Rolfe Arnold Scott-James
Rolfe Arnold Scott-James (1878-1959) was an important British journalist, editor and literary critic in early twentieth-century literature. He is often cited as one of the first people to use the word "modernism" in his 1908 book Modernism and Romance, in which he writes, "there are characteristics of modern life in general which can only be summed up, as Mr. Thomas Hardy and others have summed them up, by the word, modernism" (ix).
Scott-James was educated at Brasenose College, Oxford and graduated in 1901. The Dictionary of National Biography states that Scott-James "possessed a strongly developed social conscience: this manifested itself at many different points in his career in activities which, if distinct from his literary gifts, at the same time enriched them" (872). In 1914, Scott-James, then a close friend Wyndham Lewis became the editor of the New Weekly, which did not survive the outbreak of war later that year. During the war, Scott-James enlisted as and fought in the Royal Garrison Artillery in France, and by the end of the war he had risen to the rank of Captain and in 1918 was awarded the Military Cross.
In 1934, Scott-James took over the editorship of the influential magazine, the London Mercury from J. C. Squire, in which he published many canonically recognized authors of modernism. The last issue of the London Mercury in April 1939 contained W. H. Auden's "In Memory of W. B. Yeats."
His daughter Anne Scott-James was also a prominent journalist.
Editorships and literary positions
- Literary Editor, Daily News, London (1902-1912)
- New Weekly, London (1914)
- Lead-Writer, the Daily Chronicle, London (1919-1930)
- Assistant Editor, the Spectator, London (1933-1935; 1939-1945)
- London Mercury, London (1934-1939)
- Britain To-day (1940-1954)
- Scott-James, R.A. Modernism and Romance. New York and London: John Lane, 1908.
- Dictionary of National Biography, 1951-1960. Edited by E.T. Williams and Helen M. Palmer. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1971.
- Fifty Years of English Literature, 1900-1950 (1951)
- The Influence of the Press (1913)
- Short Study: Lytton Strachey (1955)
- The Making of Literature: Some Principles of Criticism Examined in the Light of Ancient and Modern Theory. New York: Holt and Company, 1928.
- Modernism and Romance. New York and London: John Lane, 1908.
- Personality in Literature (1913)
- Short Study: Thomas Hardy (1951)
- An Englishman in Ireland: Impressions of a Journey in a Canoe by River, Lough and Canal: (1910)