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are easy to misread, especially when criticism has yet to commit to Lewis the massive effort of explication worked upon the texts of Eliot, Pound, Joyce and Woolf.
There have been brisk condemnations of the chapter of entitled “Fascism as an Alternative,” and this would again seem to settle the matter; except that there remains an extensive discussion of Marx and Proudhon in the same work that is clearly fundamental to Lewis’s politics in a way that his remarks about the early years of Mussolini’s rule in Italy are not.
None of it amounts to fascism, in any sense of that word, a view I can support by pointing to the way in which Fredric Jameson, in , was unable to define Lewis as a fascist, and was forced to invent the elusive but nevertheless damaging term “protofascist” (15) in order to ensure Lewis’s political exclusion as a modernist of the right.
In any case, these books of the 1930s constituted the second wave of Lewis’s political thinking.
Recent work by Paul Edwards and Andrzej Gasiorek has altered the critical and political landscape, substantially and permanently.
For many, the publication of Lewis’s uncritical in 1931 settles the matter: an already-present tendency climaxes in the delusions that Hitler was “a Man of Peace” (title of Part II, ch.
3) who was not serious about his announced intention to persecute the Jews.
He also held a “culturalist” view by which revolutionary art and thought precedes revolutionary politics: change there must have been some other more fundamental change [….] So all popular revolutions, of whatever nature, have always, before they occurred, virtually existed in the consciousness and behaviour of a minority, and often, visibly, in phalansteries and colonies [....] The merely political revolutionary is thus […] an at the beginning of 1929 (Vol. The rightward turn occurred not long afterwards, during a visit to Germany in November 1930, two months after elections which had given the Nazi party over six million votes.
Reflections on Hitler appeared as magazine articles in in January and February 1931, and as a book in March.
The trajectory of Wyndham Lewis’s politics is not yet well understood.