"The New Age had good reason to believe, in 1910, that it finally had arrived at a "new age.""

The New Age, Volume 7 (May 5 to October 27, 1910): An Introduction


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


As though by heavenly design, when King Edward VII died of pneumonia in Buckingham Palace on May 6, 1910, Halley’s Comet was just returning to the skies of Europe. People the globe over feared the earth would be destroyed when it passed through the comet’s tail; it is perhaps with a touch of that apocalyptic feeling that the author of “Notes of the Week” proclaimed—on May 12, the Thursday following the king’s death—that “the era of Victoria is indeed and at last over” and that England faced the beginning of an uncertain new era (07:026). The New Age had good reason to believe, in 1910, that it finally had arrived at a “new age.” Ever since the House of Lords vetoed the People’s Budget in late 1909, Great Britain had been embroiled in a Constitutional Crisis. In December, Asquith, the Liberal prime minister, declared the Lords’ veto “a breach of the constitution”; and after the January general election—which returned the Liberals to power, but only with the help of Irish Nationalist and Labour members—the new coalition government introduced a Parliament Bill that would severely limit the power of the Upper Chamber and effectively make Parliament a one-chamber body, with the House of Commons the indisputable authority. The magnitude of this political revolution was not lost upon the New Age’s editorialists: “we were actually on the eve of a real event, namely, the initiation of a fresh democratic movement upwards into the constitution and powers of the Lords” (07:218).

As it turned out, the king’s death—rather than usher in these long-awaited changes—had the effect of suspending the Liberal government’s political resolve: in mid-June, the two major parties (Liberals and Conservative Unionists) initiated a Constitutional Conference—a series of secret meetings, in which four representatives from either party could debate their conflict in private. For six months, the public was kept in the dark as to the progress of these meetings (more of Asquith’s “wait and see”); in the editorial pages of the New Age, frustration mounted as all reformist agendas were necessarily put on hold (see, e.g., “Notes” 07:193, 07:242, 07:338, 07:409, 07:601). On November 10, Asquith at last declared the conference a failure, and called for an new election to settle the matter. Thus, the year that began with a general election (in January) ended with another (in December)—an election that returned nearly the same proportion of all parties to Parliament. Out of the prospect for stellar change came an apparent stalemate—though the return of the Liberal coalition government to power in 1911 did give Asquith the “mandate” he needed to push ahead with the Parliament Bill. It was passed into law in August of the following year; “ever since,” writes Henry Weisser, “the House of Lords has almost always cooperated with the House of Commons” (CEH, 1273).

Events of the Period—political, social, technological, and cultural

International events

  • Germany continued to test British naval supremacy by building up its fleet, engaging Britain in an expensive arms race that challenged the Liberal government’s ability to finance promised social reforms. Negotiations during the year for a naval agreement between the two countries faltered.
  • As the Ottoman Empire continued to collapse, tensions in the Balkans remained high: a contest between Turkey and Greece over Crete threatened to explode into war throughout the year; and despite a commercial treaty in August between Serbia and Austria-Hungary, there was still much bitterness between the two—a result of Austria-Hungary’s annexing Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1908 to limit Slavic (Serbian and Russian) expansion in the area. Turkey put down an Albanian revolt in April, but in late August Montenegro proclaimed its independence from the Ottoman Empire. [See 06:123-4 for a short history of the Balkans since 1850.]
  • Portugal became a republic in October, after a revolution deposed the monarch. [See 07:411, 07:556 and 07:580.]
  • China abolished slavery on March 10.
  • Japan finally annexed Korea on August 22, after having gained dominion in the region by defeating the Russians in the Russo-Japanese war. [See 07:435.]
  • In America, William Howard Taft was president, but his predecessor, Theodore Roosevelt, was in the news—having embarked on a world tour in 1910. In May, after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in Sweden, Roosevelt reached England and attended the King’s funeral.
  • The Mexican revolution, which officially began in Nov 1909, flared into violence in 1910.


England and her Empire

  • South Africa achieved autonomy—as a dominion within the British Empire—in 1910, winning its national independence from England as a result of the Boer War. The new Union of South Africa brought together the colonies of the Cape of Good Hope, Transvaal, Natal, and Orange River. The nationalist South African party won the first national election on Sep 15, and Louis Botha became the country’s first prime minister.
  • Boutros Ghali Pasha, Egypt’s first native prime minister and a Christian Copt, was assassinated by a Muslim extremist on Feb 20, just days after a proposal he supported to extend England’s control over the Suez Canal was defeated by the Egyptian general assembly. [See 07:148 for an account of nationalist politics in Egypt.]


Domestic events in England and the United Kingdom

  • The House of Lords lost their rationale for blocking Lloyd George’s Finance Bill once the electorate returned the Liberals to power in the January election; accordingly, the Lords reluctantly passed the “People’s Budget” in April 1910. David Powell describes the budget . By introducing a variety of taxes—including a progressive income tax and land taxes—the People’s Budget allowed the government to finance a host of expensive social reforms that had begun to take effect—like the Old Age Pensions Act (1908) and the Labour Exchanges Act (1909)—even as it met the demand for increased naval spending. A more comprehensive National Insurance Bill—providing health and unemployment insurance—would have to wait until 1911.
  • Because the January election resulted in a tie between Liberals and Conservatives (each winning 273 seats in Parliament), the Liberal party had to form a coalition government with members of the Irish Nationalist and Labour parties (who won, respectively, 82 and 42 seats) in order to secure the majority in the House of Commons. This meant that the government was at long last beholden to these marginal parties—and the Irish Nationalists used their new leverage to advance the prospects of Irish Home Rule. In exchange for the Nationalists’ support of the People’s Budget, the Liberals guaranteed to fight for the Parliament Bill—which would open the door to Home Rule by restricting the power of the Unionist House of Lords. The issue of Home Rule, however, would prove to be the insurmountable obstacle in the Constitutional Conference later that year, as well as the chief source of division within Parliament—and Ireland—in the years to come. [See “A Dublin Dialogue” (07:608) for speculation about how the proceedings at the Conference might affect Home Rule.]
  • 1910 also saw a continuation of the increased labor unrest that beset England the year before; there were strikes and rioting by coal miners in January and November, a strike by railway workers in July, and a lock-out of cotton-mill workers in October. Meanwhile, the Osborne Judgement (1909) threatened to bankrupt the Labour Party by cutting off the funding its members received from labor unions, imperiling the fledgling party that already had difficulty maintaining its political independence from the progressive Liberals. After the breakdown of the Constitutional Conference in November, Asquith promised to reverse the effects of Osborne—which was unanimously upheld by the Lords in Dec 1909—in the next session of Parliament. [For labor unrest and its possible relation to Osborne, see “Notes” 07:434 & 07:457.]
  • While the Liberal government was battling the House of Lords in 1910, it had little will to address the problem of Women’s Suffrage. Nonetheless, a Conciliation Bill was introduced in Parliament after the January election; according to George Dangerfield, the bill “would enfranchise about a million women . . . women owners of business premises paying 10 pounds a year rental and upwards, and women householders” (157). In return, the W.S.P.U. (Women’s Social and Political Union), led by Emmeline Pankhurst, declared a truce on militancy while the bill worked its way through Parliament. It passed two readings in the summer, but the bill’s progress was then stalled by various parties, including Asquith (who opposed women’s suffrage on principle) and Lloyd George (who, like the writers for the New Age, believed the bill would create more Conservative voters). When Asquith made it known that the Conciliation Bill would not be passed before the next election, the W.S.P.U. resumed its campaign of militancy: on“Black Friday” (Nov 18), suffragettes marched on Parliament and were violently repressed by police.
  • England continued to expand its fleet ofDreadnought warships: the H.M.S. Colossus was launched on Apr 19, and the H.M.S. Hercules on May 10. This is also the year of the Dreadnought Hoax (Feb 7, 1910), in which Virginia Woolf and company dressed up as natives from Abyssinia and fooled the navy into giving them a tour of a new ship.


Scientific and technological advances of 1910

  • Aviation was truly getting off the ground in 1910. This year saw numerous air feats performed and records broken—in altitude, speed, and distance. In the U.S., the first long-distance flight was completed, between Albany and New York City; in England, the Daily Mail hosted an air race, of about the same distance, between London and Manchester. [See 02:030, where this air competition—which an English pilot loses to a Frenchman, M. Paulhan—provokes a farcical discussion of patriotism and anxiety about English degeneracy.] There were also quite a few deaths by aviators striving after these records—at least 20 pilots died by November; the first British pilot to die in a flying accident (on July 12) was Charles Stewart Rolls, who had co-founded the Rolls-Royce company. Aircraft were also becoming a military concern in 1910. In the U.S., the first bomb was dropped from an airship in 1910, and the first plane took off from a ship; in England, the army and navy began to launch their first airships, with the War Office announcing (in early 1911) its plans for an “air battalion.” Airmail service in the UK began in Sep 1911.
  • Communication. By 1910, 122,000 telephones were already in use in Britain; but radio communication was also beginning to take hold, with the first daily radio broadcasts appearing this year. On September 23, wireless transatlantic communication was achieved between Clifden, Ireland and Glace Bay, Canada. In New York, wireless radio was used for the first time to broadcast opera—and Enrico Caruso’s voice—from the Met. It was also the first time radio was used to apprehend a criminal, Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen—whose notorious murder of his wife was the subject of much attention in the London press, including the New Age.
  • In England, J. J. Thomson confirmed that isotopes are possible; in France, Madame Curie and André Diebierne isolated the first pure sample of radium; in the U.S., Thomas Hunt Morgan determined that some inherited characteristics are sex-related.
  • New developments or inventions of 1910 include synthetic rubber, ball bearings, neon lighting, and Thomas Edison’s talking motion picture.


Social and cultural events of 1910 (in England and abroad)

1910 saw the start of an expedition to the South Pole, and also the first deep-sea research expedition. It was the year when, in the U.S., the Nickelodeon was entertaining the masses back East, while the first Hollywood movie (D. W. Griffith’s In Old California) was filmed in the West. 1910 was the year when W. E. B. Dubois founded the NAACP and began publishing Crisis; it was also the year when Bert Williams, performing for the Ziegfield Follies, became the first black man to get equal billing with white performers. 1910 was the year when Sigmund Freud, in Austria, first wrote about the Oedipus complex, and when, in Spokane Washington, Father’s Day was first celebrated; 1910 also saw the formation, in America, of both the Boy Scouts and the Camp Fire Girls. It was the year when former-President Teddy Roosevelt set off on a world tour—as did John Philip Sousa with his band. It was in 1910 that the tango and roller skating became crazes in the U.S. and Europe. 1910 also saw the genesis of a few commercial giants—Gimbels, Black & Decker, and Hallmark Cards. It’s 1910 that we have to thank for vichyssoise, the trench coat, the Colt .45 handgun, the use of iodine as a disinfectant, bathroom scales, electric washing machines, rayon stockings, the word “intelligentsia,” and arsphenamine (a cure for syphilis).

1910 is also remembered for its artistic offerings:


1910 is best remembered, in England, as the year when Roger Fry brought Cézanne, Gauguin, and Van Gogh to the attention of England with the first Post-Impressionist show, “Manet and the Post-Impressionists,” in the Grafton Galleries (Nov 8-Jan 15, 1910-11). The controversial show met with mixed reviews—enthusiastic praise by some, indignant contempt by others, and a great deal of puzzlement by many. Elsewhere in Europe, modern art was already quite a few steps ahead of the British, with artists forging ahead in their exploration of primitivism, expressionism, cubism, and futurism:

  • In France, Henri Matisse continued the colorful primitivist work of the Fauves in his painting The Dance II, while Henri Rousseau painted one of his last—and greatest—paintings, The Dream (or >Yadivigha’s Dream).
  • In Dresden, painters like Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Erich Heckel from the Brücke group were expanding the range of expressionism, while Egon Schiele in Austria was independently composing unsettling nude portraits of himself and others. In Munich, Wassily Kandinsky, in advance of his later colleagues in the Blaue Reiter group, is credited with creating in 1910 the world’s first abstract painting, while also composing that year the first defense of non-objective art, Concerning the Spiritual in Art.
  • In 1910, Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso were exploring analytic cubism in paintings such as Still Life with Violin and Pitcher and Violin and Palette (by Braques) and Girl with Mandolin (Fanny Tellier), Portrait of Ambroise Vollard, and Portrait of Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler (by Picasso). The influence of cubism was already apparent in the work of other painters this year, such as Robert Delaunay‘s series of paintings of The Eiffel Tower, and Fernand Léger‘s Nudes in the Forest.
  • In Italy, a group of artists—following Marinetti’s lead from the year before—published manifestos like the “Technical Manifesto of Futurist Painting” (Apr 1910) ; and they carried through on their bold demands (which included a moratorium on painting nudes) with paintings of machinery and urban movement, like Umberto Boccioni‘s The City Rises and Gino Severini‘s The Boulevard.


Literature and Theater:

  • Perhaps the most important books of literature published in England in 1910 were E. M. Forster’s Howards End and Arnold Bennett’s Clayhanger, the first novel in his Clayhanger trilogy.
  • Ford Madox Ford was in his third year of editing the English Review, which was serializing H. G. Wells’ The New Machiavelli; Wells’ novel The History of Mr. Polly was also published this year [see the New Age’s review in the literary supplement to issue 8].
  • In 1910, Henry James published his last volume of short stories, The Finer Grain [discussed 07.26:614], as did O. Henry, with his Whirligigs. Edith Wharton published Tales of Men and Ghosts this year, while also composing Ethan Frome (1911).
  • 1910 also saw the premieres of the following plays: in London, Harley Granville-Barker’s The Madras House, John Galsworthy’s Justice [discussed 07.07:150], Somerset Maugham’s Grace, G. B. Shaw’s Misalliance [discussed 07.09:210]; in Dublin, John Millington Synge’s Deirdre of the Sorrows [discussed 07.07:160]. In Germany, Expressionist drama began to take hold.



  • In Austria, Gustav Mahler completed his Ninth Symphony; Alban Berg, his String Quartet, Op. 3; and Anton Webern, 6 Pieces.
  • In France, Igor Stravinsky’s The Firebird was first performed in Paris by Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. Also composing this year were Claude Debussy (who published his first book of Préludes), Gabriel Fauré (who also published 9 Préludes and La Chanson d’Eve), Maurice Ravel (whose Pavane pour une Infante défunte had it first orchestral performance), and Erik Satie (Deux Rêveries Nocturnes).
  • In England, Frederick Delius’s opera A Village Romeo and Juliet opened in Covent Garden; Ralph Vaughan Williams completed his Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis and had his first symphony—A Sea Symphony—performed in Birmingham; Edward Elgar presided over the first performance of his Concerto for Violin in B minor (Op. 61) in London.
  • In America, Toscanini conducted Giacomo Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West (The Girl of the Golden West) in New York’s Metropolitan Opera House, while the song “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” could be heard on the streets outside.


Some notable deaths and births of 1910

Felix Tournachon: a.k.a. Nadar (Mar 21), Mark Twain (Apr 21), Björnstjerne Björnson (Apr 26), O. Henry (June 5), Florence Nightingale (Aug 13), William James (Aug 26), Henri Rousseau (Sep 2), William Holman Hunt (Sep 7), Winslow Homer (Sep 29), Leo Tolstoy (Nov 20), Mary Baker Eddy (Dec 3)

And some notable births of 1910: Samuel Barber (Mar 9), Akira Kurosawa (Mar 23), Jacques Cousteau (June 11), Mother Teresa (Aug 27)

The Journal Itself

Overview of Volume 7

As with volume 6, each issue in volume 7 is 24 pages long and sold at a price of 3 pence per issue. Each issue of volume 7 also adheres to the format followed in all preceding volumes: politics first, then a review of the arts—with a variety of articles, stories and poems in between. A typical issue in volume 7 begins with “Notes of the Week” (unsigned, but probably written by Orage himself) followed by “Foreign Affairs” (written by “S. Verdad,” or J. M. Kennedy); it also includes an assortment of the following standard departments: “Books and Persons” by “Jacob Tonson” (the alias for Arnold Bennett, who began this literature column in Volume 2); “Art” by Huntly Carter (who began this column in Volume 6); “Drama” by Ashley Dukes (who began writing for the drama column in Volume 5); “Recent Music” by Herbert Hughes (who had been writing about music for the New Age since volume 1); “Reviews”; and “Correspondence”—which was mysteriously renamed “Letters to the Editor” in issue 16 (Aug 18).

The New Age‘s index for volume 7 lists a hundred separate contributors and over 300 items; but regular contributors to the volume—who, in addition to those named above, include Beatrice Hastings, Cecil Chesterton, A. E. Randall, Francis Grierson, Walter Sickert, and G. F. Abbott—wrote over half of these items. Some of the more famous authors whose writing appears in this volume are Hilaire Belloc, Anton Checkov [spelled “Tchekhov” here], Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Maxime Gorki, O. Henry, Wyndham Lewis, Katherine Mansfield, G. B. Shaw, Upton Sinclair, Leo Tolstoy, and Sidney Webb.

Series and Columns

Series and columns in vol 7 that that give it its distinctive character include: “How the Rich Rule Us” and “The Uses of Osbornity” by Cecil Chesterton; “Ferdinand Lassalle: A Grand Pretender” by Alfred E. Randall; “The Philosophy of a Don” by G. F. Abbott; “The Endowment of Genius”; “A Symposium on the Art of the Theatre” conducted by Huntly Carter; a column on dance by Marcelle Azra Hincks; an art column by Walter Sickert; and “Modern Dramatists” by Ashley Dukes. Many of these items will be discussed in section 2.2 below.
Series and columns devoted to particular artistic topics appeared in the following issues:

  • Art: Nos. 1-14 (Sickert); 1-4, 6-13, 17 (Carter)
  • Drama: Nos. 2-5, 7-10, 19-26 (Dukes); 6 (Ervine)
  • Literature: Nos. 1-2, 4-26 (Bennett)
  • Poetry/verse: Nos. 2, 21 (Flint); 14, 16, 19, 23 (Figgis)
  • Dance: Nos. 12-14, 17, 21 (Hincks)
  • Music: Nos. 9, 13, 15, 18, 21, 25 (Hughes)



Finally, five supplements appeared in vol 7: A Science Supplement (12 pages) to issue 1 (May 5), focusing on sociology; an Art Supplement (12 pages) to issue 5 (June 2), focussing on the English Theater; and three Literary Supplements (4 pages each) in issues 8 (June 23), 10 (Jul 7), and 14 (Aug 4), which offer an assortment of book reviews.

Politics and Society

Reaction to the death of Edward VII.

The king’s death inspires a moment of reflection in England and among the contributors to the New Age:

    • “Notes of the Week,” (07:025)

    • Edward is described as “the most popular and representative king that has perhaps ever sat upon a modern throne.”

“The New Era” by Judah P. Benjamin (07:028)

    • A further tribute to Edward, which ends on this darkly prescient (even if mistaken) note: “I see in the passing of the late King a change and an awakening far greater than anything that could have been brought about by a great war with a nation like Germany. A great war would have left the thing we are pleased to call “Society” exactly where it was.”

“Foreign Affairs,” 07:099

    • Verdad recounts Edward’s funeral procession.

“The General Mourning” by G. B. Shaw (07:100)

    • Shaw offers a sharply critical evaluation of the king’s funeral, his Lying-in-State, and Kipling’s requiem.

“Some Forecasts of the Coming Dispensation” (07:104)

  • Eight authors give their opinions on where England now is and where it is headed.


Campaign finance reform, circa 1910.

In his 6-part series “How the Rich Rule Us” (issues 13-18), Cecil Chesterton addresses the problem that England, while believing its government to be democratic, is in fact ruled by an oligarchy sustained by secret party funds. Because Members of Parliament depend on these funds, they ultimately obey Party Caucuses rather than the constituents they were elected to represent. See the end of part V (07:389) for a concise summary of the problem, and part VI (07:412) for Chesterton’s solution—which involves parliamentary reform as well as having party funds paid openly and publicly. Also note Chesterton’s interesting point that extending the franchise will not necessarily make England more democratic (07:295, 07:366).

The Osborne judgment, and “Payment of Members” of Parliament.

The Osborne judgment receives a great deal of attention in the second half of vol 7: first in “Notes of the Week” (issues 17, 21-23), and then in Cecil Chesterton’s series “The Uses of Osbornity” (issues 24-26). The general view expressed in these pages is that the Osborne Judgment—though a burden for the Labour Party—should not be overturned, since members of Parliament should not represent any single class or economic interest like a labor union (07:482). Instead, the Liberal government should remedy the problem by supporting Osborne while additionally instituting payment of MPs (07:579), thus enabling all Parliamentarians to be more independent-minded.(Also see Hilaire Belloc’s less enthusiastic advocacy of payment in his article “On Payment of Members” (07:607).)

Women’s Suffrage and feminism.

The New Age inspires the ire of a number of its readers by opposing the Conciliation Bill, which offered to bring the vote to property-holding women.

  • “Notes of the Week,” 07:193, 07:218, 07:266 :These editorials argue that this franchise bill is not even a step in the right direction, since it makes property the basis for qualifying for the vote and would likely create new votes for the Conservatives (and presumably more opposition to female suffrage) just before a General Election.
  • In “Correspondence,” the NA is taken to task for its views about the suffrage bill. See “The Conciliation Bill” (07:237), “Women’s Suffrage” (07:258), and “Votes for Women” (07:310). In “An Erewhonian Visitor” (07:213), the author makes the novel suggestion that the House of Lords should be replaced by a chamber of women.
  • “Professional Women and the Suffrage” by “Beta” (07:413): This article explains why militancy is in fact needed if women are to get the vote.
  • Other items on feminism in this volume include: “Women and Religion” (07:007) and “Women and Freedom” (07:029) by “D. Triformis” (an alias of Beatrice Hastings); Lilian Trench’s “The One Thing Needful” (07:224); and Elsie F. Buckley’s “The One Thing Unavailable” (07:323).


The New Age campaign against capital punishment.

The pages of vol 7 resonate with the names of famous convicted murderers of the day: Jesshope, Dickman, Crippen. But even as these cases were sensational stories in the popular press, the New Age —led by Beatrice Hastings—used their trials to advance a series of articles against capital punishment. In the instance of Dickman, Hastings essentially harnessed the journal in an attempt to save the man’s life. She didn’t succeed, but the paper explored extraordinary means for affecting the public—such as having its readers write to the Society for the Abolition of Capital Punishment (102), or by asking them to visit the paper’s offices and sign a petition (282, 310), or finally by asking them to contribute to a fund set up for the executed man’s family (07:406). Discussion of capital punishment appears in 16 of the 26 issues in this volume, including the following articles and letters:

  • “Judicial Murder” by Beatrice Hastings (07:102)
  • “The Dickman Case,” 07:281
  • “Notes of the Week,” 07:289
  • “August 9, 1910.” (07:363)
  • “Wilde’s Ballad of Reading Gaol” by Beatrice Hastings (07:399)
  • “A Paper Chase” by Katherine Mansfield (07:354)
  • “The Trial” by “T.K.L.”—an alias of Beatrice Hastings (07:615)


Teddy Roosevelt, Emperor

The former American president is also a subject of much attention, and some anxiety, throughout vol 7. The general suspicion is that Roosevelt’s world tour is intended to build up his prestige back home, and that he will eventually seek office a third time—not simply as president, but as dictator, emperor, or monarch—thus suspending America’s experiment with a democratic constitution. See:

  • “Foreign Affairs,” 07:051, 07:194, & 07:484
  • “Republic or Empire” by Francis Grierson 07:128 & 07:197)
  • “Theodore Roosevelt: Another Socialist View” by J. William Lloyd (07:244)
  • “Roosevelt in Europe” by H. G. Wells (07:339)


“The Situation in Egypt” (07:148, 07:196)

Duse Mohamed and Marmaduke Pickthall offer strikingly different accounts—one nationalist, the other imperialist—of England’s occupation of Egypt since 1882.

“Materialism and Crime” by Francis Grierson (07:341) and “Materialism and its Critic” by Hypatia Bradlaugh Bonner (07:389): The very future of civilization (and whether it will decline into crime, suicide, and “cheap irony”) is debated in these two articles which pit science against religion, commercialism against mysticism, and atheism against a belief in the immortality of the soul. It’s not clear on which side socialists—and the New Age—should stand.

“The Children’s Charter At Home” by Stephen Reynolds and Robert Woolley (07:004): the authors assume the persona of lower-class characters in order to discuss how the Children’s Act (1908)—which “established a completely new system of juvenile courts throughout the country and abolished the imprisonment of children” (Rowland 166)—will likely affect them. Note how dialect gives way to proper English in the final paragraph.

“S.S.S.S.” by Janet Achurch (07:316): The four S’s stand for “A Society for the Suppression of Senseless Sounds,” which the author proposes as a way to reduce noise pollution in London. We may surely read this complaint as a symptom of modernity—and reaction against the new “demon of machinery,” the motorcar and motor omnibus.

“A Free Advertisement” (07:364): This item reveals what’s contained in patent medicines of the day, while also pointing out the sizeable discrepancy between the cost of these medications and the cost of their ingredients. Also see “The Patent Medicine Scandal” (in “Letters”: 07:425) with its call for truth in advertising these products.


Promoting “the Art of the Theater.”

Drama—with two columnists writing about it, Huntly Carter and Ashley Dukes—is a prevailing concern of vol 7, along with the question whether the theater in England is indeed an art:

  • Huntly Carter’s Art Supplement for issue 5 (June 2) is devoted to issues of the theater, with articles on stage realism, the art of stage decoration and scene design, implementing a dramatist’s stage directions, and so on.
  • Carter also conducts an on-going symposium (which originates in his Art Supplement, and is then continued as a segment of his art column) on the condition of the theater in England. After offering his opinion—that there is no art of the theater in England, and that we should do something about reforming it—he goes on to pose a few leading questions about the state of the theater in England (e.g., “Do you think that managers and producers are yet using to the full all the advantages offered by the modern studio?”) and publishes, over the course of several issues, the replies he receives from prominent producers, painters, authors, critics—from England and abroad. His respondents—34 in all—include Granville-Barker (art supplement 05:03), Charles Rickets 07:136), Cayley Robinson (07:136), Yeats (07:163), and Shaw (07:186). The series consists of 6 installments: (the art supplement to issue 5/1-3), 07:136, 07:162, 07:185, 07:393, & 07:532.
  • “A National Theater” by Henry Arthur Jones (07:232): A Shakespeare National Theater, subsidized by the government, would help galvanize public interest in serious drama and help make theater an art in England.
  • “’Priscilla Runs Away’: A Note on the Haymarket Production” by T. Martin Wood (07:256): This production (involving Cayley Robsinson costumes and set design) is upheld as an example of how stage production in England can indeed succeed as art.


Fiction by Katherine Mansfield.

In February of 1910, Mansfield had her first publication in The New Age—the story “Bavarian Babies: The Child-Who-Was-Tired.” This story, and three more which were published in March issues of The New Age (vol 6), would later appear in Mansfield’s first book, In a German Pension (1911) , in which a self-consciously English narrator at a German spa critically observes her German companions, who seem to pay as much attention to their stomachs as to their social status. Four more of Mansfield’s Pension sketches appear in vol 7 (during July and August, 1910):

  • “At Lehmann’s”: 07:225;
  • “Frau Brechenmacher Attends a Wedding”: 07:273;
  • “Pension Sketches” [“The Sister of the Baroness”]: 07:323;
  • “Pension Sketches III” [“Frau Fischer”]: 07:366.

The sporadic identification (and numbering) of these stories as “Pension Sketches” in the journal is confusing; in retrospect, these stories should have been labeled “Pension Sketches, V-VIII.” It’s likely that Mansfield’s critical view of the Germans resonated with the increasing hostility toward Germany that S. Verdad brought to his “Foreign Affairs” column.

“The Philosophy of a Don.”

This is a series of articles composed (albeit unsigned) by G. F. Abbott that begins in volume 6 and runs for 17 installments in volume 7 across the span of its 6 months. Most of these installments involve a fictional dialogue that an unnamed Oxbridge Don conducts with one (and sometimes both) of his friends, Chesterham and Shav, on some new topic. In the final installment, Abbott describes the series as “a collection of private prejudices, reasonably good-natured, on a multitude of subjects—religion, letters, politics, the drama, marriage, cannibalism” (07:611). In fact, it’s a wonderfully revealing exploration into crucial topics of the day, including such matters as patriotism, militarism, imperial propaganda, degeneracy, divorce, polygamy, and poverty. It’s quite possible that Chesterham, a journalist given to orthodox views, is styled upon G. K. Chesterton, while Shav—an Irish vegetarian playwright who invariably disagrees on all topics and advances a host of radical ideas—seems certainly designed to call G. B. Shaw to mind. The purpose for such a satire—mirroring two important contributors to the New Age—is not entirely clear; but it is eminently clear that this series ranks among the best-written and most engaging material in this volume.

“The Endowment of Genius”

“The Endowment of Genius” was the brainchild of Upton Sinclair, who wanted to create an endowment, funded by philanthropists and overseen by a committee of judges, that would identify and help finance the careers of young creative writers whose talents might not come to fruition without some external support. In a period where the government is beginning to weave a social welfare net in the form of poor law reform, old-age pensions, and health and unemployment insurance, Sinclair’s idea brings the notion of communal support home to the literary community. It also speaks to the increasing concern, expressed elsewhere in the journal, that market forces are incapable of rewarding and nurturing true art—and perhaps to the New Age’s own interest in fostering new talent. Yet the overarching impression one gets of the proposed endowment, in these pages, is that it’s a hopelessly naive idea. See:

  • An exchange about the endowment between A. E. Randall and Upton Sinclair (07:053, 07:157, 07:178)
  • A symposium on the endowment conducted by Sinclair (07:292): The outlooks of numerous writers are solicited; respondents include Wells, Galsworthy, Jack London, William James, and Arnold Bennett
  • Some final thoughts on the symposium by Francis Grierson (07:320)


“Books and Persons.”

Highlights in Bennett’s column include his discussion of censorship in Britain and abroad (07:086, 07:133, 07:279); concerns about copyright and the lack of legal protection authors experience in England (07:350); his account of Galsworthy’s A Man of Property (07:253) and review of Henry James’ The Finer Grain (07:614); his evaluation of a new literary journal, the Open Window (07:442, 07:495, 07:567).

Walter Sickert’s art column (titled variously)

Walter Sickert (1860-1942) was a student of James Whistler and one of the leading impressionist painters of London; he began writing about art for the New Age in April 1910. Unlike Carter’s column, which construed art broadly to include theater and architecture, Sickert’s 14 articles in vol 7 focus almost exclusively on painting. Highlights include his discussion of portraiture (07:016); his accounts of the New England Art Club (07:109) and of Impressionism (07:204); his call for smaller paintings (07:227), for more affordable paintings, and for sidestepping the jury exhibition system (07:251).

Marcelle Azra Hincks’ column on dance (titled variously)

Hincks believes modern dance can revive the glory it had in ancient times and become a significant art form in England; she looks to the Russian ballet—and dancers like Anna Pavlova and M. Mordkin—for her models, as well as to the anthropological study of dance in primitive societies.

Mr. Ezra Pound

“Some Living Poets. II—Mr. Ezra Pound” by Darrell Figgis (07:373): This lengthy evaluation of Pound’s work is only the second review of Pound to appear in the New Age (the first, a very short review of “Personae of Ezra Pound” by Flint, appears a year earlier on 05:101). Figgis’s article is surely one of the first in-depth criticisms of Pound—who is merely 25 in 1910—to be found in any journal, anywhere. Pound himself begins writing for the New Age in vol 10.

Parodies of Poetry

“The Sort of Poems Modern Poets Write” by Jack Collings Squire (07:500, 07:562, 07:605): Squire offers us 12 amusing parodies of various contemporary poetry forms—e.g., “The Poetry-Ought-to-be-Freed-From-Conventional-Shackles-Stunt” (07:501).

Fictitious Book Reviews

“Anticipatory Reviews” by Eric Dexter (07:017, 07:206, 07:302): These are fictitious reviews of books that have yet to be written—and thus, very funny parodies of the authors reviewed. In vol 7, Dexter reviews titles by C. W. Saleeby (one of England’s foremost eugenists), John Galsworthy, and Anatole France.

The many faces of Beatrice Hastings

Not only does Hastings invent multiple aliases for herself in the pages of the New Age; she also has her various persona argue against each other. See, for instance, “Women and Freedom” (07:029), where Hastings—writing under the alias “D. Triformis”—quotes and argues against “Beatrice Tina,” another of her aliases; in a subsequent letter to the editor (07:069), Beatrice Tina replies, in kind, to D. Triformis. Another instance: in the story “The Lady” (07:395), Hastings—writing this time as “Alice Morning”—cleverly references herself, in the dialogue, when an upper-class woman asks a lower-class woman, “I suppose you are a Hastings woman?” (07:396). Of course, they both are.

Works Cited or Referenced

  • Anthony Alpers. The Life of Katherine Mansfield. New York: The Viking Press, 1980.
  • The British Almanac. 1911 & 1912. London: Charles Knight, 1911 & 1912.
  • Chronicle of the 20th Century. Second edition. Derrik Mercer, ed. London: Dorling Kindersley, 1995.
  • Chronology of European History, Volume 2: 1765-1997. John Powell, ed. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1998. Referred to as “CEH” in the introduction.
  • Peter Clarke. Hope and Glory: Britain 1900-1990. London: The Penguin Press, 1996.
  • Chris Cook. The Longman Handbook of Modern British History: 1714-1995. Third Edition. New York: Longman, 1996.
  • George Dangerfield. The Strange Death of Liberal England: 1910-1914. New York: H. Smith & H. Haas, 1935.
  • The Guinness Book of the 20th Century. Millenium edition. London: Guinness World Records, Ltd., 1999.
  • Thomas Harrison. 1910: The Emancipation of Dissonance. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996.
  • Alexander Hellemans and Bryan Bunch. The Timetables of Science. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988.
  • The Hutchinson Chronology of World History: The Modern World. Volume 4: 1901-98. Oxford: Helicon, 1999.
  • Alan and Veronica Palmer. The Chronology of British History. London: Century, 1992.
  • David Powell. The Edwardian Crisis: Britain 1901-14. London: Macmillan, 1996.
  • Peter Rowland. The Last Liberal Governments: The Promised Land, 1905-1910. London: Barrie & Rockliff, 1968.
  • S. K. Tillyard. The Impact of Modernism: 1900-1920. London: Routledge, 1988.
  • Whitaker’s Almanack. 1911. London: J. Whitaker, 1911.
Back to top

Back to Top