by Wulfman, Clifford E.
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The Current Kalpa: November 7, 1912 — April 17, 1913
The first Balkan War had begun on October 8, 1912 with an attack by Montenegro on the Turks. An armistice declared on December 13 stopped the fighting briefly while the parties met in London, but negotiations broke down and the war resumed in the spring of 1913. The war ended with the signing of the Treaty of London on May 30, 1913. The New Age followed the course of the conflict in its weekly “Foreign Affairs” column (written by J. M. Kennedy under the pseudonym S. Verdad), in “Military Notes,” and in numerous occasional pieces, including Marmaduke Pickthall's five-part series, entitled “The Black Crusade,” on the Turks, the Balkans, and Islam (12.1:8; 12.2:31; 12.3:58; 12.4:79; 12.5:103). Pickthall blames the rise of “Moslem fanaticism” on England's abandonment of Turkish moderates and an equally virulant “Christian fanaticism” in the Balkans.
The New Age published twenty-five issues in Volume 12; the price remained threepence but would double in six months, a move that would hasten an already precipitous drop in circulation that was brought about in part by the appearance of two rival weeklies. In 1911, Hillaire Belloc had left The New Age to found The Eye-Witness; in 1912 it became The New Witness with Cecil Chesterton as its editor. Belloc, Chesterton, and his brother G. K. had been important contributors to The New Age. More seriously, The New Age's turn to Guild Socialism (see below) left traditional Socialists without an organ, and The New Statesman was founded in 1913 with the support of George Bernard Shaw and the Fabian Society. These two new journals sapped The New Age of writers and circulation.
Politics and Economics
Between 1908 and 1910, The New Age rejected Fabianism for the culturally conservative “neo-classicism” articulated by T. E. Hulme, Allen Upward, J. M. Kennedy, and Orage. The New Age fused cultural conservatism with progressive politics in a philosophy it called Guild Socialism, which opposed the centralized model of Fabian Socialism with a model in which control over production rested in the hands of the workers and the Trade Unions, which would function like medieval Guilds. The origins of Guild Socialism are to be found in the nineteenth-century reaction to industrialism, particularly as articulated by Carlisle, Ruskin, and Morris; it found its contemporary expression in the writings of Orage's friend A. J. Penty and G. D. H. Cole, but most notably in the pages of The New Age, in a series of articles written by S. G. Hobson and edited by Orage. Beginning in Volume 11 and concluding in Volume 12, these articles were collected and published as National Guilds (London, 1914).
Cole urged Orage to make The New Age the official organ of the Guild Movement, but Orage refused, cautious of any attempt to subsume his paper to any particular program (Carswell, 124). Nevertheless, traditional Socialists felt abandoned by The New Age and founded The New Statesman in 1913 (Martin, 122).
Notes on the Present Kalpa
With the first issue in Volume 12, J. M. Kennedy began a weekly series of articles that explored life under industrialism. “Kalpa,” Kennedy tells us, is a Vedic word for “an age of the world,” and in his opening article he proposes to use Hinduism to investigate the question, “Why are we, under industrialism, leading inverted lives?” The series soon diverged from the Eastern perspective and took a broader socialist view.
- 1, 2Agriculture and Industry (12.4:81; 12.5:104)
- 3, 4 Permanence (12.6:131; 12.7:154)
- 5, 6 Hierarchy (12.8:179; 12.9:201)
- 7 Families (12.10:227)
- 8 A Plea for the Parish Pump (12.11:248)
- 9, 10 Limits (12.12:274; 12.13:298)
- 11 Not a Subject for Poetry (12.14:323)
- 12, 13 Links (12.15:349; 12.16:378)
- 14 A Question of Taste (12.17:401)
- 15 On the Meaning of a Word (12.18:427)
- 16, 17 Science and Art (12.19:450; 12.20:476)
- 18-21 Representatives (12.21:496; 12.22:521; 12.23:553; 12.24:578)
- 22 Women's Suffrage (12.25:606)
The White-Slave Bill
The White Slave Traffic Bill had already received considerable attention in volume 11; in Volume 12, The New Age devotes considerable space (beginning with Notes of the Week (12.1:1) to exposing the barbarity of flogging and the hypocrisy of legislating against the trade in women while doing nothing to ameliorate the social conditions of the lower classes that led to it. Its stance is the subject of vigorous debate with Beatrice Hastings in the “Letters to the Editor” (12.1:21; 12.2:45; 12.3:69; 12.4:92; 12.5:116; 12.6:137; 12.8:189; 12.9:213; 12.10:237; 12.12:283; 12.13:308; 12.14:333; 12.15:361; 12.16:390; 12.17:414; 12.18:437; and 12.22:536). The issue is the subject of Ludovici's “The Latest Form of Poisonous Hate” (12.2:32); Beatrice Hastings reiterates her position against flogging as a form of punishment in “The White Slave Bill” (12:7 152); and in “The White Slave,” (12.11:249) R. Barrett transfers the term to the plight of workingmen in industrial society. On Februrary 20, 1913 The New Age reprinted “with much pleasure” a speech delivered by Lord Eversley in the House of Lords on the occasion of the passing of the White Slave Bill with an amendment excluding the punishment of flogging (12.16:383).
The New Age examined political movements in Europe and America. Ernest Boyd criticized L'Action Francaise (12.8:177); in the same issue, Adolphe Smith assessed “The Progress of Socialism in the United States” (12.8:176). Patrick Finn produced a two-part article criticizing the Socialist belief that the proletariat is a sleeping giant (12.14:319; 12.15:347) with immense political potential. Beginning in February, Peter Fanning chronicled his experiences with municipal corruption in “The Chronicles of Palmerstown” (12.16:382, 12.17:402, 12.19:451, 12.20:478, 12.22:528, 12.24:579, and 12.25:607.
M. B. Oxon (the pen-name of Alexander Wallace, a long-time friend and backer of Orage who, with G. B. S. was a founding angel of The New Age and a continuing supporter) wrote a piece called “Freethinking” (12.2:35).
Science and Medicine
Alfred Randall, who frequently wrote on psychology for The New Age (his article on “The Heart of Hamlet's Mystery” in Vol X (15 Feb. 1912, pp. 377-378) was perhaps the first in England to discuss Sigmund Freud's work (Martin, 141)), published three articles in Volume 12. The first two constitute an extended review of The First Signs of Insanity, by Dr. Bernard Hollander; the third discusses Cancer: The Problem of its Genesis and Treatment by Dr. Forbes Ross.
In a bizarre two-part article, Dr. Herbert Snow (“Late Senior Surgeon (29 years Surgeon) Cancer Hospital”) condemns as fraudulant the theory that germs cause disease. Dr. Snow finds no convincing evidence in the scientific literature on microbes; as for Lord Lister, he should be remembered, says Dr. Snow, only because he got surgeons to wash their malodorous hands.
The prolific Alfred Randall, in addition to writing the weekly “Views and Reviews” column as A. E. R. and three review articles on medicine and psychiatry, also wrote the “Drama” column under the name John Francis Hope. In the column, which appeared every other week, Randall reviewed a variety of plays: Shaw's “Over-ruled” (12.1:19), Heijermans' “The Good Hope” (12.3:66), Galsworthy's “The Eldest Son” (12.5:114), Stanley Houghton's “Hindle Wakes” (12.9:211), B. Macdonald Hastings' “The Tide” (12.11:259), Jerome K. Jerome's “Esther Castways” (12.15:357), Björnson's “A Gauntlet” (12.17:410), Ibsen's “The Pretenders” (12.21:507), Arnold Bennett's “The Great Adventure” (12.24:589), and S. M. Fox's “This Generation” (12.25:618). He criticizes the artistic egotism of the actor Martin Harvey (12.7:161), notes with approval the satirical treatment of the “advanced woman” in Worrall and Hall's “Her Side of the House” (12.19:459), and excoriates the production of “Twelfth Night” by Granville Barker (12.13:304).
Barker is likewise raked over the coals by “An Actor,” who in “Mr. Granville Barker's Gramophones” (12.10:225) blames the mechanical state of contemporary acting in the modern theater on the rise of “the producer,” who makes of the actor a mere “gramaphone” of his directorial will. “This is the Fabian method,” says “an Actor,” and “Mr. Barker is the Sidney Webb of the theatre.” In a companion piece, “an Actor” contrasts this “'realistic' system” of dramaturgy with a “natural” kind of production that gives freer rein to the independent intelligence of the actors, a style he associates with Dion Boucicault (12:18 426).
Besides these, E. Leigh-Bennett describes Charles Kean's Shakespeare revivals of the 1850s (12.3:60); William Poel writes about Shakespeare's “Troilus and Cressida” (12.4:82 and 12.13:106); and Storm Jameson attacks GBS as a fallen giant in “The End Thereof” (12.20:482); in “Simpkins Wrote a Play” (12.21:499), Norman Fitzroy Webb parodies the travails of dramatic production under censorship. J. M. Kennedy translates a French review of a production of Shaw's “Mrs. Warren's Profession” in issue 16 (12.16:384); P. Selver translates selections from the correspondence between Nietzsche and Strindberg, (12.23:559); and “A. H.” presents a translation of Chekhov's short story, “The Chemist's Wife” (12: 21 502).
Ludovici's eclectic art reviews appeared regularly in Volume 12; he reviewed the Second Post-Impressionist Exhibition at the Grafton Galleries (12.3:66), at the Royal Institute of Oil Painters and the Royal Society of Painters in Water Colors (12.4:89), and works at St. George's and Doré's Galleries (12.6:135). He contrasted hostile reviews of Augustus John's paintings (especially “The Mumpers”) at the Chenil Gallery in the Spectator and the Evening News (12.9:210) with his own positive one (12.11:260). He reviewed a craft exhibit and an exhibition by the International Society of Sculptors, Gravers, and Painters at the Grosnover (12.13:305; 12.25:563); portrait painters at the Royal Institute (12: 15 358); Arthur Lemon at the Goupil Gallery and C. J. Holmes at the Carfax (12.17:411); Walter Sickert at the Carfax (12.19:458); as well as exploring broader topics (12.21:508).
John Playford's reviews of “Music and Musicians” are an irregular feature in Volume 12. Among a variety of topics, Playford reviews a performance of Bantock's “Omar Khayyam” (12.2:43); the publication of Plunket Greene's Interpretations in Song (12.4:90); Cecil Sharp and the English Folk Dance Society (12.7:162); young British musicians (12.13:306); Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier (12.14:330); and the music of Parry and Somervell (12.18:433).
One installment of the Horatian series of “Tales for Men Only” (which Martin attributes to Orage (Martin, 196)) appears in volume 12.
Ezra Pound concluded his series on America, “Patria Mia,” in November 1912 (12.1:12 and 12.2:33); in January of 1913 he began a four-part series on England, “Through Alien Eyes” (12.11:252, 12.12:275, 12.13:300, and 12.14:324).
- Carswell, John. Lives and Letters.
- Martin, Wallace. The New Age Under Orage.