Aesthetes and ideologies

The Badger's Sett

There was an interesting article in the Guardian a couple of weeks ago on Noel Coward and Ivor Novello’s previously unreported flirtation with fascism – a chance discovery of a poster in a London market revealing both on the billing for the British Fascist’s Carnival Ball of 1925.

Both gay men, the author (Philip Hoare) argues convincingly that neither possessed a genuine political commitment or interest in fascism. Certainly, when conflict did break out 14 years later, both were involved in the war effort with Coward employed by the British secret service.

Fascism at the time was in fashion, particularly among the kind of establishment circles that Coward and Novello depended on to finance their artistic endeavours, where it was seen as an important counter-balance to communism, at a time when eugenicist ideas where supported earnestly on both the right and left of the political spectrum.

While, it’s pretty clear…

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3 thoughts on “Aesthetes and ideologies

  1. I think it is no surprise that artistic people are always attracted to extremes in politics, and fast-growing trends. Whether they be Left or Right wing, was often of little consequence back then. They had interesting uniforms and iconography, espoused modern architecture, new film-makers and musicians, and actively sought the support of the Intelligentsia.
    Once they gained power, they were able to select those that were still useful, and destroy those considered subversive.
    Another warning from history we would all do well to heed.
    Best wishes, Pete.


    • I’ll have to disagree with you, Pete! I don’t think we’re any more likely to be attracted to ‘extremes in politics’ than any other group of people. I believe it’s simply that we get to hear about the ones who do because of their prominence in certain fields.


      • That’s a fair point Sarah, and perhaps my comment should have been more specific about those better-known figures in the literary and artistic world who were associated with these sympathies in the past. Even today, some musicians and artists are happy to become open supporters of political causes. But I concede that it is indeed only the ones who are publicised for this, and not everyone involved in these fields.
        Best wishes, Pete.

        Liked by 1 person

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