Wyndham Lewis vs Charlie Chaplin

Anthony Paraskeva

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    9 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This article extends and refines the relations between cinema and modernist literature with a close reading of Wyndham Lewis' novel The Childermass in light of his severe critique of Chaplin's mimetic gestures. The Tramp persona, by the time of the novel's composition, had become a symptom, for Lewis, of what he found unoriginal, fraudulent and inauthentic in the culture industry. The two lead characters are compelled to enact routines from Chaplin films by the totalitarian Bailiff, who presides over the afterlife, at times appearing to his subjects as Chaplin. Performative mimesis, as exemplified by the Tramp persona, is transformed in the afterlife into a mechanised cliché which severs movement from volition, and supplants the authentic, anti-mimetic self. The endless reproducibility of individual gestures on film signifies, for Lewis, the deadness of mass-produced Hollywood group personality. The critique of Chaplin reinforces his attacks on Bergson's theory of duration in The Childermass and Time and Western Man.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)223-234
    Number of pages11
    JournalForum for Modern Language Studies
    Volume43
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007

    Fingerprint

    bailiff
    culture industry
    cinema
    personality
    Group
    time
    Gesture
    Afterlife
    Percy Wyndham Lewis
    Charlie Chaplin
    Persona
    literature
    Henri Bergson
    Close Reading
    Totalitarian
    Hollywood
    Novel
    Appearings
    Reproducibility
    Attack

    Cite this

    Paraskeva, Anthony. / Wyndham Lewis vs Charlie Chaplin. In: Forum for Modern Language Studies. 2007 ; Vol. 43, No. 3. pp. 223-234.
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    Wyndham Lewis vs Charlie Chaplin. / Paraskeva, Anthony.

    In: Forum for Modern Language Studies, Vol. 43, No. 3, 07.2007, p. 223-234.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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