BLAST (1914–1915) By Waddell, Nathan
BLAST was an early modernist ‘little magazine’ edited by Wyndham Lewis in London. Not to be confused with Alexander Berkman’s San Francisco-based anarchist newspaper The Blast (1916–17), BLAST proclaimed the arrival of the English avant-garde movement Vorticism. BLAST ran for two volumes, appearing in July 1914 and July 1915, before the First World War forced it to end. The magazine’s two instalments represent a key example of pre-war avant-garde periodical culture, and are recognised as exemplifying, through the differing commitments of their various contributors, some of the overlapping alliances and antagonisms of London’s early modernist socio-cultural scene. Key contributions include Lewis’s play Enemy of the Stars (1914) and stories by Ford Madox Ford (‘The Saddest Story’, 1914) and Rebecca West (‘Indissoluble Matrimony’, 1914). In promoting Vorticism, BLAST championed an intellectual aesthetic based on contemplative detachment and foregrounded inter-subjective relations. Both volumes of BLAST were heavily illustrated, featuring visual contributions from Jessie Dismorr, Jacob Epstein, Frederick Etchells, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Spencer Gore, Cuthbert Hamilton, Jacob Kramer, Lewis himself, C. R. W. Nevinson, William Roberts, Helen Saunders, Dorothy Shakespear, and Edward Wadsworth.