The London Lion – Opinion Pages- [April 26, 1897]
Ms. Jane Ruskin
he 1890s will soon come to a close, and its time for a drastic rethinking of our printed publications. I believe our modern “little magazines” have popularized immorality, reform, and crude experimentation.
In theory, these little magazines have made a great stand against the cumbersome heterodoxy of London’s more popular publications; they supposedly offer alternatives
ditors of The Yellow Book, Mr. Henry Harland and Mr. Aubrey Beardsley cleverly separated text and illustrations, but it soon became clear to me they were more focused on Decadence than merit. Beardsley’s bumblebee-coloured covers flamboyantly attracted a certain crowd, while inside, his black and white obscenities corrupted the literature that followed.
My niece, an artist who likes to call herself a “New Woman,” has collected all thirteen volumes for her shelf. At her last dinner party, she passed around some volumes, and eagerly showed the guests some particularly provocative pieces. While Laurence Housman emulates respectable Pre-Raphaelite abilities, his content often signals inappropriate Wildean sensibilities.
o better is The Evergreen: A Northern Seasonal. Although I admired its emphasis on nature, the overwhelming abundance of what its table of contents deems “Decorations” distracted me from the prose. A strange mix of medieval-looking Celtic swirls and Japonese figures made me wonder: were John Duncan and his colleagues unaware of the journal’s vision of the Scots Renascence?
inally, Le Petit Journal des Refusées. I could have gladly never set eyes on this experimental rubbish if not for my cousin who forgot it on our parlour table when visiting from San Francisco. Unintelligible and grotesque – skeletons line both sides of the cover – I’m not surprised these articles were initially refused, as they are now endorsed by an eccentric “Rédacteur-en-Chef”. Why, the only thing legible in Lulu Lamb’s poem ‘Spring” is
ersonally, I wonder when this decade will finally see a wholesome, aesthetically pleasing magazine available for learned readers. Modernity calls for change, but perhaps we should look back at the pure ideologies and printing techniques of our predecessors before moving forward.