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Counter-Currents Radio Podcast No. 32  
Jonathan Bowden on Wyndham Lewis

Wyndham Lewis, "La Suerte," 1938

Wyndham Lewis, “La Suerte,” 1938

53:47 / 57 words

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One of Jonathan Bowden’s most compelling lectures: the life and work of Right-wing Nietzschean modernist painter, novelist, and critic Wyndham Lewis. Transcript here





  1. rhondda
    Posted February 12, 2013 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    Apparently, Mr. Lewis hated Canada and his novel Self-condemned is all about how odious Toronto is. I guess I will have to read it as I am not fond of that city either. The heroine commits suicide out of hate for Canada. That is quite rich. He was also a good friend of Marshall McLuhan or perhaps it was the opposite. McLuhan wanted him to sign his book about Hitler and Lewis ripped up the book. I can see why he hated Toronto when it was known as Toronto the good and they hated outsiders. It’s a Puritan thing. Things have changed there now. Even I know about Jane and Finch. ( A multicultural section of town. Need I say more?).
    I really like his paintings.

  2. Posted February 13, 2013 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Wyndham Lewis lived in penury while in Canada, and he felt the establishment there had been slow and reluctant to acknowledge his presence. Tried as he may, potrait commissions hardly materialised at all (and in one case he offended his patron by doing an unflattering portrait because he disliked the subject). He felt the local academic establishment was hostile to him and speaking events were thin on the ground. Marshall McLuhan, then young and admirer, was very active in generating interest for Lewis, but Lewis was a poor speaker (he read out notes inaudibly). Also, Lewis was difficult and various social events where he would have normally made acquaintances that would have led to commissions (the only thing he was interested in at that stage, since he needed them badly), proved disastrous, Lewis and wife either storming out or falling out with the entire circle, convinced he or his wife had been affronted. There is no evidence or record of what happened at these private events, so O’Keefe only records that there had been a falling out. Living a dollar or two away from eviction throughout the entire period, always in debt and in arrears, for a long while he was unable to afford to boat ticked back to Britain, until founds were either borrowed or obtained by various means. It is not surprising, therefore, that after six years of that his recollections were all negative.

    About the Hitler book: On one occasion admirers of his (who were friends of McLuhan) vacated their apartment so that Lewis and his wife could stay for a period. O’Keefe tells that Lewis noticed a copy of Hitleron the shelf and was sufficiently alarmed by it to inquire whether his host’s wife had read it and had had thoughts on it. He was reassured that, while she didn’t like it at first, she had accepted it for what it was. Nevertheless, the book was moved to another shelf high up, and when his benefactors returned to reoccupy their flat, they found the Hitler book gone.

    From reports I have come across over the years I have been left with the impression that the Canadian establishment is unusually prone to extreme multiculturalism and political correctness. The reference to Puritanism may be appropriate, as the modern belief in the moral goodness of equality is, broadly speaking, a form of Puritanism.

    • rhondda
      Posted February 13, 2013 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      My information comes from a piece in the Walrus Magazine which is a fairly new artsy magazine in Canada. Also Sheila Watson did some academic paper on him and his time in Canada. The claim is that he influenced McLuhan. He did alot of paintings here.
      Toronto used to be the epitome white wasp judgemental society where you could not get a drink without authorization and the Church Ladies ruled. Canadians are notorious for being more British than the British. Now they are atoning for their sins with multiculturalism. The liberal party in Ontario just elected a Lesbian as head of their party. Go figure. The conservative can’t even squeal because they are atoning for their previous sins and playing the left against the right. I just can’t believe people think that Harper is a conservative. He is an American libertarian, probably a Straussian.

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