available are science fiction / adventurenstories and Tono-Bungay, his one attemptnatjamesian, serious fiction. But itnwould be misleading to take this as thenonly measure of Wells’s impact onnmodern thought. His was the kind ofncorrosive intellect—like that of GeorgenBernard Shaw and Bertrand Russell—nthat provided a set of assumptions to fillnthe minds of secular liberals. More sinisternthan his ideas about sex and socialismn(which weren’t original and were betternput by others) was his prostitution of thennovel to directly political ends.nThe one period in which literary biographynhas been the least scholarly andnmost marred by ideological bias is then20th century. In particular, three artistsnwhose creative power and insight intonmodern culture are unsurpassed—EzranPound, Roy Campbell, and WyndhamnLewis—have been branded as “fascists.”nThere has been little or no opposition tonthis distortion, and even those who arennow cautiously emerging to defend thesenwriters do so on grounds that concede then”fascist” elements in their work. Thentitle of one recent book on WyndhamnLewis, written by a Marxist, is typical: it isncalled Fables of Aggression. A wellknownnliterary critic, Denis Donoghue,nremarked about Jeffrey Meyers’s biographynof Lewis that Meyers “doesn’t dodgenthe fact that Lewis was one of the mostnobnoxious men of his time. Only EvelynnWaugh and Bertholt Brecht are in thensame league when it comes to nastiness.”nPutting Waugh and Lewis together is annindication that Donoghue thinks conservativensatire “nasty” and “obnoxious.”nAt the antipode from Donoghue’s commentnis one made by Ezra Pound, whoncould sum up a character in a pithy,nstraightforward way. He said of Lewis:nA man with his kind of intelligence isnbound to be crashing and opposingnand breaking. You cannot be as intelligent,nin that soft of way, withoutnbeing prey to the fxiries. … A volcanicnand disordered mind like WyndhamnLewis’s is of great value, especial­nly in a dead, and for the most part rotted,nmilieu.nWyndham Lewis felt he had to be anscourge of the rotted milieu of 20thcenturynintellectual and artistic culture.nThat is why he posed as “The Enemy,”nnot, as some ctitics would have it, becausenhe was paranoid. EdwardiannEngland was dominated by the BloomsburynGroup, under the leadership ofnRoger Fry and Virginia Woolf, and itsnsnobbishness was matched only by itsndecadence and homosexuality. Thenother “in” circle was the Sitwell triumvirate,npresided over by the gaunt and imperiousnEdith. In the 30’s came the appealingnstrumpet, communism. Lewisnknew all of these movements to be thendeath rattle of a culture which could nonlonger support freedom and looked for an”benevolent” tyranny to relieve it of itsnmisery. It was this wasteland that was thensubject of his short-lived mj^azine Blast,nof his paintings, and of his devastatinglynsatirical novels like The Apes of God.nMany conservatives have not approachednLewis because they are suspiciousnof his modernist technique in bothnhis paintings and his prose style. Suchnconservatives accept T.S. Eliot’s “patientnetherised upon a table” because theynidentify with the Anglo-Catholic, RoyalistnEliot who emerged as the poet’s persona.nThe fear of modernism is bound upnwith a fear of abstraction, disjointedness,nand disorder in art. These concerns arenvalid, but each of the great modernists—nnnEliot, Pound, Faulkner, Joyce, Lewis—nhad a tremendous sense of the past,nand their technique is controlled andnordered. Eliot attributed to Lewis theninvention of a new prose style whichnscholars are only now coming tonappreciate.nI effrey Meyers has done a great servicenby showing Lewis in a human perspective.nMeyers demonstrates that Lewis’sncommitment to art and to the struggle tonmaintain a free society was consuming,nalmost selfless, as opposed to the caricaturenof Lewis as egotist. He shows Lewis’snbroad sense of humor and the underlyingnlove for his wife, whom he oftenntreated badly. Unfortunately, Meyersnhas little or no understanding of thenpolitical or philosophical aspects ofnLewis’s thought and hence ignores ornbelittles them, and of course he doesn’tnknow quite what to make of Lewis’sn”fascism.” Lewis’s two major philosophicalnworks are long and rambling, but anpatient study of Time and Western Mannand The Art of Being Ruled reveals anmind which has penetrated to the bottomnof the modern malaise. The Art ofnBeing Ruled is a massive attack againstnsocialism, a plea for a restoration of ordernin a society essentially anarchic. Lewis’snadmiration for Mussolini was a rarendeparture from analysis to wish fulfillment,nbut if we take what Lewis thoughtnhe saw (what he projected) we can see thencontinuity and integrity of his work.nMeyers is also apologetic: he admitsnthat Lewis was primarily a negative criticnwithout positive vision, which goes alongnwith the frequent comparison of Lewisnwith Jonathan Swift. It is a good comparison,nfor Swift has been denied the positivenvision he really did possess. Bothnmen had volcanic minds that were deeplynaffected by decadence, folly, and servility,nand their savage satire is rooted innan idea of order which underlies their attackn. At a time when D. H. Lawrence andnhis comrades-in-primitivism were runningnafter the dark gods of the flesh,nLewis stood for the primacy of reasonnmuch as Swift did. DnMMMS9nAprU1983n