Other Currencies

American Proto-Dada Journal – Printed on Wallpaper

Le Petit Journal des Refusées, no. 1 (all published).

San Francisco: self-published, 1896. Octavo (ca. 22 × 16.5 cm). Original staple-stitched pictorial wrappers and pages printed on unevenly cut thick wallpaper or patterned stock; [12] pp. Fragile, with wrappers beginning to split along spine; small chip to bottom right corner; light wear and small hole to edge of front wrapper; else remarkably well-preserved given the delicate paper stock.

First and only issue of this bizarre little magazine by James Marrion-Burgess, printed on unused wallpaper-like stock cut in a trapezoidal shape. In his own words, the journal was "a rollicking, whooping gabble of ultra-nonsensical verbiage, eschewing seriousness in any form." Larzer Ziff called it "perhaps the most delightful of all freak periodicals of the period" in his study of the 1890s (The American 1890s: Life and Times of a Lost Generation).

The contents vary somewhat from issue to issue, with all texts using innovative typesetting and drawn decorative frames, including jarring angular elements and proto-surrealist figures. "The mock-decadent cover promises contributions on Art, Literature, Counterpoint, Vulgar Fractions, Dress Reform and Yachting, but the contents, as the title suggests, all claim to be works by ‘feminine authoresses’ (with names such as Anne Southampton Bliss, Alice Rainbird and Howardine de Pel) that have been ‘ruthlessly rejected by less large-hearted and appreciative editors’ of such well known periodicals (real or imaginary) as the War Cry, the Butcher’s Advocate and the American Journal of Insanity" (https://richardawarren.wordpress.com/2013/02/01/le-petit-journal-des-refusees/).

The journal is featured with three variant copies owned by Princeton in the Modernist Journals Project hosted by Brown University and the University of Tulsa (https://modjourn.org).

A scarce and ephemeral specimen of Dada and Surrealism avant la lettre.

See also Joseph M. Backus, "Some Unusual California Magazines" (a photocopy of the article is included).

Book ID: 52368

Price: $1,500.00