mjj (flemmings) wrote,

Fascinating. Once upon a time there was a magazine called Horizon. I was eight when it first came out and intrigued by the notion of a magazine with hard covers. In the ensuing years I read my father's copies, in bits and pieces, because seriously, the late 50s/ early 60s mostly-New York art and theatre scene is kind of beyond a Toronto kid's comprehension. I wish we had those early copies still. I fancy they were the source of my vague notion of what Beat poetry and Nichols and May were all about. Alas, we gave Dad's Horizons to the Art Gallery when he died.

I thought we'd given the whole run, but at Thanksgiving I discovered a stack of '70s Horizons in my brother's cellar and made off with the lot. I've been reading them randomly and desultorily since. They're collections of essays, basically-- middle-brow, amusing, frequently informative. (Horizon's history art books are much the same. Easy travel to distant planets with colour illustrations to help.)

I began with the spring '74 one: the one with the consideration of Rashomon and Rashomon's effect on western perceptions of Japan. Also an article on Lenin's trip to the Finland Station, the great earthquake of Lisbon in 1755, the ancient city of Cahokia, and a classical Athenian case of a husband who murdered his wife's lover. Very nice, occasionally enlightening.

I picked another off the pile-- summer 1971. And all at once something very odd is happening. An article on the kafirs of Afghanistan whose isolated language and culture harks back possibly three thousand years to the first wave of Aryan invasions; a consideration of Seurat's Sunday Afternoon on the Grande Jatte; a reflection on what domestic housework was like through the ages, and how much unthinkable time and toil it occupied in past centuries. What's odd is that all three articles contain slams at 'hysterical Women's Libbers.' Speaking of hysteria here, guys... someone's been flicked on the raw by the early feminism movement. (I mean, you've got to be *trying* to work a reference to 20th century feminism into an article about remote Afghani languages.) I wonder if this was all the work of one editor, who inserted his umm hobbyhorse into every article that appeared in this issue? I shall go on reading to find out.

Whatever, I'm glad he'd either been sacked or calmed down by 1974. 'Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive'? Mh, I'm not so sure. I think there's a reason the AGO said 'No thanks to those '70 Horizons.
Tags: art, history, language, reading_08, rl

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