Fables of Aggression
Wyndham Lewis, the Modernist as Fascist
A Verso book
Jameson’s controversial reading of one of the great twentieth-century writers.
The novels of Wyndham Lewis have generally been associated with the work of
the great modernists – Joyce, Pound, Eliot, Yeats – who were his sometime
friends and collaborators. Lewis’s originality, however, can only be fully
grasped when it is understood that, unlike those writers, he was essentially a
In this now classic study, Fredric Jameson proposes a framework in which
Lewis's explosive language practice - utterly unlike any other English or
American modernism - can be grasped as a political and symbolic act. He does
not, however, ask us to admire the energy of Lewis's style without confronting
the inescapable and often scandalous ideological content of Lewis's works: the
aggressivity and sexism, the predilection for racial and national categories,
the brief flirtation with fascism, and the inveterate and cranky
oppositionalism that informs his powerful polemics against virtually all the
political and countercultural tendencies of his time.
Fables of Aggression draws on the methods of narrative analysis and
semiotics, psychoanalysis, and ideological analysis to construct a dynamic
model of the contradictions from which Lewis's incomparable narrative corpus is
generated, and of which it offers so many varying symbolic resolutions.
- August 2008
- 6.1 × 9.2 in
/ 190 pages
- Territory Rights: USA and Dependencies and the Philippines.
Endorsements & Reviews
“Jameson's little book on Wyndham Lewis is an important and in many ways brilliant work, as much for its treatment of Lewis himself as for its two other important contributions: to an understanding of the ideology of modernism, and to an understanding of a socio-political-psychoanlaytic theory of criticism ... Jameson is sensitive both to detail and to the larger intellectual and political issues raised by a writer like Lewis. ... He provides a serious, challenging, and extremely intelligent alternative to the reigning ahistorical formalist criticism.” — Edward Said
“A highly original study on the novels of Wyndham Lewis. ... The book is supremely important as a contribution to Marxist criticism especially. It is ironic that it took a critic whose ideological position was so opposed to his subject to offer the best assessment of the ideological and literary bases of Lewis's creativity. ... This is an outstanding contribution to our understanding of postmodernism.” — Hayden White
Also by Fredric Jameson
Second Edition / Paperback
New Edition / Paperback