The 1890s witnessed the birth of the magazine. While in Europe magazines such as the Le Chat Noir and Jugend flourished, hundreds of “freak magazines,” dinkeys,” “ephemerals,” or “fadazines,” emerged all over America. Those American magazines were a culturally important print phenomenon, they had enormous influence on writers and artists. The exhibition at the Grolier explores the role the magazines played in the aesthetic and cultural revolts of the fin de siècle. The items on view present the crème-de-la-crème of little magazines – aesthetically beautiful productions including Bradley, His Book, the Lark, the Chap-Book, the Bibelot, M’lle New York, and Echo. They illustrate their relationship to the rise of mass-market periodicals, the Arts and Crafts Movement, Decadence and Symbolism, and the transatlantic poster revolution that brought fame to artists including Aubrey Beardsley, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Ethel Reed. Another focus lies on the connection between the magazines and the major literary, cultural, and social trends of that time, including the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, the “poster girl”, bicycling, feminism, Utopian communities, health and diet enthusiasms.
American Little Magazines of the 1890s: A Revolution in Print. By Kirsten McLeod. Sunderland, UK: The Bibelot Press, 2013. 8 x 10; 103 p., illustrations. Wrappers: $40.
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