The Rise of Advertising in Fin-De-Siècle Magazines
Throughout the duration of the course, the exploration of fin-de-siècle magazines has taught me the vitality of the magazine as a cultural outlet during this period of sociopolitical and cultural reform. Specifically, one of the most fascinating focuses has been how the interdependency of image and text in fin-de-siécle magazines instigated the birth of modern advertising. Both little magazines and mass magazines chose advertisements that adhered to the ideology of their own periodical creating a uniformity and seriality from issue to issue.
The Yellow Book, for example, has a carefully curated selection of advertisements, that often self-promoted or advertised “distinguished” cultural works, adhering to its brand as being an avant-garde, aesthetic, and refined little magazine of art and literature.
The Strand relied on the integration of advertisements as a way of making a profit and therefore depended on inputting as many advertisements as possible to make as much profit possible. Therefore, the advertisements have a miscellaneous quality, much like its wide ranging content.
Though these two different types of magazines approach the integration of advertisements differently, they both show an inherent vitality to advertisements in fin-de-siécle magazines. As Aubrey Beardsley proclaims, “Advertisement is an absolute necessity of modern life, if it can be made beautiful as well as obvious, so much the better for the makers of soap and the public who are likely to wash.” Although, I was aware that advertising was a growing market during this period, I was unaware of how they were already an “absolute necessity of modern life.”
Throughout this semester, It has been profoundly rewarding drawing these types of connections between fin-de-siécle magazines and those we see today, as it has reminded me of just how deeply connected our modern world is to our history. Further, through looking at how image and text were working together or consciously being separate to produce different meaning has, provided me the ability to deconstruct the way these visual renderings influence our understanding of both image and text.