No one can be expected to love satire, especially the reader, Wyndham Lewis wrote in 1934, but for the writer it is otherwise. Like his other works of fiction, The Revenge for Love is a satire, but it is satire with a difference. Not only is the novel considered his best, if not his most typical, but also it is a much gentler book, one in which the characters assume a human dimension often missing in his other satires.
The book is divided into seven parts and begins in Spain, where Percy Hardcaster, a British Communist organizer, is awaiting trial for his political activities. It is uncertain whether he will be shot or pardoned. Because of this uncertainty, he decides to escape with the aid of the prison guard, Serafin, and with some help from the outside. During the attempt, the guard is killed and Percy is shot in the leg, which he eventually loses. The end of the opening section finds Percy recuperating in a Spanish hospital attended by devoted nuns.
The second part of the novel moves the story to London and introduces the reader into the world of left-wing politics among the intellectuals and artists of England. The reader meets Victor Stamp, an Australian painter of uncertain talent, and his devoted wife, Gwendolyn Margaret Savage (Margot), and learns of their dire economic situation and of Victor’s doubts about his artistic abilities. Section 3 begins with a description of John (Jack) Cruze’s office, where he advises his clients on their tax difficulties and where one is also introduced to Tristram (Tristy) Phipps, a rather well-known and successful young painter who, because he occasionally paints nudes, attracts Jack’s interest. At Tristy’s...
(The entire section is 693 words.)