david jones: the lost modernist

91s7GEYSjwLDavid Bentley Hart at First Things:

I do not know if it is quite correct to say that public interest in the work of David Jones (1895–1974) is enjoying something of a revival just at the moment, since it was never very lively to begin with. In his own time, Jones was recognized by the discerning as an artist of remarkable originality and range, and by the most discerning as perhaps the finest British artist of the twentieth century. Certainly he was the greatest “modernist” Britain ever produced, and among modern British Catholic poets and painters he was unequaled. He belonged to that very rare class of visionary artists who, like Blake, produce works that seem to reach into other realms of being. He seemed to have discovered worlds of mythic, religious, and aesthetic meaning that had never before been revealed, but that nevertheless felt as ancient and familiar as this world; and, also like Blake, he explored those other realms through both literature and the visual arts. Yet somehow his name never quite carried as far as the names of many of his contemporaries. Even the very literate are far more likely to have heard of the host of luminaries who knew him and praised his work than they are to have heard of him. Yeats, Eliot, and Auden thought him a genius—as did Stravinsky, Herbert Read, Christopher Dawson, Stephen Spender, Evelyn Waugh, Basil Bunting, R. S. Thomas, Geoffrey Hill, and many others. But still, to this day, his admirers are anything but legion; they constitute at most a coterie.

more here.