Thursday, December 29, 2016

Wyndham Lewis in Canada

In my Reading Oscar post I already celebrated Hugh Kenner's book "The Pound Era" as a masterful, one of a kind, critical masterpiece.

It speaks, as said, not only about Ezra Pound, but also about a handful of writers and artists revolving around Pound. Wyndham Lewis is one of them.

While Kenner met and spoke Ezra Pound many times, he totally missed Wyndham Lewis, who'se exile adress however was very near to that of the University of Toronto, the university where Kenner graduated.

In one of the last chapters of his book, titled "The Last European", Kenner regrets this deeply and cannot understand that none of the academici of the  University cared or at least mentioned to their students that there was a famous writer in exile ( craving for contact ) living nearby ( one mile ). 

A Titan is what Kenner calls Lewis. A fantastic painter and writer.

Lewis in exile in Canada was a sad appearance. The man had left everything behind in war-torn England, especially his reputation and social network. He suffered terribly from the cold. His sight failed and he wrote one of his last books "Self -condemned" blind...

" He wrote it longhand , the ball-point scrawling its way till it bumped off the edge of the pad on his lap, then commencing a new line three finger-breadths below the previous one, a sheet with five or six wandering lines at last torn off and dropped on the floor to be retrieved by mrs. Lewis and typed."

Pound, still locked-up in the house of loonies, in St. Elisabeth Hospital, thought that Lewis' "Self - condemned" deserved the Nobel prize.

They gave it instead to Papa Hemingway.