Little Magazines, The Yellow Book, Aestheticism

One thing I found very interesting about Koenraad Claes’ reading was the idea of the “total work of art.” Little magazines were meant to be an expression of collaboration and each part was art alone but also a piece of the bigger work of art. I found the quotation, “the magazine, both in its contents and method of production, was to act as a complete statement of its own alternativeness: its aesthetic unity symbolised its aesthetic integrity, its commitment to art over bourgeois society” by Murray Pittock also very interesting. Not only did the content come together a certain way to make a statement but the production method as well. The fact that it was bound as book, and also gave equal weight to letterpress and images (“The pictures will in no case serve as illustrations to the letter-press”) , are both statements being made about art, as well as against ephemerality. The Prospectus also reaffirmed Aubrey Beardsley and Henry Hardland’s vision to set “The Yellow Book” apart from other periodicals. They wanted the Yellow Book to be beautiful and modern. Although they wanted to keep an elite audience, they also wanted it to be popular. I also found it funny that Max Beerbohm retired at aged of 23 due to the disillusionment he had around writing and publishing.

In Kostas Boyiopoulos’ reading, I found it very interesting that¬†aestheticism and decadence was so deeply entrenched in the social and political context of the time. They were movements that pushed back against Puritanism and anti-art movements, and did not just exist for their own sake.