The Egoist: An Individualist Review (Jan. 1914 – Dec. 1919)
Preceded by The New Freewoman (June 1913 – Dec. 1913)
Preceded by The Freewoman: A Weekly Feminist Review (Nov. 1911 – October 1912)
Date of Publication:
Jan. 1914 (1:1) – Dec. 1919 (6:5)
Place(s) of Publication:
Frequency of Publication:
Biweekly: Jan. 1914 – Dec. 1914
Monthly: Jan. 1915 – Oct. 1918
Bimonthly: Nov./Dec. 1918 – Mar./Apr. 1919
Irregular: July, Sep., Dec. 1919
The New Freewoman, Ltd., Oakley House, Bloomsbury St., London, W.C. (Jan. 1914 – Jan. 1918)
The Egoist, Limited, 23 Adelphi Terrace House, Robert St., Adelphi, London, W.C.2 (Feb. 1918 – Dec. 1919)
9 1/2″ x 11″. Issues ran approx. 20 – 30 pages and featured poetry, short fictions, searialized novels, reviews of books and theater, criticism. Some advertisements in the back pages, mostly for other little magazines or modernist works.
Dora Marsden (Jan. 1914 – June 1914)
Harriet Shaw Weaver (July 1914 – Dec. 1919)
Richard Aldington (Jan. 1914 – May 1916)
Leonard A. Compton-Rickett (Jan. 1914 – June 1914)
H. D. (June 1914 – May 1916)
Libraries with Complete Original Issues:
Harvard University; Columbia University; U. S. Library of Congress; Yale University; Bodleian Library; British Museum; Edinburgh Public Library
Millwood, N. Y: Kraus Reprint, 1967
Datamics, Inc., New York, N. Y. (Microform)
Dora Marsden founded The Freewoman in 1911 to be a women’s suffragette magazine. In just eight years it became The Egoist, a magazine which espoused a modernist feminism that focused on individual rights instead of the more antiquated concept of women’s collective rights. With financial backing from Harriet Shaw Weaver, the little magazine published poetry, illustrations, literature reviews and criticisms, as well as evaluations of modern thought and philosophy, philosophic editorials, and essays on the “New Woman.” Ezra Pound urged Marsden to change the title to The New Freewoman and to include more avant-garde literature. In 1913 she did both and added Pound to the masthead as literary editor, who brought with him the financial support of John Gould Fletcher.
In November of 1914 the editors decided to change the name of the magazine to The Egoist. Again Pound pushed for the transition, but it was Marsden’s own belief that men would continue to dominate women until women developed their egos that precipitated the switch. The Egoist sought to encourage the artist to cast off all intellectual inhibitions and lose respect for all outworn institutions, and “insofar as it reflected Pound’s influence, became a review of advanced writing, striking a critical pose and evaluating the prewar tendencies in the political and cultural world” (Hoffman 22). True “egoists” were people who believed that everything revolved around the desire of the individual, for whom “intensive satisfaction of the Self is […] the one goal in life,” and Marsden believed that such an attitude was the first step towards equality for women and for producing meaningful art (Thacker 187).
In the second issue of the newly renamed Egoist, the editors clarified some of their convictions in the section “Views and Comments:”
“Given time, and the catholicity of these pages, we shall in the opinion of one or other of our readers rehearse the entire procession of isms and schisms, whether ancient, mediæval or modern. The compliment paid to the wealth of our erudition would no doubt be pleasant–and wholly undeserved–did it not clash with our egoistic temper, which compels us to protest to our status. Our modesty notwithstanding, we protest that we brew our own malt: we are not bottlers and retailers: we are in the wholesale and producing line of business. If our beer bears a resemblance in flavour to other brands, it is due to the similarity of taste in the makers….”
“Views and Comments.” The Egoist. 1: 2 (Jan. 1914): 24-5.
Dora Marsden (Mar. 5, 1882 – Dec. 13, 1960)
Editor: Jan. 1914 – June 1914
Founder of The Egoist Dora Marsden was born near Huddersfield, Yorkshire into a poor family of five children. Raised by a single mother, Marsden realized early in life the importance of women’s economic independence. While teaching from 1903 until 1908 Marsden was active in social and political groups for women and committed her time and energy to the suffrage movement. She founded The Freewoman in 1911 as a suffragist publication, but changed the name to The Egoist three years later as she began to focus on the importance of the individual. She edited the magazine until June 1914 and thereafter continued to contribute to the magazine. Later in life, Marsden became mentally and physically sick, and was eventually diagnosed with psychotic depression.
Harriet Shaw Weaver (Sept. 1, 1876 – Oct. 14, 1961)
Editor: Jul. 1914 – Dec. 1914
Unlike Dora Marsden, Harriet Shaw Weaver was born into a wealthy, pious family. Even though she did not adopt their evangelical principles, she appreciated and modeled their “idealism and austerity” and grew up dedicating her time to social work. She began donating money to The Freewoman in 1912, and when she became editor, wrote several reviews and opening articles. Weaver became an avid supporter of James Joyce’s work and even started a press when no one else agreed to publish his work as a book. After her work with The Egoist Weaver joined the Labour Party in 1931 and then the Communist Party in 1938. She can be remembered for “her gentle and modest personality and her avant-garde convictions,” and her passionate endorsements of James Joyce (Oxford DNB, 794).
“Hermes of the Ways”
T. S. Eliot
“In Memory of Henry James”
“Reflections on Contemporary Poetry”
John Gould Fletcher
“The Orange Symphony”
F. S. Flint
“The History of Imagism”
“The Bullet Speaks to the Poet”
“In the Park”
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (serial)
D. H. Lawrence
“A Winter’s Tale”
“The Cubist Room”
“Midday and Afternoon”
“Night and Sleep”
“Why We Are Moral”
“Truth & Reality”
“To William Butler Yeats on Tagore”
“Dialogues of Fontenelle”
“After the Retreat”
“Sayings of K’ung”
William Carlos Williams
Bornstein, George. Material Modernism: The Politics of the Page. New York: Cambridge UP, 2001.
The Egoist. 1914 – 1919. Millwood, NY: Kraus Reprint, 1967.
Gaston, Paul L. “The Egoist.” British Literary Magazines: The Modern Age, 1914-1984. Ed. Alvin Sullivan. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1986.
Hoffman, Frederick J., Charles Allen, and Carolyn F. Ulrich. The Little Magazine: A History and a Bibliography. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1947.
Matthew, H. C. G. and Brian Harrison, eds. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Vols. 36 and 57. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2004.
Marek, Jayne. Women Editing Modernism. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 1995.
Rainey, Lawrence. Institutions of Modernism: Literary Elites and the Public Culture. “The Price of Modernism: Publishing The Waste Land.” New Haven: Yale UP, 1998.
Thacker, Andrew. “Dora Marsden and The Egoist: ‘Our War Is With Words.’” English Literature in Transition. 1993, 36:2, 179-96.
Wilhelm, James J. Ezra Pound in London and Paris, 1908-1925. University Park, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State UP, 1990.
“The Egoist” compiled by Emily Smith (Class of ’06, Davidson College)