Among modernist critics Wyndham Lewis stands out because of the energy and drama of his “aggressive partisan pen—made to hurl epithets, or of the sort to use, in controversy, as a dangerous polemical lance.” With this pen Lewis created the Enemy, a flamboyant, hostile, solitary figure whose voice and stance vividly embodied the principles structuring his criticism. The frontiers of this criticism—the Enemy criticism—are best marked by the comments of his two long-time friends, T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound. With characteristic tact Eliot said; “We have no critic of the contemporary world at once so fearless, so honest, so intelligent, and possessed of so brilliant a prose style.” Pound, with equally characteristic vigor, called him “the man who was wrong about everything except the superiority of live mind to dead mind; for which basic verity God bless his holy name”; and declared, “If another man has ideas of any kind (not borrowed clichés) that irritate you enough to make you think or take out your own ideas and look at 'em, that is all one can expect.” Always—whether he is being persuasive or obscure, entertaining or infuriating—Lewis the Enemy challenges us to think. This book, Campbell's response to that challenge, is a study of the structures of the Enemy criticism.
—From the introduction of The Enemy Opposite
SueEllen Campbell is associate professor of English at Bowling Green State University. Her articles on Wyndham Lewis and on modern literature have been published in the Journal of Modern Literature, Twentieth Century Literature, and Modern Fiction Studies. She is now working on a study of American non-fiction wilderness narratives. More info →
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