The Eldritch Evola

The Eldritch Evola & Others

James O’Meara

Review: Gwendolyn Taunton

Eldritch EvolaJames O’Meara is undoubtedly familiar to most readers of Aristokratia and also to those with an interest in Julius Evola. In The Eldritch Evola & Others O’Meara draws a parallel between two seemingly incongruous authors – Julius Evola and H. P. Lovecraft. At first sight this may seem like an unfounded comparison between a esoteric author and a writer of horror fiction. But there is more than meets the eye at work here, for the two are not so distant as one might think. For example, both Evola and Lovecraft advocated aristocracy. Evola however, had a very real interest in the occult, while Lovecraft did not and instead opted to create a nightmarish fictional world beyond this mundane reality.

The world Evola promises the reader is one of a bleak Kali Yuga, with only the vain hope of a sun lit utopia at the end. Lovecraft offers no such hope for his characters, who are plunged into the dreary depths where the laws of the cosmos fail and nothing awaits the reader but a gruesome end involving lots of tentacles and an eternity of madness. As much as Evola describes a distant esoteric utopia, Lovecraft’s works deal with an imminent esoteric dystopia. The burning question O’Meara asks in the book is: “How much does Lovecraft resemble Evola, and moreover, is this superficial, or is there a reason?” Accordingly, he refers us to a reference in Lovecraft’s famous essay on the nature of horror, telling us that answer may lie in Lovecraft’s essay “Supernatural Horror in Literature”:

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” In a letter to Weird Tales editor Farnsworth Wright, Lovecraft writes: “I consider the touch of cosmic outsideness – of dim, shadowy non-terrestrial hints – to be the characteristic feature of my writing.” [1]

Both Evola and Lovecraft are clearly ‘outsiders’ – authors who are on the periphery of society, and both are also somewhat marginalized and frequently maligned by people not familiar with their writing. Both also deal with ‘non-terrestrial’ subject matter, and relate to the reader a fear of dark chthonic realms. O’Meara also equates this fear with the initiation process saying that,”For Fear read “initiation via experiencing the death of the ego and its world.”” [2]

The next chapter introduces another famous author who touches on Traditionalist themes – Henry James. O’Meara explains how James is connected to a Traditionalist viewpoint by quoting John Auchard who,

puts James’s prolixity into the context of the 19th century “loss of faith”. Art was intended to take the place of religion, principally replacing the lost “next world” by an increased concentration on the minutia of this one.[3]

This also touches slightly on the works of Friedrich Nietzsche (though he is not mentioned here), as Nietzsche saw art as a replacement for Christianity, and indeed, many other philosophers have noted the relationship between art and spiritual traditions. According to O’Meara the issue which,

separates James from Lovecraft and Evola is, along the lines of our previous effort, is precisely what T. S. Elliot [said], in praise of James (the essay is in the Portable too): “He has a mind so fine no idea could penetrate it.” [4]

O’Meara explains this by telling us that,

What Evola and Lovecraft had was precisely an Idea, the idea of Tradition; in Lovecraft’s case, a made-up fictional one, but designed to have the same effect. But that’s the issue: when is Tradition only made-up?[5]

Of course, by Traditionalist principles (philosophia perennis) Tradition is not ‘made-up’ or could never be ‘made-up’ because Tradition is the Law of the universe, and exists independently of human perception within the physical manifestation of the cosmos itself, acting as the laws of science which co-ordinate it, and ‘Tradition’ is only the human interpretation of a non-human manifestation. O’Meara explains what he means by this point, saying that Tradition becomes ‘made-up’ “when it distances itself from the ‘Centre of the Primordial State’”. This is a subject which O’Meara also deals with in the book, and is the element of the unknown (or the transcendental aspect) revealed in both Evola and Lovecraft’s writing.

The book is not limited to just Evola and Lovecraft. Other notable figures examined from this perspective include Olaf Stapledon, Harry Partch, Ralph Adams Cram, Owen Wister, Scott Walker, and also three chapters on the writing of Andy Nowicki (The Columbine Pilgrim, Under the Nihil, and The Doctor & The Heretic & Other Stories).

Overall the book offers a refreshing and interesting new perspective on both Evola and Lovecraft, as well as some other intriguing personalities. It is a book which every fan of Evola or Lovecraft requires in their literary collection.

Order The Eldritch Evola & Others here

[1] James J. O’Meara, The Eldritch Evola & Others, Counter-Currents Publishing, 2014, p.3.
[2] Ibid. p.4.
[3] Ibid. p.10.
[4] Ibid. p. 11.
[5] Ibid.