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Review of Rachel Schreiber, gender and activism in a little magazine

Faculty Advisor




literary criticism, art and politics

Abstract (summary)

Rachel Schreiber examines the use of illustrations in the Masses, launched in New York in 1911, and argues that the ways in which its visual art was created and disseminated, as much as what it suggested, supported the magazine’s socialist worldview. Its “artists’ strike” of 1916 underlined tensions between illustrators and editors and led to the departure of contributors like Maurice Becker and Stuart Davis, who hoped to publish work that was less overtly political without the cloying intervention of collaborators who insisted on illustrative captions. The author reminds us throughout Gender and Activism in a Little Magazine that we should be mindful of the depiction of both women and men in the Masses, and her study is most captivating when similar topics are discussed through a contrast between published images of the two sexes. Beyond an introduction intended, in part, to explain the importance of the magazine to readers who know little about its history and a conclusion that outlines how its pacifism led to its suppression by the American government, this book is organized around an examination of four broad topics, each chapter introduced, less formally, by a discussion of one principal artist.

Publication Information

Monk, C. (2013). [Review of the book Gender and Activism in a Little Magazine: The Modern Figures of the Masses, by Rachel Schreiber]. American Periodicals: A Journal of History & Criticism 23(1), 87-89. doi:10.1353/amp.2013.0003.


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