Dada Little Magazines – A Precursor to Zines

Before there were fanzines, there were little magazines. Little magazines are small periodicals devoted to serious literary writing, art, or social theory. Often their contributors are unknown talents, and their content is experimental, avant-garde and noncommercial.

Starting in 1912, the Dada movement used the little magazine format to fight the enemy as they saw it: the nationalistic and bourgeois culture in Europe.

Le Coeur à Barbe. Edited by Tristan Tzara. Paris, 1922

291. New York, 1915

Techniques such as collage, détournement and experimental typography were common in these little magazines. These techniques are quite familiar to today’s zine reader.

Craphound by Sean Tejaratchi, the world’s best cut and paste zine.

To learn more about Dada little magazines, visit the Digital Dada Library at Iowa University. They have an incredible collection, with many publications available to read online.

– Robyn Chapman

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