The Golden Horizon

The Golden Horizon

The Golden Horizon

The Golden Horizon

Excerpt

Between Christmas 1939 and New Year 1950, Horizon ran to some ten thousand pages: the purpose of this anthology has been to select six hundred. This could have been made possible only by inventing certain rules and keeping strictly to them. Since the plates which illustrated our Art articles no longer exist, it was decided that Art must go; and Art included painting, sculpture, the cinema and architecture -- and music too. The first rule, then, was 'Literature only'. Now no magazine can rise superior to the judgement of its editor, and, looking back, I felt that I could not always trust myself where articles on philosophy and psychology were concerned, or politics and economics; they might not be the best of their kind; they might be obsolete, and, in any case, they are difficult to mix. So are reports on places, which are apt to date; and in the end, therefore, I was left with stories, poems, reportage and literary essays from which to make a selection. One more rule: to avoid essays and stories which have become well known through being reprinted, like the work of Arturo Barea, Elizabeth Bowen, E. M. Forster, Anna Kavan, Arthur Koestler, George Orwell, Sir Osbert Sitwell, Martin Turnell, Lionel Trilling and Evelyn Waugh. And one final rule: to avoid contributions which have been translated from other magazines, or long critical essays which are in reality glorified book reviews -- and not to include articles on living writers whose subsequent work may have belied them.

This made a large dent in ten thousand pages and 'the question of arrangement then arose. It seemed in retrospect that Horizon had enjoyed three moments of historical importance. The first was at the beginning of the last war when it served as a rallying point where writers might clear their minds and pool their experiences. From 1939-41 Stephen Spender was a co-editor and it was due largely to him that we printed such good war poetry and such intelligent articles about war aims; on the other hand Horizon at that time manifested a tendency to become a Left-wing 'school magazine' with a rather naïve attitude to other writers. This complacency was dispelled by Orwell: 'In the last twenty years,' he wrote, 'Western civilization has given the Intellectual security without responsibility . . .

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