Originally published in 1980 and nominated for the Duff Cooper Prize, this was the first biography of Wyndham Lewis and was based on extensive archival research and interviews. It narrates Lewis’ years at Rugby and the Slade, his bohemian life on the Continent, the creation of Vorticism and publication of Blast, and his experiences at Passchendaele, as well as his many love affairs, his bitter quarrels with Bloomsbury and the Sitwells, the suppressed books of the thirties, the evolution of his political ideas, his self-imposed exile in North America and creative resurgence during his final blindness. Jeffrey Meyers also describes Lewis’ relationships with Roy Campbell, D. H. Lawrence, Katherine Mansfield, T. E Lawrence, Hemingway, Huxley, Yeats, Auden, Spender, Orwell and McLuhan. As the self-styled Enemy emerges from the shadows, he is seen as an independent and courageous artist and one of the most controversial and stimulating figures in modern English art and literature.
Table of Contents
1. Childhood, Rugby and the Slade, 1882–1901 2. Bohemia and August John, 1902-1908 3. Ford and Pound, 1909-1912 4. Omega Workshops and Rebel Art Centre, 1913-1914 5. Vorticism and Blast, 1914 6. The Great War, 1914-1918 7. Women and Marriage, 1918-1925 8. Underground Man, 1919-1925 9. Man of the World, 1926-1929 10. The Apes of God, 1930 11. Politics, Germany and Hitler, 1930-1931 12. Combat and Suppression, 1931-1933 13. Lonely Old Volcano, 1934-1937 14. Rejection and Recantation, 1937-1939 15. New York, 1939-1940 16. Toronto, 1940-1943 17. Windsor and St. Louis, 1943-1945 18. Notting Hill, 1945-1949 19. Blindness, 1950-1954 20. The Human Age, 1955-1957.
Since 1992 Jeffrey Meyers has been a professional writer in Berkeley, California. He is one of ten Americans who are Fellows of the Royal Society of Literature, and in 2005 received an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters 'to honor exceptional achievement.' Professor Meyers has published 54 books and 1,080 articles on art, film, and modern American, English and European literature. His wide range of interests include bibliography, editing, literary criticism and biography. He is a specialist in archival research and discovered important literary manuscripts by Wyndham Lewis.
'...The Enemy is an excellent biography because of the moving picture it gives of a neglected genius struggling against the zeitgeist, and against poverty to produce a uniquely valuable body of work. It is a very readable book and gives proper emphasis to Lewis' comic gifts.' Paul Edwards, Enemy News
'The book is richly informative, fair, lively and in every good sense disinterested.' Denis Donoghue, New York Review of Books
'...solid and well documented, without being pointlessly massive or tediously long.' Bernard Begonzi, Times Literary Supplement
'The Enemy remains the best life of Lewis.' Phil Baker, The Guardian