Margaret C. Anderson

Margaret Caroline Anderson (November 24, 1886 – October 19, 1973) was the American founder, editor and publisher of the art and literary magazine The Little Review, which published a collection of modern American, English and Irish writers between 1914 and 1929.[3] The periodical is most noted for introducing many prominent American and British writers of the 20th century, such as Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot in the United States, and publishing the first thirteen chapters of James Joyce's then-unpublished novel, Ulysses.[4][5][6]

A large collection of her papers on Gurdjieff's teaching is now preserved at Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.[7]

Margaret Caroline Anderson
Anderson in 1951
Anderson in 1951
BornNovember 24, 1886
Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
DiedOctober 19, 1973 (aged 86) [1][2]
Le Cannet, France
Occupationeditor, author
SubjectEsotericism, Fourth Way
Literary movementNew thought
Notable worksThe Unknowable Gurdjieff (1962)

Early life

Anderson was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, the eldest of three daughters of Arthur Aubrey Anderson and Jessie (Shortridge) Anderson. She graduated from high school in Anderson, Indiana, in 1903, and then entered a two-year junior preparatory class at Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio.

She left Western in 1906, at the end of her freshman year, to pursue a career as a pianist. In the fall of 1908 she left home for Chicago, where she reviewed books for a religious weekly (The Continent) before joining The Dial. By 1913 she was a book critic for the Chicago Evening Post.

The Little Review

Jane Heap, John Rodker, Martha Dennison, Tristan Tzara, Margaret Anderson, ca. 1920s
Janet Flanner-Solita Solano Collection/LOC ppmsca.13300. Jane Heap, John Rodker, Martha Dennison, Tristan Tzara, Margaret Anderson, ca. 1920s

In March 1914, Anderson founded the avant-garde literary magazine The Little Review during Chicago's literary renaissance, which became not just influential, but soon created a unique place for itself and for her in the American literary and artistic history.[8][9] "An organ of two interests, art and good talk about art", the monthly's first issue featured articles on Nietzsche, feminism and psychoanalysis. Early funding was intermittent, and for six months in 1914, she was forced out of her Chicago residence at 837 West Ainslie Street, and the magazine's offices at Chicago Fine Arts Building at 410 S. Michigan Avenue, and camped with family and staff members on the shores of Lake Michigan.

The writer Ben Hecht, who was at least partly in love with her then, described her this way:

She was blond, shapely, with lean ankles and a Scandinavian face. ... I forgave her her chastity because she was a genius. During the years I knew her she wore the same suit, a tailored affair in robin's egg blue. Despite this unvarying costume she was as chic as any of the girls who model today for the fashion magazines. ... It was surprising to see a coiffure so neat on a noggin so stormy.[10]

In 1916, Anderson met Jane Heap,[11] a spirited intellectual and artist immersed in the Chicago Arts and Crafts Movement, and a former lover to novelist Djuna Barnes. The two became lovers, and Anderson convinced her to become co-editor of The Little Review. Heap maintained a low profile, signing her contributions simply "jh", but she had a major impact on the success of the journal through its bold and radical content.

For a while, Anderson and Heap published the magazine out of a ranch in Muir Woods, across the San Francisco Bay Area, before moving to New York's Greenwich Village in 1917. With the help of critic Ezra Pound, who acted as her foreign editor in London, The Little Review published some of the most influential new writers in the English language, including Hart Crane, T. S. Eliot, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Pound himself, and William Butler Yeats. The magazine's most published poet was New York dadaist Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, with whom Heap became friends on the basis of their shared confrontational feminist and artistic agendas.[12] Other notable contributors included Sherwood Anderson, André Breton, Jean Cocteau, Malcolm Cowley, Marcel Duchamp, Ford Madox Ford, Emma Goldman, Vachel Lindsay, Amy Lowell, Francis Picabia, Carl Sandburg, Gertrude Stein, Wallace Stevens, Arthur Waley, and William Carlos Williams. Even so, however, she once published an issue with a dozen blank pages to protest the temporary lack of exciting new works.[13]

In 1918, starting with the March issue, The Little Review began serializing James Joyce's Ulysses.[14] Over time the U.S. Post Office seized and burned four issues of the magazine, and Anderson and her companion and associate editor, Jane Heap, were convicted of obscenity charges.[15] Although the obscenity trial was ostensibly about Ulysses, Irene Gammel argues that The Little Review came under attack for its overall subversive tone and, in particular, its publication of Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven’s sexually explicit poetry and outspoken defense of Joyce.[16] During the trial in February, 1921, hundreds of "Greenwich Villagers", men and women, marched into Special Court Sessions;[17] eventually, Anderson and Heap were each fined $100 and fingerprinted.[18][19]

Life in France

In early 1924, through Alfred Richard Orage, Anderson came to know of spiritual teacher George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff, and saw performances of his 'Sacred dances', first at the 'Neighbourhood Playhouse', and later at Carnegie Hall. Shortly after Gurdjieff's automobile accident, Anderson, along with Georgette Leblanc, Jane Heap and Monique Surrere, moved to France to visit him at Fountainebleau-Avon, where he had set up his institute at Château du Prieuré in Avon.[20][21]

Anderson and Heap adopted the two sons of Anderson's ailing sister, Lois. They brought Lois and sons Tom and Arthur ‘Fritz’ Peters to Prieuré in June 1924,[22] After they returned to New York in 1925, two of the boys were taken in by Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein.[23]

Later, Anderson moved to Le Cannet on the French Riviera, to live in "le phare de Tancarville" for many years with the French singer Georgette Leblanc and Lois and her daughter Linda Card.

The final issue of The Little Review was edited at Hotel St. Germain-Des-Pres, 36 rue Bonaparte, Paris.

Anderson published a three-volume autobiography: My Thirty Years' War (1930),[24] The Fiery Fountains, and The Strange Necessity in her last years in Le Cannet. There she wrote her final book, the novel and memoir, Forbidden Fires.


The teachings of George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff played an important role in Anderson's life. Anderson met Gurdjieff in Paris and, together with Leblanc, began studies with him, focusing on his original teaching called The Fourth Way. From 1935 to 1939, Anderson and Georgette Leblanc studied with Gurdjieff as part of a group of women known as "The Rope", which included eight members in all: Jane Heap, Elizabeth Gordon, Solita Solano, Kathryn Hulme, Louise Davidson and Alice Rohrer, besides them.[25] Along with Katherine Mansfield and Jane Heap, she remains one of the most noted institutees of Gurdjieff's, Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man, at Fontainebleau, near Paris, from October 1922 to 1924.[26]

Anderson studied with Gurdjieff in France until his death in October 1949, writing about him and his teachings in most of her books, most extensively in her memoir, The Unknowable Gurdjieff.[27]

Late life

By 1942 her relationship with Heap had cooled, and, evacuating from the war in France, Anderson sailed for the United States. Jane Heap had moved to London in 1935, where she led Gurdjieff study groups until her death in 1964.[27] With her passage paid by Ernest Hemingway, Anderson met on the voyage Dorothy Caruso, widow of the singer and famous tenor Enrico Caruso. The two began a romantic relationship, and lived together until Dorothy's death in 1955. Anderson returned to Le Cannet, and there she died of emphysema on October 19, 1973.[1] She is buried beside Georgette Leblanc in the Notre Dame des Anges Cemetery.[28]

In media

Anderson was the subject of an Academy Award for Documentary Short Subject nominated documentary entitled, Beyond Imagining: Margaret Anderson and the "Little Review" in 1991, by Wendy L. Weinberg.[29][30]

Celebrating the life and work of Margaret Anderson and the Little Review's remarkable influence, an exhibition "Making No Compromise: Margaret Anderson and the Little Review" was opened at the Beinecke Library, Yale University, from October, 2006, and ran for three months.[31]


In 2006 Anderson and Jane Heap were inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame.[32]

In 2014, Anderson was inducted into The Chicago Literary Hall of Fame.[33]

Selected works

  • 1930: My Thirty Years' War: An Autobiography, ISBN 0-8180-0210-7.
  • 1951: The Fiery Fountains: The Autobiography: Continuation and Crisis to 1950, ISBN 0-8180-0211-5.
  • 1953: The Little Review Anthology, Hermitage House, 1953.
  • 1959: Margaret C. Anderson Correspondence with Ben and Rose Caylor Hecht.
  • 1962: The Strange Necessity: The Autobiography, ISBN 0-8180-0212-3.
  • 1962: The Unknowable Gurdjieff, memoir, dedicated to Jane Heap. 1962, Arkana. ISBN 0-14-019139-9.[34]
  • 1996: Forbidden Fires, part memoir, part novel, Ed. by Mathilda M. Hills. ISBN 1-56280-123-6.


  1. ^ a b Margaret Anderson Archived January 4, 2014, at the Wayback Machine American Magazine Journalists, 1900-1960, First Series: 1900–1960. by Sam G. Riley. Published by Gale Research, 1990.
  2. ^ Quotes by Maragaret Anderson The Little Review.
  3. ^ A life led as a work of art; Anderson Archived December 12, 2013, at the Wayback Machine New York Times, August 16, 1970.
  4. ^ Chapter3: Readers Critic – Margaret Anderson, Jean Heap and the Little Review Archived January 4, 2014, at the Wayback Machine Women Editing Modernism: "little" Magazines & Literary History, by Jayne E. Marek. Published by University Press of Kentucky, 1995. ISBN 0-8131-0854-3.
  5. ^ Margaret Anderson Archived December 13, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Books of The Times; The Little Review and After Archived December 12, 2013, at the Wayback Machine Thomas Mask - New York Times, August 3, 1970.
  7. ^ Elizabeth Jenks Clark Collection of Margaret Anderson Papers - Biographical info at Yale University Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
  8. ^ Margaret Anderson Archived March 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine Dictionary of Literary Biography on Margaret (Caroline) Anderson.
  9. ^ Margaret Anderson Archived January 4, 2014, at the Wayback Machine "The Cambridge Guide to Women's Writing in English", by Lorna Sage, Germaine Greer, Elaine Showalter. Cambridge University Press, 1999. ISBN 0-521-66813-1. "Page 16".
  10. ^ Hecht, Ben. A Child of the Century. Simon & Schuster, 1950. p. 233
  11. ^ Anderson - Jane Heap Archived February 4, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Gammel, Irene. “The Little Review and Its Dada Fuse, 1918-1921.” Baroness Elsa: Gender, Dada, and Everyday Modernity. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2002, 241.
  13. ^ "The Little Review 3.6 (September 1916)". Retrieved 2013-12-03.
  14. ^ "The Little Review 4.11 (March 1918)". Retrieved 2013-12-03.
  15. ^ Chapter 2: Margaret Anderson and the Cultural Politics of Self Expression Archived January 4, 2014, at the Wayback Machine The Secret Treachery of Words: Feminism and Modernism in America, by Elizabeth Francis. Published by Univ. of Minnesota Press, 2002. ISBN 0-8166-3327-4.
  16. ^ Gammel, Baroness Elsa, 253.
  17. ^ LITTLE REVIEW IN COURT.; Article Alleged to Be Indecent by Anti-Vice Society. Archived March 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine New York Times, February 15, 1921.
  18. ^ Margaret Caroline Anderson Archived April 5, 2016, at the Wayback Machine New York State Literary Tree.
  19. ^ "Columbia Encyclopedia: Anderson, Margaret C". Retrieved 2013-12-03.
  20. ^ A Life for a Life, Fiery Mountains.
  21. ^ Margaret Anderson Archived January 4, 2014, at the Wayback Machine Gurdjieff: The Key Concepts, by Sophia Wellbeloved. Published by Routledge, 2003, ISBN 0-415-24897-3. Page 246.
  22. ^ Chapter 5 - 1924 Archived January 4, 2014, at the Wayback Machine Gurdjieff's America: Mediating the Miraculous, by Paul Beekman Taylor. Published by Lighthouse Editions Limited, 2004. ISBN 1-904998-00-3. Page 62.
  23. ^ The Biography of Alice B. Toklas, by Linda Simon.U of Nebraska Press, 1991. ISBN 0-8032-9203-1. Page 171.
  24. ^ The Little Review's Founder Tells Its Story and Her Own Archived December 12, 2013, at the Wayback Machine New York Times, May 25, 1930.
  25. ^ The Rope Archived June 16, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ Harmonious Developer Archived August 27, 2013, at the Wayback Machine Time, Mar 24, 1930.
  27. ^ a b Anderson Profile Archived September 21, 2016, at the Wayback Machine Gurdjieff .
  28. ^ Griffin, Gabriele. Who's Who in Lesbian and Gay Writing. Routledge, 2002.
  29. ^ Overview - Beyond Imagining: Margaret Anderson and the Little Review (1994) Archived October 12, 2012, at the Wayback Machine New York Times.
  30. ^ Margaret Anderson -Bibliography The Little Review.
  31. ^ "Making No Compromise: Margaret Anderson and the Little Review — On Exhibition at The Beinecke Library, October 2006". Retrieved 2013-12-03.
  32. ^ "Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame". Archived from the original on 17 October 2015. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  33. ^ "Margaret Anderson". Chicago Literary Hall of Fame. 2014. Retrieved 2017-10-15.
  34. ^ "Article". Archived from the original on 2012-12-25.

Further reading

Published resources

  • Barnet, Andrea (2004). All-Night Party: The Women of Bohemian Greenwich Village and Harlem, 1913-1930. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books. ISBN 1-56512-381-6.
  • Broe, Mary Lynn (1989). Women's writing in exile. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 9780807818497.
  • Marsh, Margaret S. (1981). Anarchist Women, 1870-1920. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. ISBN 978-0-87722-202-6. OCLC 708544972.

Archival resources


  • Ladies of the Rope: Gurdjieff's Special Left Bank Women's Group, by William Patrick Patterson. Arete Pubns, 1998 . ISBN 1-879514-41-9.
  • Pound/the Little Review: The Letters of Ezra Pound to Margaret Anderson : the Little Review Correspondence, By Ezra Pound, Thomas L. Scott, Melvin J. Friedman, Jackson R. Bryer. Published by New Directions, 1988. ISBN 0-8112-1059-6.
  • Baggett, Holly A. (ed.) (2000), Dear Tiny Heart: The Letters of Jane Heap and Florence Reynolds, New York University Press
  • Feldman, Paula R. (1980). "Margaret Anderson". American Writers in Paris, 1920-1939. Dictionary of Literary Biography. 4. Detroit, Mich.: Gale Research Co
  • America—Meet Modernism! Women of the Little Magazine Movement: Women of the Little Magazine Movement, by Barbara Probst Solomon, Sarah. Great Marsh Press, 2003. ISBN 1-928863-10-8.[1]

External links

  1. ^ America- Meet Modernism!: Women of the Little Magazine Movement - Sarah - Google Books. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
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