Posts Tagged ‘Fascism’

Excellent article in the New York Review of Books by Michael Kimmelman on Gertrude Stein and her brothers, Leo and Michael. Kimmelman explores, among other topics,  Stein’s puzzling support of  Fascism.

“What might be called the inherent narcissism of modernist abstraction, with its inward-turning focus on its own formal means and devices, its willful divorce from the sort of close social observation and proletarian politics that caused writers like Dreiser, Zola, and Sinclair Lewis to be tarred as anti-modernists, is not incompatible with the clean-sweep radicalism promised by fascism… (nor) with the notion of a centralized, supreme… authority.”

Recommended.

Mussolini

“the relationship between Fascism and the literary intelligentsia badly needs investigation…”
George Orwell

“If modernism cut exhilarating loose from exhausted national traditions, it did so, after all, as a deracinated, disorientated elite–One corollary of that was a virulently anti-democratic politics.”
Terry Eagleton

Despite Eagleton’s claim, no one can prove  literary Modernism was overwhelmingly Fascist or anti-democratic. The movement was simply too diverse to be easily characterized, and there were many Modernist Leftists.

On the other hand, Orwell’s caution was sound: There were  a disturbing number of Modernist writers who made common cause with Fascism when it counted. Should you be interested in which writers avowed themselves as fascists, see the following list.

Irving Babbitt (literary critic)

Louis-Ferdinand Céline (novelist)

Martin Heidegger (philosopher)

T. E. Hulme (critic)

F. T. Marinetti (poet)

Henry Miller (novelist)

Wyndham Lewis (writer)

Ezra Pound (poet)

Kenneth Roberts (novelist)

George Santayana (philosopher)

William Butler Yeats
(poet)

Stark Young (drama critic, New Republic)