Lewis’ novel set in Paris among artists. “Overture” and Tarr “Sorbert” conversations with Anastaysa represent vitalist theories of art, masculinity and energy.
Tarr and Bertha: He drew her ungraciously and roughly into his arms, and started kissing her on the mouth. She covered him, docilely, with her inertia. He was supposed to be performing a miracle of bringing the dead to life” (58)
Tarr and Anastaysa
Death is the thing that differentiates art and life. Art is identical with the idea of permanence.
Nationalist representations of French, British, German and Russian
Bertha’s letter to Tarr
Let Englishmen thank their stars—the good stars of the Northmen and early seamen—that they have such stammering tongues and such a fierce horror of grandiloquence. They are still primitive and true in their passions, because they are afraid of them, like children. The shocks go underneath; they trust their unconsciousness. The odious facility of the South, whether it be their, at bottom, very shrewdly regulated anger (l’art de s’engueler) or their picture post card perfection of amorous expressiveness; such things those Island mutterers and mutes have escaped. But worst of all is the cult of the “Temperment" all the accent on that poor last syllable, whose home is that dubious middle Empire, so in corrigibly banal. The lacerating and tireless pricking and pushing of this hapless ‘temperment’ is a more harrowing spectacle than the use of dogs in Belgium or women in England. (169)
Kreisler ineffectual artist German - weird configuration of Nietzsche (always carry a whip around women - whips Tarr at his apartment.) He is the dead artist, violent, abusive, paranoid and a loafer.