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ELT 40:2 1997 nately, the penultimate chapter, "The Decline of Decadence," also strays from Weir's thesis by examining the tired productions of latecomers to the movement, decadent decadents, if you will, such as Octave Mirabeau (author oÃ- Torture Garden) and the American novelists James Huneker and Ben Hecht. These shortcomings aside, however, there is much in this volume to ponder and to appreciate, especially Weir's sensitive delineation of Pater and Wilde, his detailed analysis of Moore's decadent novel Confessions of a Young Man (in the chapter devoted primarily to A Rebours), and, again, his fine discussion of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man as a text that both emulates and subverts decadent precursors. Together with Laurel Brake's, Margaret Beetham's and Joseph Bristow's rewarding contributions to The Ending of Epochs, David Weir's Decadence and the Making of Modernism demonstrates that the study of decadence is hardly in a state of decline. Steven Trout _____________ Fort Hays State University Women Editors & Little Magazines Jayne Marek. Women Editing Modernism. Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1996. Cloth $34.95 Paper $14.95 IF ONE IMPORTANT function of literary criticism is to present historical information in contexts and combinations never gathered the same way before, then this historical investigation of seven women editors of the small presses in the 1920s and 30s is indeed significant. In a lucid, well-researched study Marek examines the correspondence and professional contributions of a select group of women editors whose policies and publishing strategies for the "little magazines" in England and America following the World War I may well have profoundly impacted, even defined, "modernism" in English letters in a way never before considered. Perhaps because of the important role that women played in their operations, "little magazines" have been largely ignored in literary history. And yet, as Marek points out, these journals were extremely important in determining how the modernist canon has come to be defined: "These iconoclastic publications—deliberately violating accepted principles of publishing and commercial success—afforded a particularly pertinent venue for the avant garde work that few established magazines were willing to print." Since most of the major mod214 BOOK REVIEWS ernist writers—including Pound, Joyce, Djuna Barnes, Dorothy Richardson, Eliot, Lawrence, Marianne Moore and Stein—first achieved recognition through the "little magazines," these journals, and their women editors, were clearly in no small way responsible for introducing and formulating the idea of "modernist" literature as we have come to understand it. "The personalities of editors, like those of the writers and artists who opened the doors of experimentation, became central to the dynamics of modernist publishing," Marek concludes. "Considering the cultural constraints upon women at that time," she adds, "it is therefore particularly significant that the editors of many of the most important avant garde journals were women." The most prominent feature of this study is its ingenious structural design. Over the course of four chapters Marek pairs women in conjunction with specific journals—Harriet Monroe and Alice Corbin Henderson oÃ- Poetry, Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap of the Little Review, H.D. and Bryher of the Egoist—and then devotes the last two chapters to single figures, one to Marianne Moore and her impressive but largely ignored editorial contributions to the Dial and one to debunking Pound, who has historically claimed credit not only for Moore's editorial accomplishments but also, at one time or another, for most of the other women's in the study. With her "pairing" strategy Marek emphasizes the collaborative spirit that chiefly characterized the editorial work of the modernist women, while at the same time setting them off structurally against Pound and his private, patriarchal mania for recognition and control. Certainly throughout the course of this book, the importance of the "little magazines" within the modernist movement is by implication established, as is the vital role women editors had in the design and publication of the journals. The historical significance of these women in making public important works and tenets of modernism is also clearly summarized in each chapter—Henderson and Monroe's interest in the vers libre, their "spirited defense" of poets like Sandburg and Pound...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 214-217
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived
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