Adam Description

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Adam was an international review published in English and French, which is said to be one of the longest running little magazines. The original periodical began in Bucharest in 1929 and later fell into the hands of its Romanian editor, Miron Grindea, in 1938. The first London publication came out in 1941 and continued to publish English and French writing. The name Adam is an acronym for Arts, Drama, Architecture and Music. The review had many famous contributors, including Pablo Picasso, Tristan Tzara, Jean Cocteau, or E.M. Forster (“Adam International Review” 57). The review also published unknown writers or artists who later became celebrity personalities, such as John Mander, who used the review to publish his poem “The Ides of March.”

Adam devoted entire issues to a particular anniversary, topic, or writer of interest. For example, there were issues dedicated to Chopin or to the Dickens centenary in 1971. The review also sought to publish memoirs, reflections, or drafts, like eight unpublished poems by Charles Dickens. Marion Grindea, wanted his review to capture his metropolitan spirit. Adam published several contributions in French, including Grindea’s editorial introduction to the Graham Green tribute titled: “A la Recherche de Graham Greene.” The review regularly had about 1000 subscribers, and we know that its readers were loyal to the review’s cosmopolitan spirit since Adam published its last issue in 1994–over 50 years after its first English number.

The eclectic character of the magazine reflects the multi-dimensional nature of its editor, Miron Grindea, who mingled with the Bohemians of his day. Alvin Sullivan attributes Adam’s longevity to the magazine’s “diversity of material” and supports his argument by quoting literary critic and writer Cyril Connolly who claimed he knew “of only three magazines which survive unaltered from the ‘thirties: Partisan ReviewThe Wine and Food Quarterly and Miron Grindea’s indestructible Adam” (qtd. in “Adam International Review” 4).

Diversity of Content: The magazine published pieces ranging from poetry, to manuscripts and letters, to unpublished childhood memoir reproductions of Virginia Woolf’s early attempts at writing. The magazine also had issues devoted to Baudelaire, to the Dickens centenary, and to the Beethoven bicentenary.

International Artistic Conversation:  Adam “endeavored to gather round it almost all the foreign writers, members of various P.E.N. centres now assembled in England” (“Adam International Review” 4). A wide range of contributors from countries around Europe, and publications in English and French, enabled the magazine to foster awareness of international issues.

Catering to quality and not quantity: In the 200th issue of Adam, Miron Grindea quoted T. S. Eliot’s commentary on The Criterion from July 1938: “so far as culture depends upon periodicals, it depends upon periodicals which exist as a means of communication between cultivated people, and not as a commercial enterprise: it depends upon periodicals which do not make profit” (qtd. in “Adam International Review” 5). Grindea believed that Eliot’s statement rang true for his own periodical. In the same 200th issue of the magazine, the cover shows Grindea naked with a single leaf covering his sex. It was Adam’s goal to show that which some would consider alarming.

Compiled by Bettina Lemm,  Davidson College Class of 2013.
The material used in his site has been gathered in good faith according to fair use standards with full citations of all sources. Whenever possible, we have attempted to secure permissions for any material that exceeds “fair use” standards. Because of the ephemeral nature of little magazines, it is often difficult to determine who, if anyone, holds the rights to materials published therein. In such an instance, text and images will be considered on loan until someone objects.