The avant garde journal Blast was first published on 2 July 1914, on the eve of the First World War. It marked the emergence of Vorticism, a modernist British art movement which paralleled other European art movements such as Futurism in Italy and Expressionism in Germany. Edited by Wyndham Lewis, who also wrote much of the text and provided illustrations as well, the two issues of this short-lived periodical encompassed the different areas of painting, design, sculpture, poetry, prose and drama, as well as reproducing the text of the Vorticist ‘Manifesto’ in its first issue. The second and last issue was entitled ‘War number’ and appeared on 15 July 1915. As exemplified by the bright, puce cover and bold typography of issue 1, Blast was experimental in both content and visual design and can be seen as a predecessor to later ventures in modernist print and visual culture. Apart from Lewis himself, contributors to Blast included the writers Ezra Pound, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, T.S. Eliot and Ford Madox Ford as well as illustrators such as Helen Saunders, Jacob Epstein, Frederick Etchells and C.R.W. Nevinson.
The Department of Early Printed Books and the School of English are marking the centenary of Blast with a small exhibition in the Long Room, coinciding with a one-day symposium, “BLAST at 100” which takes place in the Trinity Long Room Hub on 2 July. An online version of the exhibition is also available on the Library website.