Monday, November 26, 2012

The New Age November 21 1912

Today's my first Review Review! 

My first post will be on The New Age,Volume 12, Number 3, London: The New Age Press, Ltd., 1912-11-21.

First, I'll feature an article in the review. Then I'll post a few short comments on pieces that caught my eye. 

My featured article from 100 years ago is "The New Frankenstein" by Muriel Wells (pg. 64).  It's an excellent satire of F. T. Marinetti and his Futurists--what would happen if Marinetti was actually face to face with the superman?  And it turned out to be a vampiric baby?  I am morbidly fascinated by the Italian Futurists through my tendancy to literary masochism (clue to why I'm starting this project?), and this was perfect.  I have read many pieces that satire/that engage the satire of modernist art (Leonard Diepeveen's The Difficulties of Modernism comes to mind as a book full of good examples of responses to modernist art), but I have yet to find one that inhabits the imaginary realm of a movement it opposes in such a forthright fashion.  It's a little gem of a gothic surrealist response to the Italian Futurists.  Highly recommended, short enough for a flittering internet-moment, check it out.  Who is Muriel Wells?  Any help identifying her would be appreciated: I can't find anything online, will ask around. 

As part of my project is to try to point out other important pieces that might be useful to someone, here's the cream of the crop for The New Age 1912-11-21:

"Military Notes" by Romney (pg. 52 no first name, Mitt?  Who shares space with "S. Verdad," who wrote the article before it?  Is this journal completely composed by pseudonym?), who writes about the military of Serbia, which has just engaged Turkey in what will be known as the First Balkan War.  But the piece is more about how much other reporters don't actually go see the truth for themselves.  A strangely introspective piece of journalism, one that is quite saddening in my own retrospective mind. 

"Guild Socialism" (54, no author), about the way the trust system naturally overproduces and damages everyone involved.  The solution?  Employee-owned companies.  Strangely relevant, if significantly dated, it makes me think about how Ezra Pound is steeping in this particular pot o' tea.

"The Black Crusade III" by Marmaduke Pickthall (58), a predictably racist-against-Arabs piece less predictably about how England should support Turkey.  But at the end, there's a creepy premonition from Pickthall that broken promises to Islamic nations will "cause more trouble, in the long run, than a European War."  Jury still out? Also see Pound's response below.

"The Winter's Tale in 1856" by E. Leigh-Bennet (60), someone doing something similar the thing I'm doing: reviewing a play 56 years later.  Calls 'em prudes for their Victorian moralizing. 

"Art" by Anthony Ludovici (66), a skewering of (what I call) modern visual art by a critic who claims that the real trick of modernism lies in how it lets mediocrity pass as quality. Delightful in the light of Stuckist "remodernism" etc.  It's possible to change "Post-Impressionism" to "postmodernism" and have this piece read as current. 

"An Affair of Politics" (68) by Alice Morning (pseudonym of pseudonym Beatrice Hastings), the only piece in the issue that feels like real modernist art.  A cool stream-of-consciousness short story.  Reading up on Hastings made me wonder why I hadn't heard of her before (unless I have, and if I have, apologies to the source).  I read that she'll be coming up often in The New Age and I'm glad for that. 

The letter to the editor about Inksters is a laugh.

Finally, naturally, the letter to the editor by Ezra Pound caught my eye.  He was a contributor to the magazine in earlier issues (before the scope of this project).  But this letter is my first canonical modernist moment in the project.  It's a rant against the pro-Turkish Black Crusade articles above.  Pound claims that monopolistic industry is propping up Turkey and ruining freedom across the world.  I wonder how my synchronic view of Pound will evolve during this extended project.  The Pound apology that he lost it during WWII doesn't quite jive with the Glen Beck-ishness of this letter. 

Signing off for now, can't believe there's a new one of these in two days.  Hope I can hack the pace.  Don't miss the nice caricature of Joseph Conrad on the back of this issue.

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