Wyndham Lewis's Cultural Criticism and the Infrastructures of Patronage

BookWyndham Lewis's Cultural Criticism and the Infrastructures of Patronage

Wyndham Lewis's Cultural Criticism and the Infrastructures of Patronage



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Wyndham Lewis was both a serious proponent and forthright critic of modernism. His assault upon his contemporaries foreshadowed the twenty-first century scholarly interest in the networks, professions, and coteries – rather than the myths and heroics – of modernism. Lewis, after a long period of neglect, now sits increasingly at the heart of a revised field of modernist studies.

This book explores Lewis’s cultural criticism as a valuable body of writing which posed questions that have yet to be answered about subsidy and the function of the artist, about professionalism and ethics, about who should pay for the arts, and what the artist’s obligations should be in return. It is the first book-length study of this body of critical writing, through which Lewis articulated the central and most lasting of his critical preoccupations: the question of how the work of the artist is to be valued, and the artist to be paid, in a professionalised society.

This book makes an important contribution to the long overdue reassessment of a complex, contrarian figure, spanning the disciplines of literature and the visual arts, who asked pressing questions about the role and status of the artist, and ultimately about the value (economic, civic, political) of the work of art.


Author Information

Nathan O’Donnell lectures at the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at Trinity College Dublin.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
1. Professionals and Amateurs: Bloomsbury, Blast, and The Caliph’s Design29
2. Art and Criticism in the Machine Age: The Tyro75
3. ‘I am planning a small review’: The Enemy and the General Strike111
4. ‘Public Money is Private Money’: Paying for the Arts in the 1930s151
5. ‘The Best in the Worst of All Possible Worlds’: Lewis and the Institutions195