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Revenge for Love, The

False Bottoms

a novel by Wyndham Lewis, published in 1937. Set at the time of the Spanish Civil War, the novel opens in the Spanish gaol where its central character, Percy Hardcaster, an English revolutionary fighting for the Communists, is incarcerated following his capture by the Civil Guard. He attempts to escape, but is shot and repatriated, after losing a leg—a war wound which gives him great cachet amongst the fashionably left-wing intelligentsia by whom he is taken up on his return to London. These include Tristram and Gillian Phipps, an upper-middle-class couple who run a kind of salon for impoverished artists and aspiring revolutionaries, and Victor Stamp, a mediocre painter, who forges Old Masters for a living. Percy is at first fêted as a hero of the proletariat by the Phippses and their hangers-on; later, when he reveals his political pragmatism to Gillian, during an amorous encounter, she is incensed, and encourages another of her admirers, Jack Cruze, to beat him up. Recovering from the beating, Percy decides to involve himself once more in politics, and to this end inveigles Victor Stamp and his common-law wife, Margot, into a dubious scheme running guns over the border to the Communist rebels in Spain. Victor and Margot are killed in the attempt, and Percy, once more in prison, is left with the realization that his political ideals have achieved nothing, except the deaths of two innocent people. The novel—whose original title, False Bottoms, was rejected by the publishers as too salacious—contains some of Lewis's most spare and powerful writing.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: David Rabe Biography to Rhinoceros (Rhinocéros)