René Guénon and the Future of the West

The Life and Writings of a 20th-Century Metaphysician

Robin Waterfield

Hillsdale, NY: Sophia Perennis, 2002.
164 pages
ISBN: 0-900588-87-X
Price: $19.95 US
Buy now on
ISBN: 978-1597310192
Price: 34.95
Buy now on

This is one of two biographical introductions to Guénon currently available in English. Sophia Perennis has also published The Simple Life of René Guénon, the other biography, written shortly after Guénon’s death by his close friend and publisher Paul Chacornac. As both books make clear how, after a lonely childhood often interrupted by ill health, Guénon navigated the seductive half-truths of occultism toward a deeper, unified vision, offering a way out from the confusion and fragmentation of our time. Against the seemingly inexorable process of dissolution the twentieth century experienced, Guénon pointed to the transcendent unity of all religious faiths and the abiding Truth that contains them all.

Table of Contents


Early Days—Searching—Finding—Cutting the Ties—Breaking Loose—Turning to Mecca


Introduction: The Wounded Amazon—Clearing the Ground: Reason and Beyond—Crossing the Mediterranean: The Encounter of East and West—The Voice Behind the Fan: Tradition and Society—The Spiral Staircase: Cosmic Cycles and the Reign of Quantity—The Primal Vision: Symbols and Truth—In Search of the Lost Word: Initiation and Spiritual Growth—A Priest Forever After the Order of Melchizedek: The Moment of Vision—Christ and Cosmos: The Rabbi of Nazareth and His Teaching—Select Bibliography


René Guénon was the twentieth century's chief ambassador for the Perennial Philosophy. His mixture of arcane learning, metaphysics, and scathing cultural commentary is a continent in itself, untouched by the polluted tides of modernity. One need not accept it all, but a voyage to it is indispensable for those who yearn to understand the deeper currents of religion and history. Guénon's work will not save the world—it is much too late for that—but it leaves no reader unchanged.
Jocelyn Godwin, author of Music, Mysticism and Magic