Skip over navigation
The New Age, Volume 22 (November 1, 1917 to April 25, 1918): An Introduction
by Utell, Janine


This object is available for public use. Individuals interested in reproducing this object in a publication or website, or for any commercial purpose, must first receive written permission from the Modernist Journals Project.

For further information, please contact:
Modernist Journals Project
Box 1957, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912
MJP_Project_Manager@brown.edu

Introduction

The months covered by Volume 22 were a period of great turmoil; the uncertainty of the time is visible in the pages of The New Age. The war remains of primary interest, but as it drags into its final year, and as plans for a League of Nations start to emerge, the magazine devotes more writing to questioning the aims of the war and the nature of the peace. Increasingly we see demands for an articulation from the powers that be not only of the purpose of the war but of what a postwar Europe will look like. While remaining staunch supporters of the war, A. R. Orage, in his “Notes of the Week,” and J. M. Kennedy as S. Verdad in the “Foreign Affairs” column, criticize the government for evading the issue of why the war continues, how it will end, and what will be accomplished. These criticisms are linked to castigations of two other forces Orage perceives as unnecessarily prolonging the war for their own interest: the press, which disseminates jingoistic half-truths and refuses to take the government to task for its failings so that the press barons might increase circulation and maintain access to power, and industrial and financial institutions, whom Orage sees as profiteers who sacrifice lives for gain while bankrupting the nation. These political and economic concerns dominate the discussion of the war at this point, especially in S. G. Hobson's series of articles on guild socialism and its consideration of the changing relationship between industry and state. As the war continues, the writers of The New Age perceive its effects on the nexus of capital, labor, and government, and they are troubled.

The backdrop for these concerns is increased fighting — and loss — for the Allies on the Western Front. The war along the front had reached a stalemate by the end of 1917, and by the spring of 1918 the Germans had made significant gains. In order to cope with the staggering losses, in April 1918 the British government passed the Man-Power Bill, drafting men ages 18–56. Adding to the confusion of the war's final year are the Russian Revolution in November 1917 and Russia's armistice with Germany, and the entry of the United States into the war in April 1917, both of which feature prominently in the pages of the journal. The American presence in the war is a source of hope to Orage, and he repeatedly writes that while the price of victory is high and the end of the war is still in the distance, it is inevitable with the U.S. on the side of the Allies. At the same time, he writes with concern of the future of the revolution, the exit of Russia from the war, and the signing of the armistice with Germany. The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk renews the question of how to end the war with Germany; writers assert more than once in the pages of The New Age that the only hope for Europe is the democratization of Germany, something they believe can be accomplished with the help of the United States.

Some of these concerns color the discussion of other issues of cultural import throughout the journal. There is a renewed interest in spirituality in the articles of Allen Upward, writing as "St. George" and in the “Views and Reviews” columns of A. E. Randall, particularly the relationship between church and state. Readers might also notice an interest in Slavic literature and culture in the publication of articles by Janko Lavrin and translations by Paul Selver; this is connected to concern (and even sympathy) for Slavic peoples due to their suffering from the war and Russian Revolution. Even the drama criticism of Randall writing as John Francis Hope ponders the nature of theater during wartime. Questions of what it means to create and maintain a “national” art and how art and culture reflect national identity preoccupy many of the critics in the pages of the magazine. In a “Readers and Writers” column, Orage writes,

“Nationalism in the sense in which The New Age is proud to be an English journal is not incompatible with internationalism and with panhumanism”(22.22:436).
Writers for the magazine are very much concerned with how art and literature would have a place in a world they believed would embrace a new internationalism.

There does also appear a certain interrogation or critique of the modernist project; readers may wish to consult Ann Ardis's work on The New Age, which re-examines the magazine's position as an exemplar of the modernist project in light of its critique of much of what defines modernism (see http://www.modjourn.brown.edu/mjp/Ardis/Ardis.htm). Still, The New Age maintained its commitment to providing intelligent critique of culture and the arts even in this time of turmoil, as witnessed in the art and music reviews of Ezra Pound (as B. H. Dias and William Atheling, respectively), the “Notes from France” by Beatrice Hastings (as Alice Morning), and the writings on education by Kenneth Richmond. Readers of Volume 22 will find not only commentary on the closing months of the war, but valuable insight into politics, philosophy, and culture.

Names to Know While Using Volume 22

  • Asquith, Herbert Henry (1852-1928): Liberal Prime Minister from 1908-1916. Asquith's downfall came about when David Lloyd George formed a coalition with Conservatives thereby splitting the Liberal Party. Asquith was seen as an ineffective war leader, and as head of the Liberals until 1926 he saw the party lose support.
  • Balfour, Arthur James (1848-1930): First Lord of the Admiralty during the Lloyd George coalition government, and then Foreign Secretary. Balfour authored the Balfour Declaration in November 1917, which expressed British support for the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine; the motives underlying this declaration included a desire to strengthen the support of Russian Jews for the war effort and to solidify a British presence in the Middle East.
  • Bottomley, Horatio William (1860-1933): Founder of the weekly John Bull, a jingoistic paper and frequent target of criticism in The New Age, and corrupt Liberal MP.
  • Carson, Edward (1854-1935): Conservative MP, Attorney General under Lloyd George's coalition government, and First Lord of the Admiralty. Carson was against Home Rule for Ireland and a fervent Unionist, believing Ireland could only prosper as part of Great Britain. Before the war he established a provisional government in Belfast, complete with a paramilitary force; ultimately he agreed to Home Rule for all Ireland except Ulster, but at the outbreak of war negotiations over the Irish question were put aside.
  • Cecil, Robert (1864-1958): Conservative who chaired the Allied Economic Council, and one of the architects of the League of Nations.
  • Chesterton, G. K. (1874-1936): Journalist, essayist, novelist. Chesterton contributed to the New Witness, run by his brother Cecil, and then took it over when Cecil went to war (see http://www.modjourn.brown.edu/bios/CChesterton.html). There was an ongoing argument between Chesterton and J. M. Kennedy (as “S. Verdad”) and Orage in the pages of The New Age around Chesterton's belief that Germany needed to be destroyed and Kennedy's and Orage's position that democratization could be the only possible outcome.
  • Geddes, Auckland (1879-1954): Industrialist who became Director of Recruiting, then Minister of National Service under Lloyd George. Under Geddes, the Ministry greatly expanded its power to mobilize the country for the war effort. The implementation of conscription in 1918, and the subsequent crisis in Ireland, brought a great deal of criticism of Geddes.
  • George, David Lloyd (1863-1945): Minister of Munitions and Secretary of War under the Asquith government. In December 1916, he joined with Bonar Law and ousted Asquith as Prime Minister, creating a coalition government. This move caused a split in the Liberal Party from which it never recovered, making room for the rise of Labour.
  • Harmsworth, Alfred, Lord Northcliffe (1865-1922): Extremely powerful press baron, and a frequent target of criticism in The New Age. Lord Northcliffe owned the Daily Mail, which had the largest circulation of any paper in Britain, and the Times, which was considered the “establishment” paper. He was made Minister of Propaganda in 1918.
  • Kerensky, Alexander (1881-1970): Second Prime Minister of the Russian provisional democratic government before the Bolsheviks came to power. His constituent assembly was dissolved and he was overthrown by Lenin. Kerensky's moderate positions and refusal to end the war with Germany led to his downfall.
  • Lichnowsky, Karl Max Fürst von (1860-1928): German ambassador to England 1912-1914. Lichnowsky sought to convince his government that England and the Allies were not hostile towards Germany, and that they had no plans to instigate war. The Germans believed Lichnowsky was too friendly to the British and recalled him from his post. In March 1918 a memo from Lichnowksy surfaced describing his attempts to forestall war and the German government's machinations to bring about the conflict; these revelations received an extensive response in The New Age.
  • Pankhurst, Emmeline (1858-1928): Women's suffrage activist, with her daughters Christabel and Sylvia. The Pankhursts were known for their radical tactics in the fight for women's suffrage; however, they ceased their campaign at the outbreak of war in order to show their solidarity in that effort. In 1917 Emmeline and Christabel founded the Women's Party, which had as its platform support for the war and equal rights for women; at its founding, the Women's Party received quite a lot of criticism in the pages of The New Age.
  • Thomas, David Alfred, Lord Rhondda (1856-1918): Appointed Minister of Food in 1917. He was forced to address growing shortages as the war dragged on, an issue that appeared frequently in The New Age as Orage called for conscription of wealth and the restriction of production and consumption of luxuries.
  • Scheidemann, Philipp (1865-1939): German Socialist politician with anti-monarchist views. He favored a strictly defensive war, and supported the German response to what he perceived to be British aggression. He also opposed the annexationist impulse of the German government, refusing the support the annexation of Russian territories in the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. J. M. Kennedy, as “S. Verdad,” carried on a dialogue with Scheidemann regarding German and British war aims.
  • Woolf, Leonard (1880-1969): Fabian and social reformer. Woolf's internationalist philosophies laid the groundwork for the League of Nations. His Letters to the Editor appear in several issues of The New Age, criticizing the anti-League stance of the magazine.

Things to Know While Using Volume 22

  • Irish Convention and Conscription Crisis: Chaired by Horace Plunkett, this gathering met from July 1917 to April 1918 and was meant to resolve the conflict between the supporters of Home Rule and the Unionists. The Convention never really achieved anything, and was weakened by the Conscription Crisis of March 1918. The British government passed the Man-Power Bill, which required military service for all men from ages 18-56; the Irish rebelled, and the British government had to pull back from conscripting Irish men.
  • Guild Socialism: A utopian leftist principle that flourished in the 1910s and 1920s. Its foundation was an ideal of industrial democracy and the dignity of labor, and it held that power should be shared between producers, organized into unions, and consumers, represented by the State. Under this system there would never be any conflict because everyone would be a producer and a consumer. As noted in the Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century British Politics, Guild socialism never really gained widespread support because of the demands for greater worker control as put forth by the emerging and more powerful Labour and Communist movements, and because it made too many assumptions about good and reasonable human behavior. Orage's The New Age was a voice in support of guild socialism, as expressed in this volume in a series of articles by S. G. Hobson; towards the end of the war and after, however, Orage turned towards a philosophy of social credit. Readers may wish to consult Wallace Martin's work on The New Age for more information about Orage's changing economic philosophies (see http://www.modjourn.brown.edu/Martin/martin.htm).
  • League of Nations: Although not founded until 1919, discussion of the formation of an organization dedicated to settling disputes and promoting international negotiation emerged with the entrance of the United States into the war in 1917. President Woodrow Wilson included the creation of the League of Nations as the last of his Fourteen Points for the postwar peace, given before Congress in January 1918.
  • New Witness: Founded in 1912 by G. K. Chesterton's brother Cecil. During the war it was a bastion of anti-German sentiment and virulent attacks on opponents of the conflict. The New Age and the New Witness were often in dialogue — even conflict — with one another.
  • Russian Revolution: The Russian Revolution might be divided into two parts. The first, the February Revolution of 1917, resulted in the overthrow of the czar and the establishment of a provisional democratic government led by Alexander Kerensky. The second, the October Revolution of 1917 (by the Julian calendar; November by the current Gregorian calendar), was led by Lenin, resulting in the overthrow of Kerensky and the establishment by the Bolsheviks of the Soviet government.
  • Shop Steward Movement: During the war many labor activists agreed to suspend trade union activity. However, the shop steward movement, a small but vocal, militant group of activists in major industrial centers, particularly Clydeside, agitated for workers' rights. This agitation emerged in part from the joining of industry and the state during the war, the exploitation of labor, and the breakdown of the economy as the government continued to borrow to finance the war.
  • Treaty of Brest-Litovsk: Declared in March 1918, it ended the war between Germany and Russia. Signed by the Bolsheviks after protracted negotiations, it finally granted western territory, including Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland to Germany. With the end of the war, however, Germany had to renounce all claims to these lands, and they became independent.
  • Whitley Councils/Industrial Councils: The Whitley Councils came from a series of committees chaired by J. H. Whitley (1916-1919) meant to resolve industrial unrest. The councils are comprised of representatives from the state, industry, and trade unions and aim towards better labor relations. The New Age, as part of its economic and political philosophy, was skeptical of any relationship between industry, labor, and the state.
  • Women's Social and Political Union: Founded by the Pankhursts in 1903, it was known for its radical tactics in the pursuit of women's suffrage. Once the war began, it focused more of its energy on expressing solidarity with the war effort, culminating in the creation of the Women's Party in 1917.

Events by Month

November

  • 2: Balfour declares British intention to support the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine
  • 3: British sink 11 German ships in the Cattegat; German patrols take 12 Americans on the Rhine
  • 5: Teuton forces cross Tagliamento River, pierce Cadorna's line in Italy
  • 6: Third battle of Ypres ends with British taking Passchendaele Ridge; five miles gained in three months with heavy casualties
  • 6: Trotsky's Red Guards take state buildings in Petrograd, dismiss Kerensky government
  • 10: 41 U. S. suffragettes arrested outside the White House
  • 11: Kerensky, with troops from the Eastern Front, moves on Petrograd
  • 12: Cadorna stabilizes line at Mt. Pasubia after loss of 40,000, 275,000 captive
  • 14: General Allenby strikes Turkish Eighth at Junction Station in Palestine and prepares to move on Jerusalem
  • 15: Bolsheviks seize power in Russia; Trotsky declared head of revolutionary government; Kerensky flees to Moscow
  • 16: Italians open floodgates of Piave and Sile to drown Austrians
  • 21: Field Marshal Haig breaks Hindenburg's line
  • 26: Bolsheviks offer armistice to Central Powers
  • 27: Germans threaten to seize Denmark if Norway awards base to Allies
  • 29: Chancellor von Hertling offers parley to Russia if Bolsheviks send envoys with full power
  • 30: Trotsky warns Allies not to interfere in Russia's affairs
  • 30: Germans recapture lost ground in Cambrai on the Western Front
  • 30: Col. Douglas MacArthur arrives in France

December

  • 1: U. S. protests Russian armistice plan
  • 3: Haig orders withdrawal from Cambrai
  • 6: Former Czar Nicholas II and family made prisoners in Tobolsk
  • 7: U. S. declares war on Austria-Hungary
  • 9: New Finnish republic demands withdrawal of Russian troops
  • 9: General Allenby takes Jerusalem
  • 9: Republican regime falls in Portugal; President Bernardino Machado arrested; General Sidonio Paes, leader of the coup, takes power
  • 10: Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the International Red Cross
  • 14: U. S. government takes control of commodities imports
  • 15: U. S. offers non-interference in Mexican affairs
  • 16: Russia and Germany sign armistice at Brest-Litovsk, ending hostilities
  • 18: Prohibition passes Senate and House; amendment goes to states for ratification
  • 24: Kaiser warns Russia he will use "iron fist" and "shining sword" if peace is spurned
  • 26: President Wilson places railroads under government control

January

  • 2: Bolsheviks talk of resuming war unless Germans leave Russian soil
  • 5: Lloyd George restates war aims
  • 6: Germany acknowledges Finland's independence
  • 7: Germans move 75,000 troops from Eastern Front to Western Front
  • 7: German socialists back Russians, denounce Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg
  • 8: President Wilson presents his Fourteen Points
  • 10: U. S. government passes women's suffrage
  • 10: Trotsky agrees to peace talks at Brest-Litovsk
  • 15: Strikes in Budapest, Prague
  • 16: President Wilson orders all industries not involved in food production to close on Mondays
  • 19: Soviets dissolve the constituent assembly
  • 25: Austria and Germany reject U. S. peace proposals
  • 26: Austria seeks separate peace with Russia
  • 27: Communists attempt to seize power in Finland
  • 28: Calls for nationwide strikes in Germany
  • 28: Trotsky and Lenin create the Red Army
  • 29: Supreme Allied Council meets at Versailles
  • 31: German army called out to quell strikes

February

  • 3: General von Kessel, the military commandant of Brandenburg province, tells strikers to work or be shot
  • 5: Soviets declare separation of church and state
  • 9: Ukraine makes separate peace with the Central Powers
  • 9: Americans taken prisoner by Germans north of Xivry on the Western Front
  • 11: President Wilson tells Congress that Prussian autocracy makes a lasting peace impossible
  • 14: Leon Forrest Douglass displays new method for producing motion pictures in color
  • 14: Warsaw demonstrators protest transfer of Polish territory to Ukraine
  • 20: Armistice between Central Powers and Russia ends; Germany launches attack
  • 20: Soviet Red Army seizes Kiev
  • 20: American planes leave for Western Front
  • 22: Turks struggle to hold on to Palestine against General Allenby
  • 23: AFL President Samuel Gompers pledges labor's support for the war effort
  • 26: Washington and London reject German peace proposals

March

  • 3: Soviets and Central Powers sign Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
  • 5: Soviets move the Russian capital from Petrograd to Moscow
  • 7: Finns sign an alliance treaty with Germany
  • 7: Bolsheviks change name to Russian Communist Party
  • 7: U. S. sentry on the Western Front attacks German patrol of 40, kills or wounds all
  • 11: Germans bomb Paris as part of massive offensive
  • 14: All-Russian Congress of Soviets ratifies Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
  • 20: Bolsheviks ask for American aid to rebuild the army
  • 21: Germans launch a heavy attack on 50-mile front near Cambrai
  • 26: Germans take French towns of Noyon, Roye, and Lihons
  • 26: Ferdinand Foch, chief of the French General Staff, named commander of the British and French forces on the Western Front
  • 27: Lloyd George asks U. S. to rush aid to France

April

  • 1: Royal Air Force replaces Royal Flying Corps
  • 3: British troops cross River Jordan, enter Palestine
  • 3: Germans gas American troops
  • 4: General Pershing receives Grand Cross of the Order of Leopold, the highest honor bestowed by the Belgian king
  • 6: British and Japanese troops land in Vladivostok, one day after the U. S. Marines
  • 8: Lenin threatens war with Japanese for invasion of Vladivostok
  • 9: Germans force British to withdraw from Ypres to Armentieres on the Western Front
  • 9: Lloyd George orders conscription for Ireland, sparking angry protests
  • 11: Emperor Charles offers peace to France but upholds "just claims on Alsace-Lorraine"
  • 16: Baron Burian replaces Count Czernin as Foreign Minister of Austria-Hungary
  • 26: Germany opens diplomatic relations with Soviet government
  • 27: Czarevitch Grand Duke Alexis named ruler in Russian counterrevolution
  • 28: Gavrilo Princip executed for June 1914 assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand
  • 30: Soviets re-establish mandatory military service
  • 28: General Pershing moves troops to the Somme salient

The Journal

The New Age remains priced at sixpence. Beginning with 22:23, the journal went from 20 pages to 16 pages; this was due to a paper shortage resulting from the war. Orage sees this as evidence of the gross inequity in the press as a smaller journal like The New Age is punished for not having advertising and wider circulation. He writes,

“If these thousand and one journals were of equal value from the public point of view; or, again, if they were already fairly on a level as regards size and contents and management, a uniform reduction of their size by one half would be strictly just. But nothing is further from being the case than this uniform state of affairs. Journals, like other forms of enterprise, vary from the publicly useful through the publicly indifferent to the publicly useless and the publicly dangerous”(22.21:417)
.

Continuing Series in Volume 22

  • “Guilds and Their Critics” by S. G. Hobson. This series sparked articles written in response by G. D. H. Cole (22.06:109; 22.13:246; 22.15:285; 22.17:325). (See http://www.modjourn.brown.edu/mjp/bios/Cole.htm)
  • “An Apology for the Liberty of the Person” by O. Latham
  • “Studies in Contemporary Mentality” by Ezra Pound. Upon the conclusion of this series (22.11:208), Orage wrote in “Readers and Writers”:
    “I have been invited to join with several correspondents in depreciating Mr. Pound's series of studies in contemporary mentality concluded in last week's issue. I can do nothing of the kind. […] The diligence, patience and sympathy necessary in such a work should be obvious; and, for having carried it through, Mr. Pound deserves our gratitude”(22.12:231)
    .
  • “Oriental Encounters” by Marmaduke Pickthall (see http://www.modjourn.brown.edu/bios/Pickthall.htm)
  • “The Collected Papers of Anthony Farley” by S. G. Hobson
  • “Memories of Old Jerusalem” by Ph. J. Baldensperger, edited by Marmaduke Pickthall
  • “A Modern Prose Anthology” edited by R. Harrison. Authors of note satirized in the installments of Volume 22 include Max Beerbohm (22.19:378) and Harley Granville-Barker (22.21:419)

New Series in Volume 22 (the number in which the first installment appears is provided)

  • “Journey Round My Room” by C. E. Bechhofer (22.01:13)
  • “Dostoyevsky and His Problems” by Janko Lavrin (22.12:229). In “Readers and Writers,” Orage writes of this series: "They are, indeed, much more remarkable for the depth, vigour, and range of their treatment of one the greatest writers that ever lived" (22.12:231)

In addition, Allen Upward, who also writes as “St. George,” is given a recurring column called “Producers by Brain” in order to put forth his platform for his independent MP campaign; he is seeking to be elected to represent “literature and the arts.” He writes:

“This is a new way of conducting a candidature, but I believe it will commend itself to most of those whom I aspire to serve, and to that great, silent public to whose sense of justice we appeal. […] The idea of a candidature in the Press may also prove popular as time goes on; and it is altogether in keeping that we who claim to be pioneers in the higher arts should be pioneers in that of politics as well”(22.01:14)
.

Letters and Press Cuttings

Letters

  • Allen Upward as “St. George” writes in response to critics of his series of articles on conscientious objectors (22.04:78; 22.08:159)
  • S. G. Hobson writes in response to critics of his series of articles on guilds (22.05:99)
  • Ezra Pound writes in response to critics of his series on the popular press (22.11:219)
  • In the same issue, Pound writes as B. H. Dias regarding his art criticism; about himself he writes: "Mr. Ezra Pound attempted some such explanation in your paper years ago; it only produced a riot. But, then, he expressed himself very badly and in the jargon of his horrible vortex" (22.11:219)
  • Leonard Woolf writes to criticize the anti-League of Nations position of The New Age (22.16:317; 22.21:423); Woolf's book The Framework of a Lasting Peace was reviewed by Orage in 22.03:55
  • G. D. H. Cole writes in response to S. G. Hobson's articles on guilds (22.17:338)
  • A reader, “R. Bigge,” writes to commend Ezra Pound, writing as B. H. Dias, on his art criticism:
    “Mr. Dias's notices are very harsh, and probably painful to the artists and their friends, but after reading a Dias criticism one does at least know what the exhibition is like”(22.19:383)
    .
  • Ezra Pound, writing as William Atheling, responds to critics of his music articles (22.20:403)

Press Cuttings

The Times Literary Supplement notes Hilaire Belloc's assertion in his book The Free Press (also reviewed by Orage in 22.16:311) that the “Official” press provides “no food for the mind,” and says sarcastically that The New Age and its “coterie” must have been “the pioneer of the Free Press” (22.15:300). There is further comment on this from The Globe, noting that even the “Official” press has moments of “righteousness” (22.17:340), from George Bernard Shaw in The Nation who notes that The New Age has “no policy and no character” (22.18:364), and from G. K. Chesterton in The New Witness who writes that Orage and his philosophy is The New Age; without it, “we should say that The New Age had ceased to exist” (22.19:384).

The War and Political/Economic Issues

The War

  • Volume 22 begins with a response to rumors of an “early peace.” In “Notes of the Week,” Orage writes that this is false optimism perpetrated by the jingoistic press and financiers; this is one of the many places where he notes that these two forces work in tandem to garner more public support for the war in order to float more war-loans (22.01:1). It is in commentary like this that we see Orage's conviction that banks, industry, and state, as well as international capitalists, work together to keep countries in a state of war.
  • Orage's economic philosophies led him to denounce the production and consumption of luxuries during the war, and to call for “conscription of wealth” (22.03:41; 22.08:141;22.09:161). As a socialist, he also expressed criticism of the Labour Party for allying itself too closely with industry (22.15:281).
  • One key issue in the commentary surrounding the war is the need for a rearticulation of war aims. Orage calls for this around the time of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, asking “What is the war about?” and “Have not the peoples everywhere had enough of war?” This list of questions is the culmination of months of demanding a statement of purpose and a clear vision of the postwar world (22.18:341).
  • The question of the postwar world, and of the nature of the peace, is one which preoccupies The New Age. It is the position of the magazine that the democratization of Germany, rather than its total annihilation, is a necessary condition for peace (22.07:121; 22.10:181; 22.12:221).
  • The New Age expresses support for the American entry into the war and for Wilson's Fourteen Points. Orage writes in “Notes of the Week,”
    “It is to the American solution that we must come if the complete objects of the war are to be accomplished. For what are the alternatives before us? Either we must endorse President Wilson's most recent and unequivocal declaration of war-aims and therewith range ourselves on the side of the world democracy of the future; or we must be prepared to institute proceedings for a peace by negotiation with the existing Prussian dynasty”(22.07:121)
    .
  • However, the magazine also takes an anti-League of Nations stance. At first, Orage was against the League because its aims and functions were never clearly defined (22.13:241). Later, however, the journal criticized it because it was against the idea of a “super-national authority.” As J. M. Kennedy writes (as Leighton Warnock),
    “We do not want a League”(22.18:346)
    .
  • The New Age comes out firmly against the Man-Power Bill but cannot see any way around its necessity:
    “The theory of the Bill is, of course, that it will provide the nation with a means of repairing our recent losses; but a cold examination of the facts will prove that it can do nothing of the kind”(22.25:477)
    .
  • A final topic addressed in the last issues of the volume is the Lichnowsky memo. Uncovered in March 1918, it showed Germany's intentions to go to war. Orage responded to the memo in several installments of “Notes of the Week” (22.21; 22.24).
  • Cartoons by Will Dyson (see http://www.modjourn.brown.edu/Image/Dyson/Dyson.htm) in 22.12:240, 22.20:404, 22.22:444, 22.24:476, 22.25:492 offer comment on the war.

Russia

  • Attitudes towards Russia and the revolution range from cautious optimism for the Left to criticism of the Bolsheviks to sympathy over the tragedy of the Slavic people. Kennedy, as “S. Verdad”, translates and publishes the French Socialist Resolution on the revolution, which sees the event as a chance to revise war aims and as a rejection of imperialism (22.02:24).
  • Orage elucidates some parallels between the failure of the moderate leader Kerensky and the position of the Left, especially Labour, in England: “This is what comes of the policy of buying the Left”; he also compares the association between the Northcliffe press and the events that led to the fall of Asquith and the rise of the Lloyd George government to the Bolshevik coup (22.03:41).
  • In early January 1918, Orage offers hope for Russian democracy and calls for support of the revolutionary government (22.11:208); however, once the constituent assembly is abolished by the Soviets at the end of the month he comes to regard the revolution as a “catastrophe” (22.15:282).
  • Ramiro de Maeztu (see http://www.modjourn.brown.edu/bios/Maetzu.htm) offers commentary on Russia in “Tolstoy's Revolution” (22.10:186) and “Industrial Democracy and the Russian Revolution” (22.22:431)
  • Sympathy for the Russian people and an interest in their culture and literature leads to a focus on Slavic literature; pieces include Janko Lavrin's series on Dostoyevsky and an “Anthology of Slav Poetry” translated by Paul Selver (22.18:353).

Ireland

  • The Irish question, which had been tabled at the outbreak of the war, rises to the forefront again. It is the position of the magazine to find a peaceful solution to keeping Ireland in the Union. However, The New Age is harshly critical of Edward Carson, the Unionist leader who led a paramilitary force in Ulster and who struggled against the cause of Home Rule (22.01:1). It is also critical of the novelist Arnold Bennett, who traveled to Ireland and claimed he saw nothing wrong with the leadership of Castle Dublin; as Orage writes in “Notes of the Week,”
    “a distinguished novelist need have no insight into actual character”(22.03:43)
    .
  • There is an ongoing dialogue between E. A. Boyd and John Eglinton about Irish literature and nationality. This was sparked by Orage's and Boyd's reviews of Eglinton's Anglo-Irish Essays (22.01:16; 22.06:112; 22.07:131; 22.08:159; see http://www.modjourn.brown.edu/Bios/Eglinton.htm).
  • In an article entitled “New Ireland,” AE (pseudonym for George W. Russell) argues that the Irish need to come together and bury their differences in order to pursue a common good (22.10:187).
  • As the war continues, Irish support for Germany becomes a concern (22.21:406). The Man-Power Bill sparks rebellion in Ireland, and criticism in The New Age:
    “What every other measure has failed to do, the proposal to apply conscription to Ireland has miraculously brought about in a single week. Home Rule is now a spiritual fact”(22.26:494)
    .

Women's Suffrage

  • The New Age is highly critical of women's suffrage. A satire of the Women's Party by Fred Kay entitled “Cui Bono?” appears in 22.05:88.
  • The war transformed the role of women in society, and men who supported these changes were not exempt from criticism, as one can see from A. E. Randall's piece in “Views and Reviews,”“The Feminism of Men”:
    “Male feminists have elevated women to a position of irresponsible superiority”(22.12:236)
    .
  • The Women's Party held many of the same philosophies of other socialist thinkers writing for The New Age, yet Orage found the presence of women on the political scene to be unnecessary:
    “We are quite as much opposed to pro-Prussianism and to Bolshevism as the Women's Party can be […]. But we were not aware that these propagandas needed a whole new party to counteract them, or that it is the “primary duty” of the newly emancipated women of England”(22.22:425)
    .

Literature and the Arts

Literary Criticism

  • Despite The New Age's importance to modernist studies, there are many moments where it offers critique of the modernist project, including that put forth by its own writers. For example, in “Readers and Writers,” Orage writing as R. H. C. criticizes Pound's translation of Fontenelle in The Egoist, saying it is dull and unreadable (22.02:31).
  • Orage does also reject much of Georgian writing. In a review of An Annual of New Poetry, he writes,
    “Style! Style! There seems to be a conspiracy against it nowadays”(22.04:76)
    ; notably, Robert Frost is one of the poets he is criticizing in this review. As noted above, The New Age also publishes in this volume a series of parodies of contemporary authors, “An Anthology of Modern Prose.”
  • Another notable modernist, or perhaps proto-modernist author, Joseph Conrad, suffers at the hands of Orage in a review of Lord Jim (22.10:196).
  • Paul Selver has an extensive review in 22.06:115-16 of contemporary verse.
  • In a February 1918 “Readers and Writers,” Orage writes extensively on The Little Review, in which Pound and Wyndham Lewis have pieces. He is not especially enthusiastic about this modernist project, writing, “The aim of the 'Little Review' […] is to publish articles, stories, verses and drawings of pure art - whatever that may be. It is not demanded of them that they shall be true — or false; that they shall have a meaning — single or double; that they shall be concerned with life — or fancy. Nothing, in fact, is asked of them but that they shall be art, just art.” He also notes that among the issues he is considering, one, containing a story by Lewis, was seized by the New York Postal Censor; on this, he writes,
    “I have no fancy for defending Mr. Lewis' story. It interests me, but I do not want it to interest my neighbors”(22.17:332-33)
    .

Drama and Art

  • A. E. Randall, writing as John Francis Hope, and Orage have a dialogue about the relationship between cinema and drama. Orage points out that cinema is not really a reproduction of theater, and that it has its own aesthetic qualities and categories; Hope argues that theater is more powerful in that it permits a wider range of human and artistic expression (22.03:52; 22.04:71).
  • In a series of articles, Hope considers the state of contemporary theater. He notes that while industrialism and commercialism have affected drama, a main reason that no good plays are being produced is that no one is writing any (22.17:330; 22.18:352). He also looks at “experimental” theater produced by the Stage Society, and discusses the problem of producing interesting foreign drama when there is nothing worthwhile to produce in one's own country (22.21:416).
  • Pound, writing as B. H. Dias, offers scathing criticism of what he sees as the corruption and decay of much contemporary British art. He does appreciate an exhibit at the Grafton of Degas, Whistler, and Sargent (22.08:152), but criticizes harshly an exhibit of the London Group (22.04:74) and a pastel exhibit, writing of the pastels:
    “Without being litigious we may say at once that most of the exhibits at the present exposure of the Pastel Society already show signs of decay, or at least of mortality and corruption, and that the sooner the process completes itself the better for all concerned”(22.06:310)
    . He also notes that some art that once might have been considered modern, “startling,” is now mainstream; about an exhibit at the Alpine Club Gallery, including artists like Paul Nash and Mark Gertler, Pound writes that they must not be thought of as “a dangerous revolution,” and that they are “hidebound by their schools and influences” (22.26:504). Readers may wish to consult the Image Index for further information on the artists discussed in Pound's criticism (see http://www.modjourn.brown.edu/Image/imageidx.html).
  • “Anrep” writes a satire of contemporary English art in “Beauty and the Beast” (22.14:267); the piece criticizes the gentility, tastefulness, and lack of imagination in art of the time. These criticisms echo much of Pound's writing on art for the magazine, and reflect a certain tendency towards an appreciation of the modernist project.

Works Consulted

  • Ardis, Ann. Modernism and Cultural Conflict, 1880-1922. New York: Cambridge UP, 2002. See http://www.modjourn.brown.edu/mjp/Ardis/Ardis.htm
  • Daniel, Clifton, ed. 20th Century Day by Day. New York: Dorling Kindersley, 2000.
  • www.firstworldwar.com
  • Martin, Wallace. The New Age Under Orage: Chapters in English Cultural History. Manchester: Manchester UP, 1967. See http://www.modjourn.brown.edu/Martin/martin.htm
  • Michie, R. C.“The City of London and British Banking.”Companion to Early Twentieth-Century Britain. Chris Wrigley, ed. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2003. 249-269.
  • Ramsden, John, ed. The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century British Politics. New York: Oxford UP, 2002.
  • Taylor, Gary. Orage and The New Age. Sheffield: Sheffield Hallam UP, 2000.