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Ezra Pound, Wyndham Lewis, and Radical Modernism - Vincent Sherry

Ezra Pound, Wyndham Lewis, and Radical Modernism

Hardcover

Published: 25th February 1993
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Ezra Pound and Wyndham Lewis developed a highly experimental art in verse, prose, and paint; they were attracted simultaneously to political programs remarkably backward its outlook - the autocracies of fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. That paradox, central to the problematic achievement of Anglo-American modernism, is freshly addressed in this study. Sherry examines the influence of music and painting on literature, presents original research on European intellectual history, and proposes a new understanding of ideology as a force in the literary imagination.
Following the example of continental ideologues like Julien Benda and Georges Sorel, the English modernists used the material of aesthetic experience to prove truths of human nature, making art the basis for social values and recomendations. This sensibility enriches their work, shaping the varied textures of Pound's Cantos and the complex designs of Lewis's painting and fiction, but their mastery of avant-garde techniques endorses the authority of an antique state. Sherry returns their "totalitarian synthesis" of art and politics to its originating moment, following its trajectory from 1910 to the eve of World War II.
Skillfully relating aesthetic practice to political precepts, Sherry's study recovers a European tradition previously unrecognized by scholars, illustrating its profound intfluence on English modernism. Ezra Pound, Wyndham Lewis, and Radical Modernism will inform readers in the fields of modern British and American literature, modern intellectual history, modern art history, and political science.

"Vincent Sherry has the gift of never writing an uninteresting page in Pound, Lewis, and Radical Modernism. It is impossible in a brief note to capture the richness of this lucidly, gracefully written book, which, among other things, is surely the most thorough and original study of the influence of Wyndham Lewis on Pound."--American Literary Scholarship "Admirably clear and direct....Distinguished not only by a sophisticated understanding of a neglected strain of modernist theory but also by careful scholarship that draws on important unpublished material. But the book's chief distinction is its challenging, and sometimes radically new, readings of Lewis's fiction and Pound's poetry."--Journal of English and Germanic Philology "Vincent Sherry's book raises one of the most important questions about modernism: what is the relationship of avant-garde technology to retrograde politics in the work of Ezra Pound and Wyndham Lewis? Sherry's answer involves a meticulous examination of a hitherto ignored aspect of modernist ideology: its derivation from the anti-humanism of such continental philosophers as Julien Benda, Ortega y Gasset, and Remy de Gourmont. How this pessimistic anti-humanism, with its advocacy of the Visual over the Vocal, the image over the verbal-musical model of an earlier modernism, informed Pound and Lewis's writings in the 1920s, is Sherry's story and he tells it beautifully."--Marjorie Perloff, Stanford University "Vincent Sherry's thoughtful and lucid study engages many of the central problems of high modernism. His work is marked by an unusual breadth of concern and a welcome freedom from dogmatic certainties."--Michael André Bernstein, University of California, Berkeley "Vincent Sherry has given us a probing inquiry into the relations between aesthetic practice and authoritarian politics in the work of Wyndham Lewis and Ezra Pound. Without oversimplifying the issues or the artists' careers, he shows how their desire to privilege the visual over the auditory led to fascist conclusions that had been anticipated in Continental ideology; and he traces the complex struggles in their work that followed from their belated recognitions of the inadequacy of that correlation of the aesthetic and the social. This is a book that will have to be taken into account by future discussions of modernist poetics."--Thomas R. Whitaker, Yale University "Sherry's sustained attention to ideologie marks an important innovation in contemporary literary study....This book should have important implications for the future conduct of modernist studies."--Paideuma "Admirably clear and direct.... Distinguished not only by a sophisticated understanding of a neglected strain of modernist theory but also by careful scholarship that draws on important unpublished material. But the book's chief distinction is its challenging, and sometimes radically new, readings of Lewis's fiction and Pound's poetry."--Journal of English and Germanic Philology "Vincent Sherry's book raises one of the most important questions about modernism: what is the relationship of avant-garde technology to retrograde politics in the work of Ezra Pound and Wyndham Lewis? Sherry's answer involves a meticulous examination of a hitherto ignored aspect of modernist ideology: its derivation from the anti-humanism of such continental philosophers as Julien Benda, Ortega y Gasset, and Remy de Gourmont. How this pessimistic anti-humanism, with its advocacy of the Visual over the Vocal, the image over the verbal-musical model of an earlier modernism, informed Pound and Lewis's writings in the 1920s, is Sherry's story and he tells it beautifully."--Marjorie Perloff, Stanford University "Vincent Sherry's thoughtful and lucid study engages many of the central problems of high modernism. His work is marked by an unusual breadth of concern and a welcome freedom from dogmatic certainties."--Michael André Bernstein, University of California, Berkeley "Vincent Sherry has given us a probing inquiry into the relations between aesthetic practice and authoritarian politics in the work of Wyndham Lewis and Ezra Pound. Without oversimplifying the issues or the artists' careers, he shows how their desire to privilege the visual over the auditory led to fascist conclusions that had been anticipated in Continental ideology; and he traces the complex struggles in their work that followed from their belated recognitions of the inadequacy of that correlation of the aesthetic and the social. This is a book that will have to be taken into account by future discussions of modernist poetics."--Thomas R. Whitaker, Yale University "Vincent Sherry has the gift of never writing an uninteresting page in Pound, Lewis, and Radical Modernism. It is impossible in a brief note to capture the richness of this lucidly, gracefully written book, which, among other things, is surely the most thorough and original study of the influence of Wyndham Lewis on Pound."--American Literary Scholarship "Sherry's sustained attention to ideologie marks an important innovation in contemporary literary study.... This book should have important implications for the future conduct of modernist studies."--Paideuma

Illustrationsp. xi
Prologuep. 3
From the Continent to England, 1889-1925p. 9
Musical Empathyp. 11
Political Aestheticsp. 16
European Vortexp. 24
This Hulme Businessp. 34
Ezra Pound, 1908-1920p. 43
Negotiationsp. 49
Early Cantos: Auditing the Traditionp. 66
Hugh Selwyn Mauberleyp. 82
Wyndham Lewis: L'Entre Deux Guerresp. 91
Untuning the Wordp. 99
The Failure of Artp. 113
The Art of Failurep. 127
Ezra Pound, 1921-1939p. 141
Resuming the Cantos: Eliot, Dada, Major Formp. 143
Making Friends with the Enemyp. 163
States of Excessp. 173
Epiloguep. 187
Notesp. 197
Indexp. 223
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195076936
ISBN-10: 0195076931
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 240
Published: 25th February 1993
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.7 x 15.9  x 2.0
Weight (kg): 0.62