August 23, 2006

A history of the Traditionalist movement

Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century by Mark Sedgwick
An important book, January 4, 2005 Reviewer: melodius (Brussels Belgium) - See all my reviews Pr. Sedgwick's book is the first introduction to Traditionalism that, although a bit too respectful for my taste, is decidedly neutral and scholarly. Most negative reviews simply miss the point - this is a history of the Traditionalist movement and a presentation of its main actors and their ideas, not a Traditionalist work of erudition - or attack the author using a traditional "debating" technique, namely the straw-man.
Nowhere does Pr. Sedgwick suggest that Traditionalism is inherently fascistic. If anything, he is a tad too generous in his assessment of Julius Evola, an important Traditionalist writer with unfortunate associations. Nor does he state that a book's importance is judged solely on its sales. Etc., etc. What probably riles those reviewers is Pr. Sedgwick's contention that Traditionalism is primarily a system of belief and that some of its scientifical claims are more than dubious, although he is careful to note the quality and importance of Traditionalist translation work.
Moreover, Pr. Sedgwick correctly observes that Traditionalist interpretations and/or practice of existing religions, e.g. Islam, are at the very least unorthodox if not plainly heretical. My only criticisms of this book are the occasional typos and spelling mistakes (especially in French) and its title. Traditionalism is an interesting movement, but calling the book a "Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century" is a bit of a stretch. But then I guess it's the publisher who should take the blame, not Pr. Sedgwick.
The Tao that can be named is not the real Tao, February 23, 2005 Reviewer: Violet Brown (SYDNEY. Australia) - See all my reviews I am not going to discourage you from reading this book. I am sure Mr.Sedgwick meant well. I will, however, STRONGLY recommend that you take a look at Dr.Harry Oldmeadow's book on Traditionalism [ISBN: 9559028049]. One would also recommend Dr.SH Nasr's "Man and Nature", Dr.Martin Lings's "The Eleventh Hour".

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