..I should not publish that if I were you, Tennyson

For Osbert, Edith and Sachie Sitwell, as for Virginia Woolf and friends in the so-called Bloomsbury set, having the idea of oneself as an artist was an illusion which friends were perilously good at fostering and encouraging. That is the peril, for an artist, of ‘sets’. When Tennyson read some of Maud aloud in Benjamin […]

..the comparative cheapness of air power

The comparative cheapness of air power, versus manpower, had been demonstrated first in Somaliland, then in Afghanistan. In Somaliland, Mullah Mohammed bin Abdullah Hassan, inspired by memories of the Mahdi’s holy war with the British in the times of General Gordon, excited a huge following. He claimed magical powers. His followers believed that he could […]

..hideously in tune with his times

When an artist dies young there is a tendency to overpraise. Pound, however, was not given to that tendency. He saw in Gaudier ‘the most absolute case of genius I’ve ever run into’. What makes this death so continuingly haunting is that Gaudier-Brzeska’s vision of Europe, its art, its culture, and the moment it had […]