Portrait of Anthony Ludovici, by Claude Harris, 1927
|Born||Anthony Mario Ludovici
8 January 1882
|Died||3 May 1971
|Notable works||A Defence of Aristocracy, The False Assumptions of "Democracy" and A Defence of Conservatism|
Anthony Mario Ludovici MBE (8 January 1882 – 3 April 1971) was a British philosopher, sociologist, social critic and polyglot. He is best known as a proponent of aristocracy, and in the early 20th century was a leading British conservative author. He wrote on subjects including art, metaphysics, politics, economics, religion, the differences between the sexes, race and eugenics. Ludovici began his career as an artist, painting and illustrating books. He was private secretary to sculptor Auguste Rodin for several months in 1906, but the two men parted company after Christmas, "to their mutual relief."  Ultimately, he would turn towards writing, with over 40 books as author, and translating over 60 others.
Ludovici was born in London, England on 8 January 1882 to Albert Ludovici, an artist, and Marie Cals. He married Elsie Finnimore Buckley on 20 March 1920. He was educated privately, in England and abroad. He spent several years in Germany where he studied Nietzsche's writings in the original German. He was fluent in several languages.
He began lecturing on art, politics, religion, and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, about whom he wrote Who is to be Master of the World?: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche (1909) and Nietzsche: His Life and His Works (1910). According to Steven Aschheim, his 1911 Nietzsche and Art was "a unique attempt to write a Nietzschean history of art in terms of rising aristocratic and decadent-democratic epochs". This was the year of the first Parliament Act 1911, cutting back the power of the House of Lords. It also marks a watershed or change in Ludovici's writing, to a more overt political line, which would only sharpen over the next 25 years.
During World War I he served as an artillery officer at Armentières and the Somme, and then in the Intelligence Staff at the War Office. For his service during the war he was awarded the Order of the British Empire.
After the war, he became a student of Dr. Oscar Levy, editor of The Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche, the first translation of Nietzsche's works in English. Ludovici contributed several volumes.
Ludovici's writing was varied, and took traditional conservative stances on social issues. Liberalism, socialism, Marxism, Christianity, feminism, multiculturalism, and the modern culture of consumerism and revolt against tradition constituted Ludovici's main areas of attack.
He wrote "I have long been an opponent and critic of Christianity, democracy, and anarchy in art and literature. I am particularly opposed to 'Abstract Art,' which I trace to Whistler's heretical doctrines of art and chiefly to his denial that the subject matters, his assimilation of the graphic arts and music, and his insistence on the superior importance of the composition and colour-harmony of a picture, over its representational content." He was an early critic of Jacob Epstein, attacking him in The New Age, to which he contributed as an art critic before the Great War.
In his A Defence of Aristocracy (1915), Ludovici defends aristocracy against government in popular control. In The False Assumptions of "Democracy" (1921), he attacked the democratic idea and the liberal attitude in general, as having originated in specious philosophy, wholly opposed to nature. A Defence of Conservatism (1927) defends tradition as not only a policy of preservation, but of discernment in change, writing, "Man is instinctively conservative in the sense that probably millions of years of experience have taught him that a stable environment is the best for peace of mind, present and future security, automatism of action... and a ready command of material and artificial circumstances. It is the repeated introduction of new instruments, new weapons, new methods, and needs for fresh adaptations, that makes automatism impossible. And it is the complication of life by novel contributions to life's interests and duties that makes a ready command of circumstances difficult."
For Ludovici, egalitarianism in all its forms constituted a denial of the innate biological differences between individuals, the sexes and races. He criticized what he saw as the sentimental coddling of the mediocre and botched. His articles were a regular feature of the New Pioneer, a far-right journal controlled by Viscount Lymington and closely linked to the British People's Party.
Conservatism and tradition
Ludovici's doctrines were nationalist, traditionalist, and centrally concerned with a form of eugenic reasoning. He argued that heredity can yield strong family lines, group values, and national and racial characteristics. Politicians should not only be individuals of intelligence, and knowledgeable of mankind, but also of the same stock as those they lead.
It is in the interest of the nation to maintain unique characteristics by safeguarding a native and particular potentiality of success and opportunities for self-expression and expansion. This includes a concern for the health of one’s people, that ill-health not only leads to maladaptation, but also to the decay of the strength capacity and character of the nation. "To be a good forester, a man must know how to give trees their proper health conditions, and must also know how to chop and prune them."
National prestige means power, power is safety, and safety is security. Since the conservative politician is concerned with the security and extension of his own nation’s power, he cannot tolerate anything that jeopardizes its position. In dealing with a vis major, he acts firmly and quickly; using the full might of his nation against any enemy that threatens it.
The conservative is naturally suspicious of change. He must know enough about his nation's character and potentialities, of mankind in general, and be able to judge whether new tendencies are desirable, in keeping with the eternal nature of men, or fatalistic, when they apply "only to angels, goblins, fairies or other harebrained fictions".
The conservative is concerned with the happiness of his people. When examining unhappiness amongst his people he differentiates between the type of maladaptation that arises from injustice and oppression, and that which is resultant from degeneracy or morbidity. He can meet the demands of the former easily and accomplish improvement, but in taking on the later he will only penalize the nation.
Ludovici summed up his definition: (esoteric) conservatism "is the preservation of the national identity throughout the process of change by a steady concern for the whole of the nation's life." He opposed Jews, foreigners, and 'odd people' — eccentrics, cranks and fanatics — having anything to do with government.
After the Second World War, Ludovici fell rapidly into obscurity. In 1936, he had written enthusiastically about Adolf Hitler. He was critical of the effect of Jews on the history of England, writing a work under the pseudonym Cobbett, Jews, and the Jews in England (1938).
From 1955 until 1969 Ludovici wrote a series of essays in the monthly journal The South African Observer. Topics under his analysis included "The Essentials of Good Government" in a series of 20 monthly parts, and "Public Opinion in England" in a similar series.
- Who is to be Master of the World? An Introduction to the Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. Edinburgh: T. N. Foulis, 1909.
- Nietzsche: His Life and Works (Philosophies Ancient and Modern). London: Constable, 1910 [New York: Dodge, 1910].
- Nietzsche and Art. London: Constable, 1911. Boston: J. W. Luce, 1912 [New York: Haskell House, 1971].
- A Defence of Aristocracy: A Text-Book for Tories. London: Constable, 1915 [Boston: Phillips, 1915. Second edition, London: Constable, 1933].
- Man's Descent from the Gods: Or, The Complete Case Against Prohibition. London: William Heinemann, 1921 [New York: A. A. Knopf, 1921].
- The False Assumptions of "Democracy". London: Heath Cranton, 1921.
- Woman: A Vindication. London: Constable, 1923 [New York: A. A. Knopf, 1923. Second edition, London: Constable 1929].
- Lysistrata: Or, Woman's Future and Future Woman. London: K. Paul, Trench, Trubner & co., ltd., 1925.
- Personal Reminiscences of Auguste Rodin. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1926.
- A Defence of Conservatism: A Further Text-Book for Tories. London: Faber and Gwyer, 1927.
- Man: An Indictment. London: Constable, 1927 [New York: E. P. Dutton, 1927].
- The Night-Hoers: Or, The Case Against Birth Control and an Alternative. London: Herbert Jenkins, 1928.
- The Secret of Laughter. London: Constable, 1932.
- The Choice of a Mate (The International Library of Sexology and Psychology). London: John Lane, The Bodley Head, 1935.
- Jews, and the Jews in England (written under the pen-name of Cobbett). London: Boswell, 1938.
- The Truth About Childbirth; Lay Light on Maternal Morbidity and Mortality. London: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1938.
- The Four Pillars of Health. A Contribution to Post-War Planning. London: Heath Cranton Limited, 1945.
- The Child: An Adult's Problem; First Aid to Parents. London: Carroll and Nicholson, 1948.
- Enemies of Women: the Origins in Outline of Anglo-Saxon Feminism. London: Carroll & Nicholson 1948.
- The Quest of Human Quality: How to Rear Leaders. London: Rider, 1952.
- Religion for Infidels. London: Holborn, 1961.
- The Specious Origins of Liberalism: The Genesis of a Delusion. London: Britons, 1967.
- Day, John V., ed. (2003). The Lost Philosopher: The Best of Anthony M. Ludovici. Berkeley, CA: Educational Translation and Scholarship Foundation. ISBN 0-9746264-0-6.
- Mansel Fellowes. London: Grant Richards, 1918.
- Catherine Doyle: The Romance of a Trice-Married Lady. London: Hutchinson & Co., 1919.
- Too Old for Dolls: A Novel. London: Hutchinson & Co., 1920.
- What Woman Wishes. London: Hutchinson & Co., 1921.
- The Goddess that Grew Up. London: Hutchinson & Co., 1922.
- French Beans. London: Hutchinson & Co., 1923.
- The Taming of Don Juan. London: Hutchinson, 1924.
- Thoughts out of Season, by Friedrich Nietzsche. London: T. N. Foulis, 1909.
- Ecce Homo, by Friedrich Nietzsche. New York: Macmillan, 1911.
- Twilight of the Idols, by Friedrich Nietzsche. New York: Macmillan, 1911.
- The Case of Wagner; Nietzsche Contra Wagner; Selected Aphorisms. Edinburgh and London: T. N. Foulis, 1911.
- The Letters of a Post-impressionist; being the Familiar Correspondence of Vincent van Gogh. London, Constable, 1912.
- The Life of Nietzsche, by Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche. New York: Sturgis and Walton, 1912-15.
- Germany and its Evolution in Modern Times, by Henri Lichtenberger. New York: H. Holt and Co., 1913.
- Selected Letters of Friedrich Nietzsche. London, William Heinemann, 1921.
- On the Road with Wellington, by August Ludolf Friedrich Schaumann. London: William Heinemann ltd., 1924.
- "Art: A Dialogue Overheard at a Picture Gallery," The New Age, Vol. XI, No. 27, 1912, pp. 642–644.
- "Art," The New Age, Vol. XII, No. 6, 1912, p. 135.
- "Art: A Question of Finish", The New Age, Vol. XII, No. 21, 1913, p. 508.
- "Art: A Stroll Down Bond Street," The New Age, Vol. XIII, No. 2, 1913, p. 42.
- "Art: An Open Letter to my Friends," The New Age, Vol. XIV, No. 9, 1914, pp. 278–281.
- "Art: False Remedies and Other Considerations," The New Age, Vol. XIV, No. 11, 1914, pp. 345–346.
- "Art: Les Independents and the Salon des Beaux Arts," The New Age, Vol. XV, No. 2, 1914, p. 44.
- "Conscience and Fanaticism," The New Age, Vol. XXV, No. 24, 1919, pp. 395–396.
- "Conscience and Fanaticism: A Reply to Mr. G. Pitt Rivers," The New Age, Vol. XXVI, No. 10, 1920, pp. 155–156.
- "Mr. Clutton Brock on Art," The New Age, Vol. XXVI, No. 13, 1920, pp. 201–202.
- "Wine and Spirits," The New Age, Vol. XXVII, No. 2, 1920, p. 24.
- "The Conservative Programme - A Suggestion," Fortnightly Review, New Series, Vol. CXI, 1922, pp. 948–962.
- "The Conservative Programme: A Further Suggestion," Fortnightly Review, New Series, Vol. CXIII, 1923, pp. 600–614.
- "Woman's Encroachment on Man's Domain," Current History, Vol. XXVII, October 1927, pp. 21–25.
- "Transform Society's Values," in Chaim Newman, (ed.) Gentile and Jew; a Symposium on the Future of the Jewish People. London: Alliance Press, 1945, pp. 165–185.
- Scholes, Robert E. (2006). Paradoxy of Modernism. Yale University Press. p. 40. ISBN 978-0-300-10820-0.
- Ludovici, Anthony M. (1923). "Personal Reminiscences of Auguste Rodin," Cornhill Magazine, Vol. LV, Nos. 325-326, New Series.
- Ludovici, Anthony M. (1925-6). "Further Personal Reminiscences of Auguste Rodin," Cornhill Magazine, Vol. LIX-LX. Nos. 334-356, New Series.
- Bacci, Francesca; David Melcher (2011). Art and the Senses, Oxford University Press, p. 146.
- Stone, Dan (1999). "The Extremes of Englishness: The ‘Exceptional’ Ideology of Anthony Mario Ludovici," Journal of Political Ideologies, Vol. 4 (2), pp. 191-218.
- Aschheim, Steven (1994). The Nietzsche Legacy in Germany, 1890-1990, University of California Press, p. 48 (footnote).
- Ludovici, Anthony M. (1946-7). "Dr. Oscar Levy," The New English Weekly, Vol. 30, pp. 49–50.
- Religion for Infidels. London: Holborn, 1961. Excerpts reprinted as "How I came to have lessons with F. M. Alexander" in The Philosopher's Stone: Diaries of Lessons with F. Matthias Alexander, edited by Jean M. O. Fischer. London: Mouritz, 1998, pp. 102–108.
- Balfour, Lady Frances (1923). "The Anti-Feminist Folly," English Review, Vol. 37, pp. 741-744.
- Harrison, Austen (1924). "The New Anti-Feminism," English Review, Vol. 38, pp. 80-87.
- Ditzion, Sidney (1953). "Female vs. Male in the Twentieth-Century," in Marriage, Morals, and Sex in America: A History of Ideas. New York: Bookman Associates, pp. 355-380.
- Freedman, Estelle B. (1974). "The New Woman: Changing Views of Women in the 1920s," Journal of American History, Vol. 61, No. 2, pp. 372-393.
- Ardis, Ann L. (2002). "'Life is not Composed of Watertight Compartments': The New Age's Critique of Modernist Literary Specialization," in Modernism and Cultural Conflict, 1880-1922, Cambridge University Press, pp. 149-151.
- Buchowska, Dominika (2011). "English Rebels in Art Circles: The New Age in its Elitist and Populist Dimension," In Regarding the Popular: Modernism, the Avant-Garde and High and Low Culture, Walter de Gruyter, pp. 44-56.
- Mairet, Philip (1936). A.R. Orage: A Memoir. London: J.M. Dent.
- Selver, Paul (1959). Orage and the 'New Age' Circle. Reminiscences and Reflections. London: George Allen & Unwin.
- Martine, Wallace (1967). The 'New Age' Under Orage, Manchester University Press.
- Day, John V. (2003-4). "What is Best Will Rule: Anthony Ludovici on Aristocracy and Democracy," The Occidental Quarterly, Vol. III, No. 4, pp. 55-68.
- Ludovici, Anthony M. (1927). "The Meaning of Conservatism," in A Defence of Conservatism. London: Faber and Gwyer, pp. 1-2.
- Martin Pugh, Hurrah for the Blackshirts! Fascists and Fascism in Britain Between the Wars, Pimlico, 2006, p. 279
- Scholtke, Paul Ernest (1980). The Fascist Element in A.M. Ludovici's Defence of Conservatism. Masters thesis, Durham University.
- Green, E. H. H. (2002). Ideologies of Conservatism: Conservative Political Ideas in the Twentieth Century, Oxford University Press, p. 151.
- Webber, G. C. (1986). The Ideology of the British Right, 1918-1939, Croom Helm, p. 161.
- Francis, Samuel (2004). "Buried Alive," The Occidental Quarterly, Vol. IV, No. 1, pp. 85-92.
- Ludovici, Anthony M. (1936). "Hitler and the Third Reich," The English Review, Vol. 63, pp. 35–41, 147–153, 231–239.
- Ludovici, Anthony M. (1938). The Jews, and the Jews in England, Boswell Publishing Company.
- Brown, S. E. D. (ed.), The South African Observer - A Journal for Realists, Pretoria, South Africa.
- "The Essentials of Good Government," South African Observer, Vol. IX-X, September 1963/May 1965.
- "Public Opinion in England," South African Observer, Vol. X-XIII, July 1965/June 1968.
- Lewis, Wyndham (1914). "Epstein and His Critics, Or Nietzsche and His Friends," The New Age, Vol. XIV, No. 10, p. 319.
- Pitt-Rivers, George (1919). "The Sick Values of a Sick Age," The New Age, Vol. XXVI, No. 2, pp. 25-27.
- Barker, Rodney, (1978). Political Ideas in Modern Britain. London: Methuen.
- Green, John (1934). "Youth Speaks Out, II - A Political Writer," National Review, Vol. 103, pp. 220–227.
- Kerr, R.B. (1932). "Anthony M. Ludovici: The Prophet of Anti-Feminism," in Our Prophets, Studies of Living Writers. Croydon: R.B. Kerr, pp. 84–99.
- Ludovici, Albert (1926). An Artist's Life in London and Paris, 1870-1925. London: T. Fisher Unwin.
- Stone, Dan (2002). Breeding Superman: Nietzsche, Race and Eugenics in Edwardian and Interwar Britain. Liverpool University Press. ISBN 0-85323-997-5.
|Wikisource has original works written by or about:
Anthony M. Ludovici
- Works by Anthony Ludovici, at Internet Archive
- Works by Anthony Mario Ludovici at Project Gutenberg
- Works by Anthony Ludovici, at Eugenics Review
- The Anthony M. Ludovici Website
- Anthony Ludovici: Conservative From Another World
- My Education, Part II, Part III
- Ludovici, Anthony Mario (1882–1971)
- On Wuthering Heights
- Works by or about Anthony Ludovici in libraries (WorldCat catalog)