Wyndham Lewis and the Meanings of Spain

Alan Munton

Abstract


Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957) visited Spain at least five times. The impact of these visits on his work was very significant. His novel The Revenge for Love (1937) is partly set in Spain, and is an important political novel of the 1930s; his painting The Siege of Barcelona (1936-37) is a significant statement about Spanish history and the Civil War. Less happy is the polemical essay Count Your Dead: They are Alive! (1937), which takes sides against the legitimate government. (He changed his mind the following year.) This discussion is based on themes apparent in Lewis’s understanding of Spain: his experience at the centre and on the margins; his overcoming of well-known clichés about Spain; his grasp of the importance of Spanish Anarchism; his recognition of the gaze or mirada as an element in life; and a final discussion of The Siege of Barcelona – which after 1939 was renamed The Surrender of Barcelona. That significant change indicates the seriousness of Lewis’s understanding of Spain.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18172/jes.131

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© Universidad de La Rioja, 2013

ISSN 1576-6357

EISSN 1695-4300