David Wragg received his Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of Nottingham, and his B.A. from the University of Leicester. Dr. Wragg has taught, researched and published across disciplines, using ideas grounded in Critical Theory, History of Art, English, American Studies and Cultural Studies.
2005 0-7734-6254-6 This study offers a reconsideration of Wyndham Lewis’s work up to the 1930s, based on a wide-ranging engagement with theories of modernity and modernism, against a ‘background’ of Enlightenment thought. It discusses the philosophical, art historical and literary complexities of Lewis’s texts, and what they might mean for our understanding of their political orientation. Grounded in Lewis’s aporetic notion of Art, this study takes issue with those critics who attempt to close down these complexities, arguing that Lewis’s political statements are both symptomatic of an ‘avant-garde’ predicament based on his mediation of ideas found in thinkers like Kant and Nietzsche, and thus argumentatively inconclusive – at least up to his outright endorsement of fascism in the early 1930s. This book also connects up Lewis’s understanding of modernity as an era of rationalization and reification with crucial twentieth century dissident thinkers such as Heidegger and Adorno. Deconstructing the Art : : Life opposition announced in Blast 1 of 1914, this work examines how Lewis’s increasing attempts to prioritize visuality and the painter’s controlling eye admit an aesthetic Utopianism deriving from his early Wild Body stories. It is this aesthetic sensibility, even when inchoate, which proves troublesome to Lewis’s own increasing conflation of satire with a totalizing objectivity, and thus to those subsequent commentators on his politics whose own desire for critical mastery is part of the ‘problem’ of Enlightenment defined. In conclusion, this study extrapolate some key ideas in the direction of current doubts about, and ‘resolutions’ of, the ‘project’ of Enlightenment, in the context of its artistic and sociological formations.