Wyndham Lewis

Against Acceleration: Wyndham Lewis vs The Futurists

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From Blasting and Bombardiering (1937)

Meanwhile the excitement was intense. Putsches took place every month or so. Marinetti for instance. You may have heard of him! It was he who put Mussolini up to Fascism. Mussolini admits it. They ran neck and neck for a bit, but Mussolini was the better politician. Well, Marinetti brought off a Futurist Putsch about this time.

It started in Bond Street. I counter-putsched. I assembled in Greek Street a determined band of miscellaneous anti-futurists. Mr. Epstein was there; Gaudier Brzeska, T. E. Hulme, Edward Wadsworth and a cousin of his called Wallace, who was very muscular and forcible, according to my eminent colleague, and he rolled up very silent and grim. There were about ten of us. After a hearty meal we shuffled bellicosely round to the Dore Gallery.

Marinetti had entrenched himself upon a high lecture platform, and he put down a tremendous barrage in French as we entered. Gaudier went into action at once. He was very good at the parlez-vous, in fact he was a Frenchman. He was sniping him without intermission, standing up in his place in the audience all the while. The remainder of our party maintained a confused uproar. (more…)

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On Bertram Brooker.

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Glamour of the Underfolk.

“There is so much heat in my heart, that Humanity cannot escape being scorched, no man shall escape the heat of my heart. […] I am the overflowing scourge whom God has sent down to chasten the earth. […] I am the champion of the Underfolk.” (Brooker, 155-156)

Unlike the majority of Canadian artists working in the first half of the twentieth century, Bertram Brooker wrote voluminously about his own work and that of his contemporaries, expounding and elaborating his aesthetic theories in different milieus. His attempt to articulate a peculiarly Canadian form of Modernism that could respond to the demands of his adopted nation frequently involved a mildly antagonistic engagement with the specifically English strains of Modernism, embodied, at least in his mind, by Wyndham Lewis, who he refers to as a pessimistic and reactionary humanist (Brooker, 215). And while the influence of Vorticism is clearly present in much of his work, and the critique of the Time Cult is also echoed, Brooker’s answer to the issues which Lewis raised were very much his own. (more…)