Form and Content

(Literary Essentials: Nonfiction Masterpieces)

Blasting and Bombardiering is particularly useful as a World War I memoir, for it recounts Wyndham Lewis’ life from before the war until almost a decade after. Yet, as is so often the case for those who endured the western front, the war is central throughout. Few other wars have had the extended personal and cultural impact of World War I. This influence is clearer in Lewis’ work than in many because as author and painter, frontline soldier and—after arranging to be excused from combat—war artist, he becomes an Everyman. Lewis’ artistic and literary criticism are both central elements of the book and extensions of the trauma of war.

Blasting and Bombardiering is divided into five parts, recounting the stages in Lewis’ life from 1914 to 1926. The book’s initial topic is the first publication of Lewis’ literary magazine Blast. Printed on puce paper, the two editions of Blast were avant-garde to a fault but contained work of brilliant and important figures of the twentieth century, including T. S. Eliot and Rebecca West. Lewis became a tempest in a teapot as the self-proclaimed leader of the vorticist movement in England. Although he did not care for the term, his group was part of the Futurist movement in art and was much influenced by the cubists. Given his talent, Lewis’ self-importance was not inappropriate, but it was tempered by war.

Although he spent the first few months of the Great...

(The entire section is 539 words.)


(Literary Essentials: Nonfiction Masterpieces)

Fussell, Paul. The Great War and Modern Memory, 1975.

Meyers, Jeffrey. The Enemy: A Biography of Wyndham Lewis, 1980.

Morrow, Bradford, and Bernard Lafourcade. A Bibliography of the Writings of Wyndham Lewis, 1978.

Pound, Omar S., and Philip Grover. Wyndham Lewis: A Descriptive Bibliography, 1978.

Pritchard, William. Wyndham Lewis, 1972.

Wagner, Geoffrey A. Wyndham Lewis: A Portrait of the Artist as the Enemy, 1957.