Saturday, November 19, 2011

PROBE: The People of the Magnetic City are Angels, Literally

Apropos the French request for a note on Wyndham Lewis, I was wondering about doing a short piece on his mis-naming of "the eye" and its world. When Lewis opts for eye values and rationality and civilization, he was at the same time creating and sponsoring, graphically and verbally, art forms that are audile-tactile. Do you think that he really understood that icons and bounding lines are not visual but audile-tactile ? Did he understand that "touch" is the acoustic interval ? The other point I had in mind is the characters of The Human Age as angels. Electrically, it is the sender who is sent, whether on the telephone, or on radio, or TV. We are transported electrically and bodily. Thus the people of the Magnetic City are angels, literally. Good or bad, disembodied intelligences. Lewis seems to have grasped this, perhaps as early as The Enemy of the Stars ?

—Letter to Sheila Watson, February 17, 1917. Letters of Marshall McLuhan.


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