Baron Julius Evola (1899-1974) was an important Italian intellectual, although he despised the term. As poet and painter, he was the major Italian representative of Dadaism (1916-1922). Later he became the leading Italian exponent of the intellectually rigorous esotericism of RenÃ© GuÃ©non (1886- 1951). He enjoyed an international reputation as the author of books on magic, alchemy and eastern religious traditions and won the respect of such important scholars as Mircea Eliade and Giuseppe Tucci. His book on early Buddhism, The Doctrine of Awakening,1 which was translated in 1951, established his reputation among English-speaking esotericists. In 1983, Inner Traditions International, directed by Ehud Sperling, published Evolaâ€™s 1958 book, The Metaphysics of Sex, which it reprinted as Eros and the Mysteries of Love in 1992, the same year it published his 1949 book on Tantra, The Yoga of Power.2
The marketing appeal of the topic of sex is obvious. Both books, however, are serious studies, not sex manuals. Since then Inner Traditions has reprinted The Doctrine of Awakening and published many of Evolaâ€™s esoteric books, including studies of alchemy and magic3, and what Evola himself considered his most important exposition of his beliefs, Revolt Against the Modern World.4
In Europe Evola is known not only as an esotericist, but also as a brilliant and incisive right-wing thinker. During the 1980â€™s most of his books, New Age and political, were translated into French under the aegis of Alain de Benoist, the leader of the French Nouvelle Droite.5 Books and articles by Evola have been translated into German and published in every decade since the 1930â€™s.6
Discussion of Evolaâ€™s politics reached North America slowly. In the 1980â€™s political scientists Thomas Sheehan, Franco Ferraresi, and Richard Drake wrote about him unsympathetically, blaming him for Neo-Fascist terrorism.7 In 1990 the esoteric journal, Gnosis, devoted part of an issue to Evola. Robin Waterfield, a classicist and author of a book on RenÃ© GuÃ©non, contributed a thoughtful appreciation of his work on the basis of French translations.8 Italian esotericist ElÃ©mire Zolla discussed Evolaâ€™s development accurately but ungenerously.9 The essay by Gnosis editor Jay Kinney was driven by an almost hysterical fear of the word â€œFascist.â€ He did not appear to have read Evolaâ€™s books in any language, called the 1983 edition of The Metaphysics of Sex Evolaâ€™s â€œonly book translated into Englishâ€ and concluded â€œEvolaâ€™s esotericism appears to be well outside of the main currents of Western tradition. It remains to be seen whether his Hermetic virtues can be disentangled from his political sins. Meanwhile, he serves as a persuasive argument for the separation of esoteric â€˜Church and State.â€™â€10
With the publication of Men Among the Ruins: Post-War Reflections of a Radical Traditionalist,11 English speakers can read Evolaâ€™s political views for themselves. They will find that the text, in Guido Stuccoâ€™s workman-like translation, edited by Michael Moynihan, is guarded by a double firewall. Joscelyn Godwinâ€™s â€œForewordâ€ answers Jay Kinneyâ€™s hysterical diatribe of 1990. Godwin defends publishing Evolaâ€™s political writings by an appeal to â€œacademic freedom,â€ which works â€œwith the tools of rationality and scholarship, unsullied by emotionality or subjective referencesâ€ and favors making all of Evolaâ€™s works available because â€œit would be academically dishonest to suppress anything.â€ Godwinâ€™s high praise for The Doctrine of Awakening implicitly condemns Kinneyâ€™s ignorance. Evolaâ€™s books on esoteric topics reveal â€œone of the keenest minds in the field . . . The challenge to esotericists is that when Evola came down to earth, he was so â€˜incorrectâ€™ â€“ by the received standards of our society. He was no fool; and he cannot possibly have been right . . . so what is one to make of it?â€
Godwinâ€™s â€œPrefaceâ€ is followed by an introduction of more than 100 pages by Austrian esotericist H. T. Hansen on â€œJulius Evolaâ€™s Political Endeavors,â€ translated from the 1991 German version of Men Among the Ruins,12 with additional notes and corrections (called â€œPreface to the American Editionâ€). Hansenâ€™s introduction to Revolt Against the Modern World13 is, with Robin Waterfieldâ€™s Gnosis essay, the best short introduction to Evola in English. His longer essay is essential for serious students, and Inner Traditions deserves warm thanks for publishing it. The major book on Evola is Christophe Boutin, Politique et Tradition: Julius Evola dans le siÃ¨cle (1898-1974).14
Readers of books published by Inner Traditions might have guessed Evolaâ€™s politics. The Mystery of the Grail,15 first published in 1937, praises the Holy Roman Empire as a great political force, led by Germans and Italians, which tried to unite Europe under the Nordic Ghibellines. Esotericists will probably guess that the title of Revolt Against the Modern World is an homage to Crisis of the Modern World,16 the most accessible of RenÃ© GuÃ©nonâ€™s many books. The variation is also a challenge. Evola and GuÃ©non see the modern world as the fulfillment of the Hindu Kali Yuga, or Dark Age, that will end one cosmic cycle and introduce another. For GuÃ©non the modern world is to be endured, but Evola believed that real men are not passive. His praise of â€œThe World of Traditionâ€ with its warrior aristocracies and sacral kingship is peppered with contempt for democracy, but New Age writers often make such remarks, just as scientists do. If you believe you know the truth, it is hard not to be contemptuous of a system that determines matters by counting heads and ignores the distinction between the knowledgeable and the ignorant.
Visionary Among Italian Conservative Revolutionaries Evola was not only an important figure in GuÃ©nonâ€™s Integral Traditionalism, but also the leading Italian exponent of the Conservative Revolution in Germany, which included Carl Schmitt, Oswald Spengler, Gottfried Benn, and Ernst JÃ¼nger.17 From 1934-43, Evola was editor of what we would now call the â€œop-edâ€ page of a major Italian newspaper (Regime Fascista) and published Conservative Revolutionaries and other right-wing and traditionalist authors.18 He corresponded with Schmitt19, translated Spenglerâ€™s Decline of the West and JÃ¼ngerâ€™s An der Zeitmauer (At the Time Barrier) into Italian and wrote the best introduction to JÃ¼ngerâ€™s Der Arbeiter (The Worker), â€œThe Workerâ€ in Ernst JÃ¼ngerâ€™s Thought.20
Spengler has been well served by translation into English, but other important figures of the Conservative Revolution had to wait a long time. Carl Schmittâ€™s major works have been translated only in the past few decades.21 JÃ¼ngerâ€™s most important work of social criticism, Der Arbeiter, has never been translated.22 The major scholarly book on the movement has never been translated, either.23 It is a significant statement on the limits of expression in the United States that so many leftist mediocrities are published, while major European thinkers of the rank of Schmitt, JÃ¼nger and Evola have to wait so long for translation, if the day ever comes. It is certainly intriguing that a New Age press has undertaken the translation and publishing of Evolaâ€™s books, with excellent introductions.
The divorced wife of a respected free market economist once remarked to me, â€œYale used to say that conservatives were just old-fashioned liberals.â€24 People who accept that definition will be flabbergasted by Julius Evola. Like Georges Sorel, Oswald Spengler, Whittaker Chambers and RÃ©gis Debray, Evola insists that liberals and communists are in fundamental agreement on basic principles. This agreement is significant, because for Evola politics is an expression of basic principles and he never tires of repeating his own. The transcendent is real. Manâ€™s knowledge of his relationship to transcendence has been handed down from the beginning of human culture. This is Tradition, with a capital T. Human beings are tri-partite: body, soul and spirit. State and society are hierarchical and the clearer the hierarchy, the healthier the society. The worst traits of the modern world are its denial of transcendence, reductionist vision of man and egalitarianism.
These traits come together in what Evola called â€œla daimonÃ¬a dellâ€™economia,â€ translated by Stucco as â€œthe demonic nature of the economy.â€25 Real men exist to attain knowledge of the transcendent and to strive and accomplish heroically. The economy is only a tool to provide the basis for such accomplishments and to sustain the kind of society that permits the best to attain sanctity and greatness. The modern world denies this vision.
In both individual and collective life the economic factor is the most important, real, and decisive one . . . An economic era is already by definition a fundamentally anarchical and anti-hierarchical era; it represents a subversion of the normal order . . . This subversive character is found in both Marxism and in its apparent nemesis, modern capitalism. Thus, it is absurd and deplorable for those who pretend to represent the political â€˜Rightâ€™ to fail to leave the dark and small circle that is determined by the demonic power of the economy â€“ a circle including capitalism, Marxism, and all the intermediate economic degrees. This should be firmly upheld by those today who are taking a stand against the forces of the Left. Nothing is more evident than that modern capitalism is just as subversive as Marxism. The materialistic view of life on which both systems are based is identical.26 Most conservatives do not like the leftist hegemony we live under, but they still want to cling to some aspect of modernity to preserve a toehold on respectability. Evola rejected the Enlightenment project lock, stock and barrel, and had little use for the Renaissance and the Reformation. His books ask us to take seriously the attempt to imagine an intellectual and political world that radically rejects the leftist worldview. He insists that those really opposed to the leftist regime, the true Right, are not embarrassed to use words like reactionary and counter revolutionary. If you are afraid of these words, you do not have the courage to stand up to the modern world.
He also countenances the German expression, Conservative Revolution, if properly understood. Revolution is acceptable only if it is true re-volution, a turning back to origins. Conservatism is valid only when it preserves the true Tradition. So loyalty to the bourgeois order is a false conservatism, because on the level of principle, the bourgeoisie is an economic class, not a true aristocracy. That is one reason why at the end of his life, Evola was planning a right-wing journal to be called The Reactionary, in conscious opposition to the leading Italian conservative magazine, Il Borghese, â€œThe Bourgeois.â€
For Evola the state creates the nation, not the opposite. Although Evola maintained a critical distance from Fascism and never joined the Fascist Party,27 here he was in substantial agreement with Mussolini and the famous article on â€œFascismâ€ in the Enciclopedia Italiana, authored by the philosopher and educator, Giovanni Gentile. He disagreed strongly with the official philosophy of 1930â€™s Germany. The Volk is not the basis of a true state, an imperium. Rather the state creates the people. Naturally, Evola rejected Lockeâ€™s notion of the Social Contract, where rational, utilitarian individuals come together to give up some of their natural rights in order to preserve the most important one, the right to property. Evola also disagreed with Aristotleâ€™s idea that the state developed from the family. The state was created from MÃ¤nnerbÃ¼nde, disciplined groups entered through initiation by men who were to become warriors and priests. The MÃ¤nnerbund, not the family, is the original basis of true political life.28
Evola saw his mission as finding men who could be initiated into a real warrior aristocracy, the Hindu kshatriya, to carry out Bismarckâ€™s â€œRevolution from above,â€ what Joseph de Maistre called â€œnot a counterrevolution, but the opposite of a revolution.â€ This was not a mass movement, nor did it depend on the support of the masses, by their nature incapable of great accomplishments. Hansen thinks these plans were utopian, but Evola was in touch with the latest political science. The study of elites and their role in every society, especially liberal democracies, was virtually an Italian monopoly in the first half of the Twentieth century, carried on by men like Roberto Michels, Gaetano Mosca and Vilfredo Pareto. Evola saw that nothing can be accomplished without leadership. The modern world needs a true elite to rescue it from its involution into materialism, egalitarianism and its obsession with the economy and to restore a healthy regime of order, hierarchy and spiritual creativity. When that elite is educated and initiated, then (and only then) a true state can be created and the Dark Age will come to an end.
Egalitarianism, Fascism, Race, and Roman Catholicism Despite his criticism of the demagogic and populist aspects of Fascism and National Socialism, Evola believed that under their aegis Italy and Germany had turned away from liberalism and communism and provided the basis for a return to aristocracy, the restoration of the castes and the renewal of a social order based on Tradition and the transcendent. Even after their defeat in World War II, Evola believed that the fight was not over, although he became increasingly discouraged and embittered in the decades after the war. (Pain from a crippling injury suffered in an air raid may have contributed to this feeling.)
Although Evola believed that the transcendent was essential for a true revival, he did not look to the Catholic Church for leadership. Men Among the Ruins was published in 1953, when the official position of the Church was still strongly anti-Communist and Evola had lived through the 1920s and 1930s when the Vatican signed the Concordat with Mussolini. So his analysis of the Church, modified but not changed for the second edition in 1967, is impressive as is his prediction that the Church would move to the left.
After the times of De Maistre, Bonald, Donoso CortÃ©s, and the Syllabus have passed, Catholicism has been characterized by political maneuvering . . . Inevitably, the Churchâ€™s sympathies must gravitate toward a democratic-liberal political system. Moreover, Catholicism had for a long time espoused the theory of â€˜natural right,â€™ which hardly agrees with the positive and differentiated right, on which a strong and hierarchical State can be built . . . Militant Catholics like Maritain had revived Bergsonâ€™s formula according to which â€˜democracy is essentially evangelicalâ€™; they tried to demonstrate that the democratic impulse in history appears as a temporal manifestation of the authentic Christian and Catholic spirit . . . By now, the categorical condemnations of modernism and progressivism are a thing of the past . . . When todayâ€™s Catholics reject the â€˜medieval residuesâ€™ of their tradition; when Vatican II and its implementations have pushed for debilitating forms of â€˜bringing things up to dateâ€™; when popes uphold the United Nations (a ridiculous hybrid and illegitimate organization) practically as the prefiguration of a future Christian ecumene â€“ this leaves no doubt in which direction the Church is being dragged. All things considered, Catholicismâ€™s capability of providing an adequate support for a revolutionary-conservative and traditionalist movement must be resolutely denied.29 Although his 1967 analysis mentions Vatican II, Evolaâ€™s position on the Catholic Church went back to the 1920â€™s, when after his early Dadaism he was developing a philosophy based on the traditions of India, the Far East and ancient Rome under the influence of Arturo Reghini (1878-1946).30 Reghini introduced Evola to GuÃ©nonâ€™s ideas on Tradition and his own thinking on Roman â€œPagan Imperialismâ€ as an alternative to the Twentieth Centuryâ€™s democratic ideals and plutocratic reality. Working with a leading Fascist ideologue, Giuseppe Bottai (1895-1959), Evola wrote a series of articles in Bottaiâ€™s Critica Fascista in 1926-27, praising the Roman Empire as a synthesis of the sacred and the regal, an aristocratic and hierarchical system under a true leader. Evola rejected the Catholic Church as a source of religion and morality independent of the state, because he saw its universalistic claims as compatible with and tending toward liberal egalitarianism and humanitarianism, despite its anti-Communist rhetoric.
Evolaâ€™s articles enjoyed a national succÃ¨s de scandale and he expanded them into a book, Imperialismo Pagano (1928), which provoked a heated debate involving many Fascist and Catholic intellectuals, including, significantly, Giovanni Battista Montini (1897-1978), who, when Evola published the second edition of Men Among the Ruins in 1967, had become the liberal Pope Paul VI. Meanwhile, Mussolini was negotiating with Pope Pius XI (1857-1939) for a reconciliation in which the Church would give its blessings to his regime in return for protection of its property and official recognition as the religion of Italy. Italy had been united by the Piedmontese conquest of Papal Rome in 1870 and the Popes had never recognized the new regime. So Evola wrote in 1928, â€œEvery Italian and every Fascist should remember that the King of Italy is still considered a usurper by the Vatican.â€31 The signing of the Vatican Accords on February 11, 1929, ended that situation and the debate. Even Reghini and Bottai turned against Evola.32
Evola later regretted the tone of his polemic, but he also pointed out that the fact that this debate took place gave the lie direct to extreme assertions about lack of freedom of speech in Fascist Italy. Evola has been vindicated on the main point. The Catholic Church accepts liberal democracy and even defends it as the only legitimate regime. Notre Dame University is not the only Catholic university with a Jacques Maritain Center, but neither Notre Dame nor any other Catholic university in America has a Center named after Joseph de Maistre or Louis de Bonald or Juan Donoso CortÃ©s. Pope Pius IX was beatified for proclaiming the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, not for his Syllabus Errorum, which denounced the idea of coming to terms with liberalism and modern civilization.
Those who want to distance Evola from Fascism emphasize the debate over Pagan Imperialism. For several years afterwards Fascist toughs harassed Evola, until he won the patronage of Roberto Farinacci, the Fascist boss of Cremona. Evola edited the opinion page of Farinacciâ€™s newspaper, Regime Fascista, from 1934 to 1943 in an independent fashion. Although there are anecdotes about Mussoliniâ€™s fear of Evola, the documentary evidence points in the opposite direction. Yvon de Begnacâ€™s talks with Mussolini, published in 1990, report Mussolini consistently speaking of Evola with respect. Il Duce had the following comments about the Pagan Imperialism debate:
Despite what is generally thought, I was not at all irritated by Doctor Julius Evolaâ€™s pronouncements made a few months before the Conciliation on the modification of relations between the Holy See and Italy. Anyhow, Doctor Evolaâ€™s attitude did not directly concern relations between Italy and the Holy See, but what seemed to him the long-term irreconcilability of the Roman tradition and the Catholic tradition. Since he identified Fascism with the Roman tradition, he had no choice but to reckon as its adversary any historical vision of a universalistic order.33 Mussoliniâ€™s strongest support for Evola came on the subject of race, which became an issue after Italyâ€™s conquest of Ethiopia in 1936. Influenced by Nazi Germany, Italy passed Racial Laws in 1938. Evola was already writing on the racial views consistent with a Traditional vision of mankind in opposition to what he saw as the biological reductionism and materialism of Nazi racial thought. His writings infuriated Guido Landra, editor of the journal, La Difesa della Razza (Defense of the Race). Landra and other scientific racists were especially irritated by Evolaâ€™s article, â€œScientific Racismâ€™s Mistake.â€34 Mussolini, however, praised Evolaâ€™s writings as early as 1935 and permitted Evolaâ€™s Summary of Racial Doctrine to be translated into German as Compendium of Fascist Racial Doctrine to represent the official Fascist position.35
Evola accepts the Traditional division of man into body, soul and spirit and argues that there are races of all three.
While in a â€˜pure bloodâ€™ horse or cat the biological element constitutes the central one, and therefore racial considerations can be legitimately restricted to it, this is certainly not the case with man, or at least any man worthy of the name . . . Therefore racial treatment of man can not stop only at a biological level.36 Just as the state creates the people and the nation, so the spirit forms the races of body and soul. Evola had done considerable research on the history of racial studies and wrote a history of racial thought from Classical Antiquity to the 1930â€™s, The Blood Myth: The Genesis of Racism.37 Evola knew that in addition to the tradition of scientific racism, represented by Gobineau, Houston Steward Chamberlain, Alfred Rosenberg, and Landra was one that appreciated extra- or super-biological elements and whose adherents included Montaigne, Herder, Fichte, Gustave Le Bon, and Evolaâ€™s contemporary and friend, Ludwig Ferdinand Clauss, a German biologist at the University of Berlin.38
Hansen has a thorough discussion of â€œEvolaâ€™s Attitude Toward the Jews.â€ Evola thought that the negative traits associated with Jews were spiritual, not physical. So a biological Jew might have an Aryan soul or spirit and biological Aryans might â€“ and did â€“ have a Semitic soul or spirit. As Landra saw, this was the end of any politically useful scientific racism. The greatest academic authority on Fascism, Renzo de Felice argued in The Jews in Fascism Italy that Evolaâ€™s theories are wrong, but that they have a distinguished intellectual ancestry, and Evola argued for them in an honorable way.39 In recent years, Bill Clinton was proclaimed Americaâ€™s first black president. This instinctive privileging of style over biology is in line with Evolaâ€™s views.
Hansen does not discuss Evolaâ€™s views on Negroes, to which Christophe Boutin devotes several pages of Politique et Tradition.40 In his 1968 collection of essays, The Bow and the Club,41 there is a chapter on â€œAmerica Negrizzata,â€ which argues that, while there was relatively little miscegenation in the United States, the Telluric or Negro spirit has had considerable influence on the quality of American culture. The 1972 edition of Men Among the Ruins ends with an â€œAppendix on the Myths of our Time,â€ of which number IV is â€œTaboos of our Times.â€42 The two taboos discussed forbid a frank discussion of the â€œworking class,â€ common in Europe, and of the Negro. Although written thirty years ago, it is up-to-date in its description of this subject and notices that the word â€œNegroâ€ itself was becoming taboo as â€œoffensive.â€43 La vera Destra, a real Right, will oppose this development. This appendix is not translated in the Inner Traditions or the 1991 German editions, confirming its accuracy.
At the end of Men Among the Ruins, instead of the Appendix of the 1972 edition, stands Evolaâ€™s 1951 Autodifesa, the speech he gave in his own defense when he was tried by the Italian democracy for â€œdefending Fascism,â€ attempting to reconstitute the dissolved Fascist Partyâ€ and being the â€œmasterâ€ and inspirerâ€ of young Neo-Fascists.44 Like Socrates, he was accused of not worshipping the gods of the democracy and of corrupting youth. When he asked in open court where in his published writings he had defended â€œideas proper to Fascism,â€ the prosecutor, Dr. Sangiorgi, admitted that there were no such passages, but that the general spirit of his works promoted â€œideas proper to Fascism,â€ such as monocracy, hierarchism, aristocracy or elitism. Evola responded.
I should say that if such are the terms of the accusation,45 I would be honored to see, seated at the same bank of accusation, such people as Aristotle, Plato, the Dante of De Monarchia, and so on up to Metternich and Bismarck. In the same spirit as a Metternich, a Bismarck,46 or the great Catholic philosophers of the principle of authority, De Maistre and Donoso CortÃ©s, I reject all that which derives, directly or indirectly, from the French Revolution and which, in my opinion, has as its extreme consequence bolshevism; to which I counterpose the â€˜world of Tradition.â€™ . . . My principles are only those that, before the French Revolution, every well-born person considered sane and normal.47 Evolaâ€™s Autodifesa was more effective than Socratesâ€™ Apology, since the jury found him â€œinnocentâ€ of the charges. (Italian juries may find a defendant â€œinnocent,â€ â€œnot guilty for lack of proof,â€ or â€œguilty.â€) Evola noted in his speech, â€œSome like to depict Fascism as an â€˜oblique tyranny.â€™48 During that â€˜tyrannyâ€™ I never had to undergo a situation like the present one.â€ Evola was no lackey of the Fascist regime. He attacked conciliation with the Vatican in the years before the 1929 Vatican Accords and developed an interpretation of race that directly contradicted the one favored by the German government and important currents within Fascism. His journal, La Torre (The Tower), was closed down in 1930 because of his criticism of Fascist toughs, gli squadristi. Evola, however, never had to face jail for his serious writings during the Fascist era. That had to wait for liberal democracy. Godwin and Hansen are absolutely correct to emphasize Evolaâ€™s consistency and coherence as an esoteric thinker and his independence from any party-line adherence to Fascism. On the other hand, Evola considered his politics a direct deduction from his beliefs about Tradition. He was a sympathetic critic of Fascism, but a remorseless opponent of liberal democracy.
Inner Traditions and the Holmes Publishing Group49 have published translations of most of Evolaâ€™s esoteric writings and some important political books. Will they go on to publish the rest of his oeuvre? Joscelyn Godwin, after all, wrote, â€œIt would be intellectually dishonest to suppress anything.â€ Evolaâ€™s book on Ernst JÃ¼nger might encourage a translation of Der Arbeiter. Riding the Tiger50 explains how the â€œdifferentiated manâ€ (uomo differenziato) can maintain his integrity in the Dark Age. It bears the same relation to Men Among the Ruins that Aristotleâ€™s Ethics bears to his Politics and, although published later, was written at the same time.51 There are brilliant essays in The Bow and the Club, but can a book be published in contemporary America with an essay entitled â€œAmerica Negrizzata?â€ Pagan Imperialism is a young manâ€™s book, vigorous and invigorating.
The most challenging book for readers who enjoy Men Among the Ruins is Fascism Seen from the Right, with its appendix, â€œNotes on the Third Reich,â€52 where Evola criticizes both regimes as not right-wing enough. A world respectful of communism and liberalism (and accustomed to using the word â€œFascistâ€ as an angry epithet) will find it hard to appreciate a book critical, but not disrespectful, of il Ventennio (the Twenty Years of Fascist rule). I would suggest beginning with the short pamphlet, Orientamenti (Orientations),53 which Evola composed in 1950 as a summary of the doctrine of Men Among the Ruins.
Hansen quotes right-wing Italians who say that Evolaâ€™s influence discourages political action because his Tradition comes from an impossibly distant past and assumes an impossibly transcendent truth and a hopelessly pessimistic view of the present. Yet Evola confronts the modern world with an absolute challenge. Its materialism, egalitarianism, feminism, and economism are fundamentally wrong. The way out is through rejecting these mistakes and returning to spirit, transcendence and hierarchy, to the MÃ¤nnerbund and the Legionary Spirit. It may be discouraging to think that we are living in a Dark Age, but the Kali Yuga is also the end of a cosmic cycle. When the current age ends, a new one will begin. This is not Spenglerâ€™s biologistic vision, where our civilization is an individual, not linked to earlier ones and doomed to die without offspring, like all earlier ones.54
We are linked to the past by Tradition and when the Dark Age comes to an end, Tradition will light the way to new greatness and accomplishment. We may live to see that day. If not, what will survive is the legionary spirit Evola described in Orientamenti:
It is the attitude of a man who can choose the hardest road, fight even when he knows that the battle is materially lost and live up to the words of the ancient saga, â€˜Loyalty is stronger than fire!â€™ Through him the traditional idea is asserted, that it is the sense of honor and of shame â€“ not halfway measures drawn from middle class moralities â€“ that creates a substantial, existential difference among beings, almost as great as between one race and another race. If anything positive can be accomplished today or tomorrow, it will not come from the skills of agitators and politicians, but from the natural prestige of men both of yesterday but also, and more so, from the new generation, who recognize what they can achieve and so vouch for their idea.55 This is the ideal of Oswald Spenglerâ€™s Roman soldier, who died at this post at Pompeii as the sky fell on him, because he had not been relieved. We do not need programs and marketing strategies, but men like that. â€œIt is men, provided they are really men, who make and unmake history.â€56 Evolaâ€™s ideal continues to speak to the right person. â€œKeep your eye on just one thing: to remain on your feet in a world of ruins.â€
1. La dottrina del risveglio, Bari, 1943, revised in 1965.
2. Lo Yoga della potenza, Milan, 1949, revised in 1968, was a new edition of Lâ€™Uomo come Potenza, Rome, 1926; Metafisica del sesso, Rome, 1958, revised 1969.
3. Introduzione alla magia quale scienza delâ€™Io, 3 volumes, Rome, 1927-29, revised 1971, Introduction to Magic: Rituals and Practical Techniques for the Magus, Rochester, VT: 2001; La tradizione hermetica (Bari, 1931), revised 1948, 1971; The Hermetic Tradition, Rochester, VT: 1995.
4. Rivolta contro il mondo moderno, Milan, 1934, revised 1951, 1969.
5. Robin Waterfield gives a useful bibliography at the end of his Gnosis essay (note 8, below) p. 17.
6. Karlheinz Weissman, â€œBibliographieâ€ in Menschen immitten von Ruinen, TÃ¼bingen, 1991, pp. 403-406, e.g., Heidnischer Imperialismus, Leipzig, 1933; Erhebung wider die moderne Welt, Stuttgart, 1935; Revolte gegen die moderne Welt, Berlin, 1982; Den Tiger Reiten, Vilsborg, 1997.
7. Thomas Sheehan, â€œMyth and Violence: The Fascism of Julius Evola and Alain de Benoist,â€ Social Research 48: 1981, pp. 45-73; Franco Ferraresi, â€œJulius Evola: tradition, reaction and the Radical Right,â€ Archives europÃ©ennes de sociologie 28: 1987, pp. 107-151; Richard Drake, â€œJulius Evola and the Ideological Origins of the Radical Right in Contemporary Italy,â€ in Peter H. Merkl, (ed.), Political Violence and Terror: Motifs and Motivations, Berkeley, 1986, pp. 61- 89; idem, The Revolutionary Mystique and Terrorism in Contemporary Italy, Bloomington, 1989.
8. Robin Waterfield, â€œBaron Julius Evola and the Hermetic Tradition,â€ Gnosis 14:1989-90, pp. 12-17.
9. ElÃ©mire Zolla, â€œThe Evolution of Julius Evolaâ€™s Thought,â€ Gnosis 14: 1989- 90, pp. 18-20.
10. Jay Kinney, â€œWhoâ€™s Afraid of the Bogeyman? The Phantasm of Esoteric Terrorism,â€ Gnosis 14: 1989-90, pp. 21-24.
11. Gli uomini e le rovine, Rome, 1953, revised 1967, with a new appendix, 1972.
12. H. T. Hansen, â€œJulius Evolas politisches Wirken,â€ Menshen immitten von Ruinen (note 6, above) pp. 7-131.
13. H. T. Hansen, â€œA Short Introduction to Julius Evolaâ€ in Revolt Against the Modern World, Rochester, VT, 1995, ix-xxii, translated from Hansenâ€™s article in Theosophical History 5, January 1994, pp. 11-22.
14. Christophe Boutin, Politique et Tradition: Julius Evola dans le siÃ¨cle, 1898-1974; Paris, 1992.
15. Il mistero del Graal e la tradizione ghibellina dellâ€™Impero, Bari, 1937, revised 1962, 1972; translated as The Mystery of the Grail: Initiation and Magic in the Quest for the Spirit, Rochester, VT, 1997.
16. RenÃ© Gu non, Crise du monde moderne (Paris, 1927) has been translated several times into English.
17. H. T. Hansen, â€œJulius Evola und die deutsche konservative Revolution,â€ CriticÃ³n 158 (April/Mai/June 1998) pp. 16-32.
18. Diorema: Antologia della pagina special di â€œRegime Fascista,â€ Marco Tarchi, (ed.) Rome, 1974.
19. Lettere di Julius Evola a Carl Schmitt. 1951-1963, Rome, 2000.
20. Lâ€Operaioâ€ nel pensiero di Ernst JÃ¼nger (Rome, 1960), revised 1974; reprinted with additions, 1998.
21. The Concept of the Political, New Brunswick, NJ, 1976; The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy, Cambridge, MA, 1985; Political Theology, Cambrige, MA, 1985; Political Romanticism, Cambridge, MA, 1986. Recent commentary includes Paul Gottfried, Carl Schmitt: Politics and Theory, New York, 1990; Gopal Balakrishnan, The Enemy: An Intellectual Portrait of Carl Schmitt, London, 2000.
22. Ernst JÃ¼nger, Der Arbeiter. Herrschaft und Gestalt, Hamburg, 1932, was translated into Italian in 1985.
23. Armin Mohler, Die konservative Revolution in Deutschland, 1918-1932. Stuttgart, 1950, revised and expanded in 1972, 1989, 1994, 1999.
24. Panajotis Kondylis, Conservativismus: Geschichtlicher Gehalt und Untergang, Stuttgart, 1986, devotes 553 pages to this theme.
25. My impression is that daimonÃ¬a dellâ€™economia implies â€œdemonic possession by the economy.â€ In Orientamenti (see note 53, below), Evola writes of â€œlâ€™allucinazione e la daimonÃ¬a dellâ€™economia,â€ â€œhallucination and demonic possession.â€
26. Men Among the Ruins: Post-War Reflections of a Radical Traditionalist, Rochester, VT, 2002, p. 166. â€œAbsurd and deplorableâ€ is for assurdo peggiore, literally, â€œthe worst absurdity;â€ circolo buio e chiuso â€œdark and small circle,â€ literally â€œdark and closed circle.â€ Chiuso is used in weather reports for â€œovercast.â€
27. Evola applied for membership in the Fascist Party in 1939 in order to enlist in the army as an officer, but in vain for reasons discussed by Hansen (note 26, above) xiii. The application was found by Dana Lloyd Thomas, â€œQuando Evola du degradato,â€ Il Borghese, March 29, 1999, pp. 10-13. Evola mentioned this in an interview with Gianfranco De Turris, Iâ€™Italiano 11, September, 1971, which can be found in some reprints of Lâ€™Orientamenti, e.g., Catania, 1981, 33 (See note 53, below).
28. Evola cites Heinrich Schurtz, Altersklassen und MÃ¤nnerbÃ¼nde: Eine Darstellung der Grundformen der Gesellschaft, Berlin, 1902; A. van Gennep, Les rites du passage, Paris, 1909; The Rites of Passage, Chicago, 1960.
29. Men Among the Ruins (note 26, above) pp. 210-211; Gli uomini e le rovine (note 11, above) pp. 15-151. â€œA ridiculous hybrid and illegitimate organizationâ€ translates questa ridicola associazione ibrida e bastarda.
30. ElÃ©mire Zolla gives the essentials about Reghiniâ€™s influence on Evola in his Gnosis essay (note 9, above).
31. Imperialismo Pagano, Rome, 1928, p. 40.
32. Richard Drake, â€œJulius Evola, Radical Fascism, and the Lateran Accords,â€ Catholic Historical Review 74, 1988, pp. 403-319; E. Christian Kopff. â€œItalian Fascism and the Roman Empire,â€ Classical Bulletin 76: 2000, pp. 109-115.
33. Yvon de Begnac, Taccuini Mussoliniani, Francesco Perfetti, (ed.), Bologna, 1990, p. 647.
34. â€œLâ€™Equivoco del razzismo scientifico,â€ Vita Italiana 30, September 1942.
35. Sintesi di dottrina della razza, Milan, 1941; Grundrisse der faschistischen Rassenlehre , Berlin, 1943.
36. Sintesi di dottrina della razza (note 35, above) p. 35. Since Hansen (note 26, above) 71 uses the German translation (note 12, above) 90, the last sentence reads â€œFascist racial doctrine (Die faschistischen Rassenlehre) therefore holds a purely biological view of race to be inadequate.â€
37. Il mito del sangue: Genesi del razzismo, Rome, 1937, revised 1942.
38. Ludwig Ferdinand Clauss, Rasse und Seele. Eine EinfÃ¼hrung in den Sinn der leiblichen Gestalt, Munich, 1937; Rasse ist Gestalt, Munich, 1937.
39. Renzo de Felice, The Jews in Fascist Italy: A History, New York, 2001, 378, translation of Storia degli Ebrei Italiani sotto il Fascismo, Turin, 1961, revised 1972, 1988, 1993. Evola is discussed on pp. 392-3.
40. Boutin (note 14, above) pp. 197-200.
41. Lâ€™Arco e la clava, Milan, 1968, revised 1971. The article is pp. 39-46 of the new edition, Rome, 1995.
42. Gli uomini e le rovine (note 11, above) Appendice sui miti del nostro tempo, pp. 255-282; TabÃ¹ dei nostri tempi, pp. 275-282.
43. Gli uomini e le rovine (note 11, above) p. 276: la tabuizzazione che porta fino ad evitare lâ€™uso della designazione â€œnegro,â€ per le sue implicazioni â€œoffensive.â€
44. J. Evola, Autodifesa (Quaderni di testi Evoliani, no. 2) (Rome, n.d.)
45. Banco degli accusati is what is called in England the â€œprisonerâ€™s dock.â€
46. At this point, according to Autodifesa (note 44, above) p. 4, Evolaâ€™s lawyer, Franceso Carnelutti, called out, â€œLa polizia Ã¨ andata in cerca anche di costoro.â€ (â€œThe police have gone to look for them, too.â€)
47. Men Among the Ruins (note 25, above) pp. 293-294; Autodifesa (note 44, above) pp. 10-11.
48. Bieca is literally â€œoblique,â€ but in this context means rather â€œgrim, sinister.â€
49. Holmes Publishing Group (Edwards, WA) has published shorter works by Evola edited by the Julius Evola Foundation in Rome, e.g. RenÃ© GuÃ©non: A Teacher for Modern Times; Taoism: The Magic of Mysticism; Zen: The Religion of the Samurai; The Path of Enlightenment in the Mithraic Mysteries.
50. Cavalcare la tigre, Rome, 1961, revised 1971.
51. Gianfranco de Turris, â€œNota del Curatore,â€ Cavalcare la tigre , 5th edition: Rome, 1995, pp. 7-11.
52. Il Fascismo, Rome, 1964; Il Fascismo visto dalla Destra, con Note sul terzo Reich, Rome, 1970.
53. Orientamenti (Rome, 1951), with many reprints.
54. J. Evola, Spengler e â€œIl tramonto dellâ€™Occidenteâ€ (Quaderni di testi Evoliani, no. 14) (Rome, 1981).
55. Orientamenti, (note 53, above), p. 12; somewhat differently translated by Hansen (note 26, above) p. 101.
56. Orientamenti (note 53, above) p. 16. Hansen (note 26, above) p. 93 translates â€œIt is humans, as far as they are truly human, that make history or tear it down,â€ reflecting the German (note 12, above) p. 118: â€œEs sind die Menschen, sofern sie wahrhaft Menschen sind, die die Geschichte machen oder sie niederreissen.â€ The parallel sentence in Men Among the Ruins (note 11, above) p. 109: sono gli uomini, finchÃ© sono veramente tali, a fare o a disfare la storia, is translated by Stucco (note 26, above) p. 181: â€œIt is men who make or undo history.â€ He omits finchÃ© sono veramente tali, but gets the meaning of uomini right.