Wednesday, October 11, 2017

324. The Pageant Online

Earlier this year, Frederick D. King (Huron University College) wrote about his preparations for a digital edition of the periodical The Pageant. See his blog 'The Pageant, Aestheticism, and Print Culture' on The Floating Academy.

King's 2014 dissertation, called The Book Beautiful: Aestheticism, Materiality, and Queer Books, contains much about Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon. His blog about The Pageant reveals that he discovered the work of Ricketts through his study of Oscar Wilde, John Gray, and other Aesthetes and Decadents of the 1890s.

Charles Ricketts, Dove design for The Pageant (1896)
The Pageant, according to King, 'repositions British Aestheticism outside of its own brief moment of influence in the 1890s, and into conversation with the history of European print culture with roots in the Italian Renaissance.' King argues that the influence of Early Modern Italian illustrators 'helped to differentiate the Aesthetes from the nationalist interests of their Pre-Raphaelite predecessors'. King links this cosmopolitan approach to condemnations of Wilde's homosexuality: 'By historicizing the movement and bringing attention to Ricketts's Renaissance influences, The Pageant serves as a comment on the philistinism that condemned Wilde and Aestheticism. It accomplishes that feat by demanding that readers also connect Aestheticism's controversies to the broader history of literature, of art, and of print culture.'

Ricketts designed the binding for both volumes of The Pageant (1896-1897) [published 1895-1896], and although he was not mentioned as an editor, he was very much involved in the compilation of both volumes. The art editor was his partner Charles Shannon, the literary editor was their friend J.W. Gleeson White. From their contributions - particularly Gleeson White's study of Ricketts's work published in the first volume - a shared appreciation of Italian art can be deduced.

Charles Ricketts, Dove designs for The Pageant (1896)

Ricketts designed two small devices for the binding of The Pageant. Both were repeated three times, the one in lower right corner bears his monogram 'CR'.

Meanwhile, the online edition of The Pageant has been launched, and is in open access at The Yellow Nineties Online. The images are based on a withdrawn copy from Huron College Library. The covers of those copies are in bad shape, and show traces of a misguided  restoration effort with tape. The spine has not been reproduced in the online edition, the pages have been cut and do not show the edges of the paper. One would have hoped that better copies could have been digitized.

There is no introductory essay about The Pageant. I hear that will be published later. 

The addition of The Pageant to The Yellow Nineties Online is a step forward in disclosing 1890s material to scholars and students.

Cover for The Pageant 1896 (The Yellow Nineties Online)