Villis Tom - Reaction and the avant-garde


Author : Villis Tom
Title : Reaction and the avant-garde The revolt against liberal democracy in early twentieth-century Britain
Year : 2006

Link download : Villis_Tom_-_Reaction_and_the_avant-garde.zip

Introduction. In the early years of the twentieth century, all over Europe, there were reactions against liberal-parliamentarism in politics and materialism in philosophy. Britain has been seen as largely immune to these attacks. Those thinkers who made them have been characterized as politically irrelevant or isolated in a discrete realm of literary culture. This book challenges this interpretation. It examines an anti-liberal cultural community in Britain associated with two Edwardian periodicals. The first of these, the New Age, ‘an independent socialist review of politics, literature and art’, was edited by Alfred Orage from 1908–1922. The second, the Eye-Witness, was edited by Hilaire Belloc from 1911–12 and then, as the New Witness, by Cecil Chesterton from 1912–16. These two papers are evidence of the periodical and political networks used by writers such as Alfred Orage, Ezra Pound, Wyndham Lewis, J.M. Kennedy, Hilaire Belloc, Cecil Chesterton, G.K. Chesterton, Ramiro de Maeztu and others. The thought of this community was not monolithic or even consistent. Yet a study of this network of thinkers uncovers a political debating ground which crosses the divisions between left and right, reactionary and progressive, and conservative and revolutionary. Much of the thought is reactionary and avant-garde at the same time. Many of the ideas can be placed within a tradition of British radicalism, but they also absorbed and reflected the thinking of radical right movements elsewhere in Europe and anticipated future forms of political organization. Before introducing these periodicals and their writers, however, it is necessary to precisely define the historiographical context in which to place such a study. ...

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