Marking the launch of Future States, Penn State University Press has kindly provided full access, free of charge, to a special issue of the Journal of Modern Periodical Studies, for a period of three months.
Matthew Levay, “On the uses of seriality for modern periodical studies: an introduction:” I should acknowledge, at the outset of this special issue, the irony of devoting an entire installment of the Journal of Modern Periodical Studies to seriality. Like “covers,” “pages,” or “words,” the concept of “seriality” would seem to be at stake in nearly every article published in the journal, an absolutely fundamental aspect of periodicals that touches upon any work that one could consider within the JMPS’s purview. With the exception of those little magazines that folded after a single issue, we might consider seriality the defining feature of all periodicals; signaling in its name a temporal pattern of production and consumption, the periodical is a material object born from the logic of seriality. It is constituted by the regular (and occasionally irregular) appearance of successive installments, the links and gaps that emerge between the form and content of those installments, and the ability of readers to devote the time necessary for repeated, continuous reading in order to possess a coherent sense of a periodical’s identity or ethos. Even those periodicals that disappeared before producing a second issue tell us something about seriality, and about the promise of futurity and continuation upon which some periodicals can never deliver, but to which they almost always aspire. The periodical, as a form, is designed to occur and recur, developing through the serial accumulation of its component parts, and gathering force through repeated production and consumption.
Yet, as the essays collected in this issue powerfully attest, to say that modern periodicals operate according to the logic of seriality is not at all to state the obvious. …
Journal articles by Future States participants
Katja Lee and Hannah McGregor, “A Provocation:” This essay cluster begins with an ending. Specifically, it began with the ending of Patrick Collier’s “What Is Modern Periodical Studies?,” which concludes with a provocation to find a new way to read and study modern periodicals. In order to develop coherent methodological approaches to modern periodicals, Collier argues, we need to resist the urge to “decid[e] in advance where [a] periodical’s value lies.” Instead, he urges us to “start with only one assumption: that the periodical is valuable simply because it exists—because it once performed some desirable functions for some number of people—and set as our first conceptual task reaching some hypotheses on what those functions were.” The seeming simplicity of this provocation—read without having deciding the value of what you’re reading in advance—belies its theoretical and methodological complexity. If modern periodicals are best known for the sheer size and heterogeneity of their archives, then an approach that provides no framing in advance, no specific path for navigating that archival scope, is daunting to say the least. …
Nissa Ren Cannon, “Review of Patrick Collier, Modern Print Artefacts: Textual Materiality and Literary Value in British Print Culture, 1890–1930s (2016)”, Journal of European Periodical Studies, Vol 4 No 2 (2109)
Introduction: Patrick Collier’s 2016 Modern Print Artefacts: Textual Materiality and Literary Value in British Print Culture, 1890–1930s makes important contributions to literary and periodical studies, with implications beyond these fields as well. Collier, one of the leading voices in late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century periodical studies, describes the 1890s–1930s as an ‘especially unsettled’ (p. 20) time for literary valuation, due to increasing literacy rates, expanded access to printed materials across social classes, and ongoing experiments with literary form. These forces ‘combined to bring about a crisis in literary evaluation which can also be understood as a period of paradigm shift’. …
Abstract: Published posthumously, this article begins with a discussion of the historiography – and a related exhibition history – of the terms collage, photo-collage, and photomontage; and of the criteria that have been used to distinguish them as techniques, as visual idioms, and for their political implications and resonances as images of fine or applied art. The article then moves on to the work of two living artists who have been cutting and pasting photographs for more than forty years, Martha Rosler and John Stezaker, and the ambiguities of their being described as collagists, monteurs, or photomonteurs. In rethinking these categories, Evans
argues for an expansive history of photomontage and collage that has continuing resonance today.
Abstract: Angelo Rizzoli was one of Italy’s leading publishers in the interwar period and beyond, thanks to his business intuition and daring investments in the popular periodicals sector. In the 1920s and 1930s he published a galaxy of illustrated magazines aimed at the urban middle classes, which prove paradigmatic of a new form of Italian weeklies. The article posits that Rizzoli’s rotocalchi, based on entertaining content and photojournalism, were mediators par excellence in three areas. First, in publishing middlebrow fiction. Second, in translating short stories from linguistic and cultural milieus with a deliberate selection of specific literary genres, settings, and character types — a branding that emerges from investigating the weeklies Novella and Lei. Third, in the creation of a platform for interchange between literature, photography, and cinema, mainly in Cinema Illustrazione Presenta. Notwithstanding the obstacles put in their way by the Fascist regime and the censorship system, Rizzoli’s illustrated magazines introduced and spread models of female conduct that did not coincide with those proposed by the Fascists, while adapting them to common Italian cultural values and exploiting them for commercial purposes. As a typical expression of middlebrow culture based on leisure, respectability, and consumption, they repurposed messages from other media and foreign contexts, facilitating the penetration of modern behaviour patterns in Italy.
Introduction: Is photomontage over? Does the juxtaposition of recontextualised photographic fragments, once the mainstay of critical avant-garde practice and radical activism in the burgeoning media age, carry any cultural and aesthetic urgency in the paradigm of the digital? Does the medium still have the power to rattle, agitate, or even shock with its pictorial and conceptual disjunctions? This special issue confronts such questions by exploring the possibility that photomontage has indeed run its course; that it may no longer serve as a point of critical inquiry, a potent object of historical research, or a forceful contemporary practice.
Introduction: “Times have changed, and so have merchandise and business methods,” The Western Home Monthly declared in its July 1919 editorial, as the visuality of modern design and advertising began to enter its pages after two decades of continuous publication, and as it made other strategic changes in apparent attempts to capture a modernizing readership. Rather than addressing a wide-open swath of “the great middle classes” it had sought to attract in its early days at the turn of the century, the magazine now pledged itself to the service of “the thousands of women in this country who were no longer satisfied with the idea that things were good enough ‘because mother did it that way’” and promised that it would seek to satisfy “the human needs of a woman’s life.” No doubt hoping to avoid alienating older long-time male readers, such as the “Octogenarian” whose letter of praise addressed the magazine as “Dear Old W.H.M.,” the periodical nonetheless began to court a younger, predominantly female audience. While WHM remained largely a household magazine, addressing, as Faye Hammill and Michelle Smith have identified, “women of several different generations” and “all the members of a middle-class family,” the age of the Modern Girl was dawning on the prairie, and her image began appearing throughout the pages of the periodical where she registered as both the object and subject of address. …
Abstract: This study examines how Boston editor and publisher Benjamin O. Flower used print culture to circulate and legitimise fringe science in the 1890s. Using evolutionary theory as a template for progress, he considered hypnotism and spiritualism – what he called “psychical research” ‒ as the natural extension of environmental meliorism from the visible to the invisible. This article examines the transatlantic dimension of the idea of a “science of mind” and how it led Flower to formulate a spiritual and materialist conception of the influence of print. It describes the rhetorical strategies, the scientific procedures and institutionalisation policies he adopted in his quest to naturalise the invisible and subject it to the purview of methodological naturalism. Finally, it explores the epistemological foundations of Flower’s redefinition of the boundaries of legitimate science.
Abstract: The two short films and essay in this article come out of a collaborative research project on the aesthetic and historical qualities of Bert Hardy’s wartime and post-war photography for Picture Post. Developing the methodologies being explored in the field of videographic criticism, we use moving images to produce a visual exploration of the material and formal qualities of Bert Hardy’s photographs in the 1940s. Digital moving images and sound, we suggest, expand our potential understanding and analysis of Hardy’s work, in ways in which traditional written modes of criticism cannot. We use the poetic and expressive possibilities of our medium to highlight and examine those material qualities, along with the historical atmosphere of post-war visual media. The two films each explore a particular Hardy photo-story: Fire-Fighters! focuses on the themes of grain in the printed image, the facial close-up as an affective form of national expression, narrative sequence, and the move in the story from figuration to abstraction. The second film, Life in the Elephant develops the concept of narrative and photographic sequence and facial/emotional expression. It also considers the ways in which the photo-story expresses a sense of historical place. The accompanying article develops the historical contexts for the two photo-stories, the theoretical ideas motivating the project, and the technical processes and collaborative partnerships involved in making the films.
Introduction: “With Fascism in power, it was difficult, in fact, impossible, for free individuals like us to say what we thought. We joked in between the lines, and we camouflaged the truth with the fake mustaches and the beards of invention and fantasy. . . . We spent memorable years that were characterized not by open battles, but rather, by continuously challenging the tight grip, control, and shrewdness of censors and party officials.”—Giovanni Mosca (1968)
The headline on the front page of the May 31, 1930 edition of the Italian illustrated periodical Il Secolo Illustrato, “Fatti e Fantasie,” has to be tongue-in-cheek. Three photographs of Benito Mussolini’s recent visit to the city of Milan are spread over four columns of text whose words are completely at odds with the message of this sequence. Surprisingly, the pompous representation of Il Duce performing the Fascist salute, speaking to a massive crowd, and parading with his troops, is undermined by three short stories that are neither descriptive nor commemorative but drift into a strange literary dimension, evoking sleepy and remote villages, eerie ghosts, and the surrounding menace of brigands. The textual narrative twists the manifest meaning of the visuals, and the reader is treated to a bizarre mélange of reality and fairytales, of fact and fantasy. …
Abstract: Amidst the wide array of women’s magazines published in Italy in the 1930s, Lei. Rivista di vita femminile presents a compelling case study of the make-believe effect achieved through fashion and the allure of the silver screen. Published by Angelo Rizzoli between 1933 and 1938, Lei stands out for a cosmopolitan, American-looking lifestyle that champions an Italian ‘new woman’, aware of her own new image and enmeshed in a fantastic world of romantic novels and movie stars. This essay studies the paradoxes and complexities of an Italian illustrated periodical promoting the image of a fashionable woman in the midst of growing imperialism and autarchy, and publishing the work of Leica photographers, Lucio Ridenti and Paul Wolff in particular. Lei reflects the fundamental ambivalence of this time, promoting Italian fashion through Hollywood as a way to counteract the French fashion industry, and inviting women to role-play through the allure of their image.
Abstract: The German photo-illustrated magazine UHU, launched in 1924, was known for its risqué photography of the female nude. These photos offered, however, more than mere titillation: images of pastoral nudes, and of naked dancers, were a sublime expression of UHU’s cult of youth and physicality and of visual beauty in the natural and manmade world. Significantly, the magazine’s eclectic visual culture—which also embraced images of male gymnastics and of children—inflected the ideological conflicts that centered on the unclothed body in this period. The article describes how contrasting ideas of the body, and of social order, are symbolically expressed in poses and pictorial settings. In particular, the grouping of figures, in geometric and informal “human patterns,” speaks to a fundamental dichotomy in Weimar modernism: the divide between machine-based (rationalist) ideologies and “spiritualized” visions of an organic social order. UHU’s sunbathers and expressive dancers embodied the dynamic tensions of the new technological society—tensions that would resolve, with drastic consequences, in the following decade.
Abstract: The magazine Meiyu 眉語 (Eyebrow Talk), published from 1914 to 1916 and edited by Gao Jianhua 高劍華, was China’s first literary magazine edited by a woman and targeted at a female audience. It was also the first modern magazine to pay extensive attention to nudity and to physical and romantic intimacy through at times carefully considered juxtapositions of texts and images. In addition, it was the first Chinese magazine to be banned on the basis of obscenity legislation introduced during the early Republic. The committee that banned Meiyu was led by Zhou Shuren 周樹人, who later became known as the author Lu Xun 魯迅, and his disparaging reminiscence about Meiyu caused the magazine to be all but forgotten for nearly a century. In this article, the authors use a wide variety of archival material to reconstruct the complex publishing history of the magazine, as well as the processes and cultural standards involved in its banning. This is followed by a close analysis of aspects of the contents of Meiyu, especially the interaction between texts and images in the representation of nudity, intimacy, and coupledom.[Resources to add]