The Transatlantic Review
Date of Publication:
Jan. 1924 (1:1) – Dec. 1924 (2:6)
Place(s) of Publication:
New York, NY
Frequency of Publication:
Transatlantic Review Company. 29 quai d’Anjou, Ile Saint-Louis, Paris.
Duckworth and Co., London, England
Thomas Seltzer, New York
Bound originally in Quarto with blue and white covers (later changed to blue and buff, as the white covers dirtied too easily). Generally ran approximately 120 pages in length. Often included a musical supplement or a literary supplement. Occasional illustrations.
7.5 francs per issue / 75 francs per year
Ford Madox Ford (1924)
Ernest Hemingway (Guest Editor) (Aug. 1924)
Libraries with Original Issues:
Bodleian Library, British Museum, Cambridge University Library, Trinity College Library, UK.
Kraus Reprint, New York, 1967.
Ford Madox Ford was walking the streets of Paris in 1923 when he chanced upon his brother Oliver, who offered him the editorship of the newly conceived Transatlantic Review. Ford joined James Joyce, Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, and lawyer-cum-financier John Quinn to form the editorial board of the monthly journal.
In its short, twelve-issue run, The Transatlantic Review became a major force in the literary scene of the mid-1920s. Publishing both English and French contributions, the review debuted selections from James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake (in 1924 titled only “Work in Progress”), and gave Ernest Hemingway a jumpstart to his mounting career. The Transatlantic Review sought to establish its own brand of international literary cosmopolitanism, and was published simultaneously in London, Paris, and New York. Apart from regular contributions from the editorial staff, the magazine featured poetry, prose, and artwork from Djuna Barnes, e. e. cummings, H. D., Joseph Conrad, Juan Gris, Mina Loy, Man Ray, Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, John Dos Passos, and other famed Modernists.
Eventually, the growing influence of the young expatriate American writers upon The Transatlantic Review pitted the older and more conservative Ford against the more contemporary prose styles of the American modernists. As Alvin Sullivan notes, the history of The Transatlantic Review is appropriately “the story of the aggressive American victory on the literary and cultural battlefield of post-war Europe” (463). It was thus ultimately fitting that the review’s motto Fluctuat – meaning “it wavers” – was adopted without the remainder of the Paris maxim, Nec Mergitur, – “and is not sunk.” The Transatlantic Review did indeed sink, but not before it left an indelible mark upon the history of early twentieth century literature.
The editors of The Transatlantic Review offered an all-but-concise manifesto in their initial issue:
Paris, December, 1923
The Transatlantic Review, the first number of which will appear on January 7th, 1924, will have two only purposes, the major one, the purely literary, conducing to the minor, the disinterestedly social.
The first is that of widening the field in which the younger writers of the day can find publication, the second that of introducing into international politics a note more genial than that which almost universally prevails. The first conduces to the second in that the best ambassadors, the only nonsecret diplomatists between nations are the books and the arts of nations. There is no British Literature, there is no American Literature; there is English Literature which embraces alike Mark Twain and Thomas Hardy with the figure of Mr. Henry James to bracket them. The aim of the Review is to help in bringing about a state of things in which it will be considered that there are no English, no French–for the matter of that, no Russian, Italian, Asiatic or Teutonic–Literatures: there will be only Literature, as today there are Music and the Plastic Arts each having Schools Russian, Persian, 16th Century German, as the case may be. When that day arrives we shall have a league of nations no diplomatists shall destroy, for into its comity no representatives of commercial interests or delimitators of frontiers can break. Not even Armageddon could destroy the spell of Grimm for Anglo-Saxondom or of Flaubert and Shakespeare for the Central Empires. And probably the widest propaganda of the English as a nation is still provided by Mr. Pickwick.
Why then Paris?
The Conductors and Proprietors of the Review have selected Paris as its home because there is no other home possible for a periodical which desires to spread comprehension between the three nations. What other centre could there be? London? Hear, New York leading, all the sons of Old Glory roar: “No!” Should it be New York? All immense London turns in its sleep to yawn: “We think…we decidedly think…not!” Berlin? Rome? Shiraz? …But the Conductors do not know German, Italian, or Persian so very well. They are, besides, out principally after young literature: there is no young man, be his convictions what they may, who, if he has saved up but his railway fare and sixty centimes, will not fly to Paris and cry: “Garçon, un bock!” How many hours may you not here spend at a little table, listening to young giants whose voices almost outsound the wheels of tram 91 and the rustle of the falling chestnut leaves as they cry: “You are ga-ga. Henry James was my great-grandmother! Who, anyhow, was Petronius? You must go to West-Middle-West-by-West to know what writing is and there is no painter but….” That may well be true: we labour in that hope. But the point is that they remain in Paris. You don’t from here have to write to Oklahoma for contributions: from all the other proud cities you must.
Persons and Politics.
The Home being determined, the Proprietors pitched upon Mr. F.M. Ford as Conductor. Mr. Ford, formerly–and perhaps better–known as Ford Madox Hueffer was the founder of the “English Review” which in its day made good along the lines on which this Review now proposes to travel. It published the work not only of such old and eminent writers as Mr. Henry James, President Taft, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Mr. Thomas Hardy, Monsieur Anatole France and Herr Gerhardt Hauptmann, but it backed with energy such then only rising waves as Mr. Galsworthy, Mr. Bennett and Mr. Joseph Conrad. It printed the first words of Mr. D.H. Lawrence, Mr. Ezra Pound, Mr. Norman Douglas and many other writers now established, and it serialized the first novel of the late Mr. Stephen Reynolds and the first of the longer sociological novels of Mr. Wells, who will contribute also to the Transatlantic. So too will Mr. Joseph Conrad. The ever moving film has now progressed by a reel and it is such writers as Mr. James Joyce, M. Pierre Hamp, Mr. E.E.Cummings, M. Descharmes and Mr. A.E. Coppard that with the assistance of Mr. Ezra Pound, Mr. T.S. Eliot, Miss Mina Loy, Mr. Robert McAlmon and Miss Mary Butts to mix our liquors as singularly as possible–the Review will energetically back, whilst it will hope to print the first words of many, many young giants as yet unprinted. The politics will be those of its editor who has no party leanings save toward those of a Tory kind so fantastically old fashioned as to see no salvation save in the feudal system as practised in the fourteenth century–or in such Communism as may prevail a thousand years hence.
The Second Country.
Finally, as to affairs inter-tribal! There was a United States naval officer who once said: “My country right or wrong!” France being the second fatherland of every human being–for who, born in Luton would not put Luton first and then Paris second?–the Review will have but one motto: Our Second Country right; our Second Country wrong; but right or wrong Our Second Country: This because of Toutes les gloires de la France. For other countries have their Tamerlanes transcendant in their halls of fame; it is only in France that you will find an equal glory accorded to all writers from Racine back to Villon; it is only in France that you will find the Arts of Peace esteemed above the science of warfare; not Napoleon or eagles on the postage stamps! Or there is perhaps China. But Pekin is a long way off. At any rate no writer or artist will in the Transatlantic Review find flouting merely because he is of a former Enemy or Neutral nation–nor will any other being.
The Transatlantic Review will devote a quarterly supplement to reproductions of paintings, drawings and sculpture; and a quarterly section to the Art of Music.
It will be published in Paris, London and New York.
Price fifty cents per copy; annual subscription five dollars.
(Reprinted in Poli 37 – 41)
Ford Madox Ford (Dec. 17, 1873 – June 26, 1983)
Editor: Jan. 1924 – Dec. 1924
Remembered best for his master novel The Good Soldier (1915) and his landmark founding of The English Review, Ford Madox Ford (originally Ford Madox Hueffer) promoted the value of the arts and the importance of literature for literature’s sake throughout his life. Having published Thomas Hardy, Joseph Conrad, and W.B. Yeats in The English Review, Ford sought with the creation of The Transatlantic Review to establish a magazine “that would create anew an international Republic of Letters for Anglo-Saxondom” (Sullivan 459).
Ernest Hemingway (July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961)
Guest Editor: August 1924
In the 1920s Ernest Hemingway was struggling to become established as an author. In August 1924 Ford Madox Ford hoped to travel to New York City to seek further financial support for his magazine. Despite their history of clashing personalities, Ford asked Hemingway to edit the August issue while he was gone. Left in Paris, free of the literary shadow Ford cast upon him, Hemingway excised all works then currently in serialization from the issue, including Ford’s own Some Do Not.
“Mother of the Earth”
“Notes for Performers”
“Aller et Retour”
“The Nature of a Crime”
A. E. Coppard
E. E. Cummings
Ford Madox Ford
Some Do Not… (Serially)
“Des possibilités de la peinture”
“Work in Progress” (draft of “Indian Camp”)
“Cross Country Snow”
“The Doctor and the Doctor’s Wife”
“Work in Progress” (Selections from Finnegan’s Wake)
John Dos Passos
Excerpt from Making
Anderson, Elliott, and Mark Kinzie, eds. The Little Magazine in America: A Modern Documentary History. Stamford, CT: Stamford UP, 1978.
Carpenter, Humphrey. Geniuses Together: American Writers in Paris in the 1920s. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1988.
Ford, Ford Madox. It Was the Nightingale. London: William Heinemann, 1934.
Hoffman, Frederick J., Charles Allen, and Carolyn F. Ulrich. The Little Magazine: A History and a Bibliography. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1947.
Image, cover Oct. 1924. “Apprenticeship and Paris.” 10 Sept. 2002. Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. University of South Carolina. 13 July 2009 <http://www.sc.edu/library/spcoll/amlit/hemingway/hem3.html>.
Image, Ernest Hemingway bibliographic response. “Ernest Hemingway In His Time: Appearing in the Little Magazine.” 18 Nov. 2003.Special Collections Department. University of Delaware Library. 22 July 2009 <http://www.lib.udel.edu/ud/spec/exhibits/hemngway/mags/htm>.
Korg, Jacob. “Language Change and Experimental Magazines, 1910-1930. Contemporary Literature 13.2 (1972): 144-161.
Pizer, Donald. American Expatriate Writing and the Paris Moment: Modernism and Place. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 1996.
Poli, Bernard J. Ford Madox Ford and the Transatlantic Review. New York: Syracuse UP, 1967.
Pound, Ezra. “Small Magazines.” The English Journal 19.9 (Nov. 1930): 689-704.
Saunders, Max. Ford Madox Ford: A Dual Life. Volume II: The After-War World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.
Sullivan, Alvin, ed. British Literary Magazines: The Modern Age, 1914-1984 (Historical Guides to the World’s Periodicals and Newspaper). New York: Greenwood Press, 1986.
The Transatlantic Review. 1924. New York: Kraus Reprint Corporation, 1967.
“The Transatlantic Review” compiled by Joel Hewett (Class of ’07, Davidson College)