NEW YORK — What was the world like 100 years ago? That was not the question I had in mind when I idly wondered if I could find exactly how French actress Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923) had described British playwright/novelist Oscar Wilde on one special occasion. As this is the age of the Internet, I quickly found the object of my wonderment in The New Age — no, not some magazine associated with the amorphous spiritual movement of recent vintage, but the famous Socialist weekly started in England a century ago in 1907.

Not that I knew anything about this periodical. I say “famous” because Brown University considers it important enough to include, in the Web site for its Modernist Journals Project, all the issues edited by A.R. Orange, from 1907 to 1922. Orange was a member of the Fabian Society whose most prominent member, George Bernard Shaw, partly financed the publication.

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