Caroline Hovanec is Associate Teaching Professor of English and Writing at the University of Tampa. She is the author of Animal Subjects: Literature, Zoology, and British Modernism (Cambridge University Press, 2018); her current book project is a study of vermin.
1914—a year that looms large in modernist studies for many reasons, including the beginning of the First World War, the “Men of 1914” variant of literary modernism, and the publication of landmark works such as A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (in serial form), Tender Buttons, and Des Imagistes—also marks the extinction of the passenger pigeon. Martha, the species endling, died of old age at the Cincinnati Zoo on September 1.
The London Film Society was founded in 1925 with a mission of bringing avant-garde and foreign films to British audiences. Its programming included a number of films that have gone down in history as landmarks of experimental cinema: Ballet mécanique and Entr’acte from France, the German expressionist classics The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler, and Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin and October from the Soviet Union. These selections gave the Film Society a certain modernist cachet, and its screenings attracted the likes of Roger Fry and Virginia and Leonard Woolf. Alongside these ambitious international films, however, the Film Society also had a curious liking for a humbler, more homegrown kind of programming: the natural history short