Thank you for these reviews! I took the liberty of forwarding them to
Leon, I'm sure he will be glad to see them. (I think his birthday is
I am especially happy that you've read Art in the Age of the Machine -
it is Leon's most recent, published as a kindle book. Unfortunately
the search engines don't pick it up unless you google Leon's name
together with the title. Understandably he was anxious that no one
will find and read it. It's a relief that this is not the case.
There was a discussion on the listserv about Marshall McLuhan some
time ago - there is a whole chapter on McLuhan in this book for those
of you who'd be interested to read more.
Quoting Bob Dobbs <[log in to unmask]> on Tue, 12 Nov 2013 23:12:56 -0500:
> 1. THE BIRTH OF MODERNISM
> Dark Horse Retrieved in Our Time
> In an era when young people inevitably acquire a familiarity with conspiracy
> theory because it is a popular topic on the Web,
> Prof. Surette's 20-year old research into the history of "conspiracy memes"
> is invaluable for university curricula today - perhaps even for seniors in
> high school.
> And his book is especially important because he shows the encyclopedic
> posture in modernism - the interplay between high brow and low brow, the
> pedestrian and the esoteric. Once this avant-garde non-univocal technique is
> grasped by the student of Pound, Eliot, Yeats - and I would add Joyce and
> Lewis - then "elitist" literature opens up, reveals new vistas, and exposes
> the fallacy of the hardening of the categories modern and postmodern
> criticism wallowed in.
> Surette's work may have been ignored these past two decades but luckily he
> was just ahead of his time. Let's not hold it against him.
> 2. DREAMS OF A TOTALITARIAN UTOPIA
> Dark Horse is Really the Linnaeus of Modernist Scholars
> Prof. Surette continues his talent for providing useful overviews for the
> student and connoisseur of an increasingly remote modernist literature.
> Surette is so clear-headed in his approach to Ezra Pound, Wyndham Lewis, and
> T. S. Eliot that one could be forgiven for wondering why one should read
> such muddle-headed idiots as these three. What Marshall McLuhan once said
> (albeit in a movie) applies to these three "antennae": "How you ever got to
> teach a course in anything is totally amazing!"
> But Surette is also fair-headed and does his best in balancing off our
> disgust by actually showing how the three Magi fared quite prophetic for
> their respective constituencies when one considers how confused Western
> society became under the onslaught of the techno-storm of the Thirties.
> Surprisingly, Lewis becomes the most relevant for the drifting global
> citizen today with his political maxim:
> "Now disregarding if you can whatever your political views may be (and mine
> are partly communist and partly fascist, with a distinct streak of
> monarchism in my marxism, but at bottom anarchist with a healthy passion for
> order)... " - Wyndham Lewis, THE ENEMY, Vol.3, p.70, 1929
> There's not an informed person who couldn't use the above quotation as an
> all-purpose alibi for the cross-pressures rampant today in our ridiculously
> complex habitat.
> Above all, this new work proves Surette is an expert at evoking new
> questions about old answers to the mystery of the creative process. He
> actually aids us in marvelling anew at how art becomes charismatic.
> 3. ART IN THE AGE OF THE MACHINE
> They Used to be Giants
> The subtitle of Leon Surette's third entry into what has turned into a
> trilogy should be: They Used to Be Giants.
> "Art in the Age of the Machine" is a prodigious inventory of all the
> thinkers, scientists, philosophers, and artists who once made an impact and
> drew attention to themselves as they wrestled with the unpredictable
> juggernaut of human creativity in the industrial phase of cultural
> Again, I can't stress more that, like his previous two works, Surette proves
> once again to be a real live Noah who preserves the 200-year old history of
> arguments and varieties of response to technoculture in order to inspire a
> general perspective that none of our present institutions of learning have a
> clue as to how to engender.
> Young minds require this book. It should be mandatory reading in all
> locations of higher education. Since the present fashion is to reject the
> Western Canon, then we should experience and understand ONE MORE TIME (or
> perhaps, for the first time) what we are increasingly amnesiac concerning
> what is the UR question: "When is a human not a human?"
> Surette's mosaic is to be recommended just for the sheer audacity of his
> choices. Any work that includes the thinker a recent BBC TV broadcast
> declared "one of the most poisonous minds of the 20th century" - Wyndham
> Lewis - has the edginess that will attract the natural curiosity of coming
> generations who always can sniff out where the crux of the biscuit is.
> Bob Dobbs
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