Ezra Pound, Wyndham Lewis, and Radical Modernism

Ezra Pound, Wyndham Lewis, and Radical Modernism

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Ezra Pound and Wyndham Lewis developed a highly experimental art; they were attracted simultaneously to political programs remarkably backward in outlook--the autocracies of Fascist Italy and Germany. That paradox, central to the problematic achievement of Anglo-American modernism, is freshly addressed in this study. Here 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, the English modernists use the material of aesthetic experience to prove truths of human nature, making art the basis for social values and recommendations. 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.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 240 pages
  • 161.8 x 243.1 x 17.5mm | 676.8g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • halftones
  • 0195076931
  • 9780195076936
  • 1,642,705

Review quote

Sherry has made Pound new by insisting on those of his convictions which are hardly even recognizable as such; it is not just that most readers today would not shared them, but that the very issues themselves have sometimes become irrelevant, been forgotten, or have entered discourses so different from those in which Pound addressed them that we no longer see the relation. * Paideuma: A Journal of Pound Studies * [An] admirably clear and direct study . . . Sherry's analysis of the Actaeon persona in Canto IV, "the hero manque of Pound's visionary capacity," and particularly his analysis of Canto VII, are illuminating criticism. . . a perceptive appreciation of the way Lewis's handling of these issues reveals a greater critical intelligence than Pound's. . . . Radical Modernism is 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understanding of a neglected strain of modernist theory but also by careful scholarship that draws on important unpublished material.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 has the gift of never writing an uninteresting page in Pound, Lewis, and Radical Modernism (Oxford). 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 *show more

Back cover copy

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.show more

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