Jonathan Bowden’s Axe

BowdenAxe

Jonathan Bowden
Axe
Edited by Alex Kurtagić
London: The Palingenesis Project, 2014
88 pages

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Between the late 1970s and the early 1990s, Jonathan Bowden wrote 27 books, about which almost nothing was known until after his death. Combining cultural criticism with memoir, high journalism, and selected correspondence, these texts belong to no particular genre, the prose being allowed to roam where it may, drawing from many strands, finding unexpected links, and collecting shrewd insights along the way. More than anything, they are exercises in exploration and self-clarification, wherein one will find, as work in progress, many of the themes that would later emerge in his orations. The Jonathan Bowden Collection aims at making these obscure texts readily available for the first time, complete with annotations and indeces, so that they may be studied and / or enjoyed by present and future generations interested in the dissidents at the margins of British intellectual life at the turn of our century.

Axe begins with the Right and ends with conservatism, but it is largely a commentary on art, literature, and intellectuals on the Left. Bowden begins with a criticism of Wyndham Lewis and then builds a catena of digressions, whose topics include Andrea Mantegna, J. G. Ballard, Stephen King, a foray into personal memoir, Jean Baudrillard, the New Left, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, and Roberto D’Aubuisson. Throughout his commentary, Bowden compares the meaning and approaches of the Right against those of the Left in the intersection between modern politics and culture. This is not an essay in any conventional sense, but rather a succession of fervid and unpredictable snapshots that acrete into a grotesque panorama of Western civilisation in the 20th century.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jonathan Bowden, April 12, 1962–March 29, 2012, was a British novelist, playwright, essayist, painter, actor, and orator, and a leading thinker and spokesman of the British New Right. He was the author of some 40 books—novels, short stories, stage and screen plays, 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 (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2013) and Western Civilization Bites Back, ed. Greg Johnson (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2014).

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