Edited by Professor Richard Avramenko of the University of Wisconsin and Dr. Ethan Alexander-Davey of the University of Virginia, it will analyze traditionalist political philosophy in modern Europe. We desire it to be a worthy addition to the relevant academic historiography of right-wing intellectual history.
I specifically chose the Eighth Duke because of his voluminous writings and active engagement within political discourse as a member of the House of Lords. Several years ago, I was greatly impressed by the work of Dr. Richard Gaunt at the University of Nottingham on the Fourth Duke of Newcastle. Dr Gaunt’s exhaustive editing and publication of the Fourth Duke’s diaries provided a vital text for researchers interested in ancien regime Ultra-Toryism leading up to the Great Reform Act. Similarly, I wish to provide researchers with a relevant analysis of the Eighth Duke’s writings and his fulminations against the Russian Revolution and the 1926 General Strike. The Eighth Duke served with distinction in the Grenadier Guards during the Great War and watched in horror as Russian aristocrats arrived haggard and penniless in London after fleeing from the Bolshevik Revolution. Realising that class upheaval was not out of the question within Great Britain, he actively worked within the Conservative Party and within assorted political associations to avert revolution.
The Duke also keenly favored the conspiracist and arguably anti-Semitic theories of author Nesta Webster, whose Secret Societies and Subversive Movements (1924) and The Origin and Progress of the World Revolution (1932) attempted to prove an international conspiracy begun by shadowy groups including Weishaupt’s supposed Illuminati. With little documentation or citations, Webster’s works must be classified as propagandistic popular history rather than academic texts. However, they were very popular and she enjoyed the Eighth Duke’s personal friendship as one of his publishing company’s authors. Boswell Publishing Company published numerous anti-communist and reactionary authors of the period including George Pitt-Rivers, Anthony Ludovici and Continental authors including Léon de Poncins. Additionally, the Eighth Duke also owned The Morning Post, which was widely read in country-house society and well known for its anti-Soviet and anti-Labour editorials. Besides these activities, the Eighth Duke also regularly orated in the House of Lords and his speeches were republished with such titles as The History of World Revolution, The Conspiracy against the British Empire and The Passing of Liberalism. He proved one of High Toryism’s most prominent leaders and a dedicated reactionary in an unstable world. Although his politics appear distinctly questionable in hindsight, there exists no doubt as to his importance and influence during his lifetime.
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Edited by Jonathan Paquette on June 1st, 2015.
Jonathan Paquette is an American historian and lecturer at the University of St Andrews in Fife, Scotland. A Brown University Alumnus, he currently writes his PhD dissertation on Modern British and Intellectual History and teaches undergraduate History classes. His well-rounded interest in British Mythography and Antiquarianism, evidenced by his impressive list of publications, has earned him a Weaver Fellowship in the beginning of the year. To read more about Jonathan, visit this site regularly, or contact him directly using the contact form.