by Cotsell, Michael
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By the end of World War I, three quarters of a million British men had died; vast numbers more had been injured many seriously. Britain owed an enormous war debt to the United States and five million servicemen had somehow to be returned to civilian life. Three years later Edwin Muir, writing as Edward Moore in this volume of The New Age, reflected on the national mood on Armistice Day:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
”Laurence, Binyon, “For the Fallen”, 1914
Rather, the period covered by Volume 28 of The New Age (November 1920–April 1921) can be perceived as one when post-war elation and confidence died and thus the trauma of the war broke through anew as the defining condition of the modern. The peace had provided no economic solutions. As A. J. P. Taylor writes, “The post-war boom broke in the winter of 1920-1.” (Compare 28.01:2.) There was no going back and no clear way forward. Despite Lloyd George's brave words about building “a land fit for heroes”, his coalition government of 1918 “had no master plan” beyond to get money out of Germany and somehow re-dominate world trade. But, as The New Age had tirelessly predicted, “The world market,” on which Britain had counted, “turned out to be a phantom.” (Taylor, 145; compare 28:17). Interest rates climbed. Unemployment was on its way to the July 1921 peak of 2,508,000.
Further, it had become more and more obvious that this was only a period entre deux guerres: between two wars. J. M. Keynes, with Lloyd George's quiet encouragement, had pointed to the disasters inherent in forcing reparation on a reluctant and resentful Germany in his famous The Economic Consequences of the Peace ( 1919 ).
Bin gar keine Russin, stamm' aus Litauen, echt deutsch-to quote from “The Waste Land” (Part 1) which Eliot was composing at this time. Orage, who praised Spengler's Decline of the West (273), wrote
The World in 1920-1921
- In the United States Presidential Election, Republican Warren. G. Harding elected.
- American Socialist candidate Eugene Debs receives (while in prison) nearly one million votes.
- In the Russian Civil War, the Red Army takes Sebastapol. End of Russian Civil War with victory to the Communists.
- British Parliament passes Emergency Powers Bill as miners walk out.
- Turkish attack on Armenia.
- Ireland: martial law imposed on Cork.
- Brussels conference on German reparation.
- British Parliament passes Government of Ireland Act. Southern Ireland (26 counties) and Northern Ireland (Protestant majority, six counties, Unionist party) each to have its own parliament.
- French Communist Party founded, but socialists split off.
- Greek-Turkish war begins with Greek attack on Anatolia.
- Italian Communist party formed; socialists split off.
- Paris Conference of wartime Allies on German reparation.
- Red Army invades Georgia.
- Sir James Craig elected leader of Northern Ireland's Ulster Unionists in succession to Sir Edward Carson.
- Guerilla war in Ireland.
- Jan Smuts wins South African Election, a crucial step in the emerging British Commonwealth.
- Government of India Act of 1919 leads to opening of Indian central parliament.
- In Britain, Winston Churchill appointed colonial secretary.
- Recall of United States representative from Reparations Commission.
- In Italy, riots between Communists and Fascists.
- Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania elected to the League of Nations.
- British Commonwealth of Nations founded.
- Harding inaugurated.
- Ulster Unionists vote to accept partition of Ireland.
- French troops occupy Dusseldorf and other towns in Ruhr because of Germany's failure to make preliminary reparations payment.
- Britain resumes commercial relations with Germany.
- Treaty of Riga between Russia and Poland.
- Germany announces it will not be able to pay £600 million due on May 1 as reparation.
- British Reparation Recovery Act imposes 50% duty on German goods.
- At 10th Congress of Russian Communist Party, Lenin introduces New Economic Policy (NEP), restoring some private business and ownership of land.
- British Labor Party refuses to affiliate with Communist Party.
- Coal Mines returned to private ownership after war-time nationalization. New employment terms are rejected by miners.
- Black Friday, April 15th: miners locked out by owners, April 1 to July 1.
- President Harding declares US will take no part in League of Nations.
- Government of Ireland Act in force.
- Germany unsuccessfully asks USA to mediate in reparations controversy.
- Reparations Committee fixes Germany's liability at 132,000 million gold marks (£665 trillion).
- French troops mobilized for occupation of Ruhr. Allied Supreme Council warns Germany.
- One hundred twenty-four Sinn Féin candidates returned unopposed in Ireland.
Names to know
- Lloyd George (Liberal, Prime minister).
- Andrew Bonar Law, deputy Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer (Unionist).
- Stanley Baldwin (Coalition conservative), would organize the plot that brought Lloyd George down. Later three times Conservative Prime Minister.
- John Robert Clynes, trade unionist and politician. Elected party chairman of the Labor Party in 1921.
- Sir Robert Stevenson Horne, Conservative MP, 1918; subsequently Minister of Labor; opened the National Industrial Conference of 1919; promoted Unemployment Insurance Act of 1920; President of the Board of Trade in March 120; Chancellor of the Exchequer in April 1921; engaged with the coal strike.
- Frank Hodges, Labour leader and politician. Miner's Secretary.
- Arthur Henderson, trade unionist, at the hub of the party with Ramsay MacDonald. Opposed communism in the Labor Party.
- Ramsay MacDonald, leader of the Labor Party, elected prime minister in 1923.
- Herbert Smith. Miner's President.
Politics in 1920-1
The election of 1918 had been fought around the personality and leadership of Lloyd George. His Coalition Government consisted of 484 coalition seats, 338 of them Unionists or Conservatives; 136 Liberals; 10 Labor or other (The Opposition was made up of Labor, 59 members, Asquith Liberals 26) Lloyd George was thus in a minority in the government he led. Even the conservative Stanley Baldwin, surveying the backbenchers of 1918, saw a House of Commons that seemed made up of
Lloyd George's government of 1918-22 did, however, make some real domestic contributions, of which two stand out. An active government program led to the construction of 369,446 new houses. The Unemployment Insurance Act of 1920, extended in 1921, was a sea change in British life: for the first time impoverished and unemployed English men, women and children were freed from the cruel and humiliating system of Poor Relief that Dickens—and after him Gissing—had so powerfully portrayed.
Nevertheless, 1921 was one of the worst years ever of British employment. “The post-war boom broke up abruptly in the middle of 1920-1. Everything combined to bring disaster. Government spending had been slashed fiercely-from £2696 million in 1917-19 to little over £1000 million in 1920-1. At the same time taxation has gone up, to a peak of £1426 million in 1920-1.” Exceeding two million in June 1921, unemployment then fell again, but never went under a million between the wars. The Economist called 1921 “one of the worst years of depression since the industrial revolution.” (Taylor,144-5). Yet 1921 also saw the formation of the Anti-Waste League in the conservative heartlands of the South East, a movement that led to appointment of an independent committee under Sir Eric Geddes, which in due course was to slash government expenditure. It is useful to remember, however, especially in relation to The New Age, that no one had any solutions yet:
With the coal mines still under government control, the coal miners struck in October 1920. Lloyd George appeared to concede but used the occasion to pass the flagrantly oppressive Emergency Powers Act. Coal mines, against the wishes of the miners, were returned to the private sector in 1921. The frustrated Miner's leader, Herbert Smith, was eager to “Get on ta t'field,” though Frank Hodges attempted to negotiate. Lloyd George, however, contrived to persuade the Rail and Transport unions to call off coming out in support of the miners a few hours before the strike was to begin on Friday, 15 April 1921. “Black Friday became a date of shame in the Labour movement,” Taylor notes. The miners were locked out on April 1921. They held on till 1 July.
An independent Irish parliament had been set up by Sinn Féin in 1918. Eamon De Valera was its elected president. The idea was to ignore Britain's lingering presence. But the radicals, under Michael Collins, had other plans and formed the Irish Republican Army (the IRA). Arms and explosives were not hard to be found in the Europe of those years. Thus began the “Troubles”. Ironically, the IRA, called rebels, sought to maintain an existing de facto Republic. A guerilla war was waged by men in trench coats against an armed Royal Irish Constabulary. In 1920, the British Government sent in reinforcements (in theory new recruits to the RIC) whose brutality became notorious: “these were the infamous Black and Tans.” It was a senseless policy. “Things are being done in Ireland which would disgrace the blackest annals of the lowest despotism in Europe,” Chamberlain remarked. “The British government was conducting this policy of murder and terrorism from sheer obstinacy.”(Taylor, 155)
To look ahead, Lloyd George then devised a Government of Ireland Act which proved to be a vehicle of callous betrayal. A parliament was set up in the Protestant and Unionist North in June 21. De Valera signed a truce on 8 July. There was now wrangling over whether Ireland would be a Republic or a Dominion, so reluctant were the British to concede at the time that the British Commonwealth was under construction. Finally a treaty was signed on 16 December 1921. Lloyd George had led the Republican leaders to believe that the commission to draw the boundaries of the North would create a small, economically unviable unit that would inevitably concede its identity as part of Ireland. Instead, “Ulster” was enlarged, so that many Catholics found themselves subject to a still more corrupt and prejudiced masters that the British: undiluted Unionism. One result was the splitting of Republicans in the Free State, leading to the terrible Irish Civil War. (Taylor, 154-8). Another was that Ulster MPs at Westminster provided a rump of maniac conservatism in British politics for many years. A final result was the “Terror” of recent years.
On the larger international scene, however, Lloyd George was one of the “most powerful men in the world” and it is estimated that he spent some fifty percent of his time on diplomacy. He has been blamed for his role in the settlement that helped bring about World War II. But almost everyone in Britain thought the Germans had to pay (if only so that Britain could pay the US). (Packer, 64-5, 67) Lloyd George's own instincts, like those of The New Age, were for conciliation with Russia and Germany (Taylor, 131). The Allied Reparation Committee started work in January 24, 1920. The United States withdrew on Feb 1, thereby both abandoning all responsibility for moderation and signaling that its own claims (on Britain) would remain immoderate (as they did). On March 8, French troops hurried the process on by reoccupying Duseldorf. Germany protested the payments. The Reparation Committee fined Germany. Protests and threats continued. Lloyd George, though he agreed to the final demand of £6600 million, Britain to receive 22% of the total, was flexible about Germany's borders. Perhaps nothing could have stopped a second War, since Germany did not believe it had been defeated (for an alternative view, see Anthony Lentin, Lloyd George and the Lost Peace: From Versailles to Hitler, 1919-1940London: Palgrave, 1991 ), but America's actions ensured its occurrence.
“Life” and the Arts in 1920-21
The popularity of the Frenchman Emil Coué's lectures on suggestion and auto-suggestion demonstrates that, as in the United States, an eclectic mixture of psychodynamics (or, as it was widely called, after Freud, “psychoanalysis”) and spiritism throve in the post-war: everyone peered into the depths of the Tarot Cards, as it were. Coué, however, was quite reasonable: “Remember I cure no-one,” he declared, “I teach you to cure yourselves.”(Montgomery, 60)
The motor car was the symbol of the age. The radio or “wireless” craze of 1921 lead to regular broadcasting by the BBC in 1922. In 1921, 20 million people went to the cinema each week. Popular films in 1921 included The Three Musketeers and The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse; popular songs, “The Twelfth Street Rag,”“Look for the Silver Lining,”“Dancing Time;” among popular plays were Ambrose Applejohn's Adventure and Bulldog Drummond.
Best-selling authors included Ethel M. Dell,
The New Age in large part fed off the mass journalism of the age it could not respect. Newspapers with which The New Age contested include the Daily Mail (proprietor: Harold Harmsworth, later Lord Northcliffe), mass-market and anti-German, and habitually referred to with disdain; the Daily Express (proprietor: Max Aitken, later Lord Beaverbrook); the Daily News (Quaker Cadbury family, liberal); the socialist Daily Herald; the Sunday Times, Financial Times, and Daily Graphic (proprietors:William and Gomer Berry, later Lords Camrose and Kemsley); The Times (proprietor: J.J. Astor, later Lord Astor); The Manchester Guardian, liberal; and The Morning Post (set up to support the government). As will be obvious, a newspaper magnate was almost guaranteed a place in the peerage.
The magazines are described by Orage. The Spectator“expresses the predominant mood of the English country gentleman”; The Nation“expresses the English “gentleman” of the new plutocracy”; the Saturday Review and Outlook are noisier versions of the first two. “My conclusion is that the New Statesman can go on lasting as long as it likes.” The New Witness is simply a vehicle for Belloc and Chesterton. Late in the volume Orage praises the magazine Quest and The Dial (28:248, 259, 296, 307)
The New Age, Volume 28
The Magazine itself
Volume 28 consists of 26 numbers each of only 12 pages, priced at 7p. The fifth number (December 2, 1920) was the first to give the final page over to press cuttings.
A. C. Orage, editor. (Pseudonyms: R.H. C; M. M. Cosmoi, etc)
Orage wrote a great deal of this volume. He also ensured that other writers pursued his leading (or fixed) ideas. All his contributors and contemporaries speak of his charisma, his effect on them personally (which often became an important personal need) and on their writing, the late night sessions of discussion, etc. Yet Orage was himself in an unhappy personal relationship at this time (Mairet, xiii) and on the verge of throwing in The New Age and joining Gurdjieff.
As an instance of his editorship, the focus on psychoanalysis—a mixture of Jung and Slavic mysticism—in this volume, followed on Orage bringing together both a group of Jungian psychoanalysts (including J. M. Alcock, James Young—who contributes one article to this volume—and Maurice Nicoll, who, at the moment that Jung offered him the leadership of the British Jungian Movement, met with Ouspensky and, even before Orage, chose Gurdjieff) (Psychological Commentaries on the Teachings of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky, 5 Vols, 1949-52). At the same time The New Age became something like a magnet for exiled Slav intellectuals (Paul Selver's influence was important in this respect). Thus, as part of “M. M. Cosmoi”, Orage, writing with the eccentric Slavic mystic Dmitri Mitrinovic, blended Jungian and Slavic mysticisms with his own long-standing interests in Theosophy, the Bhagavad Ghita, and Nietzsche. Other regular contributors provided supporting psychological material (Alcock and Randall especially) and, as “RHC”, Orage linked his political and economic commentaries to the flow of Jungian psychoanalysis and mysticism. Whilst Orage let some contributors alone (notably Pound), contributions often appear to reveal additions by him.
There was a similar construction of related contributions in respect of Orage's other idée fixe, Major Douglas's economic panacea. The idea of National Guilds also continued to be represented.
Edwin Muir (pseudonyms: Filioque, E.M., Edward Moore)
Born on the Orkney mainland, Muir found his early beliefs in socialism and Nietzsche. Married in 1919 to his co-translator Willa, he went to London and found employ as Orage's assistant. In this volume, Muir wrote the column “Our Generation” and reviewed poetry. Muir's excited state of mind at this time under therapy with Jungian psychoanalyst Maurice Nicholl is described in his Autobiography (156-181) and in P. H. Butter, Edwin Muir: Man and Poet (68-70). In the latter part of the volume, beginning with the hapless Dean Inge, Muir focused on the spiritual limitations of the present-day Church of England in ways that are reminiscent of early Eliot. Muir later sought to distance himself from this “early journalism of his” (Butter, 73) but his own later poetry, like Eliot's, points to the poetic need for this assault on deadened symbolism and unaspiring vision. Buoyed by an income from journalistic success in the US, the Muirs left for Europe in the summer of 1921.
A. E. Randall (Pseudonyms: “John Francis Hope”, drama critic; “A. E. R.”: psychological subjects)
Randall struck Selver as
Pound reviewed music under the pseudonym “William Atheling”. As himself, Pound took his farewell of the New Age with his “Axiomata.”
J. A. M. Alcock
Alcock was a Jungian psychoanalyst, who had published a volume of verse in 1920, but about whom not much more is currently known. Alcock was the go-to guy who reviewed substantial, challenging new works of psycho-dynamics (e.g. 28:20, 69, 105, 152). The same role was played in one review by Dr. Andrew Young, also a Jungian analyst (28:295).
R. A. Stephens
The sensitive and intelligent art critic.
The New Age in 1920-1921
That the 1920-1921 period itself had an apocalyptic aspect is clear, and it is the apocalyptical mode that underpins Volume 28 of The New Age. Orage repeatedly refers to Macaulay's New Zealander (e.g., 28:265), a colonial returned to view the ruins of London as Victorian Englishmen viewed the ruins of Rome. The subject had been splendidly rendered by the Victorian artist Gustave Doré. Thus, for all its resistance to Modernism, The New Age itself at this time has elements in common with a contemporary modernist work like T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land, which was under composition at this time. Indeed many of the aspects of Eliot's great poem (which was shaped by New Age contributor, Ezra Pound) are paralleled in its pages: the sense of living a ghostly life among the dead and living dead (Edwin Muir:
Thus what makes The New Age in this volume interesting is exactly what makes it strange, eccentric, obsessive, even a little insane, and also itself a modernist text. It represents the attempt to take on the failure of civilization (evidenced in economics, politics, the decline of cultural values) through the deep exploration and recreation of the self and nations within a framework of newly-defined faith. The young Edwin Muir's commentaries (“Our Generation”), for instance, are often merely prim, but there is nevertheless about them a deep personal sincerity (even a kind of Christianity). This is even more true of the more mature Orage, who, despite his deep divisions, had the character that the age's great political man, Lloyd George, exactly lacked. The New Age had thus come along way from its Edwardian heyday (Chesterton is criticized for his shallow paradoxes (28:77); Belloc, for the patent inadequacy of his Catholic solution (28:224); Shaw, who was in descent from Heartbreak House ( 1920 ) to Back To Methusaleh ( 1922 ) contributes one silly article, 28:128-9; Arnold Bennett is a mere money-man 28:185).
In terms of international relations (often rendered as race relations in this volume) The New Age was, despite the war, and acknowledging that Germany had gone wrong, largely sympathetic to the defeated nation. It was also pro-Slavic (though of course anti-Bolshevik), indeed it provided a major outlet for Slavic writers. It is, of course, staunchly pro-British, but is ambiguous about the British Empire. It respected the great civilizations of China and India but believed in the leading destiny of Aryan Man (for that concept see below). On the other hand, the magazine is dismissive of the French and Italians and of things Latin and Mediterranean generally. And though it usually (though not always) sees Americans as part of the Aryan brotherhood, it is quite surprisingly anti-American. This proves to be one of the most interesting elements in the volume.
Thus—to employ the racial categories, which are used sweepingly in this volume—The New Age was now a blend of eccentric English economics; high-quality political and social commentary and literary criticism; and Teutonic psychoanalysis and Slavic metaphysics. The leading exception is the major contribution to the volume made by the work of the Frenchman Denis Saurat, but it is really no exception at all. Saurat, who shared much of the mysticism of the Orage circle, had himself encountered P. D. Ouspensky.
The particular circumstances that melded these elements were the fact and threat of massive unemployment, with the ever-present Communist model, and the belief that current economic arrangements and beliefs would inevitably lead to further war (e.g., Janko Lavrin, “The Next War,”28:8-9). Thanks to American withdrawal, the League of Nations was a
It is important to see the elements of good sense in George's ideas. There is certainly a point in the admonition that Labour along with Capital sought the conditions of war (world export and competition) without even knowing it. An article by Ida G. Hyett, “Exploitation and the Socialist Tradition,” thrusts right to the heart of the Labour argument (28:55-7). Again, the repeated observation that Labour was opposed to the consumer and did not see its own identity as consumer (28:15) is to the point. George believed that the redistribution of income would provide the market for manufacture, therefore reducing international competition. The idea of funding a domestic consuming class clearly has something in common with the Keynsian solution that was not yet available. Finally, the Guild idea looked forward to a time of great integration of shared interest of workers and management in company profit (28:82). George believed that the redistribution of income would provide the market for manufacture, therefore reducing international competition. Versions of such ideas remain active today, as the alternatives or balances to rampant global capitalism
George's system did, however, have “a beast in view”: financiers (51), bankers, (eg. 28:38, 51), those who represented what Pound (who, tragically, never escaped this particular idée fixe) would call “Usura” (Canto 45). And herein lay the deepest flaw of The New Age: Paul Selver writes of Major Douglas:
The reference to W. E. B. Du Bois, the great African-American thinker, who had represented Pan-Africanism at Versailles and was to organize four Pan-African Conferences between 1919 and 1927, reveals how the white Victorian order (not to speak of its Aryan supermen!) felt itself collapsed into shame and rage by the War and its consequences.
Major themes and topics in Volume 28
Communism and The Labour Party
Orage was blind to the role that Labor would play in the kinds of developments George recommended. As A.J.P. Taylor rightly remarks,
At the beginning of this volume we see The New Age, which did not believe in the efficacy of strikes nor the goal of nationalization, reacting to the failure of the three weeks miner's strike following on privatization. The New Age singles out for praise the Miner's Secretary, Frank Hodges who seems to lean towards ideas of Credit. This brief strike was
The long leader that opens number 25 of this volume deals, with deep sobriety, with the betrayal of the miner's strike. Something like a tragic pall hangs over this issue. At such moments there is no doubt where Orage's sympathies lie, and that he regards Lloyd George as something less than a Christian. To this, Cosmoi, having discussed the English failure, adds, “to Russia it was given to open the gates to the Socialism of Humanity, to the Communism of the world”:
Those superior minds! But this language does not otherwise seem excessive.
The New Age does not follow the Irish crisis closely, other than to remark with disgust on British atrocities (28:14, 226-7). There is no doubt that British behavior in Ireland contributed to Cosmoi's concept of “Albion”. A weak attempt is made to explain the Irish situation in terms of credit.
Germanism and German Reparations
Whilst the Daily Mail thought that Germany was shamming dead,
War with America
Edwin Muir complained that American movies offered
Whether such an idea underlay The New Age's campaign against America or not is unclear. The overt argument was plain enough. Again and the again The New Age warned that war with the United States was not impossible but even likely. Sanders Glenesk's “The Coming War”(28:8-9) points to America in every detail. America is the leader in the international competition that inevitably leads to war (28:8, 27, 38, 111)
Thus—at first sight oddly—to the New Age the most significant event in the period covered by this volume was the election of Warren G. Harding as President.
America meant to play a dominating but isolationist role. After Wilson had balkanized Europe, America withdrew from any part in the League of Nations and from the Reparation Commission. The latter meant that there would be neither checks on France or forgiveness of the British debt to America which would have enabled forgiveness of the German “debt” to Britain. Compare this with the Marshall Program after World War II.
Orage and his colleagues deeply believed that the international competition they believed had caused World War I (which is not the present assessment) was expressed in the struggle for naval supremacy. Harding made his intentions clear:
Particularly, the New Age identified the big issue of the century: command of the world's oil fields (both British and American navies had gone over to oil before World War I, Britain through the influence of Winston Churchill). Of course the struggles of the miners must be seen in this light:
A final comment is provided by C. E. Bechhofer in “A Letter from America”(28:304-5). The graft of American Life (this is written during prohibition) is “essentially a reaction against the prevailing Puritanism and hypocrisy.” The American obsession with psychology is “an attempt to pierce through the plaster mask of ennui that covers the face of the people. Every decent person in the country is living a double life-mentally.” As for international relations: “America hates the war, hates England, hates Europe as a whole.…The whole country is in a psychological state. Its nerves are all a-quiver-I suppose they have been so for the past fifty years but the condition is exaggerated to-day.”
Thus, Cosmoi. Bolshevism was driving Holy Russia (could it even be said, Rasputin's Russia?) westward. Due to Orage's connection with Ouspensky and Paul Selver's translations of Czech and Slav poetry, a remarkable group of East European intellectuals gathered around and contributed to The New Age. Among them were Slovene Janko Lavrin, a poet and critic, “brisk, shrewd and practical,” who narrated “hairbreadth escapes in the Caucasus”(Selver, 60). Lavrin was at this time a psycho-critic, as in his Modern Consciousness: A Psycho-Critical Study(28:61) and a brilliant literary critic and scholar, whose Dostoevsky and his Creation was appreciatively reviewed by Alcock. Among his subsequent books were Pushkin and Russian Literature ( 1947 ) and Dostoevesky: a Study ( 1947 ). He was a Professor of Slavic Languages at the University of Nottingham, where his papers are held in the Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections. Others included Nicolas Velimirovic, an Orthodox Priest; Sanders Glenesk; Dikan Koujyoumdjian, a man of “Levantine” appearance, who made his fortune as “Michael Arlan” the author of the best-seller The Green Hat and, of course, Dmitri Mitrinovic.
At first sight, Paul Selver was reminded by Mitrinovic of “Dr Nikola, as pictured in the Windsor Magazine,” that is, as an east-European semi-criminal mastermind. Others were also less than impressed: the Muirs for instance. Nevertheless, Selver introduced Mitrinovic to Orage, one result of which was the “World Affairs” column by “M. M. Cosmoi”. Orage's version of the “Creed” underlying this column in particular and The New Age in general is provided by a “correspondent” at 28:202.
Finally, C. E. Bechofer makes one of the most fascinating contributions to this volume in his short sketch “In Anti-Bolshevik Russia”, which gives a brief glimpse of Ouspensky hiding out in a barn in the snowy wilds of Russia on his way west (28.10:113). The often-peevish Selver was not impressed by Ouspensky:
The New Age had long taken psychoanalysis seriously. But the emphasis gradually shifted from Freud to Jung. M. C. Eder, who was close to Freud, the major early psychoanalytic voice in The New Age, was both a Zionist and a Freudian. Though he appears to have attended Orage's Jungian circle, he had ceased to contribute to The New Age after Volume 19. The emphasis had cleared shifted from Freud to Jung. Indeed, at the beginning of this volume J. A. M. Alcock provides a summary of the case against Freud and the case for Jung (28:69, 105). Unfortunately, there was something of throwing the baby out with the bath water here: out with the obvious inadequacies of Freud went the examination of personal psychodynamics altogether (including the work of Pierre Janet and his colleagues on trauma, even though it had largely been validated by the treatment of “shell shock”).
What increasingly engaged the The New Age, then, was not personal analysis but Jung's idea of a collective unconscious in which “archetypal forces,” often personified, and sweeping notions of collective racial identities were both to be found (for Jung's development of these ideas, see Ronald Hayman, A Life of Jung, 169, 174-5, 178-9, 186, 218-19, 228-9). Richard Noll, in his important book The Jung Cult ( 1996 ), has followed the origins of what he calls “a Charismatic Movement.” To read his book alongside The New Age, and particularly the writings of “Cosmoi,” is to be immediately aware of striking similarities. To begin with, Jung was deeply influenced by the idea of Aryan Man that had developed out of Max Müller and others. This figure is, of course, Cosmoi's leading protagonist. Cosmoi's whole work also draws on Ernst Haeckel's argument that “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny” (
Noll demonstrates that Jungianism has always had an outer circle of something like ordinary therapy and an inner cult of initiates into the inflation of the human divine: masters of Power as Selver puts it. It is as much of a cult as the Gurdjieff movement. Robert Assiogoli, a contributor to The New Age (6.538), the founder of the Psychosynthesis movement, had outlined his ideas as early as 1910-11. Psychosynthesis and Jung have always felt compatible, and psychosynthesis continues to play both a respectable part in popular British and American therapy alongside cultish and spiritist elements.
It also needs to be added that there is that nothing like Cosmoi in Ouspensky's seminal Tertium Organum ( 1912 ). There are easily discerned flaws in Ouspensky's philosophical argument, but his mode is never anything but rational. He introduces no mythical material. In fact, his exposition of the modern mysticism or elevated mental state of the third order depends very heavily on the writings of William James, particularly The Varieties of Religious Experience, “whose psychological vision and pragmatic philosophy have more than once been my guides. It was his comprehensive mind which made me realize that the horizons of human psychology widened into the immeasurable”(“Psychological Factors Determining Human Behavior” in Factors Determining Human Behavior, 1937 ). Nor had Gurdjieff developed a mythology yet. What Ouspensky and Gurdjieff, like Assagioli, did have was a relatively sane (compared to Jung) sense of the fact that the modern self was fractured or dissociated. This self division was assumed, however, as a general condition, rather than examined as a personal and historical pathology as it had been by Janet. The goal was always not to recover normalcy but to arrive at a higher self: thus the proposed cure facilitated the continuation of the old idée fixe.
From Empire to World Order
His anti-Semitism aside, Cosmoi's racial arguments are of some interest. “Europe,” he argued, “has “given” itself to the world in every possible sense: evil and good” (28:202). Cosmoi mistrusted European expansion. China is
Yet “the need of the World” had hitherto been
From Orage's side, “Cosmoi” was a vision of regaining British (or Aryan, and thus also German) world ascendancy at the time of the beginning of its end. It is clear from the context of this volume that the British Commonwealth represented something like Orage's idea: an attempt to make Empire high-minded (as Cosmoi recommended) was at the same time a way of consolidating Britain as a world power in the face of Communist Russia and US aggrandizement. Even little Ireland had to be made a dominion.
Saurat was born in 1890. He became an Anglo-French scholar and was associated with the Department of French at King's College London from 1920-50. His scholarly works, which include Literature and the Occult Tradition (a study of Spenser from the aspect of Madame Blavatsky and the Cabala); Death and the Dreamer; Milton and Materialism; Milton: Man and Thinker, Gods of the People (a study of Spenser and Blake), The Life of William Blake and Blake and Milton (1922) repeatedly relate the philosophical poets to the supposed gods of the people. In this volume Orage took an interest in Sauarat's comparison of Milton and Blake. Orage thought Milton stood for reason, which he also thought he preferred. A correspondence sprang up and in the December 16 number Orage introduced Saurat's Principia Metaphysica, arguing that its interest lay in the fact that
Literary Figures and Issues in The New Age, Volume 28
Modernism or not Modernism
This volume confirms Ann Ardis's argument that The New Age was deeply ambiguous about Modernism. The Edwardians might be irrelevant; the Georgians, like Housman, of no great significance (“Mr. Housman is most happy when he is most minor”), though Orage would make a case for the flat lines of village poet Bernard Gilbert (28:103, excerpts 107-8)). At the same time Italian Modernism both in poetry and painting (28:6), Futurism, Marinetti, and D'Annunzio all come under fire as did the magazine La Connaissance (28:223) A full-page satire on modernist folly appears under the heading “Intuitism” (28:24). Orage likes to quote Browning and to Randall likes to refer to the wit of Disraeli. Orage roundly repudiates Edmund Gosse's liberal criticism of Carlyle (28.03:30-1) and hankers after a new Don Quixote, Swift (28:116) or Juvenal (28:211).
The New Age does, however, remark on major British modernists and other significant writers:
Lawrence and Sex
“D. H. Lawrence…our greatest living novelist?” a correspondent asks; “Apparently sex-obsesion is an indispensible qualification for this high position” (28:43).
Lawrence published Women in Love in 1920 . He was attacked for his sex obsession and primitivism. The Lawrences had unsuccessfully attempted intimate relations with John Middleton Murray and Katherine Mansfield. Mansfield, who was deeply attached to Orage, and who had published in The New Age, of course, died at Gurdjieff's Fontainebleu in 1923. The Lawrences had left for America in 1919. Muir mocks Lawrence for his assertion that the soul of America is Montezuma (28:114).
Recognition of Joyce's Ulysses
Orage's recognition of Ulysses in this volume reminds us that with the exception of Finnegan's Wake, all of Joyce's work was completed before the “Troubles” and the Irish Civil War. Joyce has used what Eliot called “the mythic method” in a coherent, classical way that carried none of Jung's inflation and at the same time had made his archetypal hero into an Irish Jew. Orage at once recognized Joyce's achievement. Joyce had developed “a theory of harmonics in English” which communicates “a complex of qualities or ideas simultaneously instead of successively” thereby creating “a new and complex knowledge of self” (28:296, 306-7). When Ulysses was censored in the US, Orage quotes Pound's remark that the country should be renamed the YMCA: all about purity for young men. Orage adds that
Visibility of Mr. Eliot
Eliot's The Sacred Wood was published in 1920. His literary criticism in the Dial catches Orage's attention towards the end of this volume (28: 259). In one of his nicest pieces of criticism, Orage spots both the outstanding insight and judgment and the hauteur.
E. P. : L'Election de son Sepulchure
Selver thought Pound “a fish in the wrong kind of water” at The New Age(Selver, 36-45). Pound, on the other hand, was grateful for his “weekly guinea.” Orage had published Pound's indirect critique of British Imperialism, “Homage to Sextus Propertius” ( 1916 ) and his satirical account of the British literary scene, “Hugh Selwyn Mauberley” ( 1920 ) though he also included highly critical reviews of Pound. Pound's poems had employed the persona of the minor bohemian that Selver seems to have taken him for. At any rate, by January 1921 Pound had had enough. Read in context, his “Axiomata”(28:125-6) is a repudiation of the collective man of M. M. Cosmoi or Saurat: “the intimate essence of the universe is not of the same nature as our own consciousness,” he begins, and ends with “A belief is, as we have said, a cramp.” (126). Orage's reply follows immediately and exactly picks up Pound's main point. Pound's highest “expectation of consciousness,” Orage complains, is “confined to what may emerge from self- consciousness alone” (28:127). By implication, then, shallow France is the best place for him. On the other side, Pound later said that the furious and disgusted Hell Cantos (14 and 15) were about his British experience (Heymann, 37). Pound was still a Hellenist and a Mediterraneanist. But he took with him two poisoned gifts from The New Age which became idées fixes as his mental health degenerated: George's economics and the accompanying anti-semitism and the model of a universal poetico/mythical explanation. Both affected the Cantos. It could be said that with the Cantos Pound set out to write a one-man New Age, if the New Age were not itself almost a one-man work.
Pound as a Critic of Music
“William Atheling” felt that “the romanticism of Schumann, and of his contemporaries” no “longer expresses a modality of mood which is very real to us”(28: 21). Pound, notoriously, did not like the piano very much. Encountering Arthur Rubenstein, Atheling thus faced a big challenge. He puts off the task (28:4) and then plunges into an hilarious piece (28:68). He was somewhat more apologetic, though still just a little flip on his next encounter with maestro (28:92), but on their final “meeting” Pound declared Rubenstein
As an art critic, Stephens, about whom nothing else is currently known, could tell a good thing. He was impressed by the “International Exhibition of Children's Drawings”, and especially appreciative of a twelve-year-old's depiction of “Revolution”. He liked a good painting of any kind, but generally leant towards modernism (“Have they not heard of Pavlo [sic] Picasso”? 28:44), singling out for praise Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell, whose “The Mantelpiece” is praised as a
Ruth Pitter, Girl Poet
This volume includes the poems by Pitter “The Satten Cloke”(28:12); “Unregretted”(36); “I Fear the Gentlefolk Forget”(72); “Arise, Dead Beauties”(84); “I have Taken Earth”(120), “Melancholy”(132); “The Desert Lover”(144), “Villanelle”(216), “The Portrait”(224), “Too Prodigal of Pity”(264). Pitter was born in Ilford in 1897. She and her father delighted in walks from the suburbs into Hainault Forest. She showed her poetic facility early, and her work was introduced into The New Age by agreement between her father and Orage. Orage was sometimes over candid with Pitter, for instance, explaining Freud to her, an experience she later described as “traumatic”(Russell, ed., 24). She later lived with her female companion off her skills as a craftsman (painting furniture, etc.). During World War II, C. S. Lewis's religious broadcasts confirmed her in a deep and visionary Anglicanism. Hillaire Belloc paid for the publication of her first two volumes, though she herself did not reprint this material. Later she became friends with Eric Blair (George Orwell) and Lord David Cecil. Philip Larkin included four of her poems in his edition of the Oxford Book of English Verse. At the age of 57 she was awarded the Queens Gold Medal for Poetry. As Pitter was the first female recipient, the Queen presented the award herself.
- Assagioli, Roberto, Psychosynthesis (Penguin: London, 1976 )
- Butter, P. H., Edwin Muir: Man and Poet (Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1966)
- Driscoll, J. Walter, Gurdjieff: a Reading Guide (Los Altos, CA: Gurdjieff Electronic, 1999 )
- Du Bois, W. E. B., The World and Africa (New York: Kraus-Thomson, 1976)
- Hayman, Ronald, A Life of Jung (New York and London: W. W. Norton, 1999)
- Heymann, C. David, Ezra Pound: the Last Rower (New York, Citadel, 1992)
- Johnson, Paul, ed., Twentieth Century Britain: Economic, Social and Cultural Change (London and NY, Longman, 1994
- Mairet, Philip, A. R. Orage: A Memoir (New York: University Books, 1966)
- Noll, Richard, The Jung Cult: Origins of a Charismatic Community (London: Fontana, 1996)
- Milburn, Diane, The “Deutschlandbild” of A. R. Orage and the New Age Circle (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 1996)
- Montgomery, John. The Twenties: An Informal Social History (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1957)
- Muir, Edwin, Autobiography (New York: William Sloane 1954)
- --Latitudes (New York: B. W. Huebsch, 1924)
- Ouspensky, P. D., Tertium Organum (1920; New York: Alfred Knopf, 1931)
- --The Psychology of Man's Possible Evolution (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 85).
- Packer, Ian, Lloyd George (London: Macmillan, 1998)
- Pitter, Ruth, Collected Poems, introduced by Elizabeth Jennings (Enitharmon Press, Petersfield, Hampshire, 1990)
- --First Poems (London: Cecil Palmer, 1920)
- --First and Second Poems (London: Sheed & Wood, 1927; New York: Doubleday, 1930)
- Russell, Arthur, ed., Ruth Pitter: Homage to a Poet (Dufour Editions, Chester Springs, PA, 1969)
- Selver, Paul, Orage and the New Age Circle (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1959)
- Taylor, A, J. P., English History 1914-1945 (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1965)
Hope's Dramatic Reviews
[Orage kept up a Shakespeare versus Oxford debate in this volume, his main opponent having the name of J. T. Looney.] In the order in which they appear in The New Age:
- E. Temple Thurston, The Wandering Jew (New
Theater) “Mr. Temple Thurston will be trying to convert the devil next!”28:9
- M. Milne, The Romantic Age
- Macbeth at the Aldwych
- Romeo and Juliet at the Everyman
- Milestones (revival) at the Royalty Theatre
- Harold Chapin, The New Morality at the Play Actors
- A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Royal Court
- Israel Zangwill, The Melting Pot at the Everyman Theater (highly praised)
- Shaw triple bill, How He Lied to her Husband, The Dark Lady of the Sonnets, The Showing-Up of Blanco Posnet at the Everyman
- Congreve, Love for Love (Phoenix); A Bill of Divorcement, The Ninth Earl (Comedy Theater)
- Forerunners by H. O. Meredith (Stage Society); Shaw, O'Flaherty, V.C.
- Hamlet for the Actor's Benevolent Fund
- Daniel at the St. James's theater
- C. B. Cochran, “The League of Notions”
- Volpone at the Phoenix
- King Henry IV, ii at Court Theatre
- Shaw's Doctor's Dilemma (Everyman)
- C. K. Munro, Curtain (Stage Society)
Works Reviewed in this Volume of The New Age
- A .P., University Olympians or Sketches of Academic Dignitaries (Heffer, Cambridge)
- Arnold-Forster, H. O., Studies in Dreams (Allen and Unwin)
- Atlee, T. S., Man and his Buildings (Swarthmore Press)
- Baines, A. E., Studies in Electro-Physiology (Routledge)
- Barnes, A. E., Germination in its Electrical Aspect (Routledge)
- Bell, William, A Stranger in France (Daniel)
- Belloc, Hillaire, Europe and the Faith
- Belloc, Hillaire, The House of Commons and Monarchy (Allen and Unwin)
- The Blue Guide to England
- The Blue Guide to the Western Front
- Bousfield, Paul, Elements of Practical Psycho-Analysis
- Boyle, C. Nina, Out of the Frying-Pan (Allen and Unwin)
- Brereton, Cloudsley, Mystica et Lyrica (Elkin Mattews)
- Buer, M. C., Economics for Beginners (Routledge)
- Byron, F. Noel, Athenian Days (Elkin Mattews)
- Carr, Wildon, The General Principal of Relativity in its Philosophical and Practical Aspect (Macmillan)
- Casey, W. F.Haphazard (Constable's Westminster Library)
- Christie, Agatha, The Mysterious Affair at Syles (Bodley Head)
- Colbourne, Maurice, The Wicked Foremen (Daniel)
- Cole, G. D. H., Guild Socialism Restated (Bodley Head)
- Dark, Richard, The Quest of the Indies (Blackwell)
- Dawson, Conningsby, Slaves of Freedom (Constable's Westminster Library)
- Dearmer, Nancy, The Fellowship of the Picture (Nisbet)
- Eddington, A. S., Space, Time and Gravitation (Cambridge University Press)
- Flanagan, James, Wholesale Co-Operation in Scotland, 1868-1918 (Scottish Wholesale Society)
- Gould, Gerald, The Coming Revolution (Collins)
- Gould, Gerald, Lady Adela (Palmer)
- Garnet, Richard, (“A. G. Trent”)“The Soul and the Stars”
- Greenwood, Arthur, Public Ownership of the Liquor Trade (Leonard Parsons)
- Greenwood, Sir George, Shakespeare's Handwriting (Lane)
- Hamblin, R. A., Ann's First Flutter (Allen and Unwin)
- Hands Off the Schools (National Education Association)
- Horniman, B.G., Amritsar: Or, Duty to India (Fisher Unwin)
- W. Robert Hart, The Heart of a Mystic (Elkin Matthews)
- Hayworth, F. H., A Second Book of School Celebrations (P.S. Kingard Sons)
- Hazel, Gladys Maries, The House (Blackwell, Oxford)
- Hecht, John S., The Real Wealth of Nations (Harrap)
- Herald, Arthur, Essays in Motion (Swarthmore Press)
- Heatherington, H. J. W., International Labour Rules (Methuen)
- Hollander, Bernard, In Search of the Soul, and the Mechanism of Thought, Emotion and Conduct (2 Volumes, Kegan Paul)
- Housman, Laurence, The Heart of Peace, and Other Poems (Heinemann)
- The International Journal of Psycho-Analysis (first issue)
- Jameson, Storm, Modern Drama in Europe
- Johnston, Mary, Sir Mortimer (Westminster Library)
- Kilner, Walter J., The Human Atmosphere (The Aura) (Kegan Paul)
- Knipe, John, The Watch Dog of the Crown (Bodley Head)
- Kropveld, Henri, A Little Guide Through Life (Routledge)
- Lee, Vernon, Satan the Waster: A Philosophical War Drama (Bodley Head) (“Her hope has not yet become creative; it is her horror that has found expression,”28:35)
- Lockyer, Margaret, From Another Angle (Duckworth)
- Looney, J. T., Shakespeare Identified (Cecil Palmer)
- Luboff, Edouard and C. E. Raine, Bolshevik Russia (Nisbet and Co.)
- McCabe, Joseph, Spriritualism: a Popular History from 1847 (T. Fisher and Unwin)
- McDonald, Ramsay, A Policy for the Labor Party (Leonard Parsons)
- Maedu, A. E., “The Dream Problem” (Nervous and Mental Disease Publishing Co., New York)
- Mander, Jane, The Story of a New Zealand River (Bodley Head)
- Melor, William, Direct Action: the New Era (Leonard Parsons)
- Merejkowski, Dmitri, The Death of the Gods (Constable's)
- Milner, Dennis, Higher Production (Allen and Unwin)
- Money, Rev. B., Humors of a Parish, and other Quaintnesses (Bodley Head)
- Mügge, Maximilian A., The War Diaries of a Square Peg (Routledge)
- Mundy, Talbot, The Ivory Track (Constable)
- Murray, Gilbert, Satanism and the World Order (Allen and Unwin)
- The New Decameron: Second Day (Blackwood) (short stories)
- Owen, Dorothy Tudor, The Child Vision (Manchester University Press)
- Pallen, Coridé B., Crucible Island: A Romance, or Adventure, and an Experiment (Harding and More)
- Platt, William, The Joy of Education (G. Bell and Son)
- Postgate, R. W., The Workers International (Swarthmore Press)
- Poulson, Frederick, Delphi (Gyldendel)
- Ransford, W. H., That Girl March (Lane)
- Revue de Littérature Comparé (first number)
- Roberts, Morley, Warfare in the Human Body (Eveleigh Nash)
- Robertson, A. White, Studies in Electro-Pathology (Routledge)
- Russell, Bertrand, The Practice and Theory of Bolshevism (Allen and Unwin)
- Sadler, Gilbert, The Inner Meaning of the Four Gospels (Daniel)
- Saurat, Denis, Blake and Milton (Bordeaux University Press)
- Scott, J. W., Karl Marx on Value
- Sitwell, Edith, et al, Wheels 1920 (Fifth Cycle)
- Snowden, Philip, Labour and National Finance (Leonard Parsons)
- Soissons, Count de, The True Story of the Empress Eugenie (Bodley Head)
- Sparrow, W. Shaw, The Fifth Army in March, 1918 (Bodley Head)
- Stopes, Marie, Radiant Motherhood
- Tansley, A.G., The New Psychology (Allen & Unwin)
- Tawney, R. H., The Sickness of an Acquisitve Society (Allen and Unwin)
- Taylor, G. R. Stirling, Guild Politics (Cecil Palmer)
- Tchekhov, Anton, My Life, and Other Stories (Daniel)
- Thomas, J. H., When Labour Rules (Collins)
- Villiers, Brougham, England and the New Era (Fisher Unwin)
- Wadsworth, Edward, The Black Country (Ovid Press)