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Some Sort of Genius: A Life of Wyndham Lewis Hardcover – Import, 2000

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 356 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape; New Ed edition (2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224031023
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224031028
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 2.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,394,986 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Bruce Oksol VINE VOICE on January 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Title of book: "Some Sort of Genius: A Life of Wyndham Lewis."

Wyndham Lewis: "People are only friends in so much that they are of use to you." And that about says all you need to know about Wyndham Lewis, a self-promoter who included himself as one of the four "Men of 1914" (the other three: T. E. Eliot, James Joyce, Ezra Pound). Be that as it may, Lewis was a very strange, egocentric, self-destructive Modernist writer and portrait artist, and inexplicably, a ladies' man.

Why anyone would devote so much time and effort to write about such a loser is equally inexplicable, but what makes Paul O'Keeffe's biography so rewarding is all the name-dropping.

Lewis moved within the Bloomsbury Group in London, he visited Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, and the other American expatriates in Paris between the two world wars, and through his affair with Marjorie Firminger, came close to entering the world of Henry Miller, Anaïs Nin, and D. H. Lawrence. His love affair with Nancy Cunard, the Paris Hilton of her day, and her girlfriends Iris Tree and Sybil Hart-Davis, add spice to the book.

O'Keeffe's exhaustive work becomes a bit tedious about halfway through but that probably has more to do with Lewis than with O'Keeffe. Once one realizes that Lewis is not going to change, that he has squandered talent and the potential for lifelong friendships, and that there are good reasons why he is not in the same class as the other men of 1914, one starts to lose interest in his story.

With a book that covers so much territory, literary, artistically, and geographically, it was critical that the author include a comprehensive index, and here again, O'Keeffe does not fail.
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