Entry updated 12 August 2018. Tagged: Author.
(1891-1969) UK journalist, anthologist and author; his first given name, Llewellyn, was changed to Dominic in 1921, apparently to mark his conversion to Catholicism (there seems to be no record of his having earlier been known as Leg Before Wicket Lewis). In active service for almost the whole of World War One, he became active as a writer only in 1919, when he took over the fledgling By the Way column in the London Daily Express under the House Name Beachcomber, passing the column and the name on to J B Morton in 1924. Lacking the characteristic fury with which Morton excoriated the modern world (though sharing some similar opinions), Lewis did however give the column its permanent shape, creating the farrago structure where disjunct paragraphs and apophthegms gain a spurious connectivity, sometimes hilariously, and introducing a range of caricature figures of the sort Morton later made famous; A London Farrago (coll 1922) assembles some typical material. Perhaps the most interesting Lewis character was Professor Silas Plodsnitch, whose uninterruptible monologues are delivered in a Club Story frame at the Green Goose pub, where various spoof Inventions are described at some length; they are assembled in At the Green Goose (coll of linked stories 1923). Lewis's later comic work, published in other newspapers, became increasingly whimsical. He is now best remembered for co-editing The Stuffed Owl: An Anthology of Bad Verse (anth 1930; exp 1930; exp 1948) with Charles Lee (1870-1956), which assembles the lapses or alleged lapses of numerous poets with humorous commentary and (from the second edition onward) a particularly entertaining index. Those featured include Lord Byron, Margaret Cavendish, Erasmus Darwin, Edward Bulwer Lytton and Edgar Allan Poe.
Lewis should not be confused with his better known near-contemporary Wyndham Lewis. [JC/DRL]
Dominic Bevan Wyndham Lewis
born Seaforth, Litherland, Lancashire: 9 March 1891
died Altea, Spain: 21 November 1969
works (highly selected)
- A London Farrago (London: Cecil Palmer, 1922) [coll: Beachcomber: hb/signature not deciphered]
- At the Green Goose (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1923) [coll of linked stories: Beachcomber: hb/]
works as editor
- The Stuffed Owl: An Anthology of Bad Verse (London: J M Dent and Sons, 1930) with Charles Lee [poetry: anth: illus/Max Beerbohm: hb/]
- The Stuffed Owl: An Anthology of Bad Verse (London: J M Dent and Sons, 1930) with Charles Lee [poetry: anth: exp of the above with index: illus/Max Beerbohm: hb/]
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