The Dial: Wikis

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The January 1920 issue of The Dial.

The Dial was an American magazine published intermittently from 1840 to 1929. In its first form, from 1840 to 1844, it served as the chief publication of the Transcendentalists. In the 1880s it was revived as a political magazine. From 1920 to 1929 it was an influential outlet for Modernist literature in English.

Contents

Transcendentalist journal

July 1843 issue of The Dial, featuring Margaret Fuller's "The Great Lawsuit"

Members of the Transcendental Club began talks for creating a vehicle for their essays and reviews in philosophy and religion in October 1839.[1] Other influential journals, including the North American Review and the Christian Examiner refused to accept their work for publication.[2] Orestes Brownson proposed utilizing his recently-established periodical Boston Quarterly Review but members of the club decided a new publication was a better solution.[3] Frederick Henry Hedge, Theodore Parker, and Ralph Waldo Emerson were originally considered for the editor role.[1] On October 20, 1839, Margaret Fuller officially accepted the editorship, though she was unable to begin work on the publication until the first week of 1840.[3] George Ripley served as the managing editor.[4] Its first issue was published in July 1840 with an introduction by Emerson calling it a "Journal in a new spirit".[5] In this first form, the magazine remained in publication until 1844. Emerson wrote to Fuller on August 4, 1840, of his ambitions for the magazine:

I begin to wish to see a different Dial from that which I first imagined. I would not have it too purely literary. I wish we might make a Journal so broad & great in its survey that it should lead the opinion of this generation on every great interest & read the law on property, government, education, as well as on art, letters, & religion. A great Journal people must read. And it does not seem worth our while to work with any other than sovereign aims. So I wish we might court some of the good fanatics and publish chapters on every head in the whole Art of Living....I know the danger of such latitude of plan in any but the best conducted Journal. It becomes friendly to special modes of reform, partisan, bigoted, perhaps whimsical; not universal & poetic. But our round table is not, I fancy, in imminent peril of party & bigotry, & we shall bruise each the other's whims by the collision.[6]

The title of the journal, which was suggested by Bronson Alcott, intended to evoke a sundial. The connotations of the image were expanded upon by Emerson in concluding his editorial introduction to the journal's first issue:

And so with diligent hands and good intent we set down our Dial on the earth. We wish it may resemble that instrument in its celebrated happiness, that of measuring no hours but those of sunshine. Let it be one cheerful rational voice amidst the din of mourners and polemics. Or to abide by our chosen image, let it be such a Dial, not as the dead face of a clock, hardly even such as the Gnomon in a garden, but rather such a Dial as is the Garden itself, in whose leaves and flowers the suddenly awakened sleeper is instantly apprised not what part of dead time, but what state of life and growth is now arrived and arriving.[7]

The Dial was heavily criticized, even by Transcendentalists. Ripley said, "They had expected hoofs and horns while it proved as gentle as any sucking dove".[8] The journal was never financially stable. In 1843, Elizabeth Peabody, acting as business manager, noted that the journal's income was not covering the cost of printing and that subscriptions totaled just over two hundred.[9] It ceased publication in April 1844. Horace Greeley, in the May 25 issue of the New-York Weekly Tribune, reported it as an end to the "most original and thoughtful periodical ever published in this country".[9]

Political magazine

After a one-year revival in 1860, the third incarnation of The Dial, this time as a journal of both politics and literary criticism, began publication in 1880. This version of the magazine was founded by Francis Fisher Browne, who would serve as its editor for over three decades. He envisioned his new literary journal in the genteel tradition of its predecessor, containing book reviews, articles about current trends in the sciences and humanities, and politics, as well as long lists of current book titles. It was in this form that Margaret Anderson, soon to be founder of The Little Review, worked for the magazine. Although published in a city reputedly indifferent to literary pursuits (Chicago), The Dial attained national prominence, absorbing the Chap-Book in 1898. Known for its unswerving standard in design and content, The Dial changed character after its sale by the Browne family in 1916 and subsequent removal to New York in 1918.

Modernist literary magazine

In 1920, Scofield Thayer and Dr. James Sibley Watson. Jr. re-established The Dial as a literary magazine, the form for which it is was most successful and best known. Under Watson's and Thayer's sway The Dial published remarkably influential artwork, poetry and fiction, including William Butler Yeats' The Second Coming and the first United States publication of T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land. The first year alone saw the appearance of Sherwood Anderson, Djuna Barnes, Kenneth Burke, William Carlos Williams, Hart Crane, E. E. Cummings, Charles Demuth, Kahlil Gibran, Gaston Lachaise, Amy Lowell, Marianne Moore, Ezra Pound, Odilon Redon, Bertrand Russell, Carl Sandburg, Van Wyck Brooks, and W. B. Yeats.

The Dial published art as well as poetry and essays, with artists ranging from Vincent van Gogh, Renoir, Henri Matisse, and Odilon Redon, through Oskar Kokoschka, Constantin Brancusi, and Edvard Munch, and Georgia O'Keeffe and Joseph Stella. The magazine also reported on the cultural life of European capitals, writers included T. S. Eliot from London, John Eglinton from Dublin, Ezra Pound from Paris, Thomas Mann from Germany, and Hugo von Hofmannsthal from Vienna.

Watson was the steadfast foundation for The Dial as the magazine proceeded through a series of editors: Thayer from 1920–26, Gilbert Seldes (1922–23), Kenneth Burke (1923), Alyse Gregory (1923–25), Marianne Moore (1925–29). Thayer fell ill in 1927. The Dial ceased publication in July 1929.

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The Dial Award

In 1921, Thayer and Watson announced the creation of the Dial Award, $2000 to be presented to one of its contributors, acknowledging their "service to letters" in hopes of providing the artist with "leisure through which at least one artist may serve God (or go to the Devil) according to his own lights." Eight awards were granted.

Notable contributors by volume

In its literary phase, The Dial was published monthly. Notable contributors for each of its volumes (six-month intervals) are summarized below.

References

  1. ^ a b Gura, Philip F. American Transcendentalism: A History. New York: Hill and Wang, 2007: 128. ISBN 978-0-8090-3477-2
  2. ^ Slater, Abby. In Search of Margaret Fuller. New York: Delacorte Press, 1978: 51. ISBN 0-440-03944-4
  3. ^ a b Von Mehren, Joan. Minerva and the Muse: A Life of Margaret Fuller. Amherst, Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts Press, 1994: 120. ISBN 1-55849-015-9
  4. ^ Slater, Abby. In Search of Margaret Fuller. New York: Delacorte Press, 1978: 61–62. ISBN 0-440-03944-4
  5. ^ Gura, Philip F. American Transcendentalism: A History. New York: Hill and Wang, 2007: 129. ISBN 978-0-8090-3477-2
  6. ^ Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Emerson's Prose and Poetry, ed. Porte and Morris. p. 549
  7. ^ The Transcendentalists, ed. Miller, p. 251
  8. ^ Golemba, Henry L. George Ripley. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1977: 59. ISBN 0-8057-7181-6
  9. ^ a b Gura, Philip F. American Transcendentalism: A History. New York: Hill and Wang, 2007: 130. ISBN 978-0-8090-3477-2

External links


Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

The Dial
The Dial was an American magazine published intermittently from 1840 to 1929. In its first form, from 1840 to 1844, it served as the chief publication of the Transcendentalists. In the 1880s it was revived as a political magazine. From 1920 to 1929 it was an influential outlet for Modernist literature in English.— Excerpted from The Dial on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

1840-1844

1860

1880-1919


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