THE LETTERS OF WYNDHAM LEWIS by W.K.-Ed. Rose

THE LETTERS OF WYNDHAM LEWIS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Along with the 1914 generation of Eliot, Joyce and Pound, Wyndham Lewis triggered the modern temper, both as painter and writer. He fought- with them- the flabby, inflated values of the Edwardians and Georgians and browbeat the bourgeois. But his politics made him not only provocative but persona non grata in leading cultural circles. Auden dubbed him ""that lonely old volcano of the Right"". His letters are vivid and violent; Lewis hating cant, belonging to no community, brawling through many ""movements"" from the pre-WWI Paris and London bohemian to the Communist-Fascist equabbles of the '30's and on to the Representational-Abstract rigamaroles of today. They are also strident and sad; it appears Lewis was continually hard pressed; in many ways he sacrificed himself to his beliefs. They reflect a man who though committed to the mind over the body was never cold, never locked in crippling compartments. He was, to use his town terminology, the lion-outside-the-fold forever roaring at the foxes of fashion eating the choice grapes. The people with whom he corresponded are almost all famous; his letters are direct, off-the-cuff, concerned. They show him a very modern, very human Swift, and as a record of a man and a milieu they are amazingly apt, and are bound to be read and reread in the forthcoming decades when Lewis' reputation undoubtedly will be reassessed and reclaimed.

Pub Date: Jan. 30th, 1963
Publisher: New Directions