Julius Evola’s ‘Revolt Against the Modern World’

After having read Julius Evola’s magnum opus and finishing the hardcover book last week, it feels appropriate to give some commentary on it.

The book does conveniently begin with a small biography of the Italian esoteric philosopher, dispelling some common myths that have been crafted around the man whom the left likes to dub a ‘mystical fascist’, as well as a quick note on how it has been translated from its native language for English readers.

The book is divided into two sections, ‘The World of Tradition’ and ‘Genesis and Face of the Modern World’. In the first, Evola gives us an in-depth historical look at the nature of regality and monarchical structure as well as functions of the societal priesthood. He also provides useful insights into the nature of men and women, caste divisions, and the notion of holy war. In the second, he takes us from the Hyperborean origins of the Traditional spirit and the nature of the Golden Age, all the way up to the present date, giving us his own take on why various destructive forces managed to overthrow Tradition and instate Modernity in its place. He pays specific attention to the feminine cults of antiquity, as well as offering praise of the Christian civilization of the Ghibelline Middle Ages. In the final chapters, he details his problems with nationalism and the regression of the castes as a sign of the dying imperial notion.

“It is typical of a heroic vocation to face the greatest wave knowing that
two destinies lie ahead: that of those who will die with the dissolution of
the modern world, and that of those who will find themselves in the
main and regal stream of the new current.”

I can say this for anyone who is considering diving into the book that has been lauded by many Reactionaries as an essential ideological companion text: it is dense. Unfortunately, the translation is, while certainly readable and understandable if given the time, very confusing in certain places thanks to long sentences that use complex terminology. Evola apparently wrote in very clunky Italian, so the accessibility of this translated work is low in most places, particularly when the man delves into his study of things such as the Northern-Atlantic Cycle, Hyperborean races, and the links between various ancient orders and cults, most of which I had no knowledge of going in.

Were I to read the book again (and I probably will at some point), I would definitely keep a notepad handy, to really sketch out the path that Evola takes you down in his exposition of the World of Tradition.

You’re unlikely to agree with or buy everything that Evola has written in this work. Like all philosophers, his worldview was tinged with the cultural and intellectual milieu of his day and so he will sometimes craft a historical narrative around propositions that have scant evidence pointing to their accuracy, in other words there is a lot of conjecture (though at no point being incoherent). This is the reason that many roll their eyes when Julius Evola is brought up, however they miss the aspects of his work that were without a shadow of a doubt correct, and proven thus by the decades that have transpired since his death in the 1970s.

The book is not some kind of Reactionary Bible and Evola is not to be seen as the ultimate guide to our ideology. Instead, like many thinkers who shared his sentiments, he is to be looked to as a source of great wisdom whose texts should be consulted in conjunction with others to get as clear a view as possible of this despairing landscape we find ourselves in. His highly developed insights are ignored at our peril. As a juggernaut of Reactionary critique and ideological groundwork, Julius Evola stands tall, now among the peaks of departed souls.


2 thoughts on “Julius Evola’s ‘Revolt Against the Modern World’

  1. Thanks for the succinct review. I was wondering about Evola and his work, based on how often he's mentioned. As you indicate, books such as these require multiple readings with copious note taking which is not always possible with our busy lives. I began with the best intentions of crafting a multi-part review of “Barren Metal” after cracking the cover, but had to satisfy myself with merely finishing it.


  2. It can be difficult to do ideological research when one has myriad commitments competing for our attention. Thankfully, I am gifted with some free time at this moment in my life, and so I'm putting it to good use.


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