How does Wyndham Lewis’s Tarr reflect an inclination towards fascist politics?

 

Fascism leads logically to an aestheticization of political life.[1]

Walter Benjamin

Wyndham Lewis was in all likelihood a nasty man.[2] However, Lewis’s character and affiliations should inform – rather than demean – his work. A significant amount of critical scholarship has argued that Lewis’s oeuvre is often overlooked in the modernist canon due, in part, to his curious relationship with fascism.[3] In contrast, Lewis’s Vorticist cohort Ezra Pound is regularly positioned at the centre of most discussions regarding literary modernism; this despite Pound’s undoubtedly stronger proclamations in favour of fascist policies in Mussolini’s Italy. Come the end of the twentieth century, a section of critical scholarship began to re-evaluate Lewis’s work and, particularly, his political views. The catalyst for this spike in literature stemmed from Jameson’s seminal book Fables of Aggression (1979), which argued that Lewis could be more accurately described as a ‘protofascist’[4] whose views were shaped by an internal conflict of class antagonism and libidinal struggle. The critical approach post-Jameson has added substantially to the understanding of Lewis and his place in the literary pantheon. Furthermore, it has emerged in tandem – perhaps serendipitously – alongside a broader, serious engagement with modernism and its relationship to fascism.[5] The traditionally crude antithesis observed between the two movements has gradually fallen away in favour of a more nuanced understanding of their respective tenets. This essay will attempt to engage with Lewis in light of the recent scholarship, establishing his role within the modernism-fascism paradigm through a reading of his first published novel, Tarr (1918).

Lewis’s relationship with fascism has often been analysed in regard to his political journalism, particularly the deferential pamphlet, Hitler (1931), and his later fictional works such as the satire of the London’s arts scene, The Apes of God (1930). This analysis has contributed significantly to reflections on Lewis and his body of work. However, Tarr seems to have been partially neglected in the attempt to explicate Lewis’s fascist credentials. This seems to be an oversight as Lewis’s intention in writing Tarr, ‘…to challenge and insult, through Tarr’s asceticism, the novel as a genre’[6], and its subsequent failure to do so, is important for attaining a comprehensive understanding of Lewis’s modernist aesthetics and fascist sympathies. Even Jameson falls prey to this charge: in an otherwise wide-reaching study of Lewis’s oeuvre, he only quotes, inexplicably, from the heavily revised 1928 edition of Tarr. The differences between the first and second editions are extensive, and a comparative study of the texts is beyond the scope of this essay. However, an awareness of the revisions made by Lewis – extracting quotations from both editions – will potentially benefit the forthcoming analysis. As previously noted, there already exists a large amount of scholarship which has attempted to historicise Lewis’s flirtation with fascism. The purpose of this essay, conversely, is to form an understanding of modernism’s relationship with fascism through a close reading of a single novel. This essay will begin by offering a broad context of the relationship between modernism and fascism. It will then establish a set of appropriate motifs through Griffin’s framework of fascism: destruction, rebirth and failure. These three motifs will structure a textual analysis of the content, form and style employed in Tarr, which will in turn reflect the possible inclinations in Lewis’s novel towards fascist politics.

 

***

 

The first point to acknowledge is that modernism and fascism are inherently pluralistic and contradictory movements: they embrace permeable definitions and exist in numerous manifestations. It is therefore useful to create a framework which is able to establish the common attributes of both. Postwar scholarship primarily treated modernism and fascism as ‘…intrinsically antithetical and morally incompatible’[7]. This strategic disavowal was predominantly informed by the overt activities of fascist governments (e.g. the Nazi vilification of modern art), and avoided the aspects of modernity which fascism sought to embrace. The explicit declarations of support for fascism by modernist movements, such as Italian Futurism[8] (an antagonistic influence on Lewis’s own creed of Vorticism), were viewed as quaint anomalies or misplaced acts of naivety. The potential compatibility of modernism and fascism was further obfuscated by the tendencies of fascist governments to romanticise traditionalist and conservative notions (e.g. ‘blood and soil’) in the attempt to attract public support. This also coincided with the conspicuous endorsement of left-wing politics by many modernists and the turn to a more democratic art during the 1930s. These factors should not be ignored, but used to qualify the framework supplied by Griffin:

[Fascism is] … a genus of political ideology whose mythic core in its various permutations is a palingenetic form of populist ultranationalism.[9]

This framework, both explicitly and implicitly, provides three motifs for analysis: destruction, rebirth and failure – which will now be expanded upon.

Destruction and rebirth are inextricably connected to a single concept: palingenesis. The idea of palingenesis – to generate a new beginning after a period of stasis or decline – forms the ‘mythic core’ of fascism alluded to in Griffin’s framework. It was with this basis that fascist movements ‘…looked to both a mythic past and a technological future in a manner that seems highly contradictory’.[10] Rather than contradictory, the instinctual, primal, Dionysian energy of modern machinery was able to manufacture an effective antirational, nonchronological national origin story. Fascist movements were able to argue that the introduction of new technology facilitated the rebirth of a true primordial national identity and a revival of pristine ancient hierarchies. Modernist aesthetics were adjusting to a similar set of circumstances: driven by a desire to reject late Victorian sterility and decadence, whilst, sometimes ambivalently, embracing emerging industrial technology in pursuit of the new. Lewis, himself, had a ‘…violent preference for the past over the present’ and supported the use of new forms of technology which could re-establish a milieu able to foster ‘…the achievements of the enviable past’.[11] Notably, Lewis’s Vorticist paintings typically displayed the simultaneously exciting and frightening possibilities of an unprecedentedly mechanical age.

In laying the ground for the palingenetic nation, fascist movements believed that destruction was a necessary component. Exemplified in the utilisation of pseudo-science surrounding eugenics,[12] which informed much of the genocide enacted across Europe, fascist governments were able to justify destruction as ‘creative’ and ‘cathartic’.[13] A modified version of this Nietzschean concept had found another home in modernism, where proponents such as Lewis favoured ‘the re-evaluation of all values and the iconoclastic destruction of fallen idols’.[14] Lewis’s Blast 1 (1914) tore into what he perceived were the celebrated, yet insipid, emblems of the British literary culture and establishment. His primary aim, to defeat the traditional novelistic form, as this essay will attempt to reveal, is symptomatic of modernism’s appetite for destructive possibilities.[15]

After the destruction comes rebirth. To regenerate national institutions, and by extension the nation itself, fascists would appropriate specific aspects of their country’s collective past which were able to complement the values that they wished to enshrine in public consciousness.[16] This rebirth was most commonly embodied by a ‘propheta’,[17] a figure who would acquire the quasi-spiritual leadership role of bringing the nation into a new era opposed to previous decadence. Such figures are extremely visible in fascism – Hitler and Mussolini most obviously – and their charisma can claim part of the reason for the consent of the populations they governed. However, more importantly, fascist and modernist movements both understood that the appeal of national rebirth was difficult to resist when ‘…society as presently constituted seemed doomed to self-destruction’.[18] Modernism was spontaneously aligned with fascist policies due to the mutual contempt both movements shared for the present. This may have manifested in discourses against capitalism, the bourgeoisie, or the hegemony of Enlightenment values. Many modernists attracted to these arguments would display communist sympathies; others, including Lewis, would articulate their frustrations with a qualified admiration for fascism.

Finally, in returning to Griffin’s framework, it is possible to interpret a defiance of definition intrinsic to both fascism and modernism. The use of ‘various permutations’ – a problem replicated in attempts to define modernism – adheres to fascism’s ability to adapt and morph to sustain itself. It also usefully describes the variegated ways in which fascism attempted to assail the decadent present. Such heterogeneity is reflected similarly in modernism: Griffin describes modernism’s rejection of the premodern age as a ‘…panacea to the “sickness”’ which utilises ‘…highly diverse diagnoses’ to cure the cultural malaise.[19] Lewis’s aim with Tarr – to deconstruct the traditional novel through a higher form of visual aesthetics – must embody one of these panaceas. In parallel, one of fascism’s political aims was to depose liberal democracy as the premium mode of government. The aesthetic failure of Tarr to subvert the traditional form of the novel potentially correlates with Lewis’s subsequent attraction to a fascist politics which wished to subvert liberal democracy. Such contrarian impulses – the desire to diagnose and cure a cultural and political disease – reflect an overlap in modernist and fascist tendencies. In the forthcoming textual analysis, this essay will attempt to appropriate the motifs outlined above within a reading of Lewis’s novel.[20]

 

***

 

In Tarr, acts of destruction are incessant. Displays of power manifest within the spheres of aggression, violence and misogyny. Lewis’s aesthetic style produces, as Jameson neatly summarises, ‘…an atmosphere of violence and destruction which the narrative articulates into a self-perpetuating sequence of rape, physical assault, aggressivity, guilt and immolation’.[21] In the opening passages of the 1928 edition, Tarr (nominally a voice for Lewis) engages in an aesthetic debate with the Cambridge-educated, petite bourgeois artist Hobson. Tarr berates Hobson for his entitled and complacent bohemian lifestyle. The now-lecture ends with Tarr knocking Hobson’s hat off and kicking it down the road:

You know Baudelaire’s fable of the obsequious vagabond, cringing for alms? For all reply, the poet seizes a heavy stick and lays about the beggar with it. When he is almost battered to pieces the man suddenly straightens out under the blows, expands, stretches; his eyes dart fire! He rises up and falls upon the poet tooth and nail: in a few seconds he has laid him out flat and is just going to finish him off, when a cop arrives. The poet is enchanted: he has accomplished something! Would it be possible I wonder to accomplish something of that sort with you? No. You are meaner-spirited than the most currish hobo. I would seize you by the throat at once if I thought you would black my eye. But I feel it my duty at least to do this for your hat: your misnamed wideawake, at least, will have had its little drama to-day.[22]

This passage encapsulates Lewis’s contempt for the privileged, stale aestheticism he wished to obliterate. For Lewis, the destruction of bourgeois bohemia – the gatekeeper of mass culture (high and low) – would be both creative and cathartic. Aesthetic creativity is monopolised by a lazy, orthodox cadre of pseudoartists: as such, true individual expression suffers. The desire of artists to assimilate into a celebrated crowd – as a means to produce art – is viewed as a pernicious disease of which only an aggressive form of aesthetic rejection is the panacea. Tarr celebrates the energy and violence of the brawl between beggar and poet as a break through the stasis; he then contrasts the successful brutality with the pathetic, insular tepidness of Hobson. If Tarr were a eugenicist, one could picture his wish for annihilating the entire artistic petite bourgeoisie. Rather, his mocking attempt to induce palingenesis consists of knocking Hobson’s hat off – sure in the knowledge his compatriot is too meek to respond with the necessary violence.

The hat in question, of course, is symbolic of the public artist’s façade. Moments earlier in the novel, Tarr castigates Hobson with the following diatribe:

You are systematizing and vulgarizing the individual. =You are not an individual. You have, I repeat, no right to that hair and that hat, you are trying to have the apple and eat it, too. =You should be in uniform, and at work, not uniformly out of uniform, and libeling the Artist by your idleness.[23]

By quoting from the 1918 edition here, it is possible to show the destructive mechanisms of Lewis’s prose style more vividly. The distinctive use of ‘=’ as a form of punctuation immediately resembles the brush strokes of a painter. Despite the appearance of this excerpt to be of a continuous monologue, the ‘=’ seems to indicate either perfect equivalence or that sentences are being spoken concurrently or in parallel. This is disconcerting when one thinks of the traditionally linear representation of speech established in conventional literature. The disdain levelled at Hobson is direct yet fragmented: precise in intent, staggered in delivery. There appears a respective appeal to both modernist and fascist tendencies here: the disassembled syntax reflects modernism’s attempts to diagnose inadequacies in formal language; the mechanical precision of the content reflects fascism’s attempts to diagnose inadequacies in democratic governance. If democratic politics is represented through vague, imprecise language and an inherent gravitation towards compromise, Lewis may have been attracted to aping ‘[t]he gestural directness that he values in the political grammar of fascism’ in his literary style: this would help to explain the ‘…dislocating syntactic progression, forcing musical flow into abrupt quasi-pictorial signals, thus showing verbal images as distinct and integral things’.[24] Meaning is therefore derived from the force felt in disrupting the momentum of a sentence: the images are illuminated by the jarred, convulsive prose style.

Moreover, Tarr’s relationship with cliché is conveniently exposed in the line: ‘…you are trying to have the apple and eat it, too’. The modification of this common idiom – a nod, perhaps, to William Tell or the Garden of Eden – embodies Tarr’s wish to renounce the well-worn clichés and hackneyed tropes of artistic practice. The petite bourgeois artists and ‘…their instant and unbroken recognizability’[25] should be discarded in favour of aesthetic subversion and genuine innovation.[26] What is therefore observed through the literary techniques used in Lewis’s novel – and exist as a conspicuous spectre in modernist aesthetics – is an attempt to destroy the traditional novelistic form. Later, this essay will gauge the ultimate success of this venture.

 

***

 

This essay has thus far managed to discuss destruction without mentioning the role in Tarr of the thirty-six-year-old German artist, Kreisler. This is some achievement as Kreisler’s actions exist as some of the most violent and destructive in the novel: his disruptive antics at Lipmann’s ball, ‘…at breakneck speed, spun with her in the direction of the front door’; his rape of Bertha, ‘…the enemy getting in’; his accidental killing of Soltyk, ‘[t]he field was filled with cries, smacks, and harsh movements’; and his eventual suicide.[27] Ostensibly, as a sporadic painter and financial leech, Kreisler embodies the antithesis of Tarr’s ideal artist. However, the primitive, uncontrolled anger Kreisler regularly demonstrates throughout the novel (in almost every sphere of life it seems bar the aesthetic) at least alludes to a destruction of the sterile hegemony that Tarr desires in the book’s early passages.

Kreisler is a malfunctioning propheta: a potential figure of aesthetic (or national) rebirth due to his mechanical energy and constant antirational impulses, but hampered by his tendencies towards confusion and self-destruction. He certainly causes disturbances in the bohemian malaise: ‘Kreisler serves as a catalyst for evil instincts dormant in the Parisian community’, which is able to induce ‘…the possibility of a cathartic bloodletting’.[28] However, Kreisler’s regenerative potential soon dissipates: he obsesses over Anastasya (an embodiment of the new, overtly sexual woman) to a point of delirious bewilderment, and, in preparation for the duel with Soltyk, he produces a myopic account of his ancestry: ‘[h]e remembered with eagerness that he was a German gentleman, with a university education, who had never worked, a member of an honourable family!’.[29] Kreisler’s latent capacity to destroy the bohemian artists’ stranglehold is ultimately co-opted by the reflections of his social environment. The diagnostician – the propheta of rebirth – himself becomes infected. Comparably, the initial anticapitalist rhetoric of fascism was eventually infiltrated by the movement’s courtship of the petite bourgeoisie.

As the novel progresses, the characters in Tarr begin to resemble one another. Antagonists adopt their respective other’s personality traits, and the mineral concept of individual identity prised by Tarr disintegrates.[30] This culminates in Tarr’s marriage to the conventional bourgeois bohemian art student Bertha, who gives birth to Kreisler’s child – of which bears ‘…some resemblance to Tarr’.[31] The literal rebirth of Kreisler after his suicide hints at little opportunity for cultural renewal. His sexual violence towards Bertha was certainly destructive, but ultimately misdirected: enshrining his offspring in a milieu of sterile bourgeois bohemian orthodoxy. As noted by Ferrall, ‘Kreisler’s acts of sexual violence […] seem to be largely a reaction to his frequent humiliations’.[32] If aesthetic and national rebirth is to appeal – if palingenesis is to be properly implemented – then the propheta cannot be prone to the same self-destructive tendencies of the society he wishes to cure.

Lewis, in Tarr, clearly displays his contempt for the present: at the level of grammar, Jameson salutes Lewis’s success with the sentence ‘…reinvented with all the force of origins’.[33] However, Lewis also acknowledges the many difficulties in regenerating aesthetics through the achievements of an ancient past and the possibilities of a technological future, shown in his reluctance to accept myth as structure. This inclination is broadly held in modernist aesthetics, and the ultimate failure of Kreisler to sequentially enact destruction and rebirth reflects a failure to destroy the traditional novel. It is this failure that the essay will now contend with.

 

***

 

At the end of Tarr, Lewis seems to mock the entire preceding novel, and by doing so the conventions of the traditional novel itself:

Tarr, however, had three children by a lady of the name of Rose Fawcett, who consoled him eventually for the splendours of his ‘perfect woman.’ But yet beyond the dim though solid figure of Rose Fawcett, another rises. This one represents the swing back of the pendulum once more to the swagger side. The cheerless and stodgy absurdity of Rose Fawcett required as compensation the painted, fine and enquiring face of Prism Dirkes.[34]

Two new characters are introduced into what is effectively the story’s postscript. Tarr splits from Bertha (the novel has just discussed their marriage) and does not marry Anastasya (the predominant source of his affection throughout the book). The linear narrative which had come before is possibly shown to be irrelevant; at least the only courtesy it is afforded is that of an inconsequential snapshot in time. In the opening passages, Tarr represents the individualistic artist rallying against the inane standards of bourgeois bohemian aesthetics (it is possible to see a reflection of Lewis’s views here). Tarr ends the novel a promiscuous failure who seemingly desires the security of a production line of various women. Kreisler represents the destructive tendencies which have the potential to usher in an aesthetic palingenesis. When Kreisler hangs himself, he leaves behind the memory of a failed artist and a social pariah.

The failures of the two protagonists reflect Lewis’s view that the traditional novelistic form is aesthetically inadequate. As Peppis argues:

Lewis not only expressed on a formal level his aggressive antagonism to the idealistic orthodoxies of the Individualist bildungsroman, but questioned the broader novelistic conventions of narrative and psychological continuity.[35]

This outlines Lewis’s conflict with conventional aestheticism. For Lewis, the failures of Tarr and Kreisler reflected the inability of the traditional form to represent a necessary rebirth of aesthetics. Tarr presents a valuable critique of the common inadequacies found in literature. However, Lewis’s attempt at aesthetic regeneration ultimately ends in failure. The novel may have successfully negotiated the trappings of a straight bildungsroman with the character of Tarr, but Kreisler’s path to self-destruction reflects a more conventional narrative arc. As Trotter notes, despite Lewis’s best efforts, ‘[t]he genre won’ and Kreisler’s assumption of the role of main protagonist from Tarr was ‘…a confession that it was after all a novel’.[36] It is this aesthetic failure that sought Lewis, and many other modernists, to find a political outlet for palingenesis. In some cases, this led to fascism.

 

***

 

In conclusion, through a reading of Tarr this essay has been able to show an inclination in Lewis, and modernism broadly, towards a conception of fascist politics. By appropriating Griffin’s framework of fascism, comparisons with modernist aesthetics were drawn to elucidate the analysis. Importantly, this was able to display that both modernism and fascism sought, respectively, to diagnose and cure a cultural and political disease. Both movements saw possibilities in invoking the myths of a celebrated past alongside the ferocious energy of newly developed technology. Lewis’s use of certain motifs – destruction, rebirth and failure – illustrated his personal desire for cultural palingenesis. However, with Tarr, Lewis was unable to defeat the traditional form of the novel. In light of the aestheticisation of political life, this essay suggests that Lewis’s later inclination towards fascist politics can be usefully viewed through the ultimate aesthetic failure of Tarr.

 

 

Bibliography

 

Adamson, Walter L., ‘Modernism and Fascism: The Politics of Culture in Italy, 1903-1922’, The American Historical Review, 95.2, (1990), 359-390
Antliff, Mark, ‘Fascism, Modernism, and Modernity’, The Art Bulletin, 84.1, (2002), 148-169
Benjamin, Walter, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, trans. by J. A. Underwood (London: Penguin, 2008 [1936])
Betts, Paul, ‘The New Fascination with Fascism: The Case of Nazi Modernism’, Journal of Contemporary History, 37.4, (2002), 541-558
Bürger, Peter, The Decline of Modernism, trans. by Nicholas Walker (Cambridge: Polity, 1992)
Burstein, Jessica, ‘Waspish Segments: Lewis, Prosthesis, Fascism’, Modernism/Modernity, 4.2, (1997), 139-164
Ferrall, Charles, Modernist Writing and Reactionary Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001)

 

Griffin, Roger, Modernism and Fascism: The Sense of a Beginning Under Mussolini and Hitler (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007a)

 

–––––’Modernity, Modernism, and Fascism: A “Mazeway Resynthesis”‘, Modernism/Modernity, 15.1, (2007b), 9-24
–––––The Nature of Fascism (London: Routledge, 1993)

 

Hemingway, Ernest, A Moveable Feast (London: Arrow, 1994 [1936])
Jameson, Frederic, Fables of Aggression: Wyndham Lewis The Modernist as Fascist (London: Verso, 2008 [1979])
Klag, Izabela, Violence in Early Modernist Fiction: The Secret Agent, Tarr and Woman in Love (Kraków: Jagiellonian University Press, 2011)
Levenson, Michael H., Modernism and the Fate of Individuality: Character and Novelistic Form from Conrad to Woolf (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991)
Lewis, Wyndham, Tarr, ed. by Scott W. Klein (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2010 [1928])

 

–––––Tarr: The 1918 Version, ed. by Paul Keefe (Santa Rosa, CA: Black Sparrow Press, 1990 [1918])
Peppis, Paul, ‘Anti-Individualism and the Fictions of National Character in Wyndham Lewis’s Tarr’, Twentieth Century Literature, 40.2, (1994), 226-255
Sherry, Vincent B., Ezra Pound, Wyndham Lewis, and Radical Modernism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993)
Spender, Stephen, The Struggle of the Modern (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1963)
Trotter, David, ‘The Modernist Novel’, in The Cambridge Companion to Modernism, ed. by Michael H. Levenson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999)
Turda, Marius, Modernism and Eugenics (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010)

[1] Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, trans. by J. A. Underwood (London: Penguin, 2008 [1936]), p. 36.

[2] Hemingway writes of his first encounter with Lewis: ‘I met the nastiest man I have ever seen today’. Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast (London: Arrow, 1994 [1936]), p. 64.

[3] For an alternative reading of Lewis’s alleged omission from the modernist canon due to Lewis’s criticisms of modernism, see Peter Bürger, The Decline of Modernism, trans. by Nicholas Walker (Cambridge: Polity, 1992), p. 127.

[4] Frederic Jameson, Fables of Aggression: Wyndham Lewis The Modernist as Fascist (London: Verso, 2008 [1979]).

[5] See Roger Griffin, Modernism and Fascism: The Sense of a Beginning under Mussolini and Hitler (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007).

[6] David Trotter, ‘The Modernist Novel’, in The Cambridge Companion to Modernism, ed. by Michael H. Levenson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), p. 73

[7] Paul Betts, ‘The New Fascination with Fascism: The Case of Nazi Modernism ‘, Journal of Contemporary History, 37.4, (2002), 541-558 (p. 541).

[8] For an excellent overview of fascist Italy’s relationship with culture, see Walter L. Adamson, ‘Modernism and Fascism: The Politics of Culture in Italy, 1903-1922’, The American Historical Review, 95.2, (1990), 359-390.

[9] Roger Griffin, The Nature of Fascism (London: Routledge, 1993), p. 26.

[10] Mark Antliff, ‘Fascism, Modernism, and Modernity’, The Art Bulletin, 84.1, (2002), 148-169 (p. 148).

[11] Stephen Spender, The Struggle of the Modern (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1963), p. 221.

[12] See Marius Turda, Modernism and Eugenics (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).

[13] Roger Griffin, ‘Modernity, Modernism, and Fascism: A “Mazeway Resynthesis”‘, Modernism/Modernity, 15.1, (2007), 9-24 (p. 20).

[14] Griffin, Modernism and Fascism, p. 136.

[15] Burstein brands the tendency in Lewis’s work towards destruction as ‘cold modernism’, see Jessica Burstein, ‘Waspish Segments: Lewis, Prosthesis, Fascism’, Modernism/Modernity, 4.2, (1997), 139-164.

[16] Antliff, ‘Fascism, Modernism and Modernity’, p. 150.

[17] Griffin, ‘Modernity, Modernism, and Fascism: A “Mazeway Resynthesis’, p. 14.

[18] Ibid., p. 20.

[19] Griffin, ‘Modernity, Modernism, and Fascism: A “Mazeway Resynthesis’, p. 11.

[20] This essay’s analysis is premised on the view that: ‘…the elementary language of art […] affords a basic vocabulary for the articulation of political values’. Vincent B. Sherry, Ezra Pound, Wyndham Lewis, and Radical Modernism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), p. 8.

[21] Jameson, Fables of Aggression, p. 8.

[22] Wyndham Lewis, Tarr, ed. by Scott W. Klein (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2010 [1928]), p. 22.

[23] Wyndham Lewis, Tarr: The 1918 Version, ed. by Paul Keefe (Santa Rosa, CA: Black Sparrow Press, 1990 [1918]), p. 26.

[24] Sherry, Ezra Pound, Wyndham Lewis, and Radical Modernism, p. 112.

[25] Trotter, ‘The Modernist Novel’, p. 73.

[26] For a long discussion on the use of cliché in Lewis’s work, see Jameson, Fables of Aggression, pp. 62-80.

[27] Lewis, Tarr: The 1918 Version, pp. 148, 185, 273.

[28] Izabela Klag, Violence in Early Modernist Fiction: The Secret Agent, Tarr and Woman in Love (Kraków: Jagiellonian University Press, 2011), p. 75.

[29] Lewis, Tarr: The 1918 Version, p. 263.

[30] See Michael H. Levenson, Modernism and the Fate of Individuality: Character and Novelistic Form from Conrad to Woolf (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), p. 136.

[31] Lewis, Tarr, p. 285.

[32] Charles Ferrall, Modernist Writing and Reactionary Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), p. 143.

[33] Jameson, Fables of Aggression, p. 2.

[34] Lewis, Tarr, p. 284.

[35] Paul Peppis, ‘Anti-Individualism and the Fictions of National Character in Wyndham Lewis’s Tarr’, Twentieth Century Literature, 40.2, (1994), 226-255 (p. 239).

[36] Trotter, ‘The Modernist Novel’, p. 73.

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Joseph Owen

PhD, Carl Schmitt, Modernism and Sovereignty at University of Southampton

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