Thanks for reading past that thunderingly obvious title, but I’ve just spent a couple hours looking over some issues of The Dial and I’m reminded of how terrific and interesting it was. Is it possible to say that The Dial is under-appreciated in the world of modernist magazines? On the face of it, what a ridiculous claim. The first publication of The Waste Land and the poetry prize that accompanied it have insured the magazine a lasting fame (or notoriety, depending on your p.o.v.), but I wonder if it suffers from that fame–so it’s regarded only as the magazine that published Eliot’s poem. It deserves to be read for more than that. It deserves to be read, and not simply from the position of historical research. It deserves to be read in the same way we read To The Lighthouse or The Good Soldier.
Consider the July 1922 issue alone. It contains a John Dos Passos review of e. e. cummings, a whole sequence of Wallace Stevens poems from Harmonium, an installment of a serialization of D. H. Lawrence’s The Fox, Mina Loy’s “Apology of Genius,” a long autobiographical piece by Yeats, and several more articles and images. It would be easy to spend a couple weeks in a course on this one issue alone, and everyone would likely emerge with a more finely textured sense of the diversity of modernism in 1922. But don’t read it in the service of understanding something else–read it because it’s great reading. See the issue here, where you can also download a pdf of the complete volume, including the advertisements.