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Shadow SitesPhotography, Archaeology, and the British Landscape 1927–1955$
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Kitty Hauser

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199206322

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199206322.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 04 August 2021

Reading Antiquity, Mapping History

Reading Antiquity, Mapping History

Chapter:
(p.105) 3 Reading Antiquity, Mapping History
Source:
Shadow Sites
Author(s):

Kitty Hauser

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199206322.003.0008

When, in 1978, the poet, critic, and editor Geoffrey Grigson (1905–85) was asked by the Times Literary Supplement which journals had influenced him when young, he answered that one magazine, Antiquity, founded and edited then by O. G. S. Crawford, still seems to me to have been the flower of all periodicals familiar to me in my day. In that treasury, so decently laid out (and so well printed . . .), prehistory, and history, rather as it was understood by Marc Bloch in France, and later by W. G. Hoskins, and imagination, received a stimulus such as no periodical administered to literature. Antiquity was begun in 1927 by the field archaeologist O. G. S. Crawford (1886–1957) as a quarterly review aiming to disseminate the findings of a new generation of archaeologists in an accessible style and a visually attractive format. For Grigson, this journal most fitted the bill, in the late 1920s and 1930s, of what he calls the ‘periodical of Utopia’ that Tolstoy had called for in 1858. Tolstoy wanted a journal proclaiming the ‘independence and eternity of art’, where art would be saved from the politics that was engulfing nineteenth-century Russia, threatening to destroy or defile art. Such a journal was Grigson’s ideal, too. Drawing an implicit parallel between Tolstoy’s Moscow of 1858 and politicized interwar Britain, he decried the endemic admixture of politics with art in the periodical press at this time, when every ‘shrewd editor’ had an ‘axe to grind’. One of his favourites, the New Republic, while excellent, ‘came under the curse . . . which ordains that most literary journalism in our language must be for ever mixed with politics’. T. S. Eliot’s journal The Criterion was tainted by the same ‘curse’: ‘covert politics’, claimed Grigson, ‘slightly defiled its superiority’. Only in Antiquity, it seems, could Grigson discern art—‘independent and eternal’—without the defiling politics or the dullness that accompanied it in other journals and weeklies. Only in a publication that did not claim to deal with art could he find what he was looking for, as he viewed this archaeological journal through the lens of poetry. Antiquity, he wrote, made ‘all the past with firework colours burn’—a line he borrowed from Wyndham Lewis’s poem about Sir Thomas Browne’s antiquarian tract Urne Buriall.

Keywords:   Surrealism, Traces, Wales, archaeology, criminology, detective fiction, forensic science, geology, historical sciences, military reconnaissance, photography, tourism

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