The Pageant: Past and Present

I was particularly interested in this mediation between past and present in The Pageant. The catchphrases stood out to me because of my background with The Yellow Book. I think this ties into the idea that The Pageanwanted to be at once forward-thinking, but with a call to the past. I mentioned in the chat during our Zoom call that this could have been a way to appeal to both the anti-avant-gardists and pro-avant-gardists. I also think that this ties in with marketing and advertising because it appeals to a wider audience, as well.

The Pageant‘s insistence on perfection and detail that we looked at was also extremely interesting. I wonder if Ricketts’ insistence on the human quality of craftsmanship actually ties into the idea of imperfection. With human craftsmanship, there is a certain amount of imperfection that accompanies it. Does, then, Ricketts see the beauty in imperfection? Was this perfectionist view of art in The Pageant not, perhaps, even possible? I find this interesting to look at knowing that Charles Shannon was also frustrated with the fact that “The Pageant of 1897, at least for Shannon, did not have the time necessary to achieve aesthetic excellence” (King “Critical Introduction to The Pageant Volume 2, 1897″). There was, perhaps, no certain way to achieve the “aesthetic excellence” that Shannon so desired if we are also dealing with the inevitability of human imperfectability.

Lastly, I wanted to mention the invisibility of the princess in “Blind Love” by Laurence Housman. I, too, noticed that it was interesting how the lack of judgment the princess received on her body was replaced with obsessive moral and ethical control over her by the King. The fairy-tale quality allows for this interjection of invisibility where now her body is not able to be part of the conversation. Instead, Housman highlights an issue with patriarchal control over women even without the physical body at play.

There’s a lot going on with The Pageant that is so interesting to look at, especially when it is contextualized and seen as a “Total Work of Art,” as we have observed with all of our little magazines.

23 November, 2020. Sabrina Pavelic.

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