Satirical Auto/biografiction: Wyndham Lewis and Richard Aldington

Max Saunders

in Self Impression

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780199579761
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722882 | DOI:
Satirical Auto/biografiction: Wyndham Lewis and Richard Aldington

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This chapter asks whether the kind of reading offered in the previous chapter disarms the possibility of modernist satire, deflecting our attention from criticism to autobiography. It discusses two less equivocally satirical modernists by way of counter‐arguments to this objection. Wyndham Lewis's Time and Western Man contains some of the most forceful modernist attacks on the auto/biographic; yet Lewis offers the book as itself a kind of intellectual self‐portrait. Conversely, Richard Aldington's Soft Answers is read as a portrait‐collection, adopting modernist parodies of auto/biography in order to satirize modernists such as Eliot and Pound. It argues that (as in the case of Pound, and according to the argument introduced in the Preface) not only can satire be auto/biography, but auto/biography can also be satire. Indeed, Pound was shown in Chapter 9 to be writing both in verse; and in the Chapter 11 Woolf is shown to do both in prose. The chapter concludes with a discussion of how the First World War transformed the crisis in life ‐ writing.

Keywords: satire; auto/biografiction; biografiction; modernism; Wyndham Lewis; time and western man; self‐portrait; Richard Aldington; soft answers; death of a hero; parody; T. S. Eliot; Ezra Pound; First World War; Jean de Pierrefeu; Plutarch; time; Proust; D. H. Lawrence; Ford Madox Ford; Lytton Strachey; eminent Victorians

Chapter.  9150 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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