Although Katherine Anne Porter began her writing career in the magazines, these periodicals have been largely erased from critical discussions of her work. This essay begins to recover the neglected publication history of Porter’s magazine fiction by reading her short story “Magic” in the context of its original publication in transition. Eugene Jolas’s transnational, interwar magazine cultivated transformative literary innovations with a rhetoric of magic that Jolas developed throughout the magazine. By returning “Magic” to the “American Number” of transition where it first appeared, reading it alongside Jolas’s individual contributions to the magazine’s language of magic, and considering the ways it anticipated the verticalist theory that Jolas would go on to cultivate in the magazine, this essay recovers Porter’s contribution to the magazine’s aesthetic vision.
Katherine Anne Porter, Magic, and transition
Kerry Hasler-Brooks is assistant professor at Messiah College, where she teaches courses in borderlands rhetorics and American literature. Her current project, “Imagining a Borderlands South: Literature from Mexico and the United States, 1845–1950,” restores a textual history that transcends the borders between Mexico and the United States and imagines a new transnational south where rigid categories of national identity are eroded.