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, with high journalism, with 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 who were on the margins of British intellectual life in our troubled times.
In Demon, Jonathan explores the topic of Jack the Ripper, the brutal serial killer from the foggy and pestilential backstreets of London, who savagely slaughtered and mutilated a string of prostitutes in the late Victorian era, and who later vanished, having never been identified by the police. The book begins with a survey of the different theories as to the killer’s identity—from royals to Freemasons—and ends with a free-flowing discussion on the relationship between art and crime—a subject matter which, as an outsider artist, and as one with an interest in all that is primal, nihilistic, and dark in the soul of man, was of enduring fascination for this unique author. Demon is not an essay in any conventional sense. The present edition incorporates the author’s hand-written corrections to the text.
The cover artwork is by Alex Kurtagic and depicts Jonathan in the role of Jack the Ripper. As those who knew him will remember, Jonathan enjoyed being perceived as a demonic figure and chose to play villains in his films.
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