A major statement by great artist and writer Wyndham Lewis, The Revenge for Love now deserves a new generation of readers and is the perfect introduction to Lewis’s work.
Published in the shadow of the Spanish Civil War, The Revenge for Love is a political thriller attacking the fraudulence and feeble-mindedness of life in the Britain of the 1930s.
Wyndham Lewis’s brilliant satire on a world that has lost its sense of self and been seduced by the appeal of Communism is one of a handful of books (it could be compared to George Orwell’s Coming Up for Air or Koestler’s Darkness at Noon) which defined a particular mood and to today’s audience gives an unparalleled sense of how Europe turned toxic on the eve of the Second World War.
Once met, I rarely dislike a person. But the idea of a person often fills me with dislike and even abhorrence. So it was with Wyndham Lewis. I never met him but I might easily have done so, since I often begged J. R. Ackerley, the brilliant literary editor of The Listener and a close friend of us both, to effect an introduction. But Ackerley, always oddly fearful that, if he brought any two of his friends together, he might lose both of them, did nothing.
It is easy to see why my younger self – so different from the ancient one now writing this – should have disliked the idea of Lewis. Then on the far left, I was, like almost everyone of my generation, an ardent supporter of the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War. I thought that Mussolini, Hitler and Mosley were quite simply monsters, and that the greatest living English novelists were Aldous Huxley, Virginia Woolf and E. M. Forster. I was also a pacifist.
Lewis, so far from accepting such opinions, abominated them. Democracy was, he maintained, merely a tyranny of the masses . . .
Extract from Slightly Foxed Issue 3, Autumn 2005
Once met, I rarely dislike a person. But the idea of a person often fills me with dislike and even abhorrence. So it was with Wyndham Lewis. I never met him but I might easily have done so, since I...Read more