Dimitrije Mitrinovic and New Atlantis Foundation Library and Archive
The Library and Archive of a remarkable Yugoslav philosopher and his circle. Mitrinovic was born in 1887 in Herzegovina. As a young man he was active in the Young Bosnia movement opposing the Austro-Hungarian empire and, while at Munich University, was linked with Kandinsky and the Blaue Reiter group. He moved to London in 1914 to avoid conscription (he was also at risk because of his politics). There he formed links with other exiled Yugoslavs and gave classes in philosophy and other subjects. In 1920 he began a famous series of articles about his ideas in the New Age (edited by A.R. Orage): World Affairs by “M.M. Cosmoi”.
Mitrinovic’s charisma, new ideas about "organic world order" and deeply "idiosyncratic and eccentric" prose attracted followers including H.C. Rutherford, Violet MacDermot, Valerie Cooper, Ellen Mayne, Philip Mairet, David Shillan, Nobel prize-winner Frederick Soddy, and (a link to later counter-cultures) Alan Watts. He and his followers formed or were active in various groups notably the Adler Society, Chandos Group, New Europe Group and the New Britain Movement. The New Atlantis Foundation was started as a charitable trust after the death of Mitrinovic in 1953. Now known as the Mitrinovic Foundation, it continues his work and spreads his ideas.
The large, complex Archive created by Mitrinovic and his circle was donated by the Foundation in 2003 and 2004. It includes published and unpublished writings of Dimitrije Mitrinovic and documents and correspondence produced by members of Mitrinovic's circle, members of the New Europe Group and members of the Foundation.
The Archive was fully catalogued by Project Archivist Emma Burgham, thanks to support from the Foundation. Project web page: Mitrinovic / New Atlantis Cataloguing Project.
Mitrinovic called for a re-evaluation of the wisdom of the past, which meant investigating works from all periods of history on religion, philosophy, sociology, psychology, and the arts. Hence his Library, over 4,500 rare books and pamphlets, many heavily annotated or with interesting provenance. Most are from the nineteenth and early twentieth century, in English, German, French and some Far Eastern and Eastern European languages.
Shelfmarks are based on the arrangement of the books in their former home in Ditchling, Sussex. The most significant sections are:
- Philosophy (ML/B). Excellent coverage of western philosophy, especially Plato, Aristotle and Nietzsche.
- Literature (ML/C) is rich in works of John Cowper Powys.
- Politics and society (ML/D). Much on inter-war ideas about society and runs of the important journals New Age, New Britain, New Atlantis, and The Eleventh Hour.
- Religions and esoteric ideas (ML/E). Comparative religion, Christianity, and eastern religions especially Buddhism, theosophy (Blavatsky), anthroposophy (Steiner), astrology and freemasonry. Other authors well represented in this section include Eliphas Levi, G.R.S. Mead, Alan Watts, and Bhagavan Das.
- Psychology (ML/G) much on Adler and Jung.
The books are catalogued on the Library catalogue.
We are scoping a project to investigate the ways in which Mitrinovic and his circle used the books.
The Peart-Binns Christian Socialist Archive includes papers relevant to the New Age and the Chandos Group.
Correspondence of Mairet, McLaughlin, Welton includes many mentions of Mitrinovic.
Mitrinovic bequeathed books to the Belgrade University Library Svetozar Markovic, Special Collections.