Just Ignore The Hitler-Liking Period

Penguin are publishing two Wyndham Lewis titles this month: The Revenge For Love, and The Wild Body.

The Wild Body is a collection of short stories – I don’t know this stuff at all, but I can’t see how they could be bad. The Revenge for Love is from 1936, and rated as one of his best novels. There’s also an edition over at the Gingko Press, if you’d like something a little plusher than a PMC. They have a good collection of titles by Lewis, and John Calder has a couple of good things, though I think they’ve let Blasting and Bombardiering, his autobiography, slip out of print.

It’s nice to see him coming out in Penguin again. It means he’ll be in a few more bookshops than Black Sparrow could manage, or Gingko can.

If you don’t know Lewis, he’s an artist and author from back in the Twentieth. A Vorticist in visuals, and a deep satirist in print, he’s worshipped by some, but has never quite jumped into the canon with Eliot, Joyce, and the rest of his contemporaries.

He can be a struggle sometimes – the novels’ prose gets nearly too dense and knotty – but it’s worth following the compressions and ellipses to get the kind of chinese brain burn that wakes you up special triple quick like.

He’s also a journalist and polemicist of genius – the cloggier bits of the novels becomes clear and forceful when he decides it time to persuade you of something. If I haven’t made it clear, we at the LNR are publishing a newspaper on the 19th. So far, my desire to have it resemble Lewis’s Blast :

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Has gone unheeded. However, if I have my way (and it might mean killing an editor and the printer. But surely the world will forgive me if I do it in the name of ART?) here’s the template for page three:

blast it!

I know, I know, positivity. That’s why this is page four:

ah...bless

You can pick up Blast at the Gingko link above.

If you’d like to see the art of Lewis and his cohorts, and you’re in London, you can visit the Estorick Collection and see their exhibition on Vorticism in Britain. As well as Lewis’s fellow travellers, the exhibition also features work by C.R.W. Nevinson, ‘England’s only Futurist’:

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Must have been lonely for him.