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3 December 2011

 

The Reception of Evola in Italy

Alberto Lombardo

When Julius Evola died on June 1974 the eleventh, his books used to be read by a huge part of the right-wing political youth in Italy. The traditionalist thought of Evola, since the first years after World War II, had been a central point of reference for people who didn’t accept the destiny of decadence and spiritual destruction of his country and of the whole world. As is well known, and as Evola often wrote, not only the defeated countries, infact, lost parts of their national territory, prestige and international authority, but all the European coutries lost in a few years their colonial dominions and empires (England, France, Portugal, Spain) and went losing their influence with all the advantage of the two more powerful political blocks, the western and the eastern one: the world of Las Vegas, Coca-Cola and Hollywood and the communist empire.

So, when in 1948 Evola came back to Rome (after the long stays in many hospitals in Austria and Italy), he met a group of young men "who didn’t let drag themselves in the general collapse". Between these lads were Clemente Graziani, Fausto Gianfranceschi, Roberto Melchionda, G. A. Spadaro, Enzo Erra, Paolo Andriani, Rutilio Sermonti, and Pino Rauti, who remembers with these words his discovery of Evola:

we didn’t know him. During the Fascist regime he did have a little official relief, though the articles he wrote on Diorama were, in my opinion, something "enormous". But we did ignore at all the cultural life of Fascism . . . We discovered Evola during one of our many stays in prison. We read Rivolta contro il mondo moderno, which had for us a decisive importance .

With all these young men Evola came in an important relationship: for them (who became the center, in ther following years, of many political and cultural activities) Evola wrote, in the first years after the war, his main political essays. It was the young and cultural Right, near to the “Movimento Sociale Italiano” and, above all, the youth of “Ordine Nuovo”. Evola once wrote: "Ordine Nuovo has totally adopted my ideas". This youth took a prefential relationship with Evola till the day the tradionalist thinker died.

In the following years, also Mario Merlino, Gianfranco De Turris, Gaspare Cannizzo, Renato Del Ponte, and above all Adriano Romualdi (who was without doubt the best cultural interpreter, and the author of the first biography of Evola), frequently visited Evola at his home in Rome, on Via Vittorio Emanuele.

Many italian authors and scholars of the Right were inspired, in Italy, by Evola's thought. But he was a lonely thinker in a desert: Adriano Romualdi wrote about that:

Evola constituted an obliged point of reference for the young men who, betwenn the ’48 and the ’68, formed themselves in that sort of abandoned land which is the right-wing culture. A desert where the life was not so bad: the little prey-animals didn’t have anything to nibble, and the blue cliffs of some suggestive presences did accompany the rover on the horizon. It’s in this lonely landscape that Evola towered with the sharp profile of his logic and the crystalline splendour of his style.

After Evola’s death, his books went on circulating in the various Right-wing movements of Italy and, most of all, in traditionalist centers. Often these were (and are) linked with political movements, but not always: when they weren't (or aren’t) happen, it was because the members took a free personal approach to politics. Although sometimes the reading of Evola could determine an escape from politics, it isn't always so, contrarily to what Marco Tarchi wrote when he described the reading of Evola’s books as an “inabiliting myth”.

Today there are many cultural, political, traditionalist and editorial centers in Italy, which could be related to Evola’s thought. Obviously, I cannot mention them all, but I can remember some of them: first of all the “Fondazione Julius Evola”, which was founded after Evola’s death. It’s a cultural association, without any political links, and its only interest is printing books of and about Evola and organizing conferences about his thought. Actually, the president of it is Gianfranco De Turris. From 1998 the Fondazione prints a review each year, whose title is Studi evoliani. The Fondazione has its seat in Rome in the bookshop “Europa”, which is also the name of the bigger Italian Right-wing publishing house.

When Evola was alive, Renato Del Ponte founded a Centro Studi Evoliani, which had many links all over the world. Although the Italian Centro Studi doesn’t exist anymore, some of the linked associations in the world still do (as for instance the Argentinian one). Renato Del Ponte prints a regular magazine titled Arthos (which was also a nickname used by Evola), which is strictly close to an “Evolian orthodoxy”.

Another strictly orthodox center, very active and with many members, is Raido, which has its seat in Rome, and which prints an homonymous magazine. Linked to Raido (but some years older) is the Sicilian center Il cinabro (another nickname of Evola, used by him in the autobiography). The center owns a bookshop and prints a quarterly magazine titled Heliodromos.

Another very important Sicilian magazine is Vie della Tradizione. It’s a quarterly magazine edited since 1971 by Gaspare Cannizzo, and it’s the symbol of the meeting of all the Traditionalist currents born from Evola’s thought: Pagan and Catholic, Islamic and Gnostic, Roman and Nordic and so on.

I would like to remember, between the magazines, also Algiza—which I have edited since 1995—and which is expression of the Centro Studi La Runa, a traditionalist association which has seat near Genova, in Northern Italy. Other publications I must remember also Avallon, published by Il Cerchio, another Traditionalist bookshop (it’s the bigger Traditionalist Catholic expression of Evolian world).

There’s another very important right-wing publishing house to remember, which is the “Edizioni di Ar”, founded more then 30 years ago by Franco Freda: in the catalogue of it there are books of Evola, Spann, Spengler, Günther, Guénon, Meyrink, Bonnard, Codreanu, Romualdi, Drieu La Rochelle, Mishima, Sombart and Hitler too. Finally, I’ve to mention two other publishing houses more: the “Edizioni all’insegna del Veltro”, directed in Parma by prof. Claudio Mutti (with interests in esoterism, folk tales and traditions, european fascisms) and the “Edizioni Barbarossa”, which have seat in the bookshop “La bottega del fantastico” in Milano and print a monthly national-revolutionary magazine titled «Orion».

In my opinion, all the tradionalist world in Italy is losing in these years the key of the traditionalist message of Evola: a sort of alexandrinism is covering the spirit of that message. Only finding again that key we could hope to give a reason to our battle, different by the simple “witness”. Maybe it could be hidden in the indo-european roots of our civilization, history and spirituality.

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