“A man of undoubted genius,” T.S. Eliot said of Wyndham Lewis, “…but genius for what precisely it would be remarkably difficult to say.” Painter and draughtsman, novelist, satirist, pamphleteer and critic, Wyndham Lewis’s multifarious activities defy easy categorization. He launched the only twentieth century English avant-garde art movement, Vorticism, in 1914. Brilliant both as painter and writer, the precise, mechanistic formality of his visual style crossed over into a unique satirical prose which, emphasizing the external, turned his characters into automata. It enabled Lewis to pit himself against a prevailing orthodoxy, the stream of consciousness technique favoured by contemporaries as diverse as James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and Gertrude Stein.
Combining years of research with dry wit and creative storytelling, Paul O’Keeffe’s Some Sort of Genius crackles with intense details of Lewis’s work, life and times, simultaneously dismantling longstanding assumptions about his subject and offering brilliant new perspectives. Employing narrative creativity that reinvents the genre of biography itself, O’Keeffe delivers an unparalleled portrait that does full justice to Lewis’s complexity.
Throughout O’Keeffe’s definitive account, readers will be introduced to one of the most compelling and misunderstood figures of twentieth century modernism.