Julius Evola (1898 – 1974) was an Italian philosopher, artist, esotericist, and scholar of Oriental thinking. During his life, he was critical of Fascism, from Traditional point of view. After 1946, he become the inspirational leader of the spiritual wing of Neofascism in Italy.
Giulio Cesare Andrea Evola was born in Rome on 19 May 1898. His father Vincenzo and his mother Concetta Frangipane, came from Sicilian nobility. During his adolescence, he conducted scientifical and technical studies, but at the same time got involved in the study of Arts and Philosophy, getting to know authors such as Oscar Wilde, Gabriele d'Annunzio, Otto Weininger, Carlo Michelstaedter, Friedrich Nietzsche. He attended the faculty of Engineering, but refused to graduate for despisement of academic titles. In 1917, he took part in World War I as Artillery Officer in Italian Army, fighting on Asiago Plateau, despite his sympathies for the traditional monarchies of Central Powers.
He was then influenced by Giovanni Papini, who got him in contact with Futurist artists such as Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Giacomo Balla and Gottfried Benn, participating to national Futurist exposition in Milan (1919). He soon become deluded with Futurism and got in epistolar correspondence with Tristan Tzara in 1920, soon becoming a prominent exponent of Dadaism (which he viewed as mystical astractism) in Italy, as a painter, poet and collaborator of Bleu Revue. He had personal exhibitions in Rome, Berlin and Paris. In this period, he made use of drugs to achieve altered state of conscience, and he went through a period of depression, even thinking of resorting to suicide (1921). His life was then changed by the reading of a Buddhist text. He then stops painting and writing poetry and dedicate himself to philosophy and esotericism, as well as politics.
In the '20s, he continues leading a distinguished life in Roman jet set, having a stormy and intense relationship with the writer Sibilla Aleramo. He finishes a book, already started in 1917, soon edited in 1927 and 1930 as "Teoria e fenomenologia dell'individuo assoluto" (Theory and Fenomenology of Absolute Individual). Between 1925 and 1933 he has an epistolar relationship with the philosopher and criticist Benedetto Croce, with mutual appreciation. He starts interesting in politics, collaborating to the Antifascist reviews "Lo stato democratico" and "Il mondo" and expressing an antidemocratic Antifascism.
He attends several esoteric and spiritist clubs in Rome, getting to know kremmerzians, anthroposophists, theosophists, and collaborating to esoteric reviews such as "Atanor", "Bilychnis", "Ignis", "Ultra" (1924-26). Between 1927 and 1929, he coordinates the esoteric centre of studies "Gruppo di UR", publishing the reviews "Ur" and "Krur", along with the esotericist Arturo Reghini, but he leaves it when he discovers Reghini's intentions to maintain Masonic activities (banned by Fascist laws) through the group. A selection of Evola's articles on "Ur" and "Krur" was published by Bocca in three volumes in 1955-56 as "Introduzione alla magia quale scienza dell'Io" (Introduction to Magic as Science of the Ego).
In the same time, he is an epistolar relationship with philosopher Giovanni Gentile, who had asked him to write the article on Hermetism in Enciclopedia Treccani. He opens to Fascist regime, although he criticizes it very staunchly with the book "Imperialismo pagano" (Pagan Imperialism), published by Atanor in 1928, in which he urges Fascist regime to adopt a Roman pagan vocation and to reject Catholicism. He will then rebuff this work as juvenile extremism. However, he will be stigmatized and emarginated by the regime, especially after the Lateran Pacts between the Italian state and the Church.