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His last works of fiction, the two concluding volumes of (1926) was part of the critical but essentially optimistic reconstructive impulse in Europe at that time.Marx and Proudhon, those forceful monsters of the nineteenth century, are leading figures in the discussion.I pointed to the importance of Proudhon to Lewis as long ago as 1976, in an article that has had no influence.
Lewis remained politically on the right until 1937.
None of it amounts to fascism, in any sense of that word, a view I can support by pointing to the way in which Fredric Jameson, in , was unable to define Lewis as a fascist, and was forced to invent the elusive but nevertheless damaging term “protofascist” (15) in order to ensure Lewis’s political exclusion as a modernist of the right.
In any case, these books of the 1930s constituted the second wave of Lewis’s political thinking.
During that time he attacked Communism and communists, was sympathetic to the Nationalist rebels in Spain, and allowed his pacifism and fear of another European war to permit a tolerance of Hitler that it is kind to call “radical appeasement.” Lewis’s polemics at this time were often directed against other intellectuals, particularly those on the Left, and gave rise to his phrase “Left wings,” as in the “bad” polemic of 1936 already mentioned, , the relaunched journal of Mosley’s fascists, entitled “‘Left Wings’ and the C3 Mind.” (The term “C3” derives from the armed forces’ lowest category of physical fitness.) In August of 1937 Lewis and his wife visited Berlin; they left quickly, Mrs Lewis later said, “because we found it very uncomfortable, or Wyndham did at least” (O’Keeffe, Towards the end of 1938 Lewis wrote a book about the Jews that is the most powerful philosemitic statement made by any modernist writer – or indeed any writer – at this time.
In December 1939 he published was published in 1941, George Orwell praised its understanding of class in Britain.
For Lewis the philosophy and the politics were new in the 1920s, but his concern with the circumstances of the production of art was not.