The Dial - Modernist Literary Magazine

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 Waste Land, however, barely made it to the pages of The Dial. Ezra Pound, the magazine's foreign advisor/editor (1920–1923), suggested the poem for publication. Thayer, having never seen the work, approved it for the magazine based on this suggestion and because Eliot had been Thayer's schoolmate at Magdalene College, Oxford. Eliot became frustrated, however, at the small amount The Dial intended to pay for the poem. Thayer was relieved that Eliot was about to pull the deal off the table because he was weary of Eliot's style. Negotiations continued, however, until The Dial paid Eliot $2130 for the poem, by also awarding the magazine's second annual prize, which carried an award of $2,000 (£450). This was a substantial amount, approximately equal to Eliot's 1922 salary at Lloyds Bank (£500, $2,215), and worth about $90,000 in 2006 dollars.

The first year of the Watson/Thayer Dial 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 Brâncuşi, 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.

Scofield Thayer was the magazine's editor-in-chief from 1920 to 1926, and Watson was publisher and president from 1920 until its end in 1929. Several managing editors worked for The Dial during the twenties: Gilbert Seldes (1922–23), Kenneth Burke (1923), Alyse Gregory (1923–25). Due to Thayer's nervous breakdown, he left The Dial in 1925 and formally resigned in 1926. Marianne Moore, a contributor to The Dial and advisor, became Managing Editor in 1925. She became the magazine's editor-in-chief upon Thayer's resignation.

Scofield Thayer's mental health continued to deteriorate, and he was hospitalized in 1927. Around this time, Watson began to delve in avant garde films, leaving Moore to her own auspices as editor-in-chief. Toward the end of the magazine's run, the staff felt that they were staying on because of an obligation to continue rather than a drive to be a strong, modern magazine. When the magazine ended in 1929, the staff was confident that the precedent they set would be carried on by other magazines at the end of the twenties.

Read more about this topic:  The Dial

Famous quotes containing the words modernist, literary and/or magazine:

    The modernist writers found despair inspirational.
    Mason Cooley (b. 1927)

    Whose are the truly labored sentences? From the weak and flimsy periods of the politician and literary man, we are glad to turn even to the description of work, the simple record of the month’s labor in the farmer’s almanac, to restore our tone and spirits.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

    Necessity makes women very weak or very strong, and pent-up rivers are sometimes dangerous. Look to it!
    Mary Worthington, U.S. women’s magazine contributor. The Lily, p. 183 ( November 1856)