The long-lasting publishing legacy
of The Dial helped bolster the magazine’s reputation
as the experimental voice of transcendentalist and modernist theater,
music, art, and literature across its lifetime. The magazine often
switched hands in leadership in its 89 years, but its golden age was
under the editorship of Scofield Thayer (1920-25), James Watson, Jr.(1920-29),
and Marianne Moore (1925-29).
During this decade, Thayer, Watson, and Moore led contributors to a high level
of experimental writing and criticism. Some of The Dial’s most
influential writers include T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, William
Carlos Williams, and e.e. cummings. These writers published influential works
in modernist poetry, bringing new form to their verse thanks to the freedom
given within each issue of The Dial. The Dial is most famous
for its publishing of T.S. Eliot’s “The
Waste Land” in 1922.
Under Thayer’s editorship, The Dial celebrated the regular publication
of artworks, in addition to literature, from both America and Europe. This
approach increased the magazine’s reputation as a cosmopolitan source
on the newest and most experimental creative work (Sparks). Artists like Picasso, Brancusi,
and Walker Grant were featured in The Dial’s November 1922 issue
surrounding discussion of classical art (Sparks).
Contributors like Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, and John Eglinton reported on the
European scene from Paris, London, and Dublin, respectively. Such loaded contributions
created a fine reputation for Thayer’s The Dial that lasted until its last issue in 1929.