Why isn’t David Jones famous?

David Jones (UK)Michael Dirda at the Washington Post:

David Jones? To Stravinsky he was “a writer of genius,” and Kenneth Clark once called him the best modern painter. According to military historian Michael Howard, Jones’s “In Parenthesis,” might be “the most remarkable work of literature to emerge from either world war.” As for Jones’s other masterpiece, “The Anathemata,” W.H. Auden claimed it was “very probably the finest long poem written in English in this century.” I won’t even mention similar encomia from Graham Greene, Dylan Thomas, Henry Moore, Seamus Heaney and others.

So, if David Jones is this good, shouldn’t he be, like, famous?

Well, he is, actually, except to those who confuse temporary celebrity with lasting artistic achievement. Still, Jones’s overall reputation may be slightly blurred because — like Beatrix Potter or Mervyn Peake — he was equally accomplished as both a writer and a visual artist. Moreover, his work can be demanding, even off-puttingly recondite. A Catholic convert, he imbues his pictorial and verbal art with religious imagery, Arthurian myth and intricately layered, deeply felt symbolism. Fortunately, Thomas Dilworth’s new biography, “David Jones: Engraver, Soldier, Painter, Poet,” provides an excellent introduction to this multitalented creator’s life and imagination.

more here.