Distinguished and highly original, Wyndham Lewis is known for his sharp wit and sardonic insight. A modern master of satire, expert at deflating the pretensions of democracy, he was born off the coast of Maine in his English father's yacht and grew up in England. He was associated with Roger Fry and Ezra Pound on the vorticist magazine Blast (1914--15). Lewis served in France in World War I, and his dynamic paintings of war scenes soon gained him wide recognition for his art, now represented in the Tate Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and in the Museum of Modern Art, New York. After the publication of his naturalistic novel Tarr (1918), he became prominent as a writer. His major work of fiction is the tetralogy The Human Age (1955--56). Lewis "was one of those high-powered, controversial and prophetic figures to whom no one can react with indifference. He was a fellow-traveller with fascism who wrote enthusiastically about Hitler. . . . A toughy, you see: a would-be shocker: a braggart. But his eye for the comic surface of things is marvelous" (Philip Toynbee, Observer). T. S. Eliot called Wyndham Lewis "the most fascinating personality of our time" and he was described by W. B. Yeats as having that rare quality in writers, intellectual passion. Yet his reactionary views, especially his anti-Semitism, have more or less consigned him to oblivion today. His views are clearly expressed in such works as Hitler, the Germans and the Jews, and The Jews, Are They Human?
Bradford Morrow is a professor of literature at Bard College and is founder and editor of the literary journal Conjunctions. He lives in New York.