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Baron’s chapter uses the lenses of periodical culture and reception studies to situate Joyce’s writing after Ulysses in the context of his involvement with the internationalist avant-garde editorially spearheaded by Eugene Jolas and Elliott Paul in transition. As Edmund Wilson stated in 1948, “without transition, it’s an open question whether Finnegans Wake would be comprehensible at all.” This chapter first reads letters around the serializations of Ulysses and Work in Progress to argue that Joyce learnt from his dealings with The Little Review how to use transition to orchestrate the exegesis and apologia of his rule-flouting project. The chapter examines the strategies that established the Wake’s reputation as an avant-garde triumph rather than a fraudulent con; for example, Joyce’s instigation of the publication of numerous essays devoted exclusively to the praise, explanation, and defense of his work as well as his incorporation of negative views. Most importantly, the chapterwill go on to uncover the ways in which transition brought Joyce into collaborations with a cohort of admiring idealists – involving him in relationships which in turn nourished and inflected the text as he wrote it.
This chapter turns to the curatorial role of authors on the countershelf, tracing the impact of Octavio Paz’s sojourn as Mexican ambassador to India (1962–1968) on Indian poets and artists in the little magazine scene of the 1960s and 1970s, including Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, Geeta Kapur, and Jagdish Swaminathan. While Neruda often formed the image of the countershelf for South Asian authors, Paz was the nearly invisible engine through which that imaginary consolidated. Paz’s sensibility of “strangerhood” reflected his growing interest in the baroque, a form which emerged to aestheticize the rapidly and radically changing concept of the world in the era of colonial expansion. This same strategy was taken up by several creators of Indian little magazines, among whom Paz helped to establish a very particular idea of world-literary friendship: not an increasingly unified and easily digestible singular style but a series of intentionally disorienting enigmas. Both route through Latin American literature of the 1960s, but the 1970s Indian poets set a very different course for global English, one that the rise of the novelists in the 1980s dramatically interrupted and then, essentially, cut off.
The little magazines Poetry: A Magazine of Verse and the Little Review were instrumental in promoting the Chicago Literary Renaissance and Chicago modernism. I investigate their central roles, reading these magazines as privileged sites of modern cultural production and reception as well as important cultural objects in their own right. First, I explain how these magazines relied on local benefactors and advertising to jostle for position among Chicago’s musical, visual, and theatrical arts, as well as within a periodical field that included such other established Chicago magazines as The Dial. I then consider the literary presence of Chicago in both magazines, incorporating digital humanities methodologies to locate Chicago-based contributors (including Carl Sandburg and Sherwood Anderson, along with lesser-known figures) and to identify the many poems and prose pieces associated with the city – highlighting individual literary achievements as well as shared images and tropes.
Periodicals played a significant role in the development of the region’s nationalist literature and politics. The Jamaican newspaper Public Opinion in 1938 helped launch the People’s National Party. Edna Manley, the editor of Focus, was part of Jamaica’s key political families. The magazines Bim in Barbados and Kyk-over-al in Guyana supported the growth of a West Indian literary tradition in the decades leading to independence. Yet the periodical culture of the region was more diverse and contradictory than a focus on these key periodicals demonstrates. Considering a wider body of magazines such as the Caribbean Post and West Indian Review in Jamaica; the Barbadian Forum and the Outlook; or the literary magazine Trinidad and its contemporary The Caribbee, among others, shows the range of periodical projects circulating in the early decades of the twentieth century. These magazines were a key forum through which the West Indian middle classes negotiated the process of cultural decolonization. As well as building cultural and political literacy, the magazines through their pages, competitions, and reviews produced and printed a literary culture both by, and for, Caribbean readers and writers – one which is importantly distinct from the later market-driven publishers working to promote Caribbean literature from the metropole.
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