Artibus et Historiae no. 62 (XXXI)

2010, ISSN 0391-9064

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VICTORIA MARTINO - Pan: A Periodical Presaging Postmodernism

The founders and editors of Pan, German periodical, first published in April/May of 1895 in Berlin, strove for nothing less than the complete reinvigoration of culture and the confutation of mediocrity and utilitarianism. Fighting on all fronts — graphic, literary, scholarly, and journalistic — they eschewed both trivia and convenience, thereby serving to elevate the techniques and expressive potential of all of these disciplines to unprecedented heights of achievement. Their plan was carefully contrived and meticulously executed, and its success carried the periodical triumphantly to the threshold of the twentieth century.

Pan’s greatest contribution was its passionate and unswerving commitment to absolute ideals of beauty and truth in a cultural climate of decadence on the one hand, and complacent mediocrity on the other. Paradoxically, Germany’s nihilistic prophet Nietzsche had succeeded in paving the way for an international invigoration of European civilization. Pan stands as a testament to the vision of its “sublime ones” — its creators, founders, editors, and contributors. To open the volumes of this literary and artistic time capsule is to unlock the forgotten treasures of a Pandora’s box, the richness of which has only now begun to reveal itself in the all-embracing noonday light of postmodernism.

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