The Apes of Godby Wyndham Lewis
This new edition of a modern classic of satire, out of print in America for more than forty years, was originally published in London fifty years ago where it instantly created a firestorm of outrage and vituperation. The present edition preserves Lewis's full text - all 625 pages of the 1930 edition - and also retains the original cover illustration and sixteen… See more details below
This new edition of a modern classic of satire, out of print in America for more than forty years, was originally published in London fifty years ago where it instantly created a firestorm of outrage and vituperation. The present edition preserves Lewis's full text - all 625 pages of the 1930 edition - and also retains the original cover illustration and sixteen interior designs.
Acknowledged by the critics to be one of the most devastating books in our language, 'The Apes of God' strips bare the social affectations and malaise that made the British culture of his time so hateful to Wyndham Lewis.
The period of the late 1920s, described later by Lewis as ''the insanitary trough between the two great wars.'' Lewis's mock-picaresque hero is Dan Boleyn, a 20-year-old Irish innocent. Tutored by a 60-year-old albino dilettante named Horace Zagreus, Dan travels reluctantly through the London art world. He is horrified (and confused, and bored half to death) by the false, contrived ''broadcasts'' of the ''Apes'' - a series of pseudo-artists who resemble, on the one hand, absurd mechanical dolls, and on the other, very specific personages of the era (like Sir Osbert Sitwell).
Lewis's version of a world in which habitual falsehood has created general paralysis is fierce, unrelieved, and prophetic of an even more mediocre future.
At the time of its publication, British poet and critic Richard Aldington called The Apes of God ''one of the most tremendous forces ever conceived in the mind of man. For comparisons one must fall back to Rabelais and Aristophanes.'' Despite gaining occasional champions since then - including W. B. Yeats, who praised Lewis's ''intellectual passion'' - Lewis's satirical masterpiece has been resisted by our established modernist sensibility. This is no doubt because its triumphant, hilarious revulsion against cultural affectation continues to secretly outrage and offend the guardians of that sensibility.
- HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.92(w) x 9.12(h) x 1.93(d)
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