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Herbert Read: Formlessness and Form: An introduction to his aesthetics

Thistlewood, David

Hardback, 209 pp, Routledge & Kegan Paul (1984)

ISBN 0 7102 0147 8

Herbert Read (1893-1968) was a leading figure in the avant-garde of art, literature and aesthetics from the 1930s to the 1960s. A soldier in the First World War (awarded the MC and the DSO), he later became a pacifist and an anarchist. He regarded himself primarily as a poet, but literary and art criticism were to become his predominant activities. David Thistlewood´s study is a biographical account of Herbert Read´s aesthetics. An excellent introduction to Read´s work, it reveals a hidden order and presents a context which would have been familiar to Read´s original readership but which is often indistinct today. It describes his influences - Hulme, Nietzsche, Eliot, Jung - and gives an account of the effects they had upon his evolving critical thought.

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