Mayer, Ruth (2020):
"Periodically Queer: Sexology and Non-Normative Sexualities in the Little Magazine The Masses." Modernist Cultures 15.4: 1-28.
Journal Article

This paper will be concerned with the special affordances of periodical writing, taking the modernist little magazine The Masses as its example. This magazine was instrumentally involved in promoting sexual liberation and ‘sex radicalism’ in the United States of the 1910s, and I argue that the – contracted, serial, and contingent – structure of periodical publishing had an incisive impact on the ways in which the magazine responded to and transfigured the contemporary rhetoric of sexology. Focusing on the enactment of non-normative sexualities in the little magazine, I aim to show that the iterative and kaleidoscopic form of presentation yields effects that are different from the aesthetics of queer modernism as manifest in the ‘closed’ literary forms of the episodic novel or the short story collection. I will cast a close look at Floyd Dell's writing in the magazine to argue my case, and end with a reflection on (the publication history of) Sherwood Anderson's ‘Hands’.