The Agon of Modernism: Wyndham Lewis's Allegories, Aesthetics, and Politics

Synopsis

"This book is a detailed analysis of Wyndham Lewis's allegories, aesthetics, and politics that identifies him as a central figure of modernism. Modernism is defined as a movement caught between the avant-garde's radical rejection of the status quo and the awareness of tradition, be it philosophical, political, religious, or artistic. The tension between radicalism and tradition causes modernist texts to be self-contradictory." "Lewis's political writings present ambiguities: his stated belief in the autonomy of art from life is contradicted by other statements he made and by his critical analyses of writers; and his political writings blur any a priori generic distinction between art and non-art. Given this blurring between art and life, artistic genre and non-artistic genre, Quema claims that Lewis's political texts present characteristics usually attributed to avant-gardism. However, this radicalism has to be balanced against Lewis's conservatism. Thus his political writings can be read as allegories with two pragmatic aims: to organize the life of the polis from an artistic standpoint and to persuade the reader to adhere to authoritarian politics." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved