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The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist MagazinesVolume II: North America 1894-1960$
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Peter Brooker and Andrew Thacker

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199545810

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199545810.001.0001

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In the American Grain

In the American Grain

Contact (1920–3, 1932) and Pagany: A Native Quarterly (1930–3)

Chapter:
(p.249) 10 In the American Grain
Source:
The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines
Author(s):

Eric White

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199545810.003.0014

This chapter discusses the histories of Contact and Pagany: A Native Quarterly. Contact was launched by William Carlos Williams in 1920 with the help of the Midwestern writer Robert McAlmon. Williams sought to develop an avant-garde group within the United States that could express a distinctively ‘American’ aesthetic that was neither hostile to experiments conducted in other nations nor blinkered by crass literary nationalisms. He craved a textual place in which to debate this project, where he could cultivate intellectual and creative contact with other writers, in America and overseas. Despite the magazine's relatively short publishing life (spanning December 1920 to September 1921), it impact on American modernism endured into the following decade, largely due to its specialized field of influence and its editors' innovative policies. In Richard Johns's ‘Native Quarterly’ Pagany, which, inspired by Williams's example, began publishing in 1930, and the re-launched version of Contact (which appeared in 1932), the localist debate that Williams and McAlmon inaugurated in the first incarnation of Contact was reignited by a new generation.

Keywords:   American magazine, modernist magazine, modernism, periodical, William Carlos Williams, Robert McAlmon, Richard Johns

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