Nicholas Hagger's 55 books include innovatory works on literature, history, philosophy and international politics. In his first published literary work he revived the Preface, which had fallen into disuse after Wordsworth and Shelley. He went on to write Prefaces (sometimes called ‘Prologues’, ‘Introductions’ or ‘Introductory Notes’) for all his subsequent books. Collected Prefaces, a collection of 55 Prefaces (excluding the Preface to this book), sets out his thinking and the reader can follow the development of his philosophy of Universalism (of which he is the main exponent), his literary approach (particularly his combination of Romanticism and Classicism which he calls "neo-Baroque") and his metaphysical thinking. His Prefaces can be read as essays, and as in T.S. Eliot’s Selected Essays there is an interaction between adjacent Prefaces that brings an entirely new perspective to Hagger's works.
These Prefaces cover an enormous range. Nicholas Hagger is a Renaissance man at home in many disciplines. His Universalism focuses on humankind’s relationship to the whole universe as reflected in seven key disciplines seen as wholes: the whole of literature, history, philosophy and the sciences, mysticism, religion, international politics and statecraft and world culture. Behind all the Prefaces is Hagger’s fundamental perception of the unity of the universe as the One and of humankind’s position in it. These Prefaces complement his Selected Letters, a companion volume also published by O-Books, and contain startling insights that illumine and send readers to the works the Prefaces introduce.
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These books (Collected Prefaces & Selected Letters) provide further evidence of Nicholas’ prodigious output over a period of some 60 years. His philosophy of universalism arising from his direct experience of mystical Light underpins the whole range of his work, providing a spiritual metaphysic wholly absent from politically and economically dominant forms of globalism based on militarism and power politics. He develops his universalism across a range of disciplines: literature, history, philosophy, mysticism and religion, politics and statecraft, and finally culture. He contextualises these different aspects of his work in relation to previous thinkers – for instance Gibbon, Spengler and Toynbee in relation to cultural history, Wordsworth, Tennyson, Eliot, Yeats and Pound in his poetry, also tracing his lineage to the metaphysical poets, which he discusses extensively with Christopher Ricks. Both volumes shed light on his books, and the letters are selected with that intent. The first volume consists of prefaces to 55 of his literary and Universalist works, and as such provides a comprehensive overall introduction to these books and their interconnections. The longest of these running to 50 pages is the preface to his Selected Poems, immediately followed by his preface on a metaphysical revolution, which a group of SMN members including Nicholas were discussing in the 1990s in relation to esotericism and universalist philosophy. Some of these themes also feature in the 864 Selected Letters, including quite a number of letters to the philosopher Christopher Macann, who was part of our group. The reader will find many well-known names among the correspondents, and in some cases it would have been illuminating to have seen replies referred to, for instance from Kathleen Raine. The correspondence with Christopher Ricks is particularly extensive, and others include Ted Hughes, Asa Briggs, Sir Mark Rylance, Sir Laurens van der Post, Sir Roger Penrose, Colin Wilson and his publisher John Hunt. They are all listed in an index, along with a useful subject index with some references running to 50 or 60 different pages. No other contemporary writer spans such range and depth to expound a universalist metaphysical philosophy that could truly underpin a genuinely enlightened worldview. As such, his work deserves much wider recognition and these volumes – especially the prefaces – are a good place to start. ~ David Lorimer, Paradigm Explorer
Reading Nicholas Hagger, venerable Englishman of letters, is to become rapidly aware that one is in the presence of a remarkable thinker; one cannot fail to be impressed by his erudition and the depth of his study of the affairs of the world and of the mind which, ultimately, are surely the same thing.......Now aged 83, polymath Hagger has 55 books to his name as a literary author, philosopher and cultural historian. His prefaces range over vast subject areas and, often able to be read as stand-alone essays, include profound works on history, literature, philosophy and international politics, and one hopes they will send readers to the books they introduce where they will find their interest amply rewarded.......Hagger revived the preface in his first published literary work, feeling it had fallen into disuse after Wordsworth and Shelley, and went on to write prefaces, sometimes called prologues, introductions or introductory notes, for all his subsequent books. It can be seen that interaction between adjacent prefaces in Collected Prefaces brings new perspective to his works, the prefaces complementing his Selected Letters, a companion volume also published by O-Books. FULL REVIEW HERE - https://geoffjward.medium.com/the-wisdom-of-the-one-d366fc84e49e ~ Geoff Ward, Medium.com
The author’s Preface may also be used for other specific functions, such as explaining how they became interested in the subject of the book and why they chose to write about it. But there is usually nothing short about Nicholas Hagger’s Prefaces as they can be read like essays, and as in T.S. Eliot’s Selected Essays, there is an interaction between adjacent Prefaces that brings an entirely new perspective to Hagger’s works. These Prefaces cover an enormous range. Hagger is a Renaissance man at home in many disciplines. His Universalism focuses on humankind’s relationship to the whole universe as reflected in seven key disciplines seen as wholes: the whole of literature, history, philosophy and the sciences, mysticism, religion, international politics and statecraft and world culture. Behind all the Prefaces is Hagger’s fundamental perception of the unity of the universe as the One and of humankind’s position in it. Covering noted topics as The Warm Glow of the Monastery Courtyard, A Smell of Leaves and Summer, Wheeling Bats and a Harvest Moon, The Secret History of the West, The Last Tourist in Iran, The New Philosophy of Universalism and amongst a whole smorgasbord of others, A Spade Fresh with Mud, Life Cycle and Other New Poems, The First Dazzling Chill of Winter and Armageddon. Furthermore, these Prefaces complement his Selected Letters, a companion volume also published by O-Books, and contain startling insights that illumine and send readers to the works the Prefaces introduce. FULL REVIEW HERE > https://annecarlini.com/ex_books.php?id=327 ~ Exclusive Magazine, Review