Black Cats, Butterflies, and the Ephemeral Bibelots: Recovering the Modernity of America's Fin de Siècle


ACLS Fellowship Program




This project tells the story of the late nineteenth-century craze for "ephemeral bibelots"—hundreds of almost entirely forgotten, proto-modernist little magazines published around the world—in its full, transnational richness. It develops key ideas about the prehistory of the well-known modernist little magazines and the world history of American literature at the turn of the century. Additionally, it comments on collections, databases, and publics in our current age of digitally assisted research. The project is organized into three sections—"Vogue," "Ephemera," and "Obscurity"—and moves discussions beyond the Anglo-American context by looking at the bibelots from France, where the vogue began, as well as those from Russia, India, and Japan.