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From The Dial: “The Initial Number of the ‘Yellow Bookʼ”

The first number of the much her-
alded “Yellow Book” has appeared,
Messrs. Copeland & Day being the
American publishers. It is an illustrated quarterly
magazine, edited by Mr. Henry Harland, and real-
izing in a measure the suggestion made by Mr. How-
ells in “A Hazard of New Fortunes.” That is, each
number of the periodical is to be a cloth-bound book,
complete in itself. In appearance, “The Yellow
Book” is attractive, except for the cover, upon the
design of which the imagination of Mr. Aubrey
Beardsley has been permitted to run riot. Now
Mr. Beardsley is a very clever young man, and he
sometimes displays a real mastery of line, but he
misses as frequently as he hits, and he has distinctly
missed in the present instance. Illustrations are
also supplied by Sir Frederic Leighton, Mr. Joseph
Pennell, Mr. Laurence Housman, Mr. J. T. Nettle-
ship, and others. In spite of these names the book
is something of a disappointment upon the decora-
tive side. Mr. Nettleship’s “Head of Minos” is
the most striking of the pictures. As for paper and
print, they are exceptionally beautiful, although we
cannot say that we like the square form of the vol-
ume. Of the contents, we may first mention the
poems, which are contributed by Messrs. Le Gal-
lienne, A. C. Benson, Watson, Symons, Gosse, and
Davidson. So good a collection of names and pieces
of verse is not often found within the covers of a
single issue of any periodical. The prose contents
open with “The Death of the Lion,” a story in the
subtlest manner of Mr. Henry James. Other im-
aginative work of high or at least fair quality is con-
tributed by Miss Ella d’Arcy, Mr. F. M. Simpson,
and the editor. “The Fool’s Hour,” caustically
pleasing, is a play by “John Oliver Hobbes” and
Mr. George Moore. The serious features are Mr.
Arthur Waugh’s admirable essay on “Reticence in
Literature,” and Dr. Richard Garnett’s “The Love-
Story of Luigi Tansillo,” with translations of Tan-
sillo’s sonnets. The contents are filled out by two
or three other things, entirely insignificant, which
might better have been omitted. The names that
we have above enumerated certainly constitute a re-
markable array, yet the general impression left after
examination of the book is that not more than two or
three of them are represented by their better work.
The sponsors of this new-born periodical have kept
their promise in excluding “actuality” from its
pages. There is nothing timely about any of the
contents as far as subject-matter is concerned. But
the sort of “actuality” that finds expression in man-
nerism is abundantly present, and we doubt if the
beginning of the twentieth century will find this
volume nearly as readable as we now find it late in
the nineteenth. We understand that the book has
had a very large sale.

MLA citation:

“The Initial Number of the ‘Yellow Book.'” Review of The Yellow Book, vol. 1, April 1894, The Dial June 1894, pp. 335-36. Yellow Nineties 2.0, Edited by Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, Ryerson University Centre for Digital Humanities, 2019.