Remembering Jonathan Bowden (1962 - 2012)
Jonathan Bowden was born 52 years ago today. He was an author, artist, intellectual, and political figure in the United Kingdom, considered by some to have been the best orator in the English-speaking world of the last one hundred years. He died on 29 March 2012, aged 49 (see my obituary here). A Nietzschean, he was a proponent of elitism, power morality, and aesthetic modernism. At the same time, he possessed a Gothic sensibility and was an insightful cultural analyst of popular forms such as comics, graphic novels, cinema, and heroic and horror fiction. He was highly unusual as a British intellectual: while most thinkers from these isles are pragmatists and suspicious of theory, Jonathan drew from Continental philosophy. He perceived his rôle as that of a revisionist, his mission being to recuperate, reinterpret, and recast Western cultural forms emphatically from an elitist perspective, in order so that, amidst the ruins of this age of egalitarianism and liberal decline, a powerful counter-cultural proposition may arise, rooted in notions of strength, pride, heroic vitalism, Faustian adventurism, and tradition. Crucially, he saw tradition never as conservative but as a endless renewal and reaffirmation.