Tag Archives: MSA

Aside

I’ve posted a new blog on Speed, Writing, and Popular Magazines over on the Pulp Magazines Project blog, and thought that it would be of enough interest to MagMod subscribers to repost here. Enjoy. Fast Modernism: Popular Magazines and the … Continue reading

MSA Up-Close

MSA Up-Close is a column we will run until the start of the MSA conference in order to give readers more information on periodical studies related panels at the 2010 conferenceWe will be posting paper descriptions, abstracts, and panel descriptions; please make comments and raise questions in the Comments section.  Our fifth column features María Carla Sánchez’s paper, “Changing Feelings: Fallen Women, Sentimentality, and the Activist Press,” which she will present as part of the The Efficacy of Activism in Modernist Magazines panel.

Changing Feelings:  Fallen Women, Sentimentality, and the Activist Press,” 12 November 2010, 10:30am-12pm

This essay examines late 19th- and early 20th-century newspapers published by women’s “moral reform” organizations.  These groups, many of whom were dedicated to the abolition of prostitution and the social rehabilitation of sex workers, viewed the periodical press as an important tool in their efforts to reshape American society.  Through close analysis of these efforts, we can see how discourses of sentimentalism employed earlier in the century were refashioned for the dawn of Progressive-era narrative and politics.

Sánchez abstract

MSA Up-Close

MSA Up-Close is a column we will run until the start of the MSA conference in order to give readers more information on periodical studies related panels at the 2010 conferenceWe will be posting paper descriptions, abstracts, and panel descriptions; please make comments and raise questions in the Comments section.  Our fourth column features Margo Hobbs Thompson’s paper, “Lesbian Separatism in Cowrie and Dyke,” which she will present as part of the The Efficacy of Activism in Modernist Magazines panel.

“Lesbian Separatism in Cowrie and Dyke,” 12 November 2010, 1030am-12pm

“We are experimenting with new ways of presenting ourselves to each other. The farther away we get from a patriarchal way of thinking, the uglier and uglier we will be to ‘them,’ and the more and more beautiful we will be to ourselves,” wrote editor Liza Cowan in the inaugural issue of her magazine Dyke. (Winter 1975-1976, 25) Cowan analyzed women’s fashion from a lesbian separtist perspective in a series of articles titled “What the Well Dressed Dyke Will Wear” that ran from June 1973 to early 1976 Dyke and its precursor, Cowrie. Ideally, a dyke’s closet would be stocked with fashions made by “dyke hands” for a “dyke’s body,” to express herself fully and uniquely. Fashion is thus an essential site for the articulation of lesbian feminist identity.

Cowan returned repeatedly to the lady expatriates of the Paris Left Bank in the 1920s and 1930s as exemplifying the confident style to which her readers could aspire. While butch role-playing was discredited in the 1970s among feminists, and the woman-identified woman had relinquished sexual desire in favor of political alliance, these intellectual, independent lesbians exemplified a style that was unfeminine and sexually self-assured. This paper explores the fashion/lesbian feminist nexus posited in Cowrie and Dyke in the real and imagined affinity between Cowan and her readership and the women of the Left Bank.

MSA Up-Close

MSA Up-Close is a column we will run until the start of the MSA conference in order to give readers more information on periodical studies related panels at the 2010 conferenceWe will be posting paper descriptions, abstracts, and panel descriptions; please make comments and raise questions in the Comments section.  Our fourth column features David Earle’s paper, “Beyond Flappers: Gun Molls, She-Gangsters, and the Modernist Feminine Subject,” which he will present as part of the Modernism and Popular Publishing panel.

“Beyond Flappers: Gun Molls, She-Gangsters, and the Modernist Feminine Subject,” 13 November 2010, 10:30am-12pm.

The 1920s flapper is often either lauded for her pursuit of sexual and economic equality, or demonized for her conspicuous consumption and, often, aspiration for matrimony. Whereas she was vilified in modernist texts such as Sanctuary and The Sun Also Rises, in popular and proletariat periodicals such as pulps and (surprisingly) women’s domestic magazines, she evolved into such female heroines as the female detective, the gun moll, the female gangster, and the girl reporter. This paper will examine the popularity of such strong female and proletariat figures in popular magazines as a means to a) illustrate a populist modernism that worked beyond traditional categories of consumption, gender, and genre, b) establish how in depression era America, such female figures blurred patriarchal lines between class and gender and right and wrong, and c) show how male modernists vilified such figures as a threat to the masculine cultural empowerment intrinsic to their agenda of high-brow reputation making.

MSA Up-Close

MSA Up-Close is a column we will run until the start of the MSA conference in order to give readers more information on periodical studies related panels at the 2010 conferenceWe will be posting paper descriptions, abstracts, and panel descriptions; please make comments and raise questions in the Comments section.  Our third column features Urmila Seshagiri’s paper, “Vanity Fair Magazine and the Language of Modernism,” which she will present as part of the Modernism and Popular Publishing panel.

Vanity Fair Magazine and the Language of Modernism,” 13 November 2010, 10:30am-12pm.

This paper demonstrates that the American periodical Vanity Fair played a powerful role in the rise of transatlantic modernism. It is well known that the magazine made the reputations of the American writers Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, and Robert E. Sherwood; however, I demonstrate that what differentiated Vanity Fair from its mass-market peers (e.g., Saturday Evening Post, Collier’s, Ladies’ Home Journal) was a consistent commitment to international, cosmopolitan modernism. Founded by Frank Crowninshield and Condé Nast in Manhattan in 1914, Vanity Fair served as a high-profile vehicle for the production and dissemination of experimental arts. A typical advertisement for an annual subscription, for example, featured a Cubist painting by Picasso and declared that the magazine was an indispensable resource for understanding the art-world: “Why did Picasso, master draughtsman, choose to paint a portrait like this? – Why Braque . . . Derain. . . Matisse… Cezanne? -What do they mean? What do you say when your pretty dinner partner asks you? – Could you even tell if this were wrong side up? – You’ve got to know. Not just gulp soup! – One way to find out . . .READ VANITY FAIR!” Continue reading

MSA Up-Close

MSA Up-Close is a column we will run until the start of the MSA conference in order to give readers more information on periodical studies related panels at the 2010 conferenceWe will be posting paper descriptions, abstracts, and panel descriptions; please make comments and raise questions in the Comments section.  Our second column features Catherine Keyser’s paper, “The Galloping Charleston: The Physicality of the Female New Yorker Columnists,” which she will present as part of the Celebrity, Embodiment and Modern Authorship panel, which she also organized.  Keyser’s short description appears below,  followed by an attached abstract.

“The Galloping Charleston: The Physicality of the Female New Yorker Columnist,” 12 November 2010, 1:30-3pm

This paper considers the place of the body in the journalistic personae of Lois Long and Dorothy Parker.  I argue that Long and Parker deflate the reign of flapper physicality and exaggerate their own physicality, only to emphasize their professional authority and versatile print masquerades.

Magazine Modernisms Keyser abstract

MSA Up-Close

MSA Up-Close is a column we will run until the start of the MSA conference in order to give readers more information on periodical studies related panels at the 2010 conferenceWe will be posting paper descriptions, abstracts, and panel descriptions; please make comments and raise questions in the Comments section.  Our first column features Liesl Olson’s paper, “Porkpackers and Poetry,” which she will present as part of the Everyday Modernism panel.

Liesl Olson (Newberry Library)

“Porkpackers and Poetry,” 13 November 2010, 830-10am

When Harriet Monroe in 1911-12 knocked on office doors in Chicago’s downtown Loop, seeking to finance Poetry magazine, some businessmen scoffed at the idea of “petty rhymesters under soft feminine editorship,” as she put it.  But many other magnates of Chicago— lawyers, bankers, industrialists, and real estate tycoons—gave her enough money to get the magazine off the ground.  My paper examines how Chicago commerce met modernist art, how the city’s newly built institutions accommodated the transformations of the age, and how Chicago’s civic-minded women, in particular, created spaces for astonishing cultural developments.  The paper is part of a larger project that focuses on Chicago, a city defined by its geographic centrality and the mobility of its inhabitants, which generated an aesthetic of openness and innovation that was particularly hospitable to fostering modernist art.  In taking Monroe’s story as a point of focus, my paper brings to light a surprising phenomenon regarding the experiments of high modernism: ordinary men and women in the middle of the country—as well as prominent “porkpackers,” as Ezra Pound called them—were among modernism’s most avid supporters.