American Superrealism: Nathanael West and the Politics of by Jonathan Veitch

By Jonathan Veitch

Nathanael West has been hailed as “an apocalyptic writer,” “a author on the left,” and “a precursor to postmodernism.” yet in the past no critic has succeeded in totally attractive West’s detailed approach to negation. In American Superrealism, Jonathan Veitch examines West’s letters, brief tales, screenplays and novels—some of that are mentioned right here for the 1st time—as good as West’s collaboration with William Carlos Williams in the course of their tenure because the editors of touch. finding West in a full of life, American avant-garde culture that stretches from Marcel Duchamp to Andy Warhol, Veitch explores the probabilities and boundaries of dada and surrealism—the use of readymades, scatalogical humor, human machines, “exquisite corpses”—as modes of social feedback. American Superrealism bargains what's without doubt the definitive examine of West, in addition to a provocative research that finds the difficulty of illustration because the crucial challenge of Depression-era America.

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However, this debate does little more than beg the question. After all, West's choice of setting-the bowels of a horse-provides the "ideal" vantage point from which to observe the fate of the plural as it is unified into a singular and most unmetaphysical substance. 17 Indeed, George Moore's unfortunate characterization of art as "nature digested" is taken literally by West. Hence, the plethora of artists who perforce dwell in the bowels of the Trojan horse. Like them, Moore is really one of several "Phoenix Excrementi" who "eat themselves, digest themselves, and give birth to themselves by evacuating their bowels" (5).

Concentrated in his sense of smell [were] all the abilities usually distributed among the five senses" (34). Thus equipped, Perkins is free to indulge in the delights of synesthesia, the dream of his symbolist contemporaries: "He could smell a chord in D minor, or distinguish between the tone-smell of a violin and that of a viola. He could smell the caress of velvet and the strength of iron" (35). Although nature has provided Perkins with an exquisite means of apprehending experience, it cannot readily be said that "she" was so forthcoming in the variety of stimuli she made available for his perusal.

However, this debate does little more than beg the question. After all, West's choice of setting-the bowels of a horse-provides the "ideal" vantage point from which to observe the fate of the plural as it is unified into a singular and most unmetaphysical substance. 17 Indeed, George Moore's unfortunate characterization of art as "nature digested" is taken literally by West. Hence, the plethora of artists who perforce dwell in the bowels of the Trojan horse. Like them, Moore is really one of several "Phoenix Excrementi" who "eat themselves, digest themselves, and give birth to themselves by evacuating their bowels" (5).

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