Andrew Taylor

A Hero at the End

Some Sort of Genius: A Life of Wyndham Lewis

By

Joanathan Cape 697pp £25 order from our bookshop

Wyndham Lewis: Painter and Writer

By

Yale University Press 583pp £50 order from our bookshop

Readers of a biography may expect to ‘get inside the subject’s head’: but the squeamish may find that getting on first-name terms with his brain tumour is carrying intimacy a little far. Paul O’Keeffe opens his exhaustive study of Wyndham Lewis’s life, Some Sort of Genius, with a pitiless description of the tumour that eventually blinded him, a ‘morbid excrescence … pink in section and stippled with blood vessels’, and thoughtfully named FA1008 by the Westminster Medical School.

There is more to come: by the last of these 600-odd pages, barely a cranny of the unfortunate Lewis’s brain, mouth, eyes or genitals remains unexposed. This, it seems, is literary biography for medical students.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'I was dumbfounded by the view of the Berlin Wall from the eastern side. It seemed inconceivable that in under thre… ,
    • RT : Danger for ‘local’ staff, access in exchange for silence (and logos) - all sounds familiar in this fascinating look… ,
    • 'He has long been eclipsed by Vermeer, though his interiors are arguably more ambitious.' David Gelber on the Dutc… ,
    • 'The wicked are truly revolting and the rage is wholly understandable' on new thrillers by John Le… ,
    • In @aaciman's sequel to 'Call Me By Your Name', 'Erotic urgency has merged with middle age’s frugality of heart', s… ,
    • 'The repression of free speech in Uganda is common. Reporters Without Borders’ 2019 Press Freedom Index ranks Ugand… ,
    • RT : The Topeka School is out today! I reviewed it for and I'm psyched to see him talking at the Tate tonigh… ,