Against the Modern World is the first history of Traditionalism, an influential
yet surprisingly little-known twentieth century anti-modernist movement.
Involving a number of important, yet often secret, religious groups in
the West and Islamic world, it affected mainstream and radical politics
in Europe and religious studies in the United States.
Emerging from the 'discovery' in the West of non-Western religious writings,
at a time in the nineteeth century when progressive intellectuals had
lost faith in the ability of Christianity to deliver religious and spiritual
truth, it was fuelled by the widespread religious scepticism that followed
World War I. It found its voice in Rene Guenon, a French writer who rejected
modernity as a dark age, and sought to reconstruct the Perennial Philosophy
- the fundamental truth uniting all the world's religions.
Mark Sedgwick reveals how this pervasive intellectual movement helped
shape major events in twentieth century religious life, politics and scholarship
- all the while remaining invisible to outsiders.