Sunday, August 10, 2014

When The Cavalier Experimented with Esperanto

In this issue: Esperanto
First, I need to distinguish between two similarly named but unrelated magazines. I’m talking about the earlier one, published by Frank Munsey from 1908 to 1914 (and not the Fawcett men’s magazine, started in 1952). The Munsey The Cavalier was a story magazine. On August 10, 1912, The Cavalier tried an experiment: Esperanto.

On Thursday, August 8, 1912, the Washington Times carried a two-column advertisement from The Cavalier, split into several sections, as if it were part of the news content of the paper. The last of these is titled “An Experiment in Esperanto.”

This section of the advertisement reads:

An Experiment in Esperanto
Perhaps you have noticed, in the collaborations of J. U. Giesy and J. B. Smith, especially in the Semi Dual series and “HERMO THE HANDSOME,” that frequent references have been made to Esperanto and fragments of the language quoted. Certainly, some of the readers of THE CAVALIER sat up and took notice, because I received a good many letters commending the use of Esperanto and suggesting that a story in that language be printed. Well, I guess by this time you all now that I aim to please. I am willing to do anything once, and then, if it works successfully, once again, and thereafter as often as I can get away with it.

In the issue for August 10, under the title of “IN 2112,” I shall print in English, a short story from the pens of J. U. Giesy and J. B. Smith, and immediately following you will find in Esperanto, a translation of “IN 2112” by Dr. Elmer E. Haynes. Line these stories up and look them over and read them and analyze them, and altogether you will get considerable pleasure out of them.

I will not encumber this page with a synopsis of “IN 2112.” The very title suggests that it is one of those looking-forward years, and it is reasonable to assume that, in so far as it comes from the pens of Giesy and Smith, it is a live one.
I have not, unfortunately, found an online-copy of “In 2112,” other than (oddly enough) images of pages of Forrest J. Ackerman’s translation from Esperanto of Haynes’s translation of Giesy and Smith’s original story. What I’d really like to find is the Esperanto version. (Why Ackerman translated the Esperanto back into English is beyond me; maybe it had something to do with copyright.)

In February 1913, Amerika Esperantisto attempted to further encourage The Cavalier in this endeavor, telling its readers to write to the editor of The Cavalier, thanking the magazine for including Esperanto, giving the magazine names of esperantists who might subscribe, reminding other esperantists to write, and getting non-esperantists to write to the magazine in praise of its inclusion of Esperanto. Amerika Esperantisto concluded with the warning:
If you don’t, those who object to Esperanto in the Cavalier (and there re some, too) will will the day. Do you want to be beaten?
I was able to check an online database of fiction magazines, and that gave me (with a little hunting) the list of all of the stories that The Cavalier ran in Esperanto.
  • August 10, 1912: “En 2112,” translation by Elmer E. Haynes of “In 2112,” by J.U. Giesy and Junius B. Smith.
  • January 18, 1913, “La Allogo de la Lavandaj Arbor,” translation by D.O.S. Lowell of “Lure of the Lavender Trees,” by Maryland Allen.
  • January 25, 1913: “La Timo Pri la Vivado,” translation by D.O.S. Lowell of “The Fear of Life,” by Harold Titus.
  • February 1, 1913: “Lekantoj,” translation by D.O.S. Lowell of “Marguerites,” by Frances E. Gale.
  • February 8, 1913: “La Loko Profaned Interna,” translation by D.O.S. Lowell of “The Spot Down Deep,” by Oney Fred Sweet.
  • February 15, 1913: “La Apaĉa Vespermanĝo,” translation by D.O.S. Lowell of “The ‘Apache’ Dinner” by C. Hilton-Turvey.
Elmer Haynes provided only that one translation, and later sold a story (in English) to another Munsey magazine. D.O.S. Lowell, the headmaster of Roxbury Latin (and a member of the socially prominent Boston family), was a frequent contributor to the pulps. Oddly, his only Esperanto contributions (other than an article in Munsey’s in 1906 and set of lessons published in The Scrap Book in 1907) are these translations.

The Cavalier's experiment in Esperanto was a brief one and the magazine didn't much outlive it.
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