How would you define yourself?
Writer and scholar
Please describe yourself and your areas of interest.
I am the author of books on divination and the social history of astrology, the work of J.R.R. Tolkien and its reception, the metaphysics of metaphor, and environmental philosophy, particularly ecological ethics. Forthcoming are three books on the experience of wonder (the first, Enchantment, will be published in October 2019) as well as a work of political philosophy, on eco-republicanism. I also edit a free online journal, The Ecological Citizen, which is dedicated to non-anthropocentric perspectives. In all these activities I am concerned to contest unbridled modernity, or what has been termed the Megamachine, to explore and if possible celebrate what it has marginalised, and to suggest alternatives. Somewhere in the mix is the concept of ‘radical nostalgia’ – a remembering which empowers rather than disables – and true conservatism which, although often confused (and not always by honest error) with reaction, seeks to preserve and protect what is still good and works. In the collective situation in which we find ourselves, I believe this project has an urgency belied by its sometimes apparently fluffy aspects.
Why did you become a Companion of the Guild?
For me Ruskin is a moral, intellectual and aesthetic exemplar whose work has only become more relevant over time, to the point where it is now necessary. I am honoured to be a Companion, and I anticipate that it will help me to continue deepening both my understanding of that work and my ability to contribute to its contemporary development.