Popular culture often defines the literature that we read, leaving works from other cultures and lesser known authors in the dark.
The Seven Arts magazine publication promoted the removal of “genteel tradition” and instead tried to “catalyze an American cultural renaissance by building a distinctively American culture for a national American audience.” The magazine managed to pull in a young audience with its more modern and culturally distinct works. In fact, the journal helped bring works that were not recognized on a large scale.
While the journal only lasted for approximately a year, some highly recognized authors also contributed to the magazine, including Randolph Bourne, Robert Frost, and H. L. Mencken. Highly accredited authors and less recognized authors collaborating in a publication is a quite enriching experience that opens up opportunities for both authors new, old, experienced, and inexperienced.
A page presenting descriptions of popular poems and books is shown. The magazine itself has mostly short stories, but the page referencing good reads speaks words about the purpose of the magazine in a better light. Many of the poem descriptions appeal to “the new age” of readers with many direct references to the new age, to vitality, and to fresh perspectives on issues. Many of the books described on the bottom of the page involve perspectives from different cultures and under represented groups of people, including women. The presentation of recommended works with an overall theme keeps readers of the magazine on the same page and creates a strong community of readers and writers.
Despite the strength of the content and community of readers, the magazine may have just been made at a poor time. The journal was published right in the middle of World War I, a time where focuses were likely elsewhere. While a younger generation may have appreciated the voice of other cultures during such a time, the older generation was likely highly skeptical of a magazine that focused on entertaining literature and literature from even cultures that were being fought against in battle. Vocal opposition to the war expressed in the magazine led to the publication’s demise, as a main patron of the project withdrew funding.
The Seven Arts was a influential and short-lived magazine that did not just present literature defined by popular culture, but instead managed to define popular culture by presenting the right type of literature that appealed to a progressive audience.
- “The Seven Arts Oppenheim, James (Editor) New York: The Seven Arts Publishing Co., 1916 / 1917.” Modernist Journals Project, http://www.modjourn.org/render.php?view=mjp_object&id=SevenArtsCollection.