Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Frederick Tarr

Frederick Tarr, an English artist in Paris engaged to Bertha Lunken. Tired of her stupidity, he breaks the engagement and becomes involved with Anastasya Vasek. When Bertha tells him that she is pregnant by Kreisler, he marries her, though he continues to live with Anastasya. Bertha finally divorces him, but he never marries Anastasya.

Bertha Lunken

Bertha Lunken, a sentimental German art student engaged to Tarr. After he breaks the engagement, she turns to Kreisler, who forcibly possesses her. She informs Tarr of her pregnancy and he marries her out of pity, although he continues to live with Anastasya. Bertha eventually divorces Tarr and marries an eye doctor.

Otto Kreisler

Otto Kreisler, a German artist, chronically short of funds. In love with Anastasya, he makes a fool of himself at a party and then gets involved with Bertha. Seeing Anastasya with Soltyk, he challenges the Pole to a duel and kills him. Fleeing to Germany, he is arrested, and he hangs himself in his cell.

Anastasya Vasek

Anastasya Vasek, a beautiful Russian beloved by Tarr, Kreisler, and Soltyk. It is over her that Kreisler and Soltyk fight a duel in which Soltyk is killed. She goes to live with Tarr.

Louis Soltyk

Louis Soltyk, a Pole. Because of his attentions to Anastasya, he is challenged and killed by Kreisler.


(Great Characters in Literature)

Chapman, Robert. Wyndham Lewis: Fictions and Satires. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1973. Contains excellent analysis of Tarr, particularly regarding the relations among the principal characters. Disagrees with those critics who have said that to reject the ideas of Tarr is to reject the novel.

Jameson, Fredric. Fables of Aggression. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979. A focus on libido makes for interesting writing on the topic of the nationalist allegory, which Jameson believes offers a framework in which psychic energies circulate.

Kenner, Hugh. Wyndham Lewis. New York: Methuen, 1954. Useful for its tracing of Lewis’ earliest writings as they are transmuted in Tarr and of the significance of Lewis’ 1928 revisions.

Materer, Timothy. Wyndham Lewis, the Novelist. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1976. Discusses the role of humor, the genesis of Frederick Tarr, and the dynamics between Tarr the “satiric commentator” and Kreisler the “tragic protagonist.”

Pritchard, William H. Wyndham Lewis. New York: Twayne, 1968. Finds that the interest lies less in the plot than in the restlessness and self-involvement of the characters, and the stylistic differences they engender.