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The New Age, Volume 14 (November 6, 1913 to April 30, 1914): An Introduction
by Rentfrow, Daphné


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Volume 14, covering the months of November 1913 to April 1914, is the last volume of The New Age before the outbreak of World War One, or what would be known as The Great War. Many of the central issues related to the war are present in these pages, most specifically events in the Balkans. Oddly enough, however, these events, perhaps because they are merely continuations of years' worth of conflict, get less attention than other events. In fact, Volume 14 is perhaps more interesting for its Art sections than for any others. As will be highlighted later in this Introduction, the publication of a series of "Contemporary Drawings," essays on "Modern Art," "Neo-Realism," "Modernism," and various exchanges by leading art thinkers (including Walter Sickert, T.E. Hulme, Anthony Ludovici, and Wyndham Lewis) make this volume an incomparable source of information in the assessment of the evolution of the various artistic movements gaining momentum in these years. World events do get attention, of course, and they are also described in the material below.

Names to know while using this volume:

    Winston Churchill
  • Liberal, made Home Secretary in 1911, establishes the Royal Naval Air Service in 1912. Will gain importance during the war years.
  • Andrew Bonar Law
  • Conservative, became the new leader of the Conservative Party when Arthur Balfour resigned in 1911. Will become Secretary of State for the Colonies and a member of the War Committee, and Chancellor of the Exchequer.
  • Charles Booth
  • author of the 17-volume Life and Labour of the People of London (1891-1903). Opposed to trade unions and feared a Socialist revolution in Britain.
  • James Larkin
  • active Socialist and organizer of National Union of Dock Labourers. Also formed the Irish Transport Workers Union. With James Connolly, founder of the Irish Citizen Army (ICA), formed for worker self-defense after the Dublin Lock-Out of 1913.
  • William Martin Murphy
  • leader of Dublin Employers Federation and owner of various Irish newspapers, the Dublin Tramways Company and holder of big business interests. Anti-union, he uses his newspapers to attack Larkin and other union organizers. He and other "bosses" agree to lock out all workers who refuse to sign a pledge to employers resigning membership in trade unions. The lock-out turns violent, strikers are beaten and some killed, leading Larkin to form the ICA.
  • Sir Edward Carson
  • leader of Irish Unionists, fiercely against Home Rule. Also known for his prosecution of Oscar Wilde.
  • James Connolly
  • founder of the Irish Socialist Republican Party, emigrated to U.S. in 1903. Member of Socialist Labour Party (U.S.) and the Industrial Workers of the World, returns to Ireland in 1910 as organiser for the Socialist Party of Ireland, and, with Larkin, founds the Irish Transport and General Workers Union. Later General Secretary of I.T.G.W.U. and Commandant of the Irish Citizen Army, Commandant General of Dublin Division of the Army of the Republic. Will be executed following the 1916 Uprising.
  • Pancho Villa
  • Mexican revolutionary and guerrilla leader who fought against the regimes of both Porfirio Díaz and Victoriano Huerta. Will execute 16 U.S. citizens at Santa Isabel in early 1916 and attack Columbus, N.M. President Woodrow Wilson will organize an unsuccessful mission to capture him.
  • Victoriano Huerta
  • Dictatorial president of Mexico, attacked by Villa, Carranza, Zapata and other revolutionaries. His repressive regime was not officially recognized by the United States.

Domestic Affairs

Domestic affairs that get the most attention are the familiar issues of HomeRule, labourunrest, and questions circling around Syndicalism and GuildSocialism. Women's suffrage gets some attention, but mostly in the form of parody (see "Votes for Dogs" by "Bow-wow" in No. 14) and in the Letters to the Editor. The series "Towards the Play Way" by H. Caldwell Cook, beginning in No.16 and ending in No. 26 offers some thorough ruminations on the state of education that contemporary readers will find interesting. Throughout the volume, in various columns, religion is a common topic, most provocatively in the series"The Fate of Turkey and Islam" by Ali Fahmy Mohamed (Nos. 13-19) and his"England and Islam" in No. 7. S. Verdad's commentary on Britain's role in"holding the balance" between Moslems and Hindus in India, and the bias against the Moslems, is also worth reviewing (03: 069). Marmaduke Pickthall's series"A Pilgrimage to Turkey During Wartime" continues from Volume 13, concluding here in issue number 11.

World Events

World events are covered in the columns Foreign Affairs and Military Notes. Along with events in the Balkans, topics that receive extensive coverage are the events in Mexico (see 14:04:100, 14:17:517, 14:18:549) China, and India, along with the Calmette Affair in France and the effects--in terms of trade and politics--of the Panama Canal (see 14:15:453, 14:16:485, 14:26:806). Notes of the Week also cover these issues, along with Home Rule, labour unrest in South Africa, and Larkinism.

World Events by Month (with some related pages noted)

1913

    November

    3
  • United States: President Wilson demands resignation of Mexican President Huerta
  • 6
  • India: Gandhi, leader of Indian Passive Resistance Movement, arrested by British troops (other articles on India 14:03:069, 14:13:403, 14:14:440, 14:22:685)
  • 9
  • Balkans: Greece claims Southern Albania (14:12:357, 14:22:678, 14:26:811)
  • 14
  • Paris:"Salon d'Automne" shows futurists Picabia, Gleizes, and Kupka: Cubism barred (14:05:157, 14:09:279, 14:25:781)
  • 15
  • Mexico: Pancho Villa takes Citadel Juarez
  • 17
  • First vessel transits Panama Canal
  • 21
  • Russia: Imperial Justice orders several Tolstoy manuscripts destroyed

    December

    6
  • European powers recognize German Prince de Wied as King of Albania (14:19:581)
  • 13
  • Britain proposes the split of South Albania between Greece and Albania
  • 14
  • Greek King Constantine I declares union of Crete with Greece
  • 19
  • China: President Yuan-Shih-Kai closes China's Parliament (14:02:037, 14:20:619)
  • 23
  • United States: the Federal Reserve System is created (14:09:261)
  • 27
  • Chicago: Charles Moyer, president of Miners Union, shot in the back and dragged through the streets
  • 30
  • Britain and Germany agree to divide Portugal's African possessions (14:04:104, 14:19:584)

1914

    January

    5
  • U.S.: Ford announces five-dollar/day minimum wage and select employee profit-sharing (14:26:803)
  • 9
  • South Africa: Militia called out in Johannesburg to battle 35,000 striking railway workers (14:13:387, 14:14:417, 14:15:450, 14:16:481, 14:18:545)
  • 10
  • Peking: Yuan-Shih-Kai dissolves China's Parliament
  • 10
  • Texas: Ojinaga attacked by Villa's rebels
  • 12
  • South Africa on verge of general strike: 200,000 armed as miners vote to quit work
  • 16
  • Russia: Maxim Gorky allowed to return after eight year political exile
  • 27
  • Haiti: Civil war in Port-au-Prince forces President Oreste out of office

    February

    2
  • Mexico: Villa shoots Diaz emissary Francisco Guzman
  • 3
  • U.S.: President Wilson lifts arms embargo for Mexico
  • 3
  • Britain: Suffragettes attempt to register to vote
  • 9
  • London: William Marconi declares he can light a lamp six miles away by wireless
  • 17
  • Britain: Suffragettes break windows of Home Secretary's London office, set fire to the house of Lawn Tennis Club: Emmeline Pankhurst released from jail after hunger strike
  • 21
  • China: Gangs plunder Lin-Chuan, killing 1,000: government troops called out
  • 21
  • Russia: military leaders devise plan to seize Dardanelles
  • 24
  • Mexico: General Villa defies United States and Britain, refuses to return body of Briton William Benton (14:17:517, 14:18:547)
  • 24
  • Great Britain: per Churchill request, Parliament votes to add funds for navy

    March

    5
  • Great Britain: Military budget increased to 29 million pounds
  • 6
  • German prince Wilhelm de Wied crowned king of Albania
  • 10
  • France: newspaper Le Figaro publishes allegedly libelous report on Finance Minister Joseph Caillaux
  • 17
  • France: Caillaux's wife accused of shooting to death Gaston Calmette, editor of Le Figaro (14:21:645, 14:22:677, 14:23:709)
  • 17
  • Russia: Military increases number of active duty from 460,000 to 1,700,000
  • 23
  • Great Britain: Prime Minister Asquith renounces military option in Northern Ireland
  • 28
  • Mexico: Villa takes Gomez Palacio

    April

    1
  • Great Britain: Marconi conducts first wireless test from train
  • 2
  • U.S.: New Federal Reserve announces plans to divide the country into twelve districts
  • 4
  • Balkans: Albania calls for general mobilization, threatens war with Greece
  • 5
  • Britain: Suffragettes bomb London church
  • 7
  • British House of Commons carries Irish Home Rule Bill by majority of 80
  • 9
  • Mexico: Huerta briefly seizes Americans in Tampico, refuses to salute U.S. flag, and Wilson responds by mobilizing 52 warships
  • 13
  • Wilson orders Atlantic fleet to Mexico (14:26:806)
  • 21
  • U.S. Marines take Mexican seaport of Vera Cruz, kill 200
  • 26
  • President Huerta agrees to peace talks
  • 28
  • Wilson sends National Guard to Colorado to quell strike riots

The Journal Itself

Each issue sells for sixpence. The regular columns and contributors appear throughout, though pieces worth noting are those by T.E. Hulme, Walter Sickert, Ezra Pound, and Siegfried Sassoon. Tom Titt's caricatures still grace the last page of most of the issues, but several of his images in this volume are"city scenes" of London, including"Piccadilly Circus" (04:128),"Oxford Street, W." (05:160),"Trafalgar Square" (06:192),"Ludgate Circus" (07:224),"Charing Cross Road, 11 P.M." (09:288),"Bank" (10:320),"New Oxford Street and Holborn" (12:384), and"St. Paul's Churchyard" (13:416).

Pieces worth noting:

  • the publication of the"South African Labour Manifesto" in No. 15
  • "Letters on War" by"A Rifleman" in Nos. 7-10
  • "The Days Work in Albania" by Dr. Anthony Bradford, Nos. 18-19, 23-26
  • Beatrice Hastings' "Tesserae"
  • "Halt! You Fools" by National Guildsman, an open letter to the Fabian Women's Group, particularly in response to writers of an earlier supplement on women in industry (No. 25)

The Arts in Volume Fourteen

By far, this is the most interesting area in this volume. Because there are so many articles, letters, images and theories worthy of discussion, this introduction will provide a quick list of places in the journal worth a first visit, as it were, but it is strongly recommended that readers interested in the arts either methodically search the volume, refer to the list of contributors, or read each issue. Please note: many of the most interesting pieces are stand-alone articles, not contributions to the Art or Drama columns.

  • "Expressionism" in No. 4, by Ramiro Maeztu, makes some provocative parallels between Cubism and Spiritualism, especially in terms of the possibility of charlatanism (04:122). The piece discusses Wyndham Lewis's"Kermesse" on display at the Dore Gallery. Maeztu concludes that Cubists, Futurists, and Expressionists"do not want to express so much the thing itself as its soul--"this idealism, in Lewis at least, is"spectral" as it"lacks reality." (04:123)
  • "Mr. Epstein and the Critics" by T.E.Hulme in No. 8: a strong defense of the artist, the piece is concerned mostly with the critics who have attacked Epstein's work, specifically Ludovici. Hulme accuses Ludovici of mis-reading Epstein's"Carvings in Flenite" and select drawings. Epstein's Rock-Drill is the back cover of this issue.
  • "Neo-Realism" by Charles Ginner, No. 9: argues that readers and artists should endeavor to maintain realism"through this present dark period of bad `Academism'" (271). Sees Cèzanne as a Realist, but the post-Cèzanne artists as having adopted only the superficial aspect of his work; Cubism is a development of this post-Cèzannism. On Matisse, Ginner writes:"The Matisse movement is a misconception of Gaugin as the rest of this post-Impressionist movement is a misconception of Cèzanne" (271). All"Academism" is based on formula, and Ginner advocates a Neo-Realism which would delve deeper in"nature"
  • Anthony Ludovici's response to Hulme's piece on Epstein in"An Open Letter to My Friends," No.9
  • T.E. Hulme's"Modern Art: The Grafton Group" in No. 11 is"an attempt to define the characteristics of a new constructive geometric art." Hulme separates the modern movement into 3 parts: Post-impressionism, analytical Cubism, and a"new constructive geometrical art." He discusses a recent show at the Alpine Club, concentrating on the English painters
  • Gaudier-Brzeska's A Dancer (the image used in the MJP's own masthead) in No.20
  • T.E.Hulme's"A Note on Contemporary Drawings" in No. 22 discusses the images that have been featured in the journal as part of Sickert's series and his own
  • Walter Sickert, in No. 23's"A Perfect Modern" defines Spencer Frederick Gore as the title model
  • "Modern Art Criticism" by Dr. Ananda Coomoaraswamy, in No. 24, reviews and discusses Clive Bell's"Art"

Reponses in Letters to the Editor

  • No.9,"An Actor" writes that the increase in cinema's popularity has paralleled a"decreasing value of personality as a social factor of civilization":"the cinema to-day is the microcosm of every evil with which our civilisation is threatened. It will rob us not only of our souls, but also of daily bread" (09:286)
  • No. 10 contains a response from Arthur E. Hight regarding Hulme, one from Douglas Fox Pitt on Epstein, and one from Wyndham Lewis regarding Ludovici on Epstein
  • No.11, Ernest H.R. Collings and Ludovici weigh in on the Lewis/Epstein debate
  • Walter Sickert responds to Hulme's series, as do Arthur Rose and J.A.M.A. in No. 12
  • No. 19, a letter on Cubism by Harold B. Harrison responds to Hulme, picked up again in No.21
  • No.22, Wyndham Lewis responds to Sickert's attack in the previous week's"On Swiftness" (No. 21)

The main reason for so much discussion on art is that Volume 14 offers a debate in images that becomes a debate in words between Hulme and Sickert. As Wallace Martin notes, between January and June 1914, the journal runs a series of"Modern Drawings" by the Camden Town Group inaugurated and edited by Sickert. Hulme's series, which includes works by Epstein, C.R.W. Nevinson, William Roberts, and Edward Wadsworth are"experiments in hieratic and aniconic design. . . anathema to Sickert" (Martin 186). As Martin notes, the controversies over art became increasingly personal;"movements" intended to unite members brought instead more arguments, ending friendships, injuring reputations. These debates and personal invectives all make for great reading, however.

[Please note that Chapter X of Martin's book details many of the exchanges noted above and is an excellent quick reference for these issues].

Works Consulted

  • Brooks, David. The Age of Upheaval: Edwardian Politics 1899-1914. Manchester: Manchester UP, 1995. New Frontiers in History. Mark Greengrass and John Stevenson, eds.
  • Dangerfield, George. The Strange Death of Liberal England. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1997. Orig. pub. 1935.
  • Ensor, R.C.K. England 1870-1914. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1936. The Oxford History of England. G. N. Clark, ed.
  • Martin, Wallace. The New Age Under Orage: Chapters in English Cultural History. Manchester and New York: Manchester UP and Barnes and Noble, 1967.
  • Millenium Year by Year: A Chronicle of World History from AD 1000 to the Present Day.
  • 20th Century Day by Day. Clifton Daniel, ed.
  • http://spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk
  • http://flag.blackened.net/revolt/ws88_89/ws29_1913.html