Important Figures

Editors are the often silent names behind literary magazines. Here, we'd like to shed a little more light on the names of some of the most influential editors in the history of the literary journal.

MARGARET ANDERSON rose to fame in the literary world after she founded the literary magazine The Little Review in 1914 in the midst of the Chicago Literary Renaissance. Anderson herself was extremely devoted to her magazine's cause of making "no compromises with public taste," going so far as to decline F. Scott Fitzgerald because his work was already so prominent in the public eye. Anderson's time as editor-in-chief of The Little Review was marked by her upholding the editorial standards she had set in the very first issue. The Little Review inspired great change in the literary landscape across the United States and Europe in its run from 1914 to 1929, ending only a month before the famed stock market crash. While she published a wide variety of successful authors, perhaps the most acclaimed work published in The Little Review was James Joyce's Ulysses, which inspired legal disputes at the time. The Little Review moved with Anderson from Chicago to first Greenwich Village in New York and then later to France. Anderson was very well-connected with the literary world of the teens and twenties and her time spent in Greenwich Village and in France during this time helped strengthen her connections as these locales were where the writers were. Her partnership with other radical writers and editors such as Ezra Pound, Jane Heap, William Butler Yeats, and Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven. The full list of her literary contacts is likely too extensive to completely document. Overall, Margaret Anderson made sure that works of literature that previously had no home in the established literary journals of the time had a place to live. The Little Review and Margaret Anderson played an extremely important role in changing the growing literary experience of American Modernisn.

 

HARRIET MONROE is most known for creating Poetry Magazine back in 1912 where she honored literary craft and left room for the breaking of tradition, allowing the Modernist movement to come through. Monroe set the standards for magazines and their editorship, claiming in Poetry's second issue's editorial policy that "Open Door will be the policy of this magazine--may the great poet we are looking for never find it shut, of half-shut, against his ample genius! To this end editors . . . desire to print the best English verse which is being written today, regardless of where, by whom, or under what theory of art it is written" (Poetry, issue 2). Today, her legacy outlives her as Poetry stands to be the longest lasting magazine in the literary community. The magazine serves as a way to break barriers while holding onto tradition. As a way to honor what Monroe stood for, Poetry added the Poetry Foundation, which serves as a database for successful, published poets who have made impacts in the literary community and in history. 

 

A Farewell

by Harriet Monroe

Good-bye!—no, do not grieve that it is over,

    The perfect hour;

That the winged joy, sweet honey-loving rover,

    Flits from the flower.

 

Grieve not— it is the law. Love will be flying—

    Yes, love and all.

Glad was the living—blessed be the dying.

EZRA LOOMIS POUND was an influential figure in early 20th century literature and is considered to be the most valuable contributor to the Modernist movement in poetry during the time by some. As a prominent member of the avant-garde, Pound did not seek or attract a large audience for his own work, but he was devoted to promoting the work of other poets such as H.D., Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams, and T.S. Eliot. Born in 1885 in Hailey, Idaho, Pound completed his education in the United States and taught at Wabash College for two years before leaving America to travel around Europe. While abroad Pound became involved in the literary magazine scene, contributing his work for publication and acting as an editor for both Poetry Magazine, and The Little Review. Pound lived in London and Paris, but the majority of his time was spent in Italy where he eventually became wrapped up in fascist politics during World War II. In 1945, Pound was arrested for broadcasting fascist propaganda back to the United States via radio and sentenced to time at St. Elizabeth's Hospital after being declared mentally ill. Pound was not forgotten in the Hospital, however, and in 1948, he was awarded the Bollingen Prize for his book the Pisan Cantos. Ten years later, thanks to the efforts of various writers, Pound was released from St. Elizabeth's. He died in Venice in 1972.

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