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8 September 1994
The Life and Death of Peter Sellers 
by Roger Lewis.
Century, 817 pp., £20, April 1994, 0 7126 3801 6
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... it to his estranged fourth wife, Lynne Frederick, who kept it all to herself, married David Frost with indecent haste and recently died in California of a drug overdose. So much for the facts. One of RogerLewis’s main achievements in his new and frankly enormous biography – at least four times longer than any of the others – is to have fleshed this skeleton out to the point of corpulence with a ...

Not Quite Nasty

Colin Burrow: Anthony Burgess

9 February 2006
The Real Life of Anthony Burgess 
by Andrew Biswell.
Picador, 434 pp., £20, November 2005, 0 330 48170 3
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... passing through the droop in reputation which most dead writers endure before they can become history. Four years ago he was the victim of what was generally regarded as a loathsome biography by RogerLewis, who presented him as a pompous, psychologically damaged second-rater. Lewis’s biography was no fun to read, but it was interesting for what it revealed about responses to the unfashionable ...
15 September 1988
Europe and the Mystique of Islam 
by Maxime Rodinson, translated by Roger​ Veinus.
Tauris, 163 pp., £19.50, April 1988, 1 85043 104 3
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The Political Language of Islam 
by Bernard Lewis.
Chicago, 168 pp., £11.95, July 1988, 0 226 47692 8
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Islam and Revolution in the Middle East 
by Henry Munson.
Yale, 180 pp., £15.95, June 1988, 0 300 04127 6
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... There was an Orientalism,’ Rodinson reminds us, ‘before the empires.’ ‘Orientalism = imperialism’ is a simplistic formula. One of Said’s principal targets in Orientalism was Bernard Lewis, a British scholar now at Princeton University. Said and Lewis have become well-known sparring partners in the Orientalism debate – although their clashes have sometimes generated more heat than ...

At the National Portrait Gallery

Peter Campbell: Wyndham Lewis

11 September 2008
... Wyndham Lewis’s Modernism refuses a provincial label. His intellectual toughness and taste for self-promotion and polemic were foreign to the amateurishness that, he believed, vitiated Bloomsbury’s insular ...
2 April 1981
Paul Nash 
by Andrew Causey.
Oxford, 511 pp., £35, June 1980, 0 19 817348 2
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The Enemy 
by Jeffrey Meyers.
Routledge, 391 pp., £15, July 1980, 0 7100 0514 8
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Wyndham LewisA Revaluation 
edited by Jeffrey Meyers.
Athlone, 276 pp., £13.50, May 1980, 0 485 11193 4
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Wyndham lewis 
by Jane Farrington.
Lund Humphries, 128 pp., £6.95, October 1980, 0 85331 434 9
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... Wyndham Lewis had a phrase for himself and those of his contemporaries whom he considered worthy of his company: he called them ‘The Men of 1914’. The phrase has a nice martial ring, and it is not surprising ...

At the IWM North

Jon Day: Wyndham Lewis

4 October 2017
... In​ a 1932 article for the Daily Herald entitled ‘What It Feels Like to Be an Enemy’, Wyndham Lewis described his morning routine. After a breakfast of ‘a little raw meat, a couple of blood oranges, a stick of ginger, and a shot of vodka – to make one see Red’, he wrote: I make a habit of ...

Candle Moments

Andrew O’Hagan: Norman Lewis’s Inventions

25 September 2008
Semi-Invisible Man: The Life of Norman Lewis 
by Julian Evans.
Cape, 792 pp., £25, June 2008, 978 0 224 07275 5
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... an orange and to describe how he managed it; it also seemed natural for him to set moral traps to catch the movement of his subject’s character, his strategies of revelation and concealment. Norman Lewis met Hemingway in December 1957 outside Havana. The visit proved a shocking disappointment; it was also a warning. Hemingway sloped around his bedroom in pyjamas, gulping huge glasses of Dubonnet ...

Apoplectic Gristle

David Trotter: Wyndham Lewis

25 January 2001
Some Sort of Genius: A Life of Wyndham Lewis 
by Paul O'Keeffe.
Cape, 697 pp., £25, October 2001, 0 224 03102 3
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Wyndham LewisPainter and Writer 
by Paul Edwards.
Yale, 583 pp., £40, August 2000, 0 300 08209 6
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... The day he first met Wyndham Lewis, shortly after the end of the First World War, Ernest Hemingway was teaching Ezra Pound how to box. The encounter took place in Paris, where Pound had a studio, and Lewis, impassive beneath his trademark wide black hat, seemed content to watch in silence. ‘Ezra had not been boxing very long and I was embarrassed at having him work in front of anyone he knew, and I ...

Could it have been different?

Roger​ Southall: R.W. Johnson’s South Africa

8 October 2009
South Africa’s Brave New World: The Beloved Country since the End of Apartheid 
by R.W. Johnson.
Allen Lane, 701 pp., £25, April 2009, 978 0 7139 9538 1
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... most dangerous opponent, and by Mbeki as his most dangerous rival after Mandela for the leadership of the ANC. The assassination was carried out by a Polish émigré, Janus Walus, and Clive Derby-Lewis, an extremely unpleasant white extremist MP, but Johnson believes they were set up by elements within the ANC while the apartheid security apparatus looked quietly on; it suited both interested ...

Short Cuts

Christopher Tayler: Costume Drama

11 October 2012
... worked over, or mistaken for a blackguard, on account of his mulish rectitude. Costume drama audiences are widely reckoned to respond to obliquity of the kind Ford specialised in as Wyndham Lewis did in 1914: ‘What balls!’ So even given the participation of Tom Stoppard, Rebecca Hall and Benedict Cumberbatch, it was surprising to see a Ford adaptation given five hours on BBC2. Ford was ...

At Dulwich Picture Gallery

Eleanor Birne: ‘A Crisis of Brilliance’

12 September 2013
... At the Slade, she was part of what Tonks declared the school’s ‘second, and last, crisis of brilliance’ (following the one a decade earlier brought about by Augustus and Gwen John, Wyndham Lewis, Spencer Gore etc). Her fellow students included C.R.W. Nevinson, Mark Gertler, Paul Nash and Stanley Spencer. Together they are the subject of David Boyd Haycock’s compelling group biography, A ...
8 September 1994
Early Modernism: Literature, Music and Painting in Europe 1900-1916 
by Christopher Butler.
Oxford, 318 pp., £27.50, April 1994, 0 19 811746 9
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... colours which Grant and Bell adopted, in line with the decorative aesthetic developed in the Omega Workshop, which revelled in bright colour and abstract design. Curiously, the collage which Roger Fry, the founder and organiser of Omega, made at the same time, incorporating l/2d. and 5d. No 88 bus tickets, has much duller colours, rather closer to a Cubist palette. Of course, the Omega ...

Unreal Food Uneaten

Julian Bell: Sitting for Vanessa

13 April 2000
The Art of Bloomsbury 
edited by Richard Shone.
Tate Gallery, 388 pp., £35, November 1999, 1 85437 296 3
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First Friends 
by Ronald Blythe.
Viking, 157 pp., £25, October 1999, 0 670 88613 0
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Bloomsbury in France 
by Mary Ann Caws and Sarah Bird Wright.
Oxford, 430 pp., £25, December 1999, 0 19 511752 2
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... felt my way into them. So perhaps there was an element of personal curiosity as I approached a show of Vanessa’s paintings at the Tate last winter, presented along with those of Duncan Grant and Roger Fry as The Art of Bloomsbury. On another level, I approached a show of that name as one does a walk down a rainswept trunk road: however close you pull your coat, you know you’re going to get ...

Diary

Paul Laity: Henry Woodd Nevinson

3 February 2000
... a remarkable time at the Slade – his other classmates included Paul Nash, Ben Nicholson, David Bomberg and William Roberts – and a revolutionary moment in British art. Even to express support for Roger Fry’s Post-Impressionist exhibitions was daring and radical. Nevinson, having seen a contemporary art show in Venice, knew he was ‘bored with the old Masters’. He was ambitious and keen to be ...

Hauteur

Adam Phillips: ‘Paranoid Modernism’

22 May 2003
The Short Sharp Life of T.E. Hulme 
by Robert Ferguson.
Allen Lane, 314 pp., £20, November 2002, 0 7139 9490 8
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Paranoid Modernism: Literary Experiment, Psychosis and the Professionalisation of English Society 
by David Trotter.
Oxford, 358 pp., £35, September 2001, 0 19 818755 6
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... without the ballast of original sin in it, and was one of the first people to defend the Modernism of the abstract art of Bomberg, Epstein and Gaudier-Brzeska against the apparent progressivism of Roger Fry and Bloomsbury. He had found his preferred version of human nature in Byzantine art, and its recovery in these abstract Modernists. One of the many things that is so interesting about him, and ...

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