The New Age
Thank you for your wonderful talk, Carey! One of my favorite moments was when you framed Du Bois as having crossed the Atlantic twice--once in letter form and once in physical. I was so amazed to learn how much of the magazine was devoted to these letters (and that they appeared in the ToC!). Do you have a sense of the New Age's editor was actively seeking contributions from thought leaders like Du Bois, or if these debates/dialogs were occurring more naturally?
Thanks for your great question, Nissa. The records for the New Age were destroyed in the Blitz so we can't know for sure, but it may have been a bit of both. From the start, Orage actively sought out thought leaders to contribute, if not to pen correspondence. One of the first combative exchanges he orchestrated centered on divergent views of socialism and included contributions from George Bernard Shaw, who had been a financial donor of the magazine, along with Cecil Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, and H G Wells. That first year of Orage's editorship (1907), the magazine ran a series of endorsements in correspondence that included a similar roll call, along with children's book author Edith Nesbit, who soon became a contributor. But the magazine prided itself on being read by the 'intelligentsia' (Paul Jackson claims it even invented the term), and high profile names pop up from the start as one-offs, in a way that does not seem orchestrated at all. (An example would be a one-time contribution from Christabel Pankhurst, also in that first year). The letter from Du Bois seems to me to be in this category; given that he identifies himself as an occasional reader of the magazine and given that there is a long delay between Kennedy/Verdad's column and Du Bois's "reply," it does not seem likely that Du Bois was invited to respond.
Thanks for such a fascinating talk, Carey, and for showing how to use the abundant letters material in The New Age to such excellent effect - I always suggest to my students to look at how the letters work in the magazine (using the Ardis point you mention about their dialogics), but you have provided an excellent example for how to carry out such work, so I will instruct them to look to this piece for guidance!
Thanks too for the info on Duse Mohammed - are there any sources for work on the magazine he edited?
Hello Carey, I also found the talk fascinating and it gave us some very fresh perspectives on New Age. I think it is so interesting how this magazine can be incorporated - perhaps even appropriated - into narratives and research projects on so many different topics. I am never quite sure where to place it, so I really found your comments useful, e.g. on how it effects a "merging of periodical communities" (such as suffrage print activists and racial justice campaigners). Also what you say in your reply to Jaleen in another thread, about how New Age spans so many political positions, is very wise. I feel kind of scared to say anything about it because it is so hard to make any statement about this magazine without finding, the next minute, something to contradict one's point! So, your arguments about the dialogics on the letters page, as Andrew says, are so illuminating. So I don't have any actual question, but just want to say: Thanks! Like Andrew I will direct my students to your paper.
@athacker: Sure, there are a few:
- C. L. Innes, A History of Black and Asian Writing in Britain, 1700-2000
- Lionel Morrison, A Century of Black Journalism in Britain
- Ian Duffield, Duse Mohamed Ali and the Development of Pan-Africanism 1866-1945
- and a nice succinct description of its mission here: http://www.open.ac.uk/researchprojects/makingbritain/content/africa-and-orient-review
Thanks for this wonderful presentation, Carey. Not a question, as such: but I was struck by the parallels with The Arena - Jean-Louis's presentation - in terms of the play of discordant ideas within the magazines, though they're not concurrent. So, another 'global dialogic' - maybe just in my own head!