Art should be the basis of education. 1
Herbert Read was one of the most prolific, cosmopolitan and ambitious English intellectuals and men of letters of the twentieth century. During his lifetime he was practically ubiquitous as a critic, scholar, poet, advocate and educator. He left a singular legacy of academic and popular publications-more than sixty books and 1000 articles and reviews-which include his own considerable literary achievements, and his relentless political and cultural advocacy for interpreting and understanding modern art and literature. He was a man who championed such world-class talents as Karl Jung and Henry Moore, while becoming a public antagonist of others such as T.S. Eliot and W.H. Auden. While his passion for individual liberty has led Read to be widely characterized as a 'philosophical anarchist' (a description which Read would not disavow), 2 the man was personally restrained in speech and at least in public temperament. He was indeed a man of paradox and contradiction.
Herbert Read was born in Yorkshire on 4 December 1893, grew up on a farm, and attended the University of Leeds. During the First World War he served as an infantry officer, an experience which, like others of his generation, found compelling expression in poetry, such as in Read's Naked Warriors (1919). After the war Read worked for a few years at the Treasury (1919-22) and then became an assistant keeper at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (1922-31). He taught briefly at the University of Edinburgh (1931-33) and edited the Burlington Magazine (1933-39), a fixture of the British cultural establishment. Throughout the 1930s he championed such modernists as the writers Samuel Beckett and Denton Welch, and such artists as Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson. The magazine editorship provided an open channel to the academic and highbrow community, but Read also proselytized for modernism in a copious series of popular books, magazine and newspaper reviews directed at the general public.
In this ambition Read carried forward the work of John Ruskin and William Morris, nineteenth-century precursors who sought to reduce the distinction between art and life by exploring aesthetic concepts as social value, such as the tradition of craftsmanship, drawn from the visual arts. These might provide remedies for repairing, what they saw as, an