Editorial manifestos [article by Jack Lindsay and P. R. Stephensen, August 1928]

[Editor: An article by Jack Lindsay and P. R. Stephensen. Published in The London Aphrodite, number one, August 1928.]

Editorial manifestos

(a) We stand for a point of view which equally outrages the modernist and the reactionary. It is certain that J. C. Squire and T.S. Eliot, Wyndham Lewis and Dean Inge, Humbert Wolfe and Robert Graves, E. E. Cummings and Alfred Noyes, Maritain and James Douglas, Roger Fry and William Orpen would, if compelled by physical force to read our magazine, heartily (or at least irritatedly) dislike it. If we take any of these names in vain we shall apologise in due course to the protesting owner and cheerfully pay the libel costs. However, while awaiting such regeneration, we declare war against all academicians, whether modernistically disguised or smugly official — against all prophets from the gutters of resentment whether the noise proceeds from the mere press or exasperated theories of intellectualising impotence — against all sentamentalists who degrade the emotional theme by trivially pretty modes — against all debauchees of the distracted nerves or ascetics of the intellect who abstract the fluid geometries from their true action.

We affirm Life, and for definition quote Nietzsche: Spirit is that life which itself cuts into life. We affirm Beauty, and by that term understand a sensual harmony, a homogeneous ecstasy, which, constructing intellectually, yet hates nothing so much as the dry cogs of the objectified and objectifying intellect.

In pursuit of our aim we shall be thoroughly biased and unjust at times when to fritter analyses on minute qualifications is to sacrifice the larger justice. Thus, T. S. Eliot has made many (but not so very many) persuasively acute remarks on odd literary relations; but to trace all these out and allow him marks for these in an article such as The Modern Consciousness would only be to distract from the real significance of his mind, which is one of progressive negativity. Similarly Wyndham Lewis makes many attacks which are excessively justified and to the point; but Lewis himself is an obstruction of the worst type in the road of a vital integration. Where space allows, lesser justices will be attempted. Otherwise, to the central significance, the relationship between the subject and that life which itself cuts into life, yet balances itself upon the image of beauty.

We shall draw blood, even from the bloodless. J. L.

(b) Subscribing to the above with the supplementary comments that it is amusing to be alive, but that this is a question of blood in the arteries and you cannot get blood from a Stein: that the emptiest moderns make most noise, owing to the Decline of the Best: that modernity, like maternity, is already out of date, owing to correspondence from France and American specialities: that the Transcendental Unity of Apperception (Kant) has been overcome by the Transatlantic Disunity of Introspection (cant); but that Freud means Joy and not Joyce: and that consequently there is No Sale for Poetry because there is no poetry for sale, the nigger being in the woodpile of (musical) Time and (middle) Western Man when he (she or it) comes to Europe with a literary aspiration: that the gods whelp those who whelp themselves, which means instead of Cummings, They Went, because Beauty is (see page opposite et seq.) possible. P. R. S.

The London Aphrodite, number one, August 1928, page 2

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