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Margaret Caroline Anderson

Margaret Caroline Anderson, in 1951
Born November 24, 1886(1886-11-24)
Indianapolis, Indiana, US
Died October 19, 1973 (aged 86) [1][2]
Le Cannet, France
Occupation editor, author
Nationality American
Period 1908-1973
Genres memoir
Subjects Esotericism, Fourth Way
Literary movement New thought
Notable work(s) The Unknowable Gurdjieff (1962)
Official website

Margaret Caroline Anderson (November 24, 1886 – October 18, 1973) was the American founder, editor and publisher of the art and literary magazine The Little Review, which published a collection of modern American, English and Irish writers between 1914 and 1929.[3] The periodical is most noted for introducing many prominent American and British writers of the 20th century, such as Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot in the United States, and publishing the first few chapters of James Joyce's then-unpublished novel, Ulysses.[4][5][6]

A large collection of her papers on Gurdjieff's teaching is now preserved at Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.[7]


Early life

Anderson was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, the eldest of three daughters of Arthur Aubrey Anderson and Jessie (Shortridge) Anderson. She graduated from high school in Anderson, Indiana in 1903, and then entered a two-year junior preparatory class at Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio.

She left Western in 1906, at the end of her freshman year, to pursue a career as a pianist. In the fall of 1908 she left home for Chicago, where she reviewed books for a religious weekly (The Continent) before joining The Dial. By 1913 she was a book critic for the Chicago Evening Post.

Writing career

In March 1914, she founded the avant-garde literary magazine The Little Review during Chicago's literary renaissance, which became not just influential, but soon created a unique place for itself and for her in the American literary and artistic history.[8][9] "An organ of two interests, art and good talk about art", the monthly's first issue featured articles on Nietzsche, feminism and psychoanalysis. Early funding was intermittent, and for six months in 1914, she was forced out of her Chicago residence at 837 West Ainslie Street, and the magazine's offices at Chicago Fine Arts Building at 410 S. Michigan Avenue, and camped with family and staff members on the shores of Lake Michigan.

The writer Ben Hecht, who was at least partly in love with her then, described her this way: "She was blond, shapely, with lean ankles and a Scandinavian face. ... I forgave her her chastity because she was a genius. During the years I knew her she wore the same suit, a tailored affair in robin's egg blue. Despite this unvarying costume she was as chic as any of the girls who model today for the fashion magazines. ... It was surprising to see a coiffure so neat on a noggin so stormy."[10]

In 1916, Anderson met Jane Heap,[11] a spirited intellectual and artist immersed in the Chicago Arts and Crafts Movement, and a former lesbian lover to novelist Djuna Barnes. The two became lovers, and Anderson convinced her to become co-editor of the Little Review. Heap maintained a low profile, signing her contributions simply "jh", but she had a major impact on the success of the journal through its bold and radical content. For a while, Anderson and Heap published the magazine out of a ranch in Muir Woods, across the San Francisco Bay Area, before moving to New York's Greenwich Village in 1917. With the help of critic Ezra Pound, who acted as her foreign editor in London, The Little Review published some of the most influential new writers in the English language, including Hart Crane, T. S. Eliot, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Pound himself, and William Butler Yeats. Other notable contributors included Sherwood Anderson, André Breton, Jean Cocteau, Malcolm Cowley, Marcel Duchamp, Ford Madox Ford, Emma Goldman, Vachel Lindsay, Amy Lowell, Francis Picabia, Carl Sandburg, Gertrude Stein, Wallace Stevens, Arthur Waley, and William Carlos Williams. Even so, however, she once issued 64 blank pages between covers to protest the temporary lack of exciting new works.

In 1920, starting with the July and August issues, The Little Review serialized the first four chapters of James Joyce's Ulysses. Soon the U.S. Post Office seized and burned four issues of the magazine, and Anderson and her companion and associate editor, Jane Heap, were convicted of obscenity charges.[12] During the trail in February, 1921, hundreds of "Greenwich Villagers", men and women, marched into Special Court Sessions;[13] eventually, each was fined $100 and fingerprinted.[14][15]

In early 1924, through Alfred Richard Orage, she came to know of Gurdjieff, and having seen the performance of 'Sacred dances', first at the 'Neighbourhood Playhouse', and later at the Carnegie Hall, she moved to France to visited Gurdjieff at Fountainebleau-Avon, along with Georgette Leblanc, Jane Heap and Monique Surrere, shortly after his automobile accident, where he had set up his institute at Château du Prieuré in Avon.[16][17]

Jean Heap and Anderson adopted sons of Anderson's ailing sister Louis Peters, Tom and Arthur (‘Fritz’) Peters, whom they brought to Prieuré in June 1924,[18] In 1925 when they returned to New York, the two children were brought up by Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein.[19]

Later, Anderson moved to Le Cannet on the French Riviera, to live with the French singer Georgette Leblanc, and the final issue of The Little Review was edited at Hotel St. Germain-Des-Pres, 36 rue Bonaparte, Paris.

Anderson published a three-volume autobiography: My Thirty Years' War (1930),[20] The Fiery Fountains, and The Strange Necessity. In her last years in Le Cannet, she wrote her final book, part novel and part memoir, Forbidden Fires.


The teachings of George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff played an important role in Anderson's life. Anderson met Gurdjieff in Paris and, together with Leblanc, began studies with him, focusing on his original teaching called The Fourth Way. From 1935 to 1939, Anderson and Georgette Leblanc studied with Gurdjieff as part of a group of women known as "The Rope", which included seven members in all: Elizabeth Gordon, Solita Solano, Kathryn Hulme, Louise Davidson and Alice Rohrer, besides them.[21] Along with Katherine Mansfield and Jean Heap, she remains one of most noted institutee of Gurdjieff's, ‘Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man’, at Fontainebleau, a commune, near Paris, France from October 1922 to 1924.[22]

Anderson studied with Gurdjieff in France until his death in October 1949, writing about him and his teachings in most of her books, most extensively in her memoir, The Unknowable Gurdjieff.[23]

Late life

By 1942 her relationship with Heap had cooled, and, evacuating from the war in France, Anderson sailed for the United States. Jane Heap had moved to London in 1935, where she led Gurdjieff study groups until her death in 1964.[23] With her passage paid by Ernest Hemingway, Anderson met on the voyage Dorothy Caruso, widow of the singer and famous tenor Enrico Caruso. The two began a romantic relationship, and lived together until Caruso's death in 1955. Anderson returned to Le Cannet after Caruso's death, and there she died of emphysema on October 19, 1973.[1] She is buried beside Georgette Leblanc in the Notre Dame des Agnes Cemetery.

In Media

She was the subject of a Academy Award for Documentary Short Subject nominated documentary entitled, Beyond Imagining: Margaret Anderson and the "Little Review" in 1991, by Wendy L. Weinberg.[24][25]

Celebrating the life and work of Margaret Anderson and the Little Review's remarkable influence, an exhibition "Making No Compromise: Margaret Anderson and the Little Review" was opened at the Beinecke Library, Yale University, from October, 2006, and ran for three months.[26]

Selected works

  • 1930: My Thirty Years' War: An Autobiography, ISBN 0-8180-0210-7.
  • 1951: The Fiery Fountains: The Autobiography: Continuation and Crisis to 1950,, ISBN 0-8180-0211-5.
  • 1953: The Little Review Anthology, Hermitage House, 1953.
  • 1959: Margaret C. Anderson Correspondence with Ben and Rose Caylor Hecht.
  • 1962: The Strange Necessity: The Autobiography, ISBN 0818002123.
  • 1962: The Unknowable Gurdjieff, memoir, dedicated to Jane Heap. 1962, Arkana. ISBN 0140191399. [1]
  • 1996: Forbidden Fires, part memoir, part novel, Ed. by Mathilda M. Hills. ISBN 1562801236.


  • Ladies of the Rope: Gurdjieff's Special Left Bank Women's Group, by William Patrick Patterson. Arete Pubns, 1998 . ISBN 1879514419.
  • Pound/the Little Review: The Letters of Ezra Pound to Margaret Anderson : the Little Review Correspondence, By Ezra Pound, Thomas L. Scott, Melvin J. Friedman, Jackson R. Bryer. Published by New Directions, 1988. ISBN 0811210596.
  • Baggett, Holly A. (ed.) (2000), Dear Tiny Heart: The Letters of Jane Heap and Florence Reynolds, New York University Press
  • Feldman, Paula R. (1980), "Margaret Anderson", American Writers in Paris, 1920-1939, Dictionary of Literary Biography, 4, Detroit, Mich.: Gale Research Co. 
  • America—Meet Modernism! Women of the Little Magazine Movement: Women of the Little Magazine Movement, by Barbara Probst Solomon, Sarah. Great Marsh Press, 2003. ISBN 1928863108. [2]


  1. ^ a b Margaret Anderson American Magazine Journalists, 1900-1960, First Series: 1900–1960. by Sam G. Riley. Published by Gale Research, 1990.
  2. ^ Quotes by Maragaret Anderson The Little Review.
  3. ^ A life led as a work of art; Anderson New York Times, August 16, 1970.
  4. ^ Chapter3: Readers Critic – Margaret Anderson, Jean Heap and the Little Review Women Editing Modernism: "little" Magazines & Literary History, by Jayne E. Marek. Published by University Press of Kentucky, 1995. ISBN 0813108543.
  5. ^ Margaret Anderson
  6. ^ Books of The Times; The Little Review and After Thomas Mask - New York Times, August 3, 1970.
  7. ^ Elizabeth Jenks Clark Collection of Margaret Anderson Papers - Biographical info as well at Yale University Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
  8. ^ Margaret Anderson Dictionary of Literary Biography on Margaret (Caroline) Anderson.
  9. ^ Margaret Anderson "The Cambridge Guide to Women's Writing in English", by Lorna Sage, Germaine Greer, Elaine Showalter. Cambridge University Press, 1999. ISBN 0521668131. "Page 16".
  10. ^ Hecht, Ben. A Child of the Century. Simon & Schuster, 1950. p. 233
  11. ^ Anderson - Jane Heap
  12. ^ Chapter 2: Margaret Anderson and the Cultural Politics of Self Expression The Secret Treachery of Words: Feminism and Modernism in America, by Elizabeth Francis. Published by Univ. of Minnesota Press, 2002. ISBN 0816633274.
  13. ^ LITTLE REVIEW IN COURT.; Article Alleged to Be Indecent by Anti-Vice Society. New York Times, February 15, 1921.
  14. ^ Margaret Caroline Anderson New York State Literary Tree.
  15. ^ Columbia Encyclopedia: Anderson, Margaret C.
  16. ^ A Life for a Life, Fiery Mountains.
  17. ^ Margaret Anderson Gurdjieff: The Key Concepts, by Sophia Wellbeloved. Published by Routledge, 2003, ISBN 0415248973. Page 246.
  18. ^ Chapter 5 - 1924 Gurdjieff's America: Mediating the Miraculous, by Paul Beekman Taylor. Published by Lighthouse Editions Limited, 2004. ISBN 1904998003. Page 62.
  19. ^ The Biography of Alice B. Toklas, by Linda Simon.U of Nebraska Press, 1991. ISBN 0803292031. Page 171.
  20. ^ The Little Review's Founder Tells Its Story and Her Own New York Times, May 25, 1930.
  21. ^ The Rope
  22. ^ Harmonious Developer Time, Mar 24, 1930.
  23. ^ a b Anderson Profile Gurdjieff .
  24. ^ Overview - Beyond Imagining: Margaret Anderson and the Little Review (1994) New York Times.
  25. ^ Margaret Anderson -Bibliography The Little Review.
  26. ^ Making No Compromise: Margaret Anderson and the Little Review — On Exhibition at The Beinecke Library, October 2006

External links



Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Margaret Caroline Anderson article)

From Wikiquote

People with heavy physical vibrations rule the world.

Margaret Caroline Anderson (November 24, 1886October 18, 1973) was founder and editor of the celebrated literary magazine The Little Review, which published an extraordinary collection of modern American, English and Irish writers between 1914 and 1929.


  • I was born to be an editor, I always edit everything. I edit my room at least once a week. Hotels are made for me. I can change a hotel room so thoroughly that even its proprietor doesn't recognize it... I edit people's clothes, dressing them infallibly in the right lines... I change everyone's coiffure — except those that please me — and these I gaze at with such satisfaction that I become suspect, I edit people's tones of voice, their laughter, their words. I change their gestures, their photographs. I change the books I read, the music I hear... It's this incessant, unavoidable observation, this need to distinguish and impose, that has made me an editor. I can't make things. I can only revise what has been made.
    • My Thirty Years' War: An Autobiography (Knopf, 1930, 274 pages), p.58
  • People with heavy physical vibrations rule the world.
    • My Thirty Years' War: An Autobiography (1930), ch. 6 (p. 251)
  • It has been years since I have seen anyone who could even look as if he were in love. No one's face lights up any more except for political conversation.
    • The Fiery Fountains (1951), part 1
  • Life seems to be an experience in ascending and descending. You think you're beginning to live for a single aim — for self-development, or the discovery of cosmic truths — when all you're really doing is to move from place to place as if devoted primarily to real estate.
    • The Fiery Fountains (1951), part 1
  • How can anyone be interested in war? — that glorious pursuit of annihilation with its ceremonious bellowings and trumpetings over the mangling of human bones and muscles and organs and eyes, its inconceivable agonies which could have been prevented by a few well-chosen, reasonable words. How, why, did this unnecessary business begin? Why does anyone want to read about it — this redundant human madness which men accept as inevitable?
    • The Strange Necessity (1969), part 1
  • Intellectuals are too sentimental for me.
    • The Strange Necessity (1969), part 1


  • In real love you want the other person’s good. In romantic love you want the other person.

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