As part of his introduction of Dr. Trelawney, Jenkins writes: “Simple-lifers, utopian socialists, spiritualists, occultists, theosophists, quietists, pacficists, futurists, cubists, zealots of all sorts in their approach to life and art … were then  thought of by the unenlightened as scarcely distinguishable from one another …” [TKO 32/ ]
The Italian Futurists, like the Surrealists, extended their philosophy beyond art to many aspects of life. In 1910 Boccioni, Carrà, Russolo, Balla, and Severini concluded their Manifesto of the Futurist Painters:
With our enthusiastic adherence to Futurism, we will:
Destroy the cult of the past, the obsession with the ancients, pedantry and academic formalism.
Totally invalidate all kinds of imitation.
Elevate all attempts at originality, however daring, however violent.
Bear bravely and proudly the smear of “madness” with which they try to gag all innovators.
Regard art critics as useless and dangerous.
Sweep the whole field of art clean of all themes and subjects which have been used in the past.
Support and glory in our day-to-day world, a world which is going to be continually and splendidly transformed by victorious Science.
The dead shall be buried in the earth’s deepest bowels! The threshold of the future will be swept free of mummies! Make room for youth, for violence, for daring!
The Guggenheim Museum, New York, mounted an extensive retrospective of Futurist Art in 2014, including examining the relationship of Futurism to Italian politics during the eras of the two World Wars.
We show Boccioni’s The City Rises not only because it is one of earliest Futurist paintings, but also because it illustrates the interest of the Futurists in looking at modern cities in new ways.
A sad postscript to the Futurist’s tale is that their First Manifesto also included the witless boast, “We will glorify war–the world’s only hygiene . . . .” A few years later, the First World War carried off Boccioni and several other Futurist zealots, along with countless millions of young soldiers less enamored of war’s glamour.
Yearning for the Simple Life has been a recurring human theme for generations, but we suspect Powell is referring in particular here to the Victorian simple-lifers, who intertwined with the British Arts and Crafts Movement inspired by William Morris.
This Snakeshead textile pattern by William Morris (1834-1896) is hardly simple, but Morris promoted production of his textiles with organic dyes and was concerned for the lives of the textile workers and for wide availability of his art to the middle class. He was friendly with many of the Pre-Raphaelites, and his design firm encouraged artisans in glass, furniture, metal work, architectual carving, and murals.