The Periodical as a Playhouse: Wyndham Lewis’s ‘Enemy of the Stars’ in Blast (1914)

  • Anneloek Scholten (Radboud University)


Modernist plays in the early twentieth century often resisted the theatre. Many circulated in print, in ‘little magazines’ dedicated to literature and the arts. Using Wyndham Lewis’s ‘Enemy of the Stars’ (1914) as a case study, this article considers what the medium of the little magazine offered modernist playwrights. The article first engages with some of Lewis’s earlier periodical publications and his interest in contemporary crowd theory, to trace how his attitude towards performance and the masses developed. Comparing the periodical publication of Lewis’s experimental play to a 1932 revision in book form then reveals that it is precisely the magazine’s dramatic potential that allowed Lewis to stage a closet play to be read by the individual, instead of watched by the masses that he despised. This article thereby argues for an understanding of the modernist periodical as a highly performative medium, and acknowledges its vital role in shaping modernist aesthetics.

Keywords: little magazines, modernist drama, closet drama, Wyndham Lewis

How to Cite:

Scholten, A., (2024) “The Periodical as a Playhouse: Wyndham Lewis’s ‘Enemy of the Stars’ in Blast (1914)”, Journal of European Periodical Studies 8(2), 30–48. doi:

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Published on
21 Feb 2024
Peer Reviewed