Thursday, 2 October 2014


What follows is an interview between Alternative Right coeditor Andy Nowicki and author Ryan Andrews, who has published a novel with' entitled The Birth of Prudence. Andy and Ryan discuss Ryan's novel as an example of "Identitarian fiction," tying in with Andy's previous essay "Alt Right Art" concerning the necessity of art to buttress the claims and overall cause of the "movement" in general.

AN: Ryan Andrews, you have called THE BIRTH OF PRUDENCE an example of "Identitarian fiction." Could you elaborate on what you mean by this?

Ryan Andrews: As everyone who has seen The Amazing Spider-Man knows, there is only one plot in all of literature: Who am I? The Identitarian also asks; who are we? The Birth of Prudence also asks this question, and above all, is an attempt to answer it. 

AN: What is THE BIRTH OF PRUDENCE "about," in your words?

Ryan Andrews: In basic outline, the story is a tragic romance made possible by the larger tragedy of the West. Mark and Prudence, the couple, each seem to have the nature that is the perfect complement to the other. I give a concise formulation of their story in my original query, so I quote from it here:
[The Birth of Prudence tells the story of] 21 year-old, white, working-class Mark Thompson and Prudence Suh, a 21 year-old, Eurocentric, Korean-American, University of Chicago student. Mark, an introvert with a great soul but an average mind, was without an "identity,” perceiving nothing “to fight for,” too restless for action or understanding until being inspired by beautiful Prudence. Prudence, a deeply sincere humanist, decides that Mark is a passionate lover, and thus deserves to be loved passionately.

And so they quickly fall in love, each the great hope of the other. Under her love and guidance, Mark learns about, and comes to admire, classical music and the ancient Greeks, further increasing their love of each other, until the same studies awaken in the boyfriend’s heart a feeling which can only be called white pride.
I mention above that this immediate tragedy is made possible by the larger tragedy of the West, and that being so, I decided it was necessary to assign some "non-story" portion to an analysis of the tragedy of the current depleted, degenerate state of the West, in a section called Universalism vs Nationalism. Here, two of Prudence's fellow students, an egalitarian Universalist and an Ethnonationalist who are roommates, argue deep into the night. (For a more complete explanation of the Universalism vs Nationalism section, see this article I wrote for Vdare a few weeks ago.)
AN: The book features an interracial relationship between a brilliant and adorable Asian woman and a young white man who is becoming a white nationalist, ironically under the tutelage of his nonwhite girlfriend who loves Western culture. What drew you to this subject matter?
Ryan Andrews: It has the power to convey my idea: The contemporary tragedy of the West is that the West, in attempting to make its civilization universal, risks destroying itself altogether. And as I believe that the idea of tragedy is one Western thought's greatest achievements, this would be all-too fitting an end.

So I wanted to write the tragedy that could define this tragedy. I wanted to tell a story that not only was set within this historic moment in the West's great, unfolding tragedy, but that was a result of it. I wanted a plot that would symbolize it, but that at the same time, would not be at all dependent on symbolism for it's meaning. And so I wove together the threads, using the most apposite material I could find, until the whole of it was woven as tightly as possible. 
The most superficial reader will understand that the plot depends on Prudence being nonwhite, that it serves as more than a symbolic device. And he will probably have at least a sense that, even beyond her conscious first-order preferences, she is something very-near the ideal imagined by Western Universalists. I hope the reader will also appreciate how vital this is to the mechanics of the plot. 
AN: In the end, the main character has to make a choice between true love and his newfound ideals. Does he make the correct choice, in your view?

Ryan Andrews: Yes. To the extent that he even made a choice at all, I think he made the right one.
AN: Why is it important for "Alt-rightists" to cultivate the production of quality fiction, as well as other forms of art?
Ryan Andrews: To win the argument. I, of course, believe that we ought to make an explicit argument for our moral values—of which, the forms you mention above are quite capable, but I also think we need an implicit argument. The art and literature produced by a culture, in large part, is that culture, and we ought to be trying to create a beautiful culture. We do this for its own sake, for identity, but we also do this to win the argument. This is not just done to convince those who are not now with us, but also so that those already with us will understand why, and that this helping our compatriots toward the ideas and vision that will make them that much more able to contribute to winning the argument. 

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