Date of Publication:
May 1919 (1:1) – Dec. 1920 (1:6/7)
Place(s) of Publication:
Frequency of Publication:
No exact figures available. Coterie might have had a similar reader pool to New Coterie, which printed 1,000 copies of one issue (Tollers 112).
Henderson’s Bomb Shop: 66 Charing Cross Road, London
10″ x 7.” Cover illustrations in color with black and white textual illustrations.
Chaman Lall (May 1919 – Autumn 1920)
Russell Green (Dec. 1920)
Conrad Aiken (American Editor, Dec. 1919 – Dec. 1920)
Stanley Rypins (American Editor, Dec. 1919 – Dec. 1920)
Editorial Committee: T. S. Eliot, T. W. Earp, Richard Aldington, Aldous Huxley, Wyndham Lewis, Nina Hamnett
Libraries with Original Issues:
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Stanford University; Harvard University; Columbia University; Cornell University; Brown University; University of Virginia; McGill University
Searchable PDFs of full run available online at Brown University’s Modernist Journals Project
New York: Kraus Reprint Co., 1967.
Frank Henderson’s Bomb Shop boasted that it was “the oldest and most extensive socialist bookshop in London,” which made it an appropriate publisher for Coterie, a little magazine devoted to eclectic, avant-garde literature and visual art (Henderson 210). Seven issues appeared between May Day 1919 and December 1920 featuring Modernist poems, drawings, translations of European writers, and occasional short stories or plays. Because Coterie did not target a large contingency of readers and investors, it became a forum for uncensored art from a broad range of genres. The magazine also incorporated traditional works, such as the Georgian poetry of Harold Monro, which stood out alongside the little magazine modernist staples (Alveilhe).
Law student Chaman Lall was the editor of the first five issues, and his friend Russell Green assumed editorship for the final double issue. As Lall and Green were both members of the literary group at Oxford University that published Oxford Poetry, Coterie’s first few issues largely featured works from the British authors they had previously printed. By the third issue, the magazine expanded its editorial committee to include Americans and to feature more works from global contributors. There were few advertisements to subsidize the cost of the magazine so it was not a money-making venture: the contributors to Coterie were not paid but rather “gave to a cause, expecting nothing in return” (Tollers 112).
Coterie established itself as a forum for avant-garde art and literature after World War I, a time when there were few venues for liberal expressionism. The magazine was a reaction to the conservative censorship that resulted from the War and was not a reaction to the War itself. Coterie did not have an explicit political objective or delineated manifesto (Alveilhe). Its main objective was to create a space for unrestrained public discourse that incorporated a wide array of genres, styles, and movements.
Chaman Lall (1892 – c.1973)
Editor: May 1919 – Autumn 1920
Chaman Lall was born in Shahpur, India in 1892. He was a central figure of the small literary group that published Oxford Poetry, an anthology written and edited by the Oxford University students. Lall began Coterie when he was a law student at Jesus College, Oxford. To give the magazine a “transatlantic approach,” Lall and Green employed Aiken and another American, Stanley Rypins, as American editors (Aveilhe). He eventually returned to India and became a prominent figure in the Indian National Congress and later became Ambassador to Turkey (Alveilhe).
Editor: Dec. 1920
While a student at Queens College, Oxford, Green was a contributor to Oxford Poetry, winning the university’s Newdigate Prize for his poem “Venice.” Upon graduation he worked as a civil servant but continued to contribute translations, prose, and poetry to many magazines. He joined with Chaman Lall to edit the final double issue of Coterie. He is believed to have edited all six issues of The New Coterie, as the magazine frequently featured his work and its editorial style reflected his efforts in Coterie. After his editing tenure ended Green continued to write poetry and novels, such as Wilderness Blossoms (1936), Prophet without Honour (1934), and Northern Star (1942).
Conrad Aiken (Aug. 5, 1889 – Aug. 17, 1973)
American Editor: Dec. 1919 – Dec. 1920
Chaman Lall recruited American poet Conrad Aiken to attract American contributors to Coterie. At Harvard Aiken was the President of the Advocate, the university’s undergraduate literary magazine. He received numerous literary accolades, including the Pulitzer Prize for his Selected Poems, and had a prolific career as a poet, editor, and short fiction writer (“Conrad ‘Potter’ Aiken”).
“Palimpset: A Deceitful Portrait”
“On Frederick Manning”
Nature Morte: (From a Painting)
“Bongwi the Baboon”
T. W. Earp
“To the Muse”
“The Forsaken Shepherd”
T. S. Eliot
“A Cooking Egg”
John Gould Fletcher
“The Forest of Night”
“The Stone Place”
“From Babel’s Night”
“English Literature and the Revolution”
“Post-Georgian Poet in Search of a Master”
“Permutations among the Nightingales”
“A Cautionary Rhyme for Parents”
Alveilhe, Tara. “Coterie: An Introduction.” The Modernist Journal Project. 2007. Brown University. 20 Oct. 2008.
“Conrad (Potter) Aiken.” Contemporary Authors Online. Gale Group. Davidson College Lib., Davidson, NC. 29 Oct. 2008.
“Coterie.” Modernist Magazines Project. Du Montfort University. 27 Oct. 2008.
Goldring, Douglas. “English Literature and the Revolution.” Coterie (1919): 69-78.
Henderson, Kathleen. “Pictures in History.” History Workshop. Oxford University Press (1976): 208-210. Web. 28 Oct. 2008.
Hoffman, Frederick J., Charles Allen, and Carolyn F. Ulrich. The Little Magazine: A History and a Bibliography. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1947.
Images. “Coterie.” The Modernist Journals Project. 2007. Brown University. 27 Oct. 2008.
The Modernist Journals Project. 2007. Brown University. 27 Oct. 2008.
Sullivan, Alvin, ed. British Literary Magazines: The Modern Age, 1914-1984. New York: Greenwood Press, 1986.
“Coterie” compiled by Mary Christine Brady (Class of ’09, Davidson College).