The Pageant and the Fight Against Ephemerality

It is so interesting to learn about how The Pageant was so similar to The Yellow Book and so different from The Dial. The magazine was made to look like a hard cover book and had catchwords, similar in form to The Yellow Book. There were probably similar motivations behind these decisions: primarily to emphasize the quality and the value of the little magazine. Fighting against the ephemeral nature of all little magazines may have also been a motivation. Another way the magazines compared was the inclusion of advertisements. John Lane would deliberately use advertisements to promote other work being published at The Bodley Head. Similarly, The Pageant advertised its own issues as well. I also found it very interesting that the catchwords extended to the advertisements. Catchwords were a archaic literary tradition and The Yellow Book used them to summon the feeling of tradition and weight. The fact that the catchwords continued onto the advertisements might suggest that they are also important and not to be ignored. The Pageant was interested in engaging with the commercialism of this time period.

The Pageant, unlike The Dial, desired an expanded commercial audience. This can also be seen in the wrapper that first covered the little magazine. Although it was rarely preserved, the wrapper had a purpose. It positioned the second volume of The Pageant as a Christmas edition due to the use of red and green ink. The actual hard cover was a bright purple and gold. This is very interesting because the little magazine has the opportunity to present itself two different ways. I also think the wrapper could have been used to further promote the longevity of the magazine because once Christmas was over, the promotional cover could be removed and the regular cover still be displayed on shelves.

I also really enjoyed learning about the connection between Laurence Housman and Evelyn Sharp, who was published in The Yellow Book. They both used fairytales to criticize the patriarchal society they lived in. The story “Blind Love” mocked the patriarchal need to control a woman’s body by depicting a king who was obsessed with his daughter’s virginity, even though she had no corporeal form. The inclusion of such a story proved that although The Pageant was clearly invested in tradition, it also cared about modern values. Similarly to The Yellow Book once again, the form was entrenched in preserving tradition but the content chose to negotiate with modernity.

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