Margaret Caroline Anderson (November 24, 1886 - October 18, 1973) was founder and editor of the celebrated literary magazine The Little Review, which published an extraordinary collection of modern American, English and Irish writers between 1914 and 1929.
Anderson was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, the eldest of three daughters of Arthur Aubrey Anderson and Jessie (Shortridge) Anderson. She graduated from high school in Anderson, Indiana in 1903, and then entered a two-year junior preparatory class at Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio.
She left Western in 1906, at the end of her freshman year, to pursue a career as a pianist. In the fall of 1908 she left home for Chicago, where she reviewed books for a religious weekly (The Continent) before joining The Dial. By 1913 she was a book critic for the Chicago Evening Post.
In March 1914 she founded The Little Review during Chicago’s literary renaissance. "An organ of two interests, art and good talk about art," the monthly's first issue featured articles on Nietzsche, feminism and psychoanalysis. Early funding was intermittent, and for six months in 1914, she was forced out of her Chicago residence at 837 West Ainslie Street, and the magazine's offices at Chicago Fine Arts Building at 410 S. Michigan Avenue, and camped with family and staff members on the shores of Lake Michigan.
In 1916, Anderson met Jane Heap (1883-1964), a spirited intellectual and artist immersed in the Chicago Arts and Crafts Movement, and a former lesbian lover to novelist Djuna Barnes. The two became lovers, and Anderson convinced her to become co-editor of the Little Review. Heap maintained a low profile, signing her contributions simply "jh," but she had a major impact on the success of the journal through its bold and radical content.
In 1917 Anderson and Heap moved The Little Review to New York, and with the help of critic Ezra Pound, who acted as her foreign editor in London, The Little Review published some of the most influential new writers in the English language, including Hart Crane, T. S. Eliot, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Pound himself, and William Butler Yeats. Other notable contributors included Sherwood Anderson, Andre Breton, Jean Cocteau, Malcolm Cowley, Marcel Duchamp, Ford Madox Ford, Emma Goldman, Vachel Lindsay, Amy Lowell, Francis Picabia, Carl Sandburg, Gertrude Stein, Wallace Stevens, Arthur Waley, and William Carlos Williams. Even so, however, she once issued 64 blank pages between covers to protest the temporary lack of exciting new works.
In 1918, as Anderson began serializing James Joyce's Ulysses, the U.S. Post Office seized and burned four issues of the magazine and convicted Anderson and her companion and associate editor, Jane Heap, on obscenity charges. Each was fined $50. In 1923 Anderson moved to Le Cannet (on the French Riviera) to live with the French singer Georgette Leblanc, and the final issue of The Little Review was edited at Hotel St. Germain-Des-Pres, 36 rue Bonaparte, Paris.
Anderson published a three-volume autobiography: My Thirty Years' War, The Fiery Fountains, and The Strange Necessity. In her last years in Le Cannet, she wrote her final book, part novel and part memoir, Forbidden Fires.
By 1942 her relationship with Heap had cooled, and, evacuating from the war in France, Anderson sailed for the United States. With her passage paid by Ernest Hemingway, Anderson met on the voyage Dorothy Caruso, widow of the singer and famous tenor Enrico Caruso. The two began a romantic relationship, and lived together until Caruso's death in 1955. Anderson returned to Le Cannet after Caruso's death, and there she died of emphysema on October 18, 1973. She is buried beside Georgette Leblanc in the Notre Dame des Agnes Cemetery.