Magazines, Travel and Middlebrow Culture in Canada 1925-1960

Magazine name: La Revue Moderne
Years: 1919-1960
City: Montreal
Publisher: La Revue Moderne Inc.
Language: French
Link to our catalogue of selected issues
Link to online collection at BaNQ

Downloadable files:

Table of contents, November 15, 1919 (first issue). Link to PDF (~1mb)
Table of contents, January, 1925. Link to PDF (~1mb)
Table of contents, October, 1926. Link to PDF (~1mb)
Table of contents, March, 1927. Link to PDF (~1mb)
Table of contents from April, 1931. Link to PDF (1mb)
Index of advertisers (and table of contents), November, 1937. Link to PDF (~1mb)
Index of advertisers (and table of contents), April 1938. Link to PDF (~1mb)
List of LRM staff, 1935-1949. Link to PDF (200kb)
Full issue, March, 1932. Link to PDF (17mb) Note: As the pdf contains internal links, it is best viewed in Adobe Reader (Win/Mac) or Preview (Mac). Right-click on the PDF to download it and view it this way.

La Revue Moderne (1919-1960) was founded by Anne-Marie Gleason, later Huguenin, who wrote under the pseudonym 'Madeleine'. In her first editorial in November 1919, Madeleine set out her ambition to create a liberal intellectual magazine for French-speaking Canada: 'Elle attestera brillamment de la valeur de nos poètes, de nos prosateurs, et elle offrira une lecture abondante et salutaire à tous ceux qui la rechercheront' (9). Madeleine continued as editor for a decade, but her initial vision held full sway only during the earliest years of publication, and from 1922 onwards, the magazine became gradually more mainstream (Saint-Jacques et Robert 278). The legend 'LITTERATURE, POLITIQUE, ARTS' appeared on covers and or the masthead until 1928, but the contents of the magazine were always more eclectic than this description implied. Topics including gastronomy, religion, history, sport, and popular psychology received frequent coverage; each issue contained a complete romantic novella and a serial, and from the start, there was a 'Fémina' section, including domestic and beauty articles, dress patterns, and advice pages. Arguably, it was La Revue Moderne's appeal to women which allowed it to adapt and survive. Its feminist orientation was most evident in its earlier years, while during the 1930s and 1940s, under a series of male editors, its constructions of femininity became more conventional and commercialised (Marchand). In its later years, it was unambiguously a 'women's magazine', and it was eventually purchased by Maclean-Hunter, and turned into Châtelaine (1960-), which initially bore the subtitle 'La Revue Moderne'.

In its earlier decades, La Revue Moderne did not offer extensive travel coverage, though it always paid attention to foreign cultures. Holiday features focused principally on Canadian destinations, while articles on other countries tended to be informative essays, rather than promotional pieces. However, the space devoted to travel features, tourist advertising, and travel-themed fiction increased dramatically in the 1950s.

The magazine's physical format remained remarkably consistent, with all issues published in the 10 x 14 size, and comprising about 50 pages. The volume of advertising was considerably lower than in the anglophone magazines. It was priced at 25 cents until 1929, 14 or 15 cents until 1947, and 20 cents from 1948 until 1960. Following the November 1938 issue, there was a five-month gap in publication, but a new company, 'La Revue Moderne, Limitée', was set up and took ownership of the magazine. In May 1939, it was relaunched with a new staff, led by Roland Beaudry, and a new aspiration to cater to popular taste. In the editorial for this issue, readers were invited to write in with their suggestions, in order to 'rendre ce magazine de plus en plus conforme aux souhaits de la majorité'. La Revue Moderne's circulation figures ranged from 23,120 in 1922 to 31,343 in 1940 and 106,303 in 1960 (Beaulieu et Hamelin V: 294; Mathieu 261; Des Rivières 16). From 1932 to 1954, La Revue Moderne also published La Petite Revue, in a smaller quarto format, with a similar mix of content but more pages of fiction.

For full references, see our Bibliography page.

Please see our timeline to learn more about La Revue Moderne's editors and owners.

Accessing the magazine

This is the only one of the six magazines which is now available online (2013). The full run is held in searchable format in the digital collections of the Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales du Québec.

The volumes from 1919 to 1921 had been previously scanned by the University of Toronto, and are available in pdf via the university library catalogue and the Internet Archive.

Among the libraries which hold hard copy are Library and Archives Canada (a relatively complete and well preserved run, in bound volumes, held in Special Collections) and the Robarts library, University of Toronto (many issues and volumes missing; since they are in open stacks, these issues are not well preserved, but are easily accessible during the library's long opening hours). Microfilm copies are available in several Canadian research libraries.

  • La Revue Moderne cover, July 1925
    July 1925
  • La Revue Moderne cover, August 1927
    August 1927
  • La Revue Moderne cover, April 1928
    April 1928
  • La Revue Moderne cover, December 1929
    December 1929
  • La Revue Moderne cover, December 1929
    May 1931
  • La Revue Moderne cover, June 1931
    June 1931
  • La Revue Moderne cover, April 1932
    April 1932
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