San-Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2022
Edited by Greg Johnson
Reactionary Modernism is Jonathan Bowden’s fourth collection of essays and speeches released by Counter-Currents Publishing.
About Reactionary Modernism:
“Let us return to tradition to go forwards with modernity in a different direction.”—Jonathan Bowden
Since the Second World War, “modernism” in the arts has been overwhelmingly associated with the cultural and political Left. But before the War, there was vigorous debate between modernists of the Right and the Left.
Jonathan Bowden was a latter-day reactionary modernist in both literature and the visual arts. Reactionary Modernism collects Bowden’s lectures and essays on such great reactionary modernist artists as Wyndham Lewis, Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, W. B. Yeats, and Arno Breker, as well as his criticisms of the degenerate modernism of Stewart Home and the Turner Prize.
For Bowden, the reactionary modernists of the past were not merely of historical interest, for by returning to tradition, Bowden hoped to inspire an artistic renaissance on the Right.
Praise for Reactionary Modernism:
“In Reactionary Modernism the incomparable Jonathan Bowden shows that Modernism and the Right are not mutually exclusive. But die-hard Traditionalists need not be angry or anxious, for Bowden opens the way for a Rightist Modernism that is nonetheless predicated on Tradition and the race-soul, promoting the continuing development of culture-forms that reject both conservative stagnation and revolutionary deconstruction.”
—Kerry Bolton, author of Artists of the Right
“Reactionary modernism is the aristocratic answer to the mass age, a refusal to comply with the need to appeal to a broad audience. . . . The political Left, those great levelers and, paradoxically, great elitists would love nothing better than to sweep modernism’s reactionary origins under the rug of history, relegate the truth about modernism as an art form to footnotes about Lewis’ and Pound’s “fascist sympathies,” promulgating instead the notion that modernism is a Leftist phenomenon. The bourgeois, liberal Right, those Leftists of yesteryear, would love it if the Left succeeded in claiming modernism for itself. Reactionary modernism’s pesky dynamism and energetic rancor upsets the tender sensibilities of the liberal Right, which does not like to make waves and would prefer civility in discourse. In the way of these two ignoble hosts stands Jonathan Bowden’s spirit: chest puffed out, guns akimbo, and behind him is the vast treasure trove of the Right’s modernist heritage. He shall not let them pass and despoil that which is rightfully ours. With the publication of Reactionary Modernism, at last our patrimony is secure.”
—Nicholas R. Jeelvy, Counter-Currents
Editor’s Preface by Greg Johnson
1. Opening Pandora’s Box: An Elitist Defense of Modernism
2. On Modern Art
3. Elitism, British Modernism, & Wyndham Lewis
4. Wyndham Lewis’ Childermass: Black Metal, without the Music
5. Wyndham Lewis’ The Apes of God
6. Wyndham Lewis’ Tarr: An Exercise in Right-Wing Psychology
7. Ezra Pound
8. T. S. Eliot: Ultra-Conservative Dandy
9. T. S. Eliot
10. W. B. Yeats
11. Zeus Hangs Hera at the World’s Edge: Arno Breker & the Pursuit of Perfection
12. Stewart Home: Communism, Nihilism, Neoism, & Decadence
13. Stewart Home & Cultural Communism
14. Against the Turner Prize
About the Author
Jonathan Bowden, April 12, 1962–March 29, 2012, was a British novelist, playwright, essayist, painter, actor, and orator, as well as a leading thinker and spokesman of the British New Right. He was the author of some forty books—novels, short stories, plays for stage and screen, philosophical dialogues and essays, and literary and cultural criticism—including Pulp Fascism: Right-Wing Themes in Comics, Graphic Novels, and Popular Literature, ed. Greg Johnson (Counter-Currents, 2013); Western Civilization Bites Back, ed. Greg Johnson (Counter-Currents, 2014); and Extremists: Studies in Metapolitics, ed. Greg Johnson (Counter-Currents, 2017).