Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Little Review, April 1916

Now for The Little Review.

Charles Zwaska, the young office boy who joined the magazine at seventeen (he insisted on being called office boy), contributes a scathing take-down of Vachel Lindsay. As someone who is often irritated by Lindsay, I disagree with the faint penciled-in criticism in the scan of the magazine, which says "rather silly." The best part of this article comes when Zwaska writes about Lindsay's book of film criticism, The Art of the Moving Picture. To counter the theories there, Zwaska cites the disdain of the audience for the films Lindsay praises--he sketches a vivid portrait of their collective expertise, as they live in the theater, and sleep there all night. A golden age of audience engagement, cut short by the police now patrolling there. This is reminding me of Benjamin's "Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," a little. I'll look it up.

Quick Notes:

Like The Egoist's praise of Jane Poupelet, this issue mentions a few women who were highly regarded artists and performers at the time--here, a cabaret singer and a playwright--Yvette Guilbert and Alice Gerstenberg.

Allan Ross MacDougal writes about Guilbert, a French cabaret singer: "But whatever she sang—and I didn't know a word of what she sang—carried me away completely. Not a mood did I miss—not a suggestion of a mood. Perfect is her art. She has my adoration" (30). Hear for yourself on Youtube!

Gerstenberg appears in a blurb about her play Overtones. That link connects to a website that has the full text available, and at a glance, it seems pretty cool. Characters are followed by actors playing their "real selves," so the two characters are in dialog with their internal selves and each other, simultaneously. 

Ezra Pound, of course, appears in this issue--here he rails against the import duties leveled on books imported to America, and his complaints seem justified. Sometimes they are.

Lastly, The Little Review courageously announces a set of lectures by Margaret Sanger:

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