losing. The editors paid a fifty-dollar fine each as result of the judgment. Anderson briefly considered folding the magazine after the trial.
The trial was discussed in Girls Lean Back Everywhere by First Amendment attorney Edward de Grazia, whose book was titled based on a quote from Jane Heap.In response to John Summer, Secretary of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, who initiated the suppression, Heap wrote of James Joyce:
Mr. Joyce was not teaching early Egyptian perversions nor inventing new ones. Girls lean back everywhere, showing lace and silk stockings; wear low-cut sleeveless blouses, breathless bathing suits; men think thoughts and have emotions about these things everywhere--seldom as delicately and imaginatively as Mr. Bloom (in the "Nausicaa" episode)--and no one is corrupted.
Although the obscenity trial was ostensibly about Ulysses, Irene Gammel argues that The Little Review came under attack for its overall subversive tone and, in particular, its publication of the sexually explicit writings of the Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven. 's vanguard battle against puritan conventions and traditional sexual aesthetics, then the Baroness was to become its fighting machine”. Following the obscenity trial, Anderson and Heap were forced to restrict the magazine's content to less inflammatory material, and they no longer printed their motto, “Making No Compromise with the Public Taste”.Heap championed the Baroness's Dada poetry, printing it alongside the serialization of Ulysses from 1918-1921 and making Freytag-Loringhoven the journal's most frequently printed poet. Heap and the Baroness shared a confrontational feminist agenda. Gammel writes, “If Heap was the field marshall for The Little Review
In 1923, Anderson and Heap traveled to Paris and met Pound and other literary expatriates during th trip. While The Little Review continued to publish, publication had become irregular during this time. By 1925, after being in Europe for a time, Anderson and Heap parted ways: Heap returned to New York with The Little Review and Anderson remained in Europe.
Between 1925 and 1929, Heap, as the new editor, made The Little Review “the American mouthpiece for all the new systems of art that the modern world had produced.”Under Heap's editorship, the magazine published more art in addition to literature and organized two expositions in conjunction with the magazine. The expositions were titled The Machine-Age Exposition and The International Theatre Exposition. In May 1929, the final issue of The Little Review appeared as a series of letters and questionnaires from past contributors. Anderson reflects in her autobiography, My Thirty Years’ War, after creating the magazine as place to record her own thoughts “I decided that there had been enough of this. Everyone was doing it—the artist above all”.
Though the March 1918 issue instigated the famous obscenity trial of Ulysses , several other issues gained the magazine notoriety.
True to its four pronged goal to publish "Literature, Drama, Music, Art",The Little Review began as a journal of criticism but also published original poetry and fiction. During the first few years, the magazine published pieces that championed anarchy as well as Ezra Pound's experimental poetry called Imagism. Topics covered in the first issue (March 1914) included feminist book reviews, an essay about Nietzsche, and literary pieces written by Floyd Dell, Rupert Brooke, and Alice Meynell. The pieces Margaret Anderson selected for this first issue established the magazine's concern with feminism, art, conversation, and criticism that it pursued throughout its run.
As evidenced in the May 1914 issue, Anderson's anarchistic sympathies became more apparent just a few months after she began the Little Review. The May 1914 issue sparked conversation and controversy about the magazine since it was there that Anderson published her essay titled “The Challenge of Emma Goldman” in which she lauds the notable anarchist for her support of the elimination of private property and religion. The publication of this issue caused such a stir that several of the magazine's existing financial backers withdrew funding, leaving the magazine in dire straits.
One of a handful of issues published during the magazine's tenure in California, the September 1916 Little Review, featured several blank pages (pages 1–13 in the issue). Anderson defended this move by claiming that contributors did not submit enough good work, so, as she notes on page one, “The September issue is offered as a Want Ad.” In the pages following the blank ones, Anderson published essays that were characteristic of the magazine's interest: two pieces about the San Francisco Bomb Case in which Thomas Mooney and Warren Billings were accused and convicted (though later pardoned) of detonating a bomb during the July 22 parade held in honor of the U.S.’s entry into World War I and a book review of Frank Harris’s Oscar Wilde: His Life and Confessions. The blank pages issue infuriated some subscribers while it amused others.In particular, some readers were not amused by cartoons illustrating the daily activities of the editor. The cartoons picture the editor riding her horse, playing piano, and attending Emma Goldman lectures, among other activities.
The Spring 1923 “Exiles” issue is noteworthy because it published works by American expatriates living in Paris as well as the Parisian avant-garde including Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, George Antheil, E. E. Cummings, Fernand Léger, and H.D. (Hilda Doolittle). Perhaps the most important contribution of this issue was its publication of six vignettes from Hemingway's debut novel in our time . Beyond Hemingway's work, the issue is noteworthy due to its inclusion of avant-garde French artists such as Fernand Léger and Jean Cocteau as well its experimental front cover that reflected the tastes of editor Jane Heap.
The 1929 issue of The Little Review ended the magazine's run with “Confessions and Letters” from over fifty individuals in the arts, including James Joyce, Wyndham Lewis, and Ezra Pound. The questionnaire, primarily designed by Jane Heap, perturbed many of the artists, and they often responded with comments that they found the questions mundane and uninteresting. Emma Goldman, for example, justified her delayed response by complaining that the questions themselves bored her. She writes, “I have not written sooner because I find the questions really terribly uninteresting,” and continues that “since the questions are so ordinary the replies can be naught else.”Even Anderson and Heap agreed that the questions were unproductive: Anderson ended the magazine's run with an editorial in the 1929 issue in which she stated in reference to the questionnaire that “even the artist doesn't know what he’s talking about.”
In the Dec. 1919 issue, the individual identified as serving in the capacity of "Advisory Board" and who provided some content for the magazine was signed simply as "jh".
The magazine was the subject of an Academy Award for Documentary Short Subject nominated documentary, titled, Beyond Imagining: Margaret Anderson and the "Little Review" (1991), by Wendy L. Weinberg.
Celebrating the life and work of Margaret Anderson and the Little Review's remarkable influence, an exhibition “Making No Compromise: Margaret Anderson and the Little Review” was opened at the Beinecke Library, Yale University, in October 2006 for three months.
Dada or Dadaism was an art movement of the European avant-garde in the early 20th century, with early centers in Zürich, Switzerland, at the Cabaret Voltaire ; New York Dada began circa 1915, and after 1920 Dada flourished in Paris. Developed in reaction to World War I, the Dada movement consisted of artists who rejected the logic, reason, and aestheticism of modern capitalist society, instead expressing nonsense, irrationality, and anti-bourgeois protest in their works. The art of the movement spanned visual, literary, and sound media, including collage, sound poetry, cut-up writing, and sculpture. Dadaist artists expressed their discontent toward violence, war, and nationalism, and maintained political affinities with the radical far-left.
James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was an Irish novelist, short story writer, poet, teacher, and literary critic. He contributed to the modernist avant-garde and is regarded as one of the most influential and important authors of the 20th century. Joyce is best known for Ulysses (1922), a landmark work in which the episodes of Homer's Odyssey are paralleled in a variety of literary styles, most famously stream of consciousness. Other well-known works are the short-story collection Dubliners (1914), and the novels A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Finnegans Wake (1939). His other writings include three books of poetry, a play, his published letters and occasional journalism.
William Carlos Williams was an American poet and physician closely associated with modernism and imagism.
Modernist poetry in English started in the early years of the 20th century with the appearance of the Imagists. In common with many other modernists, these poets wrote in reaction to the perceived excesses of Victorian poetry, with its emphasis on traditional formalism and ornate diction. In many respects, their criticism echoes what William Wordsworth wrote in Preface to Lyrical Ballads to instigate the Romantic movement in British poetry over a century earlier, criticising the gauche and pompous school which then pervaded, and seeking to bring poetry to the layman.
Djuna Barnes was an American artist, illustrator, journalist, and writer who is perhaps best known for her novel Nightwood (1936), a cult classic of lesbian fiction and an important work of modernist literature.
Sound poetry is an artistic form bridging literary and musical composition, in which the phonetic aspects of human speech are foregrounded instead of more conventional semantic and syntactic values; "verse without words". By definition, sound poetry is intended primarily for performance.
The Dial was an American magazine published intermittently from 1840 to 1929. In its first form, from 1840 to 1844, it served as the chief publication of the Transcendentalists. From the 1880s to 1919 it was revived as a political review and literary criticism magazine. From 1920 to 1929 it was an influential outlet for modernist literature in English.
The Egoist was a London literary magazine published from 1914 to 1919, during which time it published important early modernist poetry and fiction. In its manifesto, it claimed to "recognise no taboos", and published a number of controversial works, such as parts of Ulysses. Today, it is considered "England's most important Modernist periodical."
Margaret Caroline Anderson was the American founder, editor and publisher of the art and literary magazine The Little Review, which published a collection of modern American, English and Irish writers between 1914 and 1929. The periodical is most noted for introducing many prominent American and British writers of the 20th century, such as Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot in the United States, and publishing the first thirteen chapters of James Joyce's then-unpublished novel, Ulysses.
Frederick Philip Grove was a German-born Canadian novelist and translator.
Literary modernism, or modernist literature, has its origins in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, mainly in Europe and North America, and is characterized by a self-conscious break with traditional ways of writing, in both poetry and prose fiction. Modernists experimented with literary form and expression, as exemplified by Ezra Pound's maxim to "Make it new." This literary movement was driven by a conscious desire to overturn traditional modes of representation and express the new sensibilities of their time. The horrors of the First World War saw the prevailing assumptions about society reassessed, and much modernist writing engages with the technological advances and societal changes of modernity moving into the 20th century.
August Endell (1871–1925) was a designer, writer, teacher, and German architect. He was one of the founders of the Jugendstil movement, the German counterpart of Art Nouveau. His first marriage was with Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven.
Elsa Hildegard Baroness von Freytag-Loringhoven was a German avant-garde, Dadaist artist and poet who worked for several years in Greenwich Village, New York.
Jane Heap was an American publisher and a significant figure in the development and promotion of literary modernism. Together with Margaret Anderson, her friend and business partner, she edited the celebrated literary magazine The Little Review, which published an extraordinary collection of modern American, English and Irish writers between 1914 and 1929. Heap herself has been called "one of the most neglected contributors to the transmission of modernism between America and Europe during the early twentieth century." Susan Noyes Platt." The Little Review: Early Years and Avant-Garde Ideas,” in Sue Ann Prince, ed, The Old Guard and the Avant-Garde, Modernism in Chicago 1910- 1940, University of Chicago Press, 1990, pp. 139-154 Susan Noyes Platt, “Mysticism in the Machine Age: Jane Heap and The Little Review” Twenty One Art and Culture, Fall 1989
The Modernist Journals Project (MJP) was created in 1995 at Brown University in order to create a database of digitized periodicals connected with the period loosely associated with modernism. The University of Tulsa joined in 2003. The MJP's website states:
The Modernist Journals Project is a multi-faceted project that aims to be a major resource for the study of modernism and its rise in the English-speaking world, with periodical literature as its central concern. The historical scope of the project has a chronological range of 1890 to 1922, and a geographical range that extends to wherever English language periodicals were published. With magazines at its core, the MJP also offers a range of genres that extends to the digital publication of books directly connected to modernist periodicals and other supporting materials for periodical study.
We end at 1922 for both intellectual and practical reasons. The practical reason is that copyright becomes an issue with publications from 1923 onward. The intellectual reason is that most scholars consider modernism to be fully fledged in 1922, a date marked by the publication of James Joyce's Ulysses, Virginia Woolf’s Jacob’s Room, and T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land. We believe the materials on the MJP website will show how essential magazines were to modernism's rise.
Irene Gammel is a Canadian literary historian, biographer, and curator. She has published numerous books including Baroness Elsa, a groundbreaking cultural biography of New York Dada artist and poet Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, and Looking for Anne of Green Gables, revealing the hidden life of Canadian author L.M. Montgomery during the writing of her classic novel Anne of Green Gables. Together with Suzanne Zelazo, Gammel published Crystal Flowers: Poems and a Libretto by Florine Stettheimer, and Body Sweats: The Uncensored Writings of Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, the first major English collection of the Baroness's poems. Both books were selected for the New York Times’ notable art books for 2011.
The English Review was an English-language literary magazine published in London from 1908 to 1937. At its peak, the journal published some of the leading writers of its day.
The Transatlantic Review was an influential monthly literary magazine edited by Ford Madox Ford in 1924. The magazine was based in Paris but was published in London by Gerald Duckworth and Company.
Body Sweats: The Uncensored Writings of Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven is the first major English collection of poems by dadaist poet and artist Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven (1874–1927), also known as "The Baroness". Published posthumously in 2011 by MIT Press, Body Sweats was edited by Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven biographer Irene Gammel and poet and poetics scholar Suzanne Zelazo.
The obscenity trial over the publication of James Joyce's Ulysses in The Little Review, an American literary magazine, occurred in 1921 and effectively banned publication of Joyce's novel in the United States. After The Little Review published the "Nausicaa" episode of Ulysses in the April 1920 issue of the magazine, the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice instigated obscenity charges against Little Review editors Margaret Caroline Anderson and Jane Heap. The editors were found guilty under laws associated with the Comstock Act of 1873, which made it illegal to circulate materials deemed obscene in the U.S. mail. Anderson and Heap incurred a $100 fine, and were forced to cease publishing Ulysses in The Little Review.