Vorticism Critical Essays


(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)


Vorticism was an English avant-garde movement which encompassed both the visual and literary arts. Founded in 1912 by the writer and painter Wyndham Lewis, Vorticism was related to Futurism and Cubism in painting and to Imagism in literature. Chiefly, the movement extolled the virtues of the machine. Its visual art was sharp-edged and angular; its literature is frequently described as turbulent and noisy. In 1914 Lewis and writer Ezra Pound (who coined the term Vorticism) established Blast, a magazine dedicated to promoting the new movement. However, the periodical—like Vorticism itself—was shortlived and lasted only two issues. Although several young artists and writers joined the movement, including David Bomberg, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, T. E. Hulme, and Pound, Vorticism did not endure as a distinct literary and artistic school after the first World War.