Post-War Reflections of a Radical Traditionalist By Julius Evola; Foreword by Joscelyn Godwin; Preface and Introduction by Dr. H.T. Hansen; Translated by Guido Stucco; Edited by Michael Moynihan. Reviewed by Martin Schwarz
Now, with “Men Among the Ruins,” the political Evola also enters the ruinous cultural landscape of America. The esoteric scene is already able to access the magistral “Introduction to Magic” (and with striking success, so we hear). Now comes the dynamite of Evola’s world view, packed in the warning colors of black and red. Happily it appears not from a marginalized publisher of the radical right, nor (unsurprisingly) from an academic publisher, but from an esoteric publishing house that is respectable (if somewhat New Age oriented), and Jewish owned. We mention this because it gives it a certain reassurance, which might delay the explosion. Another safety-mechanism, as Joscelyn Godwin aptly remarks in his Foreword, is the hundred-page introduction to Evola’s political thought by H. T. Hansen.The placement of a thinker in his historical and biographical context naturally relativizes the ideas that he advocates–however apodictically he may have expressed them.
Hansen’s analysis, taken from the German edition of the book (“Menschen inmitten von Ruinen” 1991) presents not only the first factual biographical sketch of Evola in the German world, but remains hitherto the fundamental treatment of his political development, above all in the Fascist and National Socialist epoch–although, as Hansen mentions in the additions he has made for the American edition, some very worthwhile works have appeared in the meantime (De Vona, Boutin, Germinari, etc.), which help to sharpen many contours. Evola appears more and more as a central figure of a right-wing, “reactionary” revulsion against the mass-aspects of National Socialism and the biologism of many of its ideologues. Evola’s (failed) application to the Fascist Party should thus be understood as an attempt to influence it in an “eschatological” sense, as also his possible, though not proven membership of the Sicherheitsdienst. Likewise, his “spiritual racial doctrine” arises from the attempt to offer an alternative in the field of racial theory to the cattle-breeding mentality of the National Socialists. In general, as Hansen also points out in his reference to Philippe Baillet, Evola’s interest in National Socialism and especially in the SS came from the desire for a concordance that would exclude its modernistic aspects, strongly marked by Darwinism and nation-state theory. Evola wished to replace these with ideas of his own: with “the Tradition”; and one might almost say that his approach was “aesthetic,” if one can discount any hedonistic connotations of the term.
The aesthetic of coolness, distance, and the heights is best expressed by the cover-design of the book. The front cover shows twenty repetitions of an impressive modern sculpture by Mark Clark (“Spirit Imperishable: The Lord of Power”). On the reverse is Evola’s passport photograph, also chosen for the Kshatriya home-page, to show how Evola himself personified this style around the year 1940. That which is contained by such a form, which was certainly also to be found in the light-domes and SS uniforms, is precisely the contents of the book “Men Among the Ruins,” the dynamite of which Joscelyn Godwin spoke.
The concepts of democracy and of electoral Fascism, of the nation-state and individualism, the bourgeois world-order, historical pusillanimity, economic thought-habits, to name but a few, are torn to shreds simply through being juxtaposed with the sovereign, Ghibelline, authoritarian, masculine, and solar Tradition. Then in the course of sixteen chapters, the ruins of the modern world are carted away, piece by piece. As the book closes, the view opens up: one breathes the new, freer and fresher air of the aristocratic spiritual and soul-world that one’s reading has revealed, and sees in the distance a Europe united in the spirit of Tradition. To transfer this perspective to the American context would be a task for which hopefully a writer-and a real “Fronde”-will some day be found.
With 310 pages, the book is substantially thinner than the German edition, despite the amplified texts. This is the result of a somewhat excessive invasion of the margins. Unfortunately there is no index.
The translation comes from Guido Stucco, and the editing is by Michael Moynihan, who has done much for the propagation of Evola’s work. His Dominion Press offers a hardbound, de luxe edition of 100 copies, which also includes its own cover painting by Harold McNeill, and an additional essay by John Michell. This edition is exclusively available from Dominion Press, P.O. Box 129, Waterbury Center, VT 05677, USA; e-mail: [email protected]