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Wyndham Lewis
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Lewis: Rude Assignment
“the most fascinating personality of our time...
the most distinguished living novelist” — T. S. Eliot
“the only English writer, who can be compared to
Dostoevsky” — Ezra Pound
Wyndham Lewis:
Rude Assignment
Edited by Toby Foshay, Illustrations by Wyndham Lewis. With 6 Facsimile Letters by Ezra Pound,Edited and Annotated by Bryant Knox
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for large view
The present re-issue of this lost classic fills a major gap in the history of art and ideas in our century, It is the impassioned intellectual autobiography and ‘apologia pro vita sua’ of a maverick genius whose very “unclubbability” as artist and critic hindered its circulation — and even its publication — at the time it was written.

“This is the history of a career, not a person,” Lewis wrote. Because his career was in eclipse in the years immediately after World War II, he intended Rude Assignment first of all as a response to literary critics and popular cartoonists whose “unjust, prejudiced and tendentious” attacks had created a wave of “misconceptions (about myself, or about my work).” His secondary aim was “to demonstrate an organic pattern” in all his works — that he had produced “a litter of books, not really discrete.” The result was a brilliant exposition of thought and theory, a fierce defense of intellectual honesty and originality, and a memorable argument for the serious uses of satire.

But, as Lewis readily admitted in his own book, “retaliation” from “outraged nobodies and their buddies” was the predictable reply of society to its satirists. He had, in The Apes of God, assaulted the literary-aesthetic upper crust — “whose class is dying, (but) in their agony they are capable of delivering some nasty kicks,” Because several writers he had insulted in his books were also clients of his publisher, it took Lewis four years to get Rude Assignment into print, and then only in an adulterated form. The book appeared 1950 in an edition of only 1,500 copies, went into a small second printing, and then fell into obscurity until the current Lewis revival; it has been the most difficult to obtain of the author’s major works.

Rude Assignment now is brought to light in its original full text for the first time. There is also an appendix with six previously unpublished letters by Ezra Pound responding from incarceration at St. Elisabeths to this autobiography of his old colleague — whose apolitical attitude (“politically I stand nowhere, anymore than a fish does”) differed so radically from Pound’s own.

316 pages, 9 b/w llustrations, English
Paperback: 6'' x 9'' (150 x 230 mm)
ISBN-13: 978-0-87685-603-1  
ISBN-10: 0-87685-603-2      $ 15.00

Cloth Trade: 6 1/2'' x 9 1/2'' (160 x 240 mm)
ISBN-13: 978-0-87685-604-8  
ISBN-10: 0-87685-604-0      $ 25.00
About the Editors:
Toby Foshay is a Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellow at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, writing his thesis on subjectivity in Wyndham Lewis. In addition to articles on Joyce and Yeats and on critical theory, he has published John Daniel Logan: Canadian Man of Letters.
Bryant Knox is a former high school teacher, college and university instructor, who holds a master degree in English from Simon Fraser University. He has written previously on Ezra Pound and Charles Olson, and is working on a pictorial presentation of Charles Ohlson’s Yucatan. He has also studied and traveled extensively in Mexico and lectures professionally on pre-Hispanic art and culture. He lives in Burnaby, British Columbia.
Book design by Barbara Martin
About the Author:
Percy Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957)
Percy Wyndham Lewis
(1882-1957) was a novelist, painter, es­say­ist, poet, critic, polemicist and one of the truly dynamic forces in literature and art in the twentieth century. He was the founder of Vorticism, the only original movement in 20th century English painting.
He is the author of Tarr (1918), The Lion and the Fox (1927), Time and Western Man (1927, 1993), The Apes of God (1930), The Revenge for Love (1937), and Self Condemned (1954).
Wyndham Lewis was ranked highly by his important contemporaries.
See also:

Wyndham Lewis: Self Condemned
W. Lewis: Self Condemned
This work, concerning his desperate years marooned in Toronto during World War II, where Lewis, intensely homesick for London, finally came to terms with himself both as a man and as an artist, is considered by most critics to be one of Lewis’s greatest novels. more...

Volcanic Heaven: Essays on Wyndham Lewis’s Painting & Writing
Volcanic Heaven: Essays
“An explosive force” is what Lewis required the artist to be. In his 1937 autobiography Blasting and Bom­bardier­ing he recalled the shock­waves stirred by the impact of BLAST upon an unsuspecting culture: But a bomb explodes only once, while a volcano keeps erupting. more...
How to order:
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ISBN-13: 9780876856031 | ISBN-10: 0876856032 — ISBN-13: 9780876856048 | ISBN-10: 0876856040