NEW SCHOLARSHIP Sophie Seita on Little Magazines

July 19, 2019

By Nancy Kuhl

Provisional Avant-Gardes: Little Magazine Communities from Dada to Digital By Sophie Seita

From the Publisher:What would it mean to be avant-garde today? Arguing against the notion that the avant-garde is dead or confined to historically “failed” movements, this book offers a more dynamic and inclusive theory of avant-gardes that accounts for how they work in our present. Innovative in approach, Provisional Avant-Gardes focuses on the medium of the little magazine—from early Dada experiments to feminist, queer, and digital publishing networks—to understand avant-gardes as provisional and heterogeneous communities. Paying particular attention to neglected women writers, artists, and editors alongside more canonical figures, it shows how the study of little magazines can change our views of literary and art history while shedding new light on individual careers. By focusing on the avant-garde’s publishing history and group dynamics, Sophie Seita also demonstrates a new methodology for writing about avant-garde practice across time, one that is applicable to other artistic and non-artistic communities and that speaks to contemporary practitioners as much as scholars. In the process, she addresses fundamental questions about the intersections of aesthetic form and politics and about what we consider to be literature and art.

About the author: Beinecke Library Research Fellow Sophie Seita is a writer, artist, translator, and a Junior Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge

Beinecke Collections Consulted: Mabel Dodge Luhan Papers; Katherine Dreier Papers; Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O’Keeffe Archive; Ron Padgett Papers; The Difficulties Records; Charles Henri Ford Papers; Clayton Eshleman Papers; Jerome Rothenberg Collection on American Literature and shelves of little magazines (see Orbis).


The Beinecke Library encourages scholars, students, and the public to engage the past in the present for the future. In the service of new scholarship, the library offers generous fellowships for visiting scholars and for graduate students to support research in a wide range of fields. Learn more about fellowship opportunities.