Jane Heap (1883 – 1964) gives lesbians a chance to explore another life of a gay woman. It is amazing that we have existed from the dawn of cilivilization and in every country. Depending on the century and country, many lesbians have led secret lives with their lovers and friends. The richer and more famous a lesbian might be gave her access to other women.
Jane was an American publisher who promoted literary modernism.She worked with Margaret Anderson, her lover and business partner.Jane edited the celebrated literary magazine, “The Little Review.” The magazine introduced readers to American, English and Irish writers between the years of 1914 to 1929.
Jane was born in Topeka, Kansas, where her father ws the warden of the local mental asylum. After high school completion, Jane moved to Chicao and entrolled in the Art Institute. She developed her skills and became an art teacher at the Lewis Institute.
A Lesbian Romance
In 1910, when Jane was 27, she met a student, Florence Reynolds, at the Lewis Institute. Florence and they became lovers. Florance was the daughter of a prosperous Chicago businessman. They travelled together to Germany, where Jane studied tapestry and weaving. They separated later, but remained friends all their lives.
In 1916, Jane met Margaret Anderson, and soon joined her as co-editor of The Little Review. Although her work in the published magazine was relatively low profile (she signed her pieces simply “jh”), she was a bold and creative force behind the scenes
The Little Review Moves to New York
In 1917 Anderson and Heap moved The Little Review from Chicago to New York. The critic and poet, Ezra Pound, acted as their foreign editor in London. Margaret and Jane published some of the most influential writers in the English language: T.S. Eliot, Ernest Heminway, William Butler Yeats, Gertrude Stein, and Pound himself.
The magazine’s most published poet was New York dadaist Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven. Jane and Elsa often differed in their feminist and artistic endeavours.
At their 1921 trial, they were fined $100 and forced to discontinue the serialization. Following the trial, Heap became the main editor of the magazine, taking over from Anderson, and introducing brightly coloured covers and experimental poetry from surrealists and Dadaists. Two years later, in 1923, Jane and Margaret broke up.
Margaret moved to Paris with her new lover, soprano, Georgette leblance.
Gurdjieff – Philosophyer
Jane met G.I. Gurdjieff during his 1924 visit to New York, and was so impressed with his philosophy that she set up a Gurdjieff study group at her apartment in Greenwich Village. In 1925, she moved to Paris, to study at Gurdjieff’’s Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man
Jane and Margaret, now ex-lovers, continued to work together as
as co-editors of The Little Review until deciding to close the magazine in 1929. Jane also at this time adopted Margaret’s two nephews, after Anderson’s sister had had a nervous breakdown. Margaret, evidently, showed no interest in becoming a foster mother.
Gurdieff – Study Group
Jane established a Paris Gurdjieff study group in 1927, which continued to grow in popularity through the early 1930s, when
Kathryn Hume (author of The Nun’s Storyt) and journalist Solita Solano(Sarah Wilkinson) joined the group. This developed into an all-women Gurdjieff study group known as “the Rope”, taught jointly by Jane and by Gurdjieff himself.
In 1935, Gurdjieff sent Jane to London to set up a new study group. She would remain in London for the rest of her life, including throughout the bombing of the city in World War II.
Jane never wrote or published her ideas. She died from diabetes in 1964, aged 81. Jane was known for her aphorisms. Nineteen years after her death, students put together a collection of aphorisms. The date was 1983.
Here are some of her most popular aphorisms.
- A cat is all essence. Essence remembers.
- Do not sit too long in the same place.
- You are responsible for what you have understood.
- Little steps for little feet.
- Suppress natural reaction and pay for it later.
- Animals are nature’s experiments and embody all the emotions.
paula’s comments: I hope you are enjoying the group of lesbians that I am blogging.
Some I have heard about, others are new to me. As a lesbian, I am so proud to have
fore-sisters who have gone before me – all women who loved women – and many who have made significant contributions to society.