The Yellow Book, the Avant-garde and Intermediality

I really enjoyed learning about how The Yellow Book was interested in art for art’s sake. It was very interesting to learn about how the content of the book was experimental and tried to push boundaries. Volume 2 pushed the envelope again by sending volume 1 to be reviewed by a conservative critic and then publishing this review in volume 2. This added to the push against ephemerality because it encouraged readers to revisit volume 1. This also showed the self-referential nature of little magazine periodicals. I think this spoke to the modern ways and commercial interests of Beardsley and Harland, who were editors of The Yellow Book at this time. The bad publicity that the first volume received was used to promote the second volume. It was also interesting to learn about the dissemination of the magazine in American and other colonies. It seems apparent that the editors wanted these curated experimental and boundary-pushing works to still be viewed by as many people as possible. They also wanted them to be seen as valuable and this is why the headings on the table of contents was updated from “Letterpress” to “Literature,” and “Pictures” to “Art.” This further emphasized the division of the two mediums of art as works of their own. Yet, Beardsley and Harland did not take criticism of Philip Gilbert Hamerton when it came to form, such as the use of catch words.

I also really enjoyed looking at the art created by Walter Sickert. It was very interesting to see how his art captured the many different parts of theatre that went into a performance. He captured the audience and setting and created a feeling of being there. I was surprised to see the actual painting by Sickert and compare it to the reproduction. In the reproduction, it seemed as if the men in the audience were the focal point and not Ada Lundberg. However, in the painting, the men’s faces are dark while Ada’s is spotlit. Nevertheless, it is clear that the audience was as much a part of the atmosphere at the performance as was the actual performer.