On this day…18 June

On 18 June 1964 Jane Heap died.

Jane Heap (1883-1964) and her partner Margaret Anderson established the Little Review which became one of the most important literature journals promoting modernist and experimental writing. The Little Review serialised parts of Ulysses from 1918 until 1921 when Heap and Anderson were fined for publishing obscenity.

Born in Kansas, Heap moved to Chicago and studied art at the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1916 she met Margaret Anderson, founder and publisher of the Little Review which had been operating since 1914. Heap soon joined the Little Review as an editor and contributor. Claiming to make “no compromise with the public taste,” the Little Review became one of the most important literary journals of the period.

Heap and Anderson moved the Little Review to New York in 1917 and engaged Ezra Pound, then based in London, to act as foreign editor. It was through his connections with avant garde literary circles in London and Paris that many European writers were published in America. Until it closed in 1929, the Little Review published many of the best-known names in modern literature, including Joyce.

Episodes of Ulysses started appearing in the Little Review from March 1918. Despite the fact that Pound was already editing passages from the typescripts without Joyce’s knowledge, several issues of the Review were seized by US Postal authorities for publishing obscene material. Eventually John S Sumner of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice took a case against Heap and Anderson, and in 1921 they were found guilty of publishing obscenity and were fined $50 each.

As the trial proceeded, Heap defended the decision to publish Ulysses in an article, ‘James Joyce: Art and Law,’ published in the December 1920 issue of the Little Review. In it Heap claims that Joyce’s work must be judged not in moral terms but solely as a work of art. As a result of the trial, however, Heap and Anderson were obliged to stop publishing Ulysses.

Heap and Anderson visited Paris in 1923 and again in June 1928 when Joyce met them.


Sources & Further Reading:

Ellmann, Richard: James Joyce – New and Revised edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982.

Heap, Jane. “James Joyce: Art and Law,” in the Little Review, vol. 7, no. 3 (September-December 1920),  pp. 5-7.