Self Condemned, originally published in 1954, tells the story of Professor Renarding and his wife, Essie, as they find themselves in Momaco, a fictionalized version of Toronto, following Ren resignation as an academic in London, England. Reduced to a position at the second-rate University of Momaco, Rennd Essie suffer through a bleak and oppressive isolation in a dreary and alien city.
The novel, a devastating, disturbing satire of life in wartime Canada, explores the difficulty individuals face as they struggle to adapt to new surroundings while preserving their sense of wholeness, as well as the bond that develops between people during a shared experience of isolation.
About the authors
Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957) was born on his father's yacht off Nova Scotia but grew up in England. The author of many novels, including The Revenge for Love, The Apes of God, and Tarr, he was associated with T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pund. Besides being a leading figure of the Modernist movement in English literature, Lewis was also a much-praised artist whose portraits of T.S. Eliot now hangs in the Durban Art Gallery in South Africa. Lewis spent the Second World War in Toronto, and his experiences there formed the basis of Self Condemned. In Canada, where Lewis had relatives, he developed a friendship with Marshall McLuhan and lectured at Assumption College, later the University of Windsor.
Allan Pero is an associate professor in the Department of English at the University of Western Ontario. He has published papers primarily on modern British literature. Pero lives in London, Ontario.