Friday, July 29, 2011

Modernism, Anti-modernism, and Traditionalism

For anyone in Munich on Tuesday August 2, I will be giving a lecture on "Modernism, Anti-modernism, and Traditionalism" at 20:00, at the invitation of Slavs & Tatars, as part of the "Group Affinity" summer school and exhibition organized by Kunstverein München. See

Ivan Aguéli archive

Just found: an Ivan Aguéli archive at Contains letters and articles. Unfortunately for many, the site is in Swedish, as are the letters, BUT the articles are generally available in original pdf form, in the original languages (Italian and French). Click on "Tidskrifter."

Sources for the Alawiyya of Mostaghanem

Two  unusual sources for the Alawiyya of Mostaghanem in the 1960s, and--especially--for what sent two different Westerners there: one is Robert Irwin, Memoirs of a Dervish (London, Profile Books, 2011, previously mentioned here), and the other is Esther Freud, Hideous Kinky (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1992, and later editions). I had not realized that Freud's Sufis were from the Alawiyya until I read Irwin, who says they were, and is not contradicted by Freud.

Both books are memoirs, Irwin's based on diaries kept at the time, Freud's based on childood memories--it was Freud's mother who decided to go to Motaghanem, not the two young daughters she took with her. Freud's book probably has more literary merit, while Irwin's has more Sufism, and has literary merit too.

Irwin and his friends discovered Sufism through the Traditionalists. A friend of Irwin's, in fact, read Schuon at twelve and converted to Islam at fifteen. But none of them became Traditionalists, and the Traditionalists merely cross the pages of Irwin's book from time to time, sometimes to be condemned (as "pernicious rubbish," for example). For those interested in Traditionalism, the value of Irwin's book is that it gives an independent picture of what the Mostaghanem zawiya was like for a young Westerner on a spiritual quest, though Irwin of course arrived there some thirty years after Schuon, and was evidently a very different sort of young man, as well as belonging to a different age.

Both books are, from a Traditionalist perspective, highly irreverent, and psychological rather than doctrinal.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Erratum: Pouvourville

In Against the Modern World I give the dates of Albert de Pouvourville ("Matgioï") as 1861-1940. In fact, he died in 1939. Thanks to Andriy Voloshyn for pointing this out.

Breivik's "European Declaration of Independence"

Although some connection between the Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik and either Evola or Dugin has been suggested, a quick reading of his 2083--A European Declaration of Independence indicates that he did not draw on Traditionalist sources. Evola is not mentioned, Dugin is referred to only in passing (in connection with Ergenekon), and the mainstream Traditionalism of Guénon and Schuon is placed on the other side. This Traditionalism is given as one of several causes of what Breivik calls "Islam negationism," the alleged rewriting of the truth to portray Islam as not being the threat that he sees it as. "Rightist traditionalism" comes after "Leftism" and before economic liberalism in a list of nine causes of this.