An Introduction to Charles MaurrasKerry Bolton
The Future of the Intelligentsia, and For a French Awakening
Translated with an introduction by Dr. Alexander Jacob
London, Artkos Media Ltd., 2016
Given the seminal influence of Maurras on Rightist thinking, this translation of two of his essays, compiled into a single volume, is a significant contribution to the development of New Right thought especially for Anglophones. I am told by those who know that Maurras’ French is “difficult,” so this translation by Alexander Jacob is a singular service in many ways.
The “Right,” too often ineptly defined by journalists and academics, has been confused with what is more properly in the Anglophone world called Whiggery. Confusing Whiggery with the Right is like confusing Roundheads with Cavaliers. Liberalism, whether of the free trade or socialistic varieties, both stemming from the French Revolution, is not part of any Rightist tradition. H. J. Wiarda writes of the fracturing of “group rights” by the French Revolution:
The emphasis on the individual and on individual rights accelerated in the West during the eighteenth-century Enlightenment; in the course of the French Revolution beginning in 1789, and subsequently throughout most of the rest of Europe, group rights (of the Roman Catholic Church, guilds, and other groups) were extinguished. Thereafter, at least in the West, the atomistic individual ruled supreme, while the older system of historic or natural corporatism was snuffed out.
This return to “group rights” that had been the foundation of the traditional order, became a common concern for those on both Left and Right who sought to overthrow the liberal-bourgeois order that had opened the way for plutocracy.
Maurras, one of the primary and longest enduring of French Rightist thinkers, was among the most erudite of Frenchmen, having been elected to the French Academy in 1938 in recognition as an author, poet, and critic. The Israeli Dr. Zeev Sternhell, a most scholarly and interesting writer on the subject, contends that Fascism arose in France before it arose in Italy, and was centered around the seemingly antithetical doctrines of the revolutionary syndicalist Georges Sorel, and the royalist Maurras. This synthesis took organizational form in the Cercle Proudhon, named after the French anarchist philosopher, founded in December 1911 and led by Georges Valois, a Maurrasian ex-anarchist, who after World War I formed the first “Fascist” party, so-named, in France; and by revolutionary syndicalist Edouard Berth. Both factions of Left and Right agreed that democracy was the worst form of government and allowed for the greatest exploitation. Sorel for his part had already published in Italy in 1909 his Las Déroute des mufles, in which he praised the Action Française, founded in 1899 by Maurice Pujo and Henri Vaugeois. Maurras became editor of the movement’s newspaper of the same name, which achieved an influential circulation. Maurras, as the primary intellectual influence on the movement, converted many republicans into royalists.
The settlement of the class issue was of intense interest to the Right, while at the time there was an intellectual crisis emerging in the Francophone Left (extending into Belgium) with some seminal socialist thinkers rejecting the materialism and class struggle of Marxism as inadequate in confronting the bourgeois world. Valois, Doriot, Déat, and Henri De Man in Francophone Belgium, came to Fascism from the Left along with masses of communists and socialists.
What are considered the most radical, socialistic aspects of Fascism, are also among the most conservative principles. As indicated previously by Wiarda it was the revolution that fractured French traditional society. The national-social regenerative synthesis that was called “Fascism” in many states, sought to re-establish the pre-revolutionary organic state, which had been the norm for the European world since Classical antiquity, and was abruptly ended, in the name of the “people,” with the suppression of the guilds (called corporations in France, as they were in ancient Rome) by the French Revolution under the Chapelier Law of 1791.
A convergence of interests existed between the proletariat, artisans, clergy, peasants, and the aristocracy, against plutocracy, and joined forces against capitalism, industrialism, and materialism, often under the inspiration of Catholic social doctrine. Some of Maurras’ friends were involved in the Catholic workers’ movements. The reaction against industrialism and materialism uniting across class and party lines had been occurring since Marx’s time, and he was scathing of it in The Communist Manifesto, where he calls this spanner in the wheel of the historical dialectic, “reactionism.” The legacy of the bourgeoisie revolution on modern socialism continues to be recognized by the Left:
But the French Revolution marked a new start. It was the most radical of the revolutions which replaced the [old] order of fixed hierarchy and privilege by a new system of free trade, free enterprise, equality before the law, and a ruling class based on profits from the market economy. It provided the example of how an old regime could be completely overturned and society reconstructed on new principles, it set the benchmarks for radical and democratic politics within the limits of capitalism, and it was the launch-pad for socialist politics.
What emerged is not a dialectic in which capitalism replaces feudalism, and socialism replaces capitalism, culminating in world communism, but plutocracy replacing tradition via revolutions, from Jacobinism to Bolshevism to those today sponsored by Soros and the National Endowment for Democracy. Oswald Spengler had seen popular revolutions as a con job for vested interests since the time of Tiberius Gracchus, and did not see socialist and communist movements as anything other than acting in the service of Money:
The concepts of Liberalism and Socialism are set in effective motion only by money. It was the Equites, the big money party, which made Tiberius Gracchus’s popular movement possible at all; and as soon as that part of the reforms that was advantageous to themselves had been successfully legalised, they withdrew and the movement collapsed.
Twenty years prior to Spengler, Maurras was making the same point about socialism and plutocracy in this essay on the intelligentsia and elsewhere. Spengler was to refer to “Prussian socialism” as the real antithesis of capitalism, with Marxism as the flip side impelled by the same Zeitgeist. Maurras referred to France’s genuine, total alternative to capitalism as “eternal socialism” and “monarchist-socialism.” Valoise, who dealt with the labor question for Action Francaise, explained that syndicalism, expressed nationally, in what Maurras called “integral nationalism,” was the answer to liberal and democratic decadence: “. . . syndicalism replaces the masses of individuals that the Republican state wishes to have under it with the professional groupings by which the traditional French monarchy was supported.” The Maurrasian movement was the nexus between traditionalism and revolutionary syndicalism, coalescing against the forces of disintegration that had been unleashed in 1789.
Since the French Revolution was an epochal crisis point for Europe, from which Western civilization never recovered, it is apt that the most vigorous rejection of Jacobinism, which remains the basis of liberal democracy, came from France also. France had become acutely aware of the Jewish issue through the “Dreyfus Affair,” which became so intense that civil war threatened. Herzl, observing the events, claims to have become a Zionist when seeing this as evidence that anti-Semitism was innate to the goyim, even in France where the Jews had long been “emancipated” by liberalism. Dreyfus, a Jewish army officer, had been accused of passing military secrets to Germany, and was court-martialed. He was later acquitted. Many, including Maurras, continued to regard him as guilty. In particular they saw the “Dreyfusards,” among whom the intelligentsia were the most avid, as using the issue to undermine the army, one of the traditional foundations of France.
Maurras, in totally rejecting the spirit, doctrine and legacy of the French Revolution predicated his revolt on what made France French: Catholicism and royalism. He advocated a return to the monarchy, whose claimants were willing and able, whenever called upon, to assume the throne. He was unapologetically, uncompromisingly against democracy, however one dresses it up, against political parties, and saw the monarchy as the one force that is able to govern above factions.
During the Second World War, Maurras supported the Vichy state, which attempted to implement an organic society. With his charisma and popularity the old war hero, Marshal Pétain, was probably about as close to a de facto “monarch,” or leader above class and party, as could be achieved. Pétain for his part was grateful to Maurras for his support, dedicating his collection of speeches to Maurras, La France nouvelle, in 1941. Ironically, although accused of “collaborationism,” Maurras was not pro-German, and saw German Romanticism as the origin of the subversive doctrines that had wrecked Europe. He also rejected Hitlerism, and in 1934 had warned in Action francaise about National Socialism. He was however, pro-Mussolini, and saw Fascism as “socialism freed of democracy.” Given that Maurras saw the French as a synthesis of Roman and Gaul his attitude towards the revival of the Roman spirit under Mussolini was consistent. Convicted after the war as a “collaborator,” defiant before the tribunal in his defense of France, he was sentenced to life imprisonment, but was released in 1952 due to ill health and died shortly after.
The Future of the Intelligentsia
This essay was published in 1904/1905 and reissued in 1922. Maurras examines the changing roles of the intelligentsia from being defenders of tradition, patronized by nobility, upholding cultured taste, to becoming subversives in the pay of commerce.
It was this change in status and purpose, superficially heralded as “intellectual freedom,” that caused Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, and many others to reject democracy as a façade of plutocracy, where the arts were debased to being part of a manufacturing process, pandering to the popular taste (otherwise known as the mass market, when selling refrigerators, books, cars, and newspapers). In Britain, Eliot said that if he was drawn to “Fascism,” it would be the type enunciated by Maurras, stating “most of the concepts which might have attracted me in Fascism I see already to have found, in a more digestible form, in the work of Charles Maurras . . .”
The first notable reference in “The Future of the Intelligentsia” is the dedication to René-Marc Ferry, founder of the journal Minerva (1902–1903), who was also an editor of Georges Sorel’s journal L’Indépendance. Rightists such as Maurice Barrès contributed to Minerva along with syndicalists including Sorel, indicating the early convergence of the syndicalist Left and monarchist Right.
The intelligentsia had long since become the whores of finance. It was the literati who set the stage for the Jacobin Revolution, with a helping hand from wealthy patrons in the salons of France and further afield, when satirizing the traditional order, including one’s own class, became fashionable, in the manner by which Hollywood is infested with liberals; where banality and buzz-words substitute for philosophy.
These prostituted “free-thinkers” targeted the two foundations of the French state and nationality: Catholicism and royalty. It was not new or unique to France. The Reformation of Henry VIII resulted in the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of oligarchs. The Puritan revolt against the throne in the name of liberty opened England up further to money-power, especially of the alien variety. The Jacobin Revolution was against both Church and Throne. “Doubtless Catholicism resists it alone; that is why this church is everywhere disturbed, persecuted, and most tightly constrained,” wrote Maurras. This is a combat between “blood and money.” This is precisely the phrase used by Spengler to describe the same historical dichotomy, although Maurras was writing long before Spengler: “Money is overthrown and abolished only by blood.”
The intelligentsia seeks its freedom from noble patronage by surrendering to finance and that element of capitalism that is not constrained by national loyalties. “They pretend to be worthy and free” while they are in the service of capital. “They deny servitude in order to reap its profits in the same way that they press towards revolutions in order to draw their salaries at the cash register of Capital.” The intelligentsia had ceased to be the protector and exponent of noble taste, and had become malcontents with a “list of grievances.”
It was the heirs of this mattoid lunacy who unleashed on France a new Reign of Terror, with the cynically named Liberation; although Maurras was luckier than Brasillach and thousands of other French. Of this celebrated epoch the reputable American witness, Sisley Huddleston, wrote:
Writers, and particularly journalists, who were not ‘Leftish’ were the hardest hit. Charles Maurras, one of France’s foremost thinkers (with whose views one may not agree), had spent his life fulminating against the ‘Prussians’ and had a morbid hatred of all things German. He took his paper the Action Française into the unoccupied zone of France; he refused the subsidies from Vichy that most papers were allowed; he declined to mention the name of Laval, whom he thought pro-German; he wrote not a line in favor of the German occupant. But he was a Monarchist, anti-Republican, anti-Communist and, in spite of his great age (the ‘oldest prisoner in the world,’ after the Marshal [Pétain]), he received a life sentence. Henri Béraud, France’s ablest polemicist, a brilliant writer who was intensely anti-German but was opposed to Gaullism, was sentenced to death and spent some weeks in irons, before his death sentence was commuted. It is said but I cannot vouch for it that England intervened in his favor, paradoxically enough, for Béraud was anti-English. Several members of the Academie Frangaise were condemned. Robert Brasillach, a young poet, was executed for his writings, and is now regarded in the same light as Chénier, who fell under the guillotine in the Great Revolution. A truly remarkable aged scientist was condemned. Alexis Carrel, who left his handsomely paid job in the United States to share the sufferings of France, in the hope of alleviating them, while others were seeking refuge overseas, went into hiding and died of a broken heart. On the fate of many foremost men, whose patriotism cannot be doubted, a discreet silence is maintained.
How had France come to this? The “social and political elite” had picked up the person of Rousseau, “and worshipped the signs of his shame and his follies; it imitated them in every point.” The coterie of the Encyclopedists had established a “general dictatorship of letters.” “It called itself Reason,” writes Maurras.
These men of letters, the most “enlightened” of their time, set up rival cults of “Nature” and of “Reason” that vied for the loyalty of the masses in replacing the Church with something more “rational,” each with their own hymns, liturgy, civic rites and idols. The Christian scriptures were replaced by the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen,” a prequel for Marx’s Communist Manifesto, Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points, the declarations of the Comintern, Roosevelt’s Atlantic Charter, the U.N. Declaration on Human Rights, and endless streams of other inane U.N. declarations pontificating about every conceivable “human right,” where the specter of the Enlightenment philosophers still haunts the world.
Maurras says of this, “Certainly, all our misfortunes flow from these mendacious appearances; they have not ceased to contradict the profound necessities of the real order.”
Napoleon, although an heir to the Jacobin legacy, re-united France in an organic unity, reviving realism and patriotism, “opposing the ideology of the men of letters.” He was the reaction of blood against money, of a new “Caesar” against plutocracy, in Spenglerian terms, re-establishing a dynasty above class and party, returning the Church to its role, and even allowing the revival of some of the guilds.
A dialectic continued in the wake of the revolutionary upheavals throughout Europe, as the Jacobin literature attempted to dissolve nationality in the interests of a universal humanity, while everywhere the forces of nationality were being asserted; the revolutionary cry was “fatherland,” not “humanity.” In France the literati assumed itself to be continuing the revolutionary war via the Empire, while being the “opposite of both French and foreign realities.” The revolutionary upheavals of mid-19th century Europe were beyond the understanding of the “men of letters.” They “did not understand anything of the workers’ movement.” Narcissists and mattoids, like their forefathers Rousseau, Marat, Robespierre, cannot understand anything of the others’ predicament. Manning the barricades of the worker’s movement, even if only metaphorically (in the present, on strictly virtual barricades in cyber-space) gives these types an outlet for ego-fulfilment. The character of the intelligentsia, whored to plutocracy, is what Maurras described for France from the last days of the old regime to the first years of the 20th century.
That is what pertains today throughout the Western world and wherever else has been infected in the hallowed name of human rights. The intelligentsia’s venom against any remnants of tradition anywhere in the world, gets generously subsidized by George Soros and the sponsors of the National Endowment for Democracy, the “aristocracy” of money that replaced the aristocracy of blood. The process is what neocon strategist Ralph Peters has overtly described as the USA’s world mission of cultural destruction, employing today’s “intelligentsia”: Hollywood and sitcom script writers and MTV song writers.
“This was not so in all ages,” states Maurras. Ronsard, Malherbe, Corneille and Bossuet defended state, king, fatherland, family and church. This was inversed by the Romantic movement. It might be noted here that in reaction Maurras was a spokesman of the Classicist movement, which spread to Britain under T. E. Hulme, aiming to re-establish clarity and distinctiveness of form in the arts. Adherents included T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound and Wyndham Lewis. Hulme, in a manner similar to that of Maurras, condemned Rousseau as a founder of the Romanticist movement, Hulme rejecting the fashion of the intelligentsia in ascribing to humanity an innate goodness that had only been repressed by the institutions of civilization. To the contrary, man is redeemed only by tradition, discipline and authority. Eliot taught Classicism in a course on modern French literature at Oxford University in 1916, Marurras being a featured subject. In this course Eliot examined “royalism and socialism,” explaining the synthesis that was occurring in France.
With the victory of money, consumption and the market become the social nexus; old wealth disappears, and new wealth expands to immensity. “Needs increase on all sides,” and one feels a compulsion to be part of the trend. Everywhere “the simplicity of life disappears, and consumption extends well beyond enjoyment of life, becoming a custom,” catered for by endless possibilities, ending in “insolent ostentation.” Before the mid-19th century there had started to form a “literary industry,” where success was based on income. Expansion of the market relies on the fickleness of popular taste, and hence there no longer exists an artistic tradition but a series of fads to which the intelligentsia pander. But the writer and the artist, and what is today called the “celebrity,” no matter what his wealth, can never come close to the wealth of his sponsors, Maurras commenting that “the professional financier at the head of modern society can only pity them.” Quick returns require mass marketing and the arts are part of this process; hence “mediocrity” in the arts. The writer or artist as a paid employee loses his raison d’être. “Writing is perhaps a trade, it will never be a profession.” One must have great wealth to remain free.
One might consider here the great press barons such as Beaverbrook, Lord Northcliffe, and his brother Rothermere, in Britain; and in the USA Colonel McCormack of the Chicago Tribune, and the industrialist Henry Ford with his newspaper The Dearborn Independent. Even they succumbed to far greater powers. These individuals were among the last to have a “fatherland.” There were a few industrialists in France who backed the Right, whom Maurras distinguished from the international capital that was replacing national wealth. Since Maurras’ time, few industries are left that have a “fatherland.” Press, publishing and now social media networks, motion pictures, television, and music, all referred to as “industries,” employ the intelligentsia to create or promote commodities. Maurras asked what the intelligentsia thought its vocation and duties were. As “serfs of the financiers,” the intelligentsia are a “cosmopolitan people.” Cosmopolitan has become synonymous with widely experienced, broad-minded, sophisticated, able to fit in anywhere. From the financiers’ perspective, it is the ability of an employee to be uprooted and moved about any time, any place as part of the production process. G. Paschal Zachary, one of the intelligentsia, wrote a book in praise of what he regards as this next step in human evolution, the “Global Me”; a very progressive individual not bound to any place, tradition, or culture, other than what serves money.
Maurras said that it is for the state to make its own press, and not the press to serve the fatherland, because it is “a simple industrial enterprise.” Naturally, when the state does make a press it is called propaganda of a malignant type, and suppresses the “freedom” of the industrial press whose commitment is to maintain a mass market based on the lowest denominator, in keeping with the character of democracy, to pander or to indoctrinate and not to inform. Maurras successfully made his own press, Action Française.
For a French Awakening
The second essay, “For a French Awakening,” written in 1943, defines French nationality and nationhood and the historical processes in their formation. Maurras aimed to answer the question as to what it is that the Counter-revolutionaries want to re-awaken; what is the character of the French, and what are their origins? “What, then, is France?” The French for Maurras are a synthesis of Gallic and Roman. Maurras did not identify with the Franks; it was the Romans who served to leaven and temper the Gauls into a nationality. He eschewed any notion of a German influence. “We are Gallo-Romans.” The Gallic race is enthusiastic, brave, and eloquent, risk-taking and conquering, mystical, poetic, and philosophical. 
However, the Gauls’ enthusiasm for life tended to become anarchic and divisive. Julius Caesar regarded the best fighters against the Gauls to be other Gauls; “the discord of big children,” as Maurras put it. There were rival petty states among the Gauls. There was no sense of nationality or destiny that form a people and civilization. The Roman occupation, far from destroying the Gaul, made him first a Romanized Gaul then a Frenchman. Where once he had been little but the builder of round wooden huts on the edges of forests, there emerged a new architecture of stone theatres, temples, churches, castles, palaces, and bridges. Feuding clans became the hierarchal feudal state. Maurras described this as a “gradual transformation” through a “synthesis of emotion and intelligence, of illuminating consciousness and generous movement. It is not the Gaul, it is the Gallo-Roman, it is the Frenchman who is defined by the harmony of his two great elements.” “Gallic strength, Roman order,” was the basis of the French state. The Roman disciplined the Gallic character, giving it direction and order.
The result was a flowering of culture. The Roman Church became the Gothic Church and leavened much of the rest of Europe as it had the Gauls, defining Europe as an organic unity, and giving shape to Western civilization. Christians were being referred to as “Europeans” as early as 732 A.D. in describing the Battle of Poitiers. Hilaire Belloc succinctly wrote in 1920 that “The faith is Europe and Europe is the faith.” Yockey indicated the same in The Proclamation of London, that Western culture had one state, with “one Church and religion, Gothic Christianity, with an authoritarian Pope . . . a universal style, Gothic . . . a universal language, Latin, and a universal law, Roman law.”
Maurras states that the synthesis of traits that formed the Frenchman was aided especially by religion and the Latin language. Affinities rather than antagonisms were sought. Contrasts were harmonized. The chaotic Gaul became the Frenchman who is noted for his order and for his insistence on hierarchy and method. This was expressed in feudal and Roman law for much of France’s history. Here the harmony of an organic state was maintained, with not only ultimate authority but ultimate responsibility and duty ascending to the king. 
When parties replaced royalty France entered a series of upheavals. Maurras outlines these, conceding nothing positive to democracy or the Republic. Between the world wars France entered “such a degree of dotage” it wished for war then declared it when it has lost the means of waging it. The closing pages of Maurras’ essay are a defense of royalism, perhaps most cogently expressed in this passage:
For example, the king is so visible that he is almost too responsible for everything: the republic, a collectivity that cannot be responsible for anything, serves as a nickname for everybody and nobody, a good-for-nothing and destructive anonymity.
Constitutional monarchies such as those of Britain and the Commonwealth, are no better than modern republics, both claiming the fetid mantle of parliamentary democracy. Monarchist diehards among the Right of Anglophone states such as Britain, New Zealand, Australia and Canada, and those in other states in Europe, should see much of interest in what Maurras has to say in defending royalism as a timeless institution.
Of special interest to this reviewer is that Action Française continues. Moreover this is the legitimate historical continuation of the original. The co-founder of Action Française in 1899, Maurice Pujo, re-established the movement in 1947. The leadership was assumed by his son Pierre until his death in 2007. The movement is as fully committed as ever to opposing the Republic and Jacobinism, re-establishing a royalist organic state, and upholding the legacy of Maurras.
 H. J. Wiarda, Corporatism and Comparative Politics: The Other Great ‘Ism’ (New York: M. E. Sharp, 1997), p. 17.
 Zeev Sternhell, Neither Right Nor Left: Fascist Ideology in France (Princeton University Press, 1996), p. 10.
 Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975), p. 41.
 Martin Thomas, “In Defence of the French Revolution,” Workers’ Liberty, December 23 2010, http://www.workersliberty.org/story/2010/12/23/defence-french-revolution
 Oswald Spengler, The Decline of The West (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1971), vol. II, p. 402.
 Quoted by Sternhell, p. 62.
 Quoted by Jacob, x.
 Jacob, xi.
 Bolton, Artists of the Right (San Francisco: Counter-Currents Publishing, 2012).
 T. S. Eliot, The Criterion, December 1928, p. 289.
 Maurras, Intelligentsia, p. 1.
 Maurras, Intelligentsia, p. 7.
 Spengler, The Decline of The West ( London: George Allen and Unwin, 1971 ), Vol. II, p. 507.
 Maurras, Intelligentsia, p. 8.
 Maurras, Intelligentsia, p. 19.
 Sisley Huddleston, France: the Tragic Years (New York: Devin-Adair, 1955), p. 306; online: https://archive.org/stream/francethetragicy006833mbp/francethetragicy006833mbp_djvu.txt
 Maurras, Intelligentsia, p. 10.
 Maurras, Intelligentsia, p. 24.
 Maurras, Intelligentsia, pp. 24-25.
 Maurras, Intelligentsia, p. 25.
 Maurras, Intelligentsia, p. 26.
 Ralph Peters, “Constant Conflict,” Parameters, U.S. Army War College, Parameters, Summer 1997, pp. 4-14; http://strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/parameters/Articles/97summer/peters.htm
 A Bishop who with notable erudition defended the divine right, obligations and duties of kings.
 Maurras, Intelligentsia, pp. 32-33.
 Bolton, “T. S. Eliot: A Poet in the Wasteland,” in T. Southgate (ed.) Eliot: Thoughts & Perspectives Vol VII (Black Front Press, 2012), pp. 17-22.
 Bolton, ibid., p. 22.
 Maurras, Intelligentsia, 35.
 Maurras, Intelligentsia, p. 39.
 Maurras, Intelligentsia, p. 40.
 Maurras, Intelligentsia, p. 41.
 Maurras, Intelligentsia, p. 45.
 Maurras, Intelligentsia, p. 45.
 Maurras, Intelligentsia, p. 50.
 Maurras, Intelligentsia, p. 52.
 G. Paschal Zachary, The Global Me (New South Wales, Australia: Allen and Unwin, 2000).
 Maurras, Intelligentsia, p. 52.
 Maurras, Awakening, p. 67.
 Maurras, Awakening, p. 69.
 Maurras, Awakening, p. 70.
 Maurras, Awakening, p. 74.
 Maurras, Awakening, p. 75.
 Belloc, Europe and the Faith ( London: Black House Publishing, 2012).
 Francis Parker Yockey, The Proclamation of London of the European Liberation Front ( Wermod & Wermod, 2012), p, 9.
 Maurras, Awakening, p. 77.
 Maurras, Awakening, p. 79.
 Maurras, Awakening, p. 86.
 Maurras, Awakening, p. 108.
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Thank you Kerry this is a brilliant and erudite review.
You have firmly placed Maurras in context and demonstrated the relevance of his writing to a wider European identity. The range and depth of knowledge required to achieve this is intimidating. Counter-Currents is privileged to have reviewers of your caliber in its portfolio. It would also be to Arktos’s advantage if they invited you to write a scholarly introduction to any future editions.
I first came across Maurras when reading Nolte’s Three Faces of Fascism as a schoolboy. I found his work inspiring as it explained the origin of so much I instinctively rejected in modern society. Not surprisingly I aspired to study him at university. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen as my experience of school French was disastrous and university only provided advanced courses. So like most Anglophones, I settled for learning about Maurras through Eliot’s Criterion and secondary studies. In all, rather barren fare compared with the original.That is why this first significant translation is so important. It opens up a whole new vista that has no equivalent in Anglo political thought.
At a university level, the connection between Eliot and Maurras is relatively well known. It is to be hoped that it will also have a dual function: first, to make his thought available to students of Eliot and secondly to provide those same students with an entree to the New Right. If that is achieved it will confirm the enduring relevance of Maurras’s life and work. It is no accident that he lived and died heroically — reportedly, pen in hand.
Correction: It is to be hoped that this translation will also have a dual function:
Thanks for your comments Sartor. The Italian Nationalist Association was arriving at a similar synthesis via syndicalism prior to World War I. Perhaps more could also be done on the contribution of Sorel to this new synthesis.
I am sure you will do just that. I look forward to it. Again, great work!
This is an excellent review and a remarkable essay in its own right.
Excellent review of what appears to be a most useful book. I’ve known the name all my life but have never read any biography of Maurras.
A few remarks:
Maurras was equally anti-semitic and anti-German, the latter more rabidly, and sometimes almost identifying the two. In Maurras and Maurrasian literature, Germany and the Germans become an almost mythical adversary force. Never entirely subjugated by the Romans, a race of bad blood, they have remained uncivilised barbarians, a hotbed of protestantism, romanticism, crude thinking, irrationalism, democracy etc., the eternal arch-enemies of Rome, and therefore France.
I think there are two important things missing in that article:
1. Maurras’s relationship to the church, which was quite difficult. There is his famous saying “I’m an atheist, but of course catholic”. So he rather viewed catholicism in a functional and sociological way (preceded by Bonald and de Maistre, who were actual believers though) rather than in religious terms: it was a force that served the state, guaranteed order, Latin civilisation and national unity. Otherwise he viewed the gospels and the Magnificat as Jewish poison, made neutral by Roman dogma and form. That was certainly heresy. Notably he and his followers got excommunicated by the church in 1927, a ban that was lifted ten years later, when the church faced a major political challenge in the Spanish Civil War. There are many problems to Maurras’s brand of catholicism, also for the die-hard traditionalists of today. Both Péguy and Bernanos challenged him on that issue. How can one hold up a form, without actually believing it? So his brand of catholicism is a mere deceit for the people, because it is “useful” for them and the state? Here is a major trap of modernism and modernist traditionalism. In later years Maurras struggled to earnestly believe, but never overcame his agnosticism.
2. The whole story how Maurras ended up collaborating with his arch-enemies and being tried as a traitor is not very well told. In between is the collapse of the state in the 1940 war, the division of patriots, the extremely ambivalent situation many collabos found themselves in… I don’t think the term “liberation” can be dismissed as merely cynical. Dominique Venner wrote a big book on the complicated history of the Vichy years.
Thanks Petronius. These are very good points. One of the delights of Counter-Currents is its informed and articulate readership which is what makes commentary such as this possible.
Maurras’s relationship with the church is of course famous /infamous though his position appealed to many Rightists at the time and has since. The complexity of it all of course adds to the interest.
The issue of collaboration is equally complex and you are right to reference Dominique Venner’s history which has been extensively covered in Counter-Currents.
These are I agree significant oversights. The merit of the article is,however, that it liberates Maurras from the Gallic ghetto, so to speak, and links his thought to the modern European Right and that holds promise for us all.
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