Founded in 1911, Rhythm was an avant garde magazine promoting innovative art, music, literature and critical theory. It was principally edited by John Middleton Murry, with initial assistance from Michael T H Sadler and John Duncan Fergusson. Fergusson designed the magazine’s striking front cover.
Like many little magazines, Rhythm was non-commercial and short-lived. It released its last issue of 14 in 1913. During its two year run, however, Rhythm published work by talented writers and artists including D H Lawrence and Katherine Mansfield. Mansfield, who had permanently moved away from her home country of New Zealand in 1908, was then an aspiring writer who had published her first short story collection in 1911. Mansfield’s contributions – including short stories and poetry – were published under her own name as well as the pseudonyms Lili Heron, The Tiger, and Boris Petrovsky. In June 1912 Mansfield became an assistant editor for the magazine, progressing to co-editor in early 1913. She is now widely regarded as a pioneer of the modernist short story.
This is the fourth issue of Rhythm for spring 1912. It contains Mansfield’s first short story contribution, ‘The Woman at the Store’. It is inset with a drawing by Margaret Thompson, aka Marguerite Zorach, and a landscape painting by Henri Manguin. Rhythm’s page designs are interesting for the way that they closely integrate stand-alone works of art and literature, asking the reader to switch dynamically between different modes of reading, looking and thinking.
John Middleton Murry and Katherine Mansfield: a literary partnership
Mansfield and Murry first met in late 1911, after Mansfield submitted two stories to Rhythm. Living and working together almost immediately, they became lovers. They were married in 1918, after Mansfield had obtained a divorce from her first husband, George Bowden.