Contempo: A Review of Books and Personalities, has been described as "sporadically printed, precariously financed, and audaciously edited" (Vickers 18). It was published in the small southern town of Chapel Hill, NC. Contributors received no compensation for their work.
Contempo was edited by Milton “Ab” Abernethy, a "nonthreatening and generous Communist,“ but magazine’s socialist tendencies surface mostly in the advertisements, letters, and articles (Vickers 28). The magazine itself focused on art, not politics.
Abernethy stated the magazine’s policy as: (1) complete freedom from all cliques whatsoever, (2) asylum for aggrieved authors, (3) encouraging literary controversy, and (4) the rapid reception of new ideas (Contempo, Vol. II, No. 1).
One of Contempo’s unique features was the “Authoreview,” where authors could review their own work or react to other criticisms. Authors interacted, conversed, and critiqued each other. Special issues allowed authors to work personally with Abernethy as guest editors. William Faulkner, James Joyce, and Bill Brown all received their own issues. Langston Hughes' commentary on the Scottsboro trials resulted in an uproar on the University of Chapel Hill at North Carolina campus.
From the magazine’s beginning in 1931, Milton “Ab” Abernethy and Anthony J. Buttitta were listed as co-editors of Contempo. In 1932, however, the two quarreled and Buttitta moved to Durham, NC. Two competing magazines titled Contempo were published. The matter was taken to court, and in March 1933 Abernethy was able to reassure his readers that Contempo would continue to be published from Chapel Hill, edited by himself and Minna K. Abernethy.
Last Update 11/05/04