Wyndham Lewis and the Avant-garde

Wyndham Lewis and the Avant-garde

The Politics of the Intellect

eBook - 1992
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It has always been difficult to determine Wyndham Lewis's position within the Modernist movement. Despite his status as one of the "big five" modernists -- along with W.B. Yeats, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and James Joyce -- Lewis is the least read and least understood of significant modern English writers. At once both modernist and anti-modernist -- Lewis was a founder, before the First World War, of Vorticism and a critic, after the war, of what he considered modernism's sell-out to the art establishment -- he has remained the most obscure and the least easily categorized of the canonical modernists.

Toby Foshay's penetrating study of Lewis presents a two-pronged argument that will help to lift Lewis from this obscurity. First, he reveals that Lewis is less interested in stylistic and formal innovation than he is committed to artistic, philosophical, and political transformations. As such, Lewis is not a modernist but, in the sense of the term as employed by theoretician Peter Burger, an avant-gardiste. Second, Foshay demonstrates that Lewis's development as an artist is inextricably linked to his avant-garde commitments -- commitments that find their roots in Lewis's reading of Nietzsche. Lewis's fiction and criticism must thus be read, Foshay maintains, as developing interdependently throughout his career and in relation to his evolving interpretation of Nietzsche. Foshay's insightful critique of Lewis's relation to the Modernist movement on the one hand, and of his development as an artist and critic on the other, offers a revised reading not only of Modernism itself but of what Lewis can teach us about the relation of thought to the practice of art in modernity.


McGill Queens Univ Pr
It has always been difficult to determine Wyndham Lewis's position within the Modernist movement. Despite his status as one of the "big five" modernists -- along with W.B. Yeats, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and James Joyce -- Lewis is the least read and least understood of significant modern English writers. At once both modernist and anti-modernist -- Lewis was a founder, before the First World War, of Vorticism and a critic, after the war, of what he considered modernism's sell-out to the art establishment -- he has remained the most obscure and the least easily categorized of the canonical modernists.

Toby Foshay's penetrating study of Lewis presents a two-pronged argument that will help to lift Lewis from this obscurity. First, he reveals that Lewis is less interested in stylistic and formal innovation than he is committed to artistic, philosophical, and political transformations. As such, Lewis is not a modernist but, in the sense of the term as employed by theoretician Peter Burger, an avant-gardiste. Second, Foshay demonstrates that Lewis's development as an artist is inextricably linked to his avant-garde commitments -- commitments that find their roots in Lewis's reading of Nietzsche. Lewis's fiction and criticism must thus be read, Foshay maintains, as developing interdependently throughout his career and in relation to his evolving interpretation of Nietzsche. Foshay's insightful critique of Lewis's relation to the Modernist movement on the one hand, and of his development as an artist and critic on the other, offers a revised reading not only of Modernism itself but of what Lewis can teach us about the relation of thought to the practice of art in modernity.

It has always been difficult to determine Wyndham Lewis's position within the Modernist movement. Despite his status as one of the "big five" modernists -- along with W.B. Yeats, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and James Joyce -- Lewis is the least read and least understood of significant modern English writers. At once both modernist and anti-modernist -- Lewis was a founder, before the First World War, of Vorticism and a critic, after the war, of what he considered modernism's sell-out to the art establishment -- he has remained the most obscure and the least easily categorized of the canonical modernists.
Toby Foshay's penetrating study of Lewis presents a two-pronged argument that will help to lift Lewis from this obscurity. First, he reveals that Lewis is less interested in stylistic and formal innovation than he is committed to artistic, philosophical, and political transformations. As such, Lewis is not a modernist but, in the sense of the term as employed by theoretician Peter Burger, an avant-gardiste. Second, Foshay demonstrates that Lewis's development as an artist is inextricably linked to his avant-garde commitments -- commitments that find their roots in Lewis's reading of Nietzsche. Lewis's fiction and criticism must thus be read, Foshay maintains, as developing interdependently throughout his career and in relation to his evolving interpretation of Nietzsche.Foshay's insightful critique of Lewis's relation to the Modernist movement on the one hand, and of his development as an artist and critic on the other, offers a revised reading not only of Modernism itself but of what Lewis can teach us about the relation of thought to the practice of art in modernity.

Book News
A reappraisal of writer Lewis (1882-1957), an obscure member of the modernists that included Yeats, Eliot, Pound, and Joyce. Foshay (English, U. of Victoria) contends that his interest was not in stylistic innovation, but in artistic, philosophical, and political content. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.

Publisher: Montrâeal [Que.] : McGill-Queen's University Press, Ă1992
ISBN: 9780773563476
0773563474
9780773509160
077350916X
Characteristics: data file,rda
1 online resource (x, 177 pages)

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