Wyndham Lewis, Tarr

Robert Carson (Texas A&M (Qatar))
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Wyndham Lewis’s


is a satirical novel about English painter Frederick Tarr (based on Lewis) and German artist Otto Kreisler in early 20th-century Paris. Their rivalry and relationships with two women, Bertha Lunken and Anastasia Vasek, dramatize the hypocrisies of “bourgeois-bohemian” artistic society. Tarr expresses Lewis’s ideals of separating art and life, while Kreisler represents a debased German Romanticism.

Published in 1918 and revised in 1928, Tarr is a key work of English-language modernist fiction, Lewis’s disputes with other major modernist writers notwithstanding. The character of Kreisler also enacts Lewis’s criticisms of the work and influence of Friedrich Nietzsche, while also drawing from the works of Fyodor Dostoevsky.

Published in 1918 and revised in 1928,

3656 words

Citation: Carson, Robert. "Tarr". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 29 December 2023 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=1706, accessed 25 May 2024.]

1706 Tarr 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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