Wyndham Lewis: The Childermass

(2493 words)
  • Alan Munton (University of Exeter)

The Childermass is one of the great lost works of European modernism. Published in 1928, it belongs with Joyce’s Ulysses (1922) as part of the post-war attempt to revitalize prose fiction, and to reinterpret the observed world. Lewis’s book was never a success, and the publisher destroyed 500 sets of sheets in 1931, and a further 500 in 1946. Yet Chatto and Windus had printed 2500 copies, and must have had considerable expectations of the work, for Lewis’s reputation was high in those years. The Childermass: Section I – a trilogy was planned – is an extremely difficult work, and one that has scarcely been unraveled to this day.

It is set in the afterworld, “Outside …

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Munton, Alan. "The Childermass". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 07 April 2012
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=6045, accessed 30 November 2015.]