“A Soldier of Humour,” the opening story of Wyndham Lewis’s 1927 collection of short stories entitled The Wild Body, is a neglected but important document in the history of modernism. Initially completed on the front line at the Battle of Messines Ridge, provocatively published in 1917–18 in The Little Review, and then extensively reworked during the 1920s, the story is central to Lewis’s thinking throughout the middle period of his career. Although The Wild Body is usually seen as a document of early modernism, marked by a savagely satiric anti-humanism, we can instead read “A Soldier of Humour” as an expression of the social and cultural anxiety in England which results from the political and economic rise of America during the 1920s. Taken together with Lewis’s theoretical statements in “The Meaning of the Wild Body,’” this story points towards a distinctively late modern poetics in Lewis’s work.


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pp. 383-398
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