View from The Right: A Critical Anthology of Contemporary Ideas, Volume I: Heritage and Foundations
Alain de Benoist (Ed.), trans. Robert Lindgren
Arktos, 2017; orig. published, 1977, with an updated preface (2001) by de Benoist
After 40 years, and following translations into Italian and Portuguese (1981), German (1984), and Romanian (1998), we finally have an English translation of Alain de Benoist’s 650-page magnum opus. Vu de Droite: Anthologie critique des idées contemporaines was first published in 1977 when de Benoist’s GRECE (Research and Study Group for European Civilisation) think-tank was at the height of its influence. It took the French political and intellectual worlds by storm, receiving widespread attention in the mainstream press and winning the Grand Essay Prize from l’Académie française in June 1978.
It is little short of remarkable that we should have to wait four decades for an English translation of a text with such critical acclaim and intellectual pedigree. Credit for bringing about the English translation (published in three handsomely designed volumes and with an updated 2001 Preface) is due to Arktos Media, founded in part in 2010 with the goal of bringing the works of de Benoist to an anglophone readership. A final push to ensure translation of Vu de Droite was initiated in 2016, when seventy-three backers contributed a combined total of around $10,000 via kickstarter.com to bring the project to completion. The dedication and generosity of all involved was not in vain. Although we eagerly await the imminent publication of Volumes Two and Three, the first volume (published in late 2017) is an invaluable work in its own right. Intellectually thorough yet written with admirable economy and agility, View from The Right Volume I: Heritage and Foundations is a useful tool, an invaluable point of reference, and a resounding call to action which has lost none of its relevance or vitality in the decades since its first printing.
The central purpose of View from The Right is to break the taboo on the assertion of right-wing ideas and to present clearly defined intellectual positions (or pathways to positions) on a wide range of subjects as they pertain to right-wing thought. In Volume I, these positions pertain to matters of European racial and cultural heritage, and the broader foundations of contemporary right-wing ideologies. The author describes (ix) his intention to “prepare a portrait of the intellectual and cultural landscape of the moment, to establish the state of affairs, to signal the tendencies, to open the pathways and provide benchmarks to aid (and incite) the task of thinking in a world that is already in the process of considerable change.” For the most part, this effort takes the structural form of powerful and succinct essay summaries of the state of current mainstream scholarship on a number of crucial and fascinating topics. These summaries are then supplemented with commentary from de Benoist and developed still further in his very generous footnotes. Translator Robert Lindgren also deftly assists the reader by occasionally including his own useful commentary on the text, along with a number of very helpful translations and updates of de Benoist’s scholarly citations. Read more