Robert M. Coates
Introduction by Mathilde Roza / Afterword by Malcolm Cowley
June 1, 2020 / 294 pages / $14.99
Originally published in 1933 by The Macauley Company, Yesterday's Burdens is the second novel by Robert M. Coates, "Lost Generation" writer and long-time art critic at The New Yorker. Prior to publication, three chapters appeared in The New Yorker under the title "The Dada City" (1930), and another chapter in The American Caravan, a Yearbook of American Literature (1931).
"Coates composed the book like a collage, employing an experimental writing style that incorporated billboards, advertising slogans, and traffic signs to make immediate and vivid the perceptions and experiences of the characters. In Yesterday's Burdens, Coates's 'Dada' spirit brings to life the cacophonous, visually chaotic and mentally demanding life of New York City."
Mathilde Roza & Jack Mearns, "Collecting Robert M. Coates," Firsts, The Book Collector's Magazine, October 2007
"Yesterday's Burdens is certainly one of the most original books of the year. ... The strange thing is that, despite the confusion, despite stylistic vagaries unequaled since E.E. Cummings's EIMI, Yesterday's Burdens is an enjoyable book."
The New York Times, December 10, 1933
"An arresting, free, unique work of art which may possibly leave an effect on novel-writing in the next few years."
Vanity Fair, February 1934
"Not easy reading because it is done in the Dadaistic style but worthwhile as a kaleidoscopic picture of our present kaleidoscopic life. Fine humor and written with distinction."
Scribner's, February 1934
"The writing in detail is always fresh and frequently excellent; some of the isolated episodes ... are no less than beautiful."
The American Mercury, April 1934