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Not much is known about The Dilettante, as the magazine's publisher and editor never disclosed their identity, no important works or influential authors ever appeared in its pages, and few hard copies of the magazine survive today. But we do know it’s a good example of the “ephemeral bibelots” or “freak magazines” from the 1890s that Frederick Faxon catalogued in his Bibliography of Modern Chap-Books (1903). Much as these magazines “sprang up in the most out-of-the-way spots, and died young in most cases” (4), The Dilettante began publication in Spokane, Washington in 1898 and hung on for only a few years, resulting in maybe 24 sporadic issues before disappearing for good in 1901. Unlike the next generation of little magazines, The Dilettante, like other bibelots of the day, also had no lasting impact on American literature—a fate anticipated by the journal’s name, which takes its amateur standing, diminutive size, and humble aspirations as distinguishing features. The Dilettante nonetheless remains valuable to us today for giving us a first-hand view of what literary and artistic culture was like in backwoods America at the turn of the century. Standing at a point where high art (such as it was in Spokane) and local color meet, The Dilettante made good on its intent “to publish fiction with a Northwestern setting, sketches of pioneer life and travels, criticism and book reviews” for “admirer[s] of the arts” and “bookish folk” who “prize the art of words for itself” (1.1.31, 1.1.29, 1.2.30, 1.1.30-31). The magazine is also valuable for tracking local sentiment about the U.S.'s engagement in the Spanish-American war.

The MJP’s digital edition of The Dilettante was assembled by Kyle Scheuring, a student at Loyola University Chicago, working with Mark Gaipa in an internship at the MJP during fall 2016. The Modernist Journals Project would like to thank Whitworth University Library for providing us with scans of their copy of The Dilettante. The MJP would also like to thank the Center for Textual Studies and Digital Humanities at Loyola for providing equipment and software support for our work on this edition.


The Modernist Journals Project does not own nor does it assert any copyright in the contents of this object. This object has been reproduced and made available on this site based on its public domain status in the United States. If you live outside the United States, please check the laws of your country before downloading any of these materials. As this digital object contains certain embedded technical functionality, individuals interested in reproducing this digital object in a publication or website, or for any commercial purpose, must first receive 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

Contents: Volume 1

The MJP’s digital edition of The Dilettante represents all of volume 1 of the magazine except for the September 1898 issue (1.6). A search of WorldCat indicates that only a handful of libraries, mostly from the Pacific Northwest, have scattered holdings of the magazine. Drawing from their collective catalogue information, we believe that five volumes, and possibly 24 issues, of The Dilettante were published between April 1898 and July 1901: volume 1 (10 issues) in 1898-99, volumes 2 and 3 (9 issues?) in 1900, and volumes 4 and 5 (5 issues?) in 1901.


A Note about The Dilettante on the MJP website

Unlike the other journals at the MJP, which now appear both on the MJP website and in the Brown Digital Repository (BDR), The Dilettante will only be available on the BDR website. Thus when you click on any of the nine issues of the magazine listed above, you will be taken to the MJP's files for that issue at the BDR. You can also access the MJP's entire edition of The Dilettante on the BDR by clicking here, or on the thumbnail of the journal (or its overall publishing information) in the left-hand column at the top of this page.

The BDR website offers users some features not available on the MJP website:

  • You can choose among multiple ways to view The Dilettante.
  • You can directly access and download the MODS catalogue record and the TEI text transcript for each issue, in addition to the PDF.
  • On the BDR collection page for The Dilettante, you can use facets to navigate different features of the journal and see at once all information about a feature: e.g., all the named contributors to the magazine.

Unfortunately, one thing you cannot currently do in the BDR is to conduct transparent, reliable searches of the Dilettante's contents—and since the magazine's files do not appear on the MJP website, one cannot search the magazine there, either. People interested in conducting detailed searches of the magazine may want to search the PDFs of individual issues or download the MJP's txt. files for the journal from the MJP Lab once they become available there (which hopefully will be soon).