restricted access The Pornometric Gospel: Wyndham Lewis, Walter Sickert and the History of the Nude

In this essay I argue that changes in technologies of reproduction precipitated a crisis in the status of the nude evident in the paintings of Walter Sickert and in Wyndham Lewis’s novel Tarr. I begin with a controversy between the English painters Walter Sickert and Wyndham Lewis in which each accuses the other of producing pornography, rather than art. I trace this conflict to the differing responses of these two figures to the changing place of the nude in English culture at the beginning of the twentieth century. I close by considering the suffragette Mary Richardson alongside Lewis and Sickert. Each of these figures, I contend, used violence as a way to respond to the nude and its position within the larger culture.