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Evanghélia Stead et Hélène Védrine (dir.), L’Europe des revues II (1860-1930) : Réseaux et circulations des modèles

Paris : PUPS, 2018. 985 p.
Bénédicte Coste
Bibliographical reference

Evanghélia Stead et Hélène Védrine (dir.), L’Europe des revues II (1860-1930) Réseaux et circulations des modèles. Paris: PUPS, 2018. 985 p. ISBN 979-10231-0556-8

Full text

  • 1 Evanghélia Stead et Hélène Védrine, eds., L’Europe des revues (1880-1920. Estampes, photographies, (...)

1That solid 985-page volume devoted to a wide range of magazines published in Europe between 1860 and 1930 testifies to the growing interest in periodical studies among European scholars. One of several outcomes of a seminar regularly held since 2004 at the ENS in Paris by Evanghélia Stead, and more especially of the sessions of the last 6 years, along with some commissioned articles in the last two sections, it is a follow-up to a first 2008 volume.1 Volume I approached magazines in their performative and multidimensional role within European print and visual cultures, paying great attention to material presentation. Relying on quantitative and qualitative methods, volume II privileges approaches of the generic and formal nature of magazines over strictly historical and sociological interpretative models. Magazines are conceived of as hybrid material and symbolical objects triggering different intersecting approaches, including a welcome focus on their sometimes uneasy relationships both with the press and with the book sector, as well as on their relationships with a series of cultural institutions or venues (shows and galleries). They are foremost seen as the support of national and international material and symbolic networks. When envisaged as a performative and cultural act, magazines in their infinite variety appear as privileged polysemic cultural vectors of national and transnational exchanges, the editors contend. As vectors of cultural transfers, but also as outposts of resistance against foreign models, they also appear to contest rigid literary hierarchies or divides, suggesting a revision of disciplinary periodizations and a redefinition of genres and areas.

  • 2 ‘une saisie plus fine des relations entre les acteurs de la vie artistique et intellectuelle’ (13). (...)

2Sustained by interdisciplinary and comparative approaches volume II lays more emphasis on symbolical exchanges and inter/national contacts and influence between periodicals mediated in part by fluid sociabilities, both benefiting from, and engendering a series of cultural institutions (publishing houses, galleries, bookshops, theatres) and mediums (photography, radio programs, movies). The editors’ working hypothesis of a ‘finer grasp of the relationships between the agents of artistic and literary life’2 through networks opens on a series of case studies on an astonishingly wide array of European magazines, focusing on the circulation of ideas, literary creations, graphic and typographic models, on the relationships between commercial interests and aesthetic and literary configurations, on the commercial, intellectual, symbolic, emotional or relational exchange value of magazines, and on the very relations that networks engendered and fostered over a given period of time. In fact, approaching the magazines’ specific logic between centripetal and centrifugal dissemination testifies to the degree of interaction between magazines and furthermore enables detailed approaches of the creation by some of them of their own network or to their development as a full-fledged network.

3The editors have arranged their richly illustrated 45 articles into 5 parts all preceded by a short introduction. Part I explores the birth and dissemination of some models: the format, material form, and content economy of some magazines were appropriated by national and international counterparts. It appropriately starts with British quarterly magazines and embraces the mid- to late nineteenth-century illustrated satiric press in Britain, Germany, France, and Italy. Part 2 focuses on the manner well-known and lesser-known magazines developed along networking lines using both a diachronic and synchronic approach to offset current historical divides. French established monthlies and jeunes revues, Franco-Belgian catholic magazines, Rumania’s Ileana, and modernist Anglo-American magazines point out to specific intermediaries (passeurs) and personal relationships, but also display a series of unresolved tensions between a centrifugal cosmopolitanism logic and the centripetal logic of nationalism. The use of their own foreignness by American modernist magazines in Paris to invent a specific American cultural identity is carefully pointed out. All of the explored magazines appear to have demonstrated solidarity without succumbing to a fateful homogeneity.

4Part 3 is devoted to the networks magazines fostered both through their links with revues amies and different sociabilities materializing in concerts, literary meetings, public readings with different degrees of success. Articles explore tensions between informal and institutional links, personal aspirations and group determinations, aesthetic orientations and political affiliations, material constraints and ideological aspirations, international expansion and national convergences. Reluctant to embrace any literary school, the elitist Vers et Prose engendered some enlarged community strongly present in the literary and artistic life in France while The Yellow Book, despite the strong Francophilia of its publishers, editors, and contributors, remained intriguingly devoid of influence in France, when compared to The Studio and The Savoy or Catalonia’s Pèl & Plomel with its network of selling sites, subscription, different editions, exhibitions, and prizes. With their numerous international contributors satiric magazines appear to have remained closely linked to national politics (Mucha in Poland, Der Wahre Jacob in Germany) while some like Simplicissimus maintained a precarious balance between France and Germany at the turn of the century. Networking was also a mode of production and of survival for the satirical anarchist magazine Sibenicky which reinvested images circulating in anarchist foreign magazines within a Czech national context. Within networks, recycling appears as a specific editorial mode geared to sustain magazines.

5Devoted to the interplay between genres and media as forms of symbolic affiliation, part 4 investigates the role of magazines in different journalistic genres and images as well as in exhibitions, illustrated books, and artistic languages. Articles pay attention to often neglected genres such as foreign chronicles, short ironic literary portraits, or explore graphic continuity between different satirical magazines (Le Rire) and artistic and literary magazines (La revue blanche). Those magazines testify to a new regime of the sign meant to elicit consuming desires supported by graphic excess which is the marker of the new century’s artistic renewal.

6Part 5 explores the emergence of specialized magazines in drama, art, photography, cinema, where networks enabled the creation of specific formats and the progressive acquisition of disciplinary legitimacy. Perhaps more than their generalist counterparts, specialized magazines are hybrid models deriving from learned publications and popular press which find themselves subjected to the weight of economics and politics. As a case in point, exploring American, British and French photographic magazines between 1860 and 1914, Paul Edwards notes a progressive division along readership lines (professionals, experienced and ordinary amateurs), with increasing commercialization of the magazines, to the point of forming an international community capable, after acquiring some legitimacy, to revert to national or regional readerships. For their part, Soviet magazines of photography of the 1920s emphasise the social role of magazines as they were supported by political power so as to participate in the construction of a new society while competing with western models. Film magazines had to conciliate readership’s fascination for the new art, professional interests and nascent cinephilia. Hovering between the elaboration of specific critical discourses and the necessity to take commercial constraints into account they responded by supporting the creation of clubs and venues which proved instrumental in providing cinema with its artistic status.

7Presenting current networks and digitization programs, part 6 may appeal to a different readership and provides an appealing array of studies on current programs, from a personal blog to the BNF through academic interuniversity programs (Italy’s ‘Spreading Visual Culture: Contemporary Art through Periodicals, Archives and Illustrations’, Ghent’s WeChangEd on women editors (1710-1920), ESPRit and other projects to create a collaborative database and free access to digitized Spanish-speaking periodicals. Jean-Didier Wagneur retraces how the BNF progressively approached magazines and their preservation (Gallica, data.bnf.fr); Mikaël Lugan’s blog on ‘Les petites revues’ of the fin de siècle is replete with other resources and provides a history of earlier compilations; Lorraine Jantzen Kooistra presents the Yellow Nineties online website and database’s current development designed to illuminate historical networks of Aesthetic print culture while offering indexed visual and print material in open access.

  • 3 Editors note that some of them are likely to be erroneous.

8The collection also includes an updated comprehensive multilingual bibliography with a webography of useful sites from blogs to university projects, reference works, monographs, comparative studies, articles, along with a choice of recent publications engaging in innovative methodological approaches. The indispensable and impressive index nominorum (903–44) is doubled by a highly useful index of magazines cited with their dates of publication (945–84).3 With its wealth of high-quality illustrations (cover, cartoons…), L’Europe des revues proves more than useful for different communities from the budding to the experienced scholar interested in current research on European magazines. Seeking to broaden visions as well as knowledge of magazines seen as interlocking threads, both editors provide their readers with an impressive sum of material for comparatist or cultural studies in a tantalizing but necessarily incomplete collection. Assuredly to be continued.

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Notes

1 Evanghélia Stead et Hélène Védrine, eds., L’Europe des revues (1880-1920. Estampes, photographies, illustrations (Paris, Sorbonne Université Presse, 2008).

2 ‘une saisie plus fine des relations entre les acteurs de la vie artistique et intellectuelle’ (13). Translation mine.

3 Editors note that some of them are likely to be erroneous.

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References

Electronic reference

Bénédicte Coste, “Evanghélia Stead et Hélène Védrine (dir.), L’Europe des revues II (1860-1930) : Réseaux et circulations des modèlesCahiers victoriens et édouardiens [Online], 92 Automme | 2020, Online since 01 December 2020, connection on 04 August 2021. URL: http://journals.openedition.org/cve/8401; DOI: https://doi.org/10.4000/cve.8401

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About the author

Bénédicte Coste

Université de Bourgogne

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Licence Creative Commons
Cahiers victoriens et édouardiens est mis à disposition selon les termes de la licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 4.0 International.

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