Poetry News

The Modernist Journal Project: The Little Review, Blast, Coterie, The Owl, The Crisis, and more magazines for you to download (seriously)

By Harriet Staff

Naturally we must move from art magazines to poetry magazines. Brown University and The University of Tulsa have teamed up to digitize a bunch of essentials (and rarities) in their Modernist Journal Project. Every issue up to 1922 (the journal ran until 1929) of The Little Review—founded by Margaret Anderson and co-edited by Jane Heap and, later, Ezra Pound—is here and available for you to download as a PDF. Yeah, holy s$%t, talk about making scholarship accessible. If you hadn't heard about this one:

During its first three years, The Little Review was largely an anarchist publication that battled on behalf of imagism and published such writers as Richard Aldington, Sherwood Anderson, Maxwell Bodenheim, Ben Hecht, and Amy Lowell. Under Pound's influence, the magazine experienced a fresh infusion of international experimentalism and added contributions by the likes of Djuna Barnes, T. S. Eliot, Wyndham Lewis, Mina Loy, Francis Picabia, Dorothy Richardson, May Sinclair, Gertrude Stein, W. C. Williams, and W. B. Yeats. But even among this talented field, The Little Review's most lasting (and boldest) achievement was its serialization of Joyce's Ulysses, in 23 installments, from 1918 to 1920—until the Society for the Suppression of Vice charged the magazine with obscenity and Anderson and Heap, losing the court trial, were forced to discontinue the novel amid the "Oxen of the Sun" episode.

There's much more! Other journals in the project include The Owl, edited sporadically by Robert Graves; the first ten years of our own Poetry; Scribner's; The Freewoman; The New Freewoman; Blast ("edited by Wyndham Lewis, and running for just two issues, Blast was the quintessential modernist little magazine, the voice of the Vorticists"); Coterie; Rhythm; The Crisis; The Egoist; Dana; Wheels ("dominated by the Sitwell siblings"); and "single issues of 24 magazines that were published 'on or about December 1910,' when, according to Virginia Woolf, 'human character changed' and modernity became palpable."

We took a closer look at which magazines would represent such a shift, and many are longstanding: Harper's, Atlantic Monthly, Cosmopolitan, National Geographic, Ladies' Home Journal, Mother Earth, and the Saturday Evening Post, for instance.

Likely less known is an 1896 issue of Le Petit Journal des Réfusées:

Le Petit Journal des Réfusées is an example of the ephemeral bibelots catalogued by F. W. Faxon in 1903. It was printed on wallpaper cut in the shape of butterfly wings, ran for just one issue, and was probably the work of one man, the printer. We know of two copies of this journal, both in the Princeton University Library, and they are not identical, having two different pages and a different order. The pages are not numbered in any case. The short pieces of prose and verse in the journal are mostly presented as having been rejected by other magazines that are better known, and they are usually assigned to fictitious female authors. For students of modernism this journal is important as a precursor of the more ambitious little magazines, offering hints of Dada and Surrealism before these modes of modernism actually developed.

We'd love to tell you more, but we've got some reading to do...

And not that you're not in-the-know already! Poor Claudia's fourth issue was an admitted "facsimile/rip-off of Wyndam Lewis' issue of Blast Magazine #1." Nice job.

Actually, another P.S. We'd be remiss if we did not restate ze rules: "As this digital object contains certain embedded technical functionality, individuals interested in reproducing this digital object in a publication or web site or for any commercial purpose must first receive permission from the Modernist Journals Project." Their contact info on the site.

Originally Published: February 8th, 2012