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The Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, which possesses one of the most impressive literary archives in the United States, has an exhibition opening this week focused on an interesting set of signatures from Manhattan’s literary scene during the early 1920s:
“The Greenwich Village Bookshop Door: A Portal to Bohemia, 1920–1925 uses an unusual artifact, Frank Shay’s bookshop door signed by over 240 writers, artists, actors, and publishers, to recreate the intersecting communities that made the Village an epicenter of American modernism.”
The Ransom Center pointed out to us the names of four Harper’s Magazine contributors who signed the door. Harry Hansen and Scudder Middleton only wrote a handful of Harper’s pieces between them, but the other two, Ben Ray Redman and Mary Heaton Vorse were frequent contributors. Subscribers can read their pieces by following the links above. For everyone, a taste of Scudder’s verse:
All of the Harper’s writers represented on the door, you’ll note, have superbly literary names — surpassed only, perhaps, by those of their fellow signatories Bosworth Crocker, Rutger Bleecker Jewett, and Egmont Arens. As for the most outlandish name on the door, “John Dos Passos,” we seriously doubt such a person existed.
More from Harper’s Magazine:
Official Business — March 17, 2015, 4:01 am
Listen to the broadcast version of “American Hustle,” Alexandra Starr’s story, for the April 2015 issue of Harper’s Magazine, about how elite youth basketball exploits African athletes.
Official Business — January 8, 2015, 3:57 pm
We defend Charlie Hebdo’s right to publish its cartoons—and our right to critique them.
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”