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Collected Poems and Plays

Wyndham Lewis

Edited by Alan Munton

Foreword by C.H. Sisson

Cover Picture of Collected Poems and Plays
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Paperback
ISBN: 978 1 857547 15 3
Categories: 20th Century
Imprint: FyfieldBooks
Published: August 2003
215 x 135 x 13 mm
234 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: Paperback
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  • Again let me do a lot of extraordinary talking.
    Again let me do a lot!
    Let me abound in speeches - let me abound! - publicly polyglot!
    Better a blind word to bluster with - better a bad word than none lieber Gott!
    Watch me push into my witch's vortex all the Englishman's got
    To cackle and rattle with - you catch my intention?

                                            from 'The Song of the Militant Romance'

    At the beginning of his career Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957) wrote vigorous poetry, and plays which in their form and vehement characterisation resemble the later work of Samuel Beckett. This volume includes major works: One-Way Song, and Enemy of the Stars in its two very different versions, as well as other writings that can now be seen as central to the formation of Lewis's work.

    The plays and poems crackle with ferocious energy, concentrated and brilliant, as Lewis creates a literary equivalent to the visual revolutions of Cubism and Vorticism. He explores how an artist should think and write in an oppressive world, the relationship between imagination and action.

    This edition, with Alan Munton's annotations, is a definitive text based on Lewis's own final corrections. An introduction by C.H. Sisson places these radical works in the context of Lewis's other writings.
    Table of Contents

    Acknowledgements

    Introduction
    - C.H.Sisson



    POEMS

    Grignolles

    On-Way Song

       Engine Fight-Talk

       The Song of the Militant Romance

       If So the Man You Are

       On-Way Song

       Envoi



    PLAYS

    Enemy of the Stars (1914)

    The Ideal Giant

    Enemy of the Stars (1932)

    Physics of the Not-Self



    APPENDIX: UNPUBLISHED POEMS AND FRAGMENTS

    'The Liquid brown detestable earth'

    'The life of memory concerned me next'



    Explanatory Notes

    Textual and Bibliographical NOtes

    Bibliography




    ILLUSTRATIONS

    Cover of One-Way Song 1933

    Title page of One-Way Song 1933

    Design for 'Engine Fight-Talk'

    The Schoolmaster

    Design for 'The Song of the Militant Romance'

    The Duc de Joyeux Sings

    Design for 'If So the Man You Are'

    Telegram from One-Way Song

    Design for 'One-Way Song'

    One-Way Figure

    Prelimary from Blast 1

    'Advertisement' from Blast 1

    Cover Design for 'The Ideal Giant' 1917

    Title page of Enemy of the Stars

    The Play

    Two figures and a star

    Title page of 'Physics of the Not-Self', 1932

    Alan Munton
    ... read more
    C.H. Sisson
    Born in Bristol in 1914, C. H. Sisson was noted as a poet, novelist, essayist and an important translator. He was a great friend of the critic and writer Donald Davie, with whom he corresponded regularly. Sisson was a student at the University of Bristol where he read English and Philosophy. ... read more
    Praise for C.H. Sisson `His poems move in service of the loved landscapes of England and France; they sing (and growl) in love of argument, in love of seeing through, in love of the firm descriptions of moral self-disgust; they move in love of the old lost life by which the new life is condemned.'
    Donald Hall, New York Times Book Review
    'I think he is worth a place on the short shelf reserved for the finest twentieth-century poets, with Eliot and Rilke and MacDiarmid.'
    Robert Nye, the Scotsman
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