Scribner’s Fiction Number, August
There are a number of Maxfield Parrish reproductions hanging in my home, so naturally I was thrilled when this card arrived from Postmuse, just a little over a year ago. This particular work is a magazine cover from 1897 for Scribner’s; the term “fiction number” seems to be a generic term that was in use at the time. There seems to have been a certain class of magazine that was referred to as a “number”; there were “fiction numbers” and “fashion numbers” and “holiday numbers”, among others.
The stamp she used is equally wonderful, one featuring Dorothy Parker (1893-1967), poet, satirist, and member of the Algonquin Round Table. Much of her poetry was dismissed by critics as “flapper poetry,” and some of it is admittedly light humor, clever but without deep insight — as if all poetry must hold a mirror to one’s soul. For example, Ms. Parker had certain ideas about Men, all of which I might use to describe women:
They hail you as their morning star
Because you are the way you are.
If you return the sentiment,
They’ll try to make you different;
And once they have you, safe and sound,
They want to change you all around.
Your moods and ways they put a curse on;
They’d make of you another person.
They cannot let you go your gait;
They influence and educate.
They’d alter all that they admired.
They make me sick, they make me tired.
Occasionally, though, she allowed a glimpse into her oft-broken heart, as in Midnight:
The stars are soft as flowers, and as near;
The hills are webs of shadow, slowly spun;
No separate leaf or single blade is here-
All blend to one.
No moonbeam cuts the air; a sapphire light
Rolls lazily. and slips again to rest.
There is no edged thing in all this night,
Save in my breast.
For more stamps and poetry this Sunday, visit today’s issue of Sunday Stamps.