A Group of Critics

A Group of Critics

Though it lasted only sixteen months, the magazine Seven Arts (1916-17) defined an important cultural moment in the United States. Distinctively American but cosmopolitan, modernist in commitment but democratic and constructive in spirit, Seven Arts was, in the phrase of Henry May, the “pure distilled essence” of the bohemian intellectuals of the 1910s. Seven Arts is probably best remembered as the magazine that published Randolph Bourne’s brilliant, stinging critique of John Dewey, his teacher. His attack on Dewey’s “pragmatic” support of American participation in World War I resulted in the withdrawal of the magazine’s patron, thus ending its career.

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