Clothbound, sewn signatures, with full-color dustjacket
5 3/4″ x 9 1/4″; 352 + xxi pages
dominion, 2005, $34.00
CONFESSIONS OF A RADICAL TRADITIONALIST is a wide-ranging collection of colourful essays by English author and philosopher John Michell. For those readers only familiar with his better-known writings on Earth Mysteries, unusual phenomena and eccentric figures, much of the material here will be a pleasant surprise.
Since its inception, Michell has regularly contributed to the monthly magazine The Oldie, one of Britain’s best-kept publishing secrets. Michell’s column, “An Orthodox Voice,” is a perpetual font of erudite insights, charming commentaries, wittily scathing pronouncements, and divine revelations. Writing in clear, exquisite language, he deftly applies traditional wisdom to various aspects of the modern conundrum. In author Patrick Harpur’s words, “If Socrates had ever written a column, this would be it.”
Divided into nine sections, CONFESSIONS OF A RADICAL TRADITIONALIST presents Michell’s thoughts on a wealth of heretical topics, from ancient echoes of a Golden Age to the madness of modernity and the unfolding apocalypse. Undergirding these ruminations is the rarely heard perspective of an enlightened, idealistic Platonist. Even when slaying sacred cows or lancing contemporary buffoons, he never forgets that the elusive “paradise of the philosophers” is within reach for those with the strength of vision to see it. In our inverted modern world, these disarming orthodox writings have the delicious flavor of forbidden fruit.
The 108 essays in this volume have been carefully selected and introduced by Joscelyn Godwin, a long-time admirer of John Michell’s work and himself an acknowledged authority in matters esoteric and metaphysical.
The book itself is beautifully typeset and produced, making use of traditional design and sacred measurements. The cover features a stunning tempera portrait of John Michell painted in 1972 by Maxwell Armfield (1881-1972), as well as artwork by Michell himself.
John Michell was born in London in 1933 and educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge. His early books, The Flying Saucer Vision (1967) and The View Over Atlantis (1969), exposed new generations to the lost wisdom and sacred sciences of the ancient world. His voluminous subsequent writings have chronicled forgotten eccentrics and illuminated the mysterious worlds of crop circles, ley lines, simulacra in nature, Stonehenge, and sacred geometry. Some of his recent works include At the Center of the World: Polar Symbolism Discovered in Celtic, Norse and Other Ritualized Landscapes (1994), The Temple at Jerusalem: A Revelation (2000), and The Measure of Albion (with Robin Heath, 2004). An exhibit of his geometrical and other watercolour paintings was held in London in 2003 at the Christopher Gibbs Gallery. He lives in Notting Hill, London. “Refreshingly original, yet genuinely grounded in tradition. John Michell is wise, mischievous and amusing. He has expanded the frontiers of British sanity, and enriches the lives of those who know him and his works.” — Rupert Sheldrake
“Forget trepanning. John Michell opened my revelations and the mysteries he touches upon are in my head forever — life would be dead dull and probably impossible without this extra and true dimension.” — Candida Lycett Green
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