The New Age – Marginalia

1845-1945, John Basil Barnhill, Max Stirner, Ragnar Redbeard, The Eagle and The Serpent / Monday, June 3rd, 2019
The British literary journal The New Age became an important venue for those promoting Nietzschean ideas, and Nietzsche’s work itself. The editor A.R.Orage bought the paper in 1907 and published writing by many of the early advocates of Nietzsche including Thomas Common, A. Ludovici and Oscar Levy. Orage himself had already written and published one of the few books on Nietzsche to exist in English a year earlier. This is important because Nietzsche’s work had not gone over well with the British public, and he had very few advocates in the Anglosphere. In the United States. The one other journal that was solidly Nietzschean (and the first to be so) was The Eagle and The Serpent (1898) which had already folded by he time Orage came about.

This little sweep through the culture that The New Age dabbled in explicitly connects Nietzsche, Stirner and Ragnar Redbeard into the same intellectual milieu at the beginning of the 20th century.

The New Age
No. 671 New Series. Vol.1. No.12
Thursday, July 18, 1907, P.188

Now that Nietzsche has entered the sphere of general discussion it is natural that publishers should find a growing demand for works dealing with the philosophy of Egoism, and Mr. Fifield is doing a service by issuing a translation of Max Stirner’s “The Ego and His Own.” This is the first translation of Stirner to be published in England. Will the next move on these lines be the issue of some of the works of Ragnar Redbeard?
Max Stirner is of course pre-Nietzschean, the above-mentioned work having first appeared in his native country, Germany, about sixty years ago. English readers, however, have had an opportunity in recent years of making acquaintance with his views by means of translations issued in America, where there always seems to be a public for ideas which are just off the beaten track.
It is not generally known’ that there is quite a literature Egoism in the States. True, it is not always of the best order, but it is quite good at its best and genuinely amusing at its worst. Some of the periodicals devoted to its study are fearfully and wonderfully made; one of these was called “I,” but whether it still asserts itself, or whether it has gone the way of many inferior sheets I do not know.
England has had but one consciously and deliberately egoistic journal. ”The Eagle and the Serpent,” and it led a chequered and fitful career in the later eighteen-nineties and the early nineteen-hundreds. Its sixteen octavo pages sometimes appeared in the conventional typographical form, ” justified” at each side, at others the right-hand side of the page tailed off like type-writing, giving the print the appearance of blank verse. It was in these pages, however, that many English people first learned of Nietzsche, for, besides freely quoting and discussing this philosopher, one number contained Thomas Common’s translation of the “Prefatory Discourse” of Zarathustra.
“The Eagle and the Serpent” was always fortunate in its correspondence. It had eminent readers and a valuable trick of beguiling them into its controversies. In this way, it managed to print letters from many of the leading modern thinkers, among whom may be mentioned Alfred Russel Wallace, Bernard Shaw, W. H. Mallock, Ernest Newman, E. H. Crosby, Benjamin Kidd, and Morrison Davidson. These letters were dealt with under the heading “Benedictions and Maledictions,” and with the numerous and excellent quotations from Nietzsche, Stirner, Rochefoucauld, Montaigne, Thoreau, and others, which formed a liberal part of the paper, “The Eagle and the Serpent ” was well worth the threepence asked for it.