Italian version

Giulio Cesare Andrea Evola, better known as Julius Evola, was born in Rome in 1898 to a Sicilian Catholic family of noble origins. In his youth, he attended the Leonardo da Vinci Technical Institute in Rome but never completed his studies because, upon his admission, he considered academic qualifications as bourgeois and intolerable. Instead, he felt attracted to thinkers like Nietzsche, Michelstaedter [1] and Weininger [2] and spent whole days in the library. In the same period, he came into contact with the cultural initiatives of Papini [3], the futurism of Marinetti and the Dadaism of Tzara [4].

In 1917 he took part in the First World War as an artillery officer near Asiago without being assigned significant military actions. After the war, he returned to Rome, where he lived an intolerance towards everyday life for many years. He began to take drugs, and at the age of 23, just like Michelstaedter and Weininger, the intention to take his own life matured.

Fortunately for him, the encounter with a text of Buddhism of the origins, the Majjhima Nikāya [5], induced an inner change capable of relieving him from the state of crisis. Between 1921 and 1922, he put an end to his artistic and poetic experiences and began his philosophical period, which he combined with an interest in the suprarational. The two volumes of Teoria e Fenomenologia dell’Individuo Assoluto (Theory and Phenomenology of the Absolute Individual), published in 1924, examines the relationship between the Ego and the world of phenomena to overcome its dualism. In 1926 he issued L’Uomo come Potenza, yet another revisitation of dualism in the light of the tantric doctrine. In this period and the following years, Evola began frequenting the esoteric circles of the capital, including contacts with Kremmerzians [6], theosophists and anthroposophists. From 1927 to 1929, he coordinated the birth of the “Gruppo di Ur” (Ur Group), aimed at the techniques of experimentation of inner and subtle states. The booklets accompanying the experience will subsequently be published in three volumes entitled Introduzione alla Magia quale Scienza dell’Io (Introduction to Magic as the Science of the Self).

His relations with Fascism were controversial from the beginning. In 1924-25 he began collaborating with some declaredly anti-fascist newspapers, willing to host his interventions. In 1928, with Imperialismo Pagano (Pagan Imperialism), a work that he later judged to be extremist and youthful, he attacked Christianity by inviting Fascism to abandon the Catholic leadership; in those years, he also had correspondence with Benedetto Croce [7] and Giovanni Gentile [8].

In 1930, after his philosophical parenthesis, together with Emilio Servadio [9] and others, he founded the editorial La Torre (The Tower), destined to host articles on the spiritual Tradition and polemical interventions against contemporary civilization. Fascist regime’s authorities did not like his intransigence and refusal to yield to the conformities and conventions of politics. In an editorial entitled L’Arco e la Clava (The Bow and the Club), he targeted the most vulgar aspects of some representatives of fascist thought, forcing him to go around with a bodyguard and suspend the magazine’s publications.

After these experiences, Evola became aware of the need to adapt in some way if he wanted to continue his work. He began to collaborate with the monthly La Vita Italiana (The Italian Life) by Giovanni Preziosi [10] and the newspaper Il Regime Fascista (The Fascist Regime) by Roberto Farinacci [11]. In collaboration with other authors such as René Guénon, he published articles on the aristocratic, traditional, anti-modern world vision; Evola attacked the bourgeois rhetoric of Fascism and demolished the idea of ​​biological racism.

In 1931 Evola published La Tradizione Ermetica (The Hermetic Tradition) on alchemy; in 1932, Maschera e Volto dello Spiritualismo Contemporaneo (The Mask and Face of Contemporary Spiritualism), on the unmasking of pseudo-initiatory currents. In 1934, he got Rivolta contro il Mondo Moderno (Revolt against the Modern World) into print, perhaps his main work, a fresco on historical cycles in the light of the four eras of humanity according to the Eastern and Western tradition; in 1937, he wrote Il Mistero del Gral (The Mystery of the Grail).

In 1937 and 1941, in response to Nazi-style advocates of racism, he wrote Il Mito del Sangue (The Myth of the Blood) and Sintesi di Dottrina della Razza (Synthesis of the Doctrine of Race), where he exposed the abjections of the eugenic heritage. As revealed by declassified documents of the Ahnenerbe, the ideological section of the SS stood against his positions. During these periods, however, he made several trips to Germany, where he held numerous conferences.

In 1943 he joined ISR (the Salò Republic, a German puppet state created during the last part of World War II), although he did not embrace its purpose. In the same year, he published La Dottrina del Risveglio (The Doctrine of Awakening), an essay on Buddhist asceticism. In 1945, while walking in Vienna, he was hit by a blast caused by an aeroplane bomb and lost the use of his legs. In 1948, thanks to the International Red Cross, he returned to Italy, where he spent five years in hospital.

In 1953 he published Gli Uomini e le Rovine (Men among the Ruins), outlining the profile of a state where the non-egalitarian concept of an individual who conforms to his natural dignity is in force. In 1958 he wrote Metafisica del Sesso (Metaphysics of Sex), highlighting the magical power of sexuality; in 1961, with Cavalcare la Tigre (Ride the Tiger), he expounds on the actions to be taken to gain dominion over oneself in a world devoid of values. In the following years, he continued writing for various newspapers, translating books and receiving friends and curious people. After two acute heart failures, in 1968 and 1970, his health deteriorated. On 11 June 1974, at his work table, he reclined his head and died. He was cremated, and part of his ashes was scattered on Monte Rosa.

  • Evola, J. – Il Cammino del Cinabro (The Path of Cinnabar) – Rome 1972