Part 1 of 2
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From February 23 to 27, 2012, Jonathan Bowden visited California to speak at a private Counter-Currents gathering in the Bay Area. On Sunday, February 26, after the official program had ended, Jonathan and I sat down in my breakfast room in front of a microphone and talked about philosophy, politics, religion, and above all art. This is, to my knowledge, the last interview Jonathan recorded. He died a little more than a month later on March 29, 2012.
Jonathan was very enthusiastic about this interview and pressed me to release it. But I set the recording aside, thinking that it needed a great deal of editing, as when we recorded it we were both rather tired at the end of a hectic weekend. After Jonathan died, I discovered to my horror that the flash drive on which the interview had been stored had been damaged. Luckily, after a long search, we found a person who could recover the information for a fee of $350 (we wish to thank one of our donors for putting up part of the cost; you can donate here).
Topics discussed include:
- Jonathan’s life and education
- Modern architecture: Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright
- Modern painting
- Jonathan’s vitalist standard of art appreciation
- Ugliness in modernist and Christian art
- Francis Bacon
- Dalí as the greatest modern painter
- William Blake, Fuseli, Bosch, Grünewald, Bruegel, medieval manuscript illustrators
- The beautiful vs. the sublime
- Jonathan characterizes his fiction as intellectual Gothic horror
- The purpose of literature
- J. G. Ballard and other contemporary fiction writers
- Flannery O’Connor
- The grotesque and anti-Bourgeois style
- David Lynch
- Art and dreaming
- Film as a medium
- Favorite filmmakers: Syberberg, Tarkovsky, Riefenstahl, Michael Powell, film noir, early Fritz Lang, early Soviet cinema
- Opera: Harrison Birtwhistle, Wagner, Alban Berg (Wozzeck, Lulu)
- How Jonathan reconciles his artistic modernism with his Right-wing convictions
- Western high art under communism
- Soviet art
- The greatness of Soviet music
- How external political limits on art do not necessarily destroy creativity but rather can encouraging it by limiting and focusing it
- Favorite poets: Robinson Jeffers, T. S. Eliot, D. H. Lawrence, Emily Dickinson
Part two of this interview will be released next Monday.