Melvin Ezell Gorham

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Melvin Ezell Gorham (1911- 12 April 1994) was an American author, publisher, and philosopher who operated out of the mainstream.

In a series of self-published books he articulated an idiosyncratic world view, the essence of which was that advanced civilization alienates individuals from their actual selves (and their natural connection with nature as a whole) primarily by means of verbal programming, in which entities which Gorham regarded as mere abstractions (like the State, the Nation, or Society) were taken to be substantial existents. Gorham upheld what he regarded as the superior civilizations of pre-Christian Northern Europeans, whom he believed lived in small voluntary tribes without elaborate superstructures of government or law, and recommended a return to that mode of existence.

Although his thinking bears similarities to nominalism and to the thought of Korzybski, Alan W. Watts, and Robert M. Pirsig, Gorham made no impression on academic thinkers whatsoever, likely due to his non-mainstream venues, methods (his books contain next to no citations and are not based on academic thought), and views. He made no evident impact on popular culture, although his book The Pagan Bible is cited now and then in discussions of Asatru, and his writing and thought occasionally in dicussions of individual self-ownership.

Publishing Activities and Associated Authors

His publishing company, Sovereign Press, operated out of Rochester, Washington and as of November 2007 was still engaged in bookselling if not publishing.

From publisher's notes in the backs of some Sovereign Press books, it appears Gorham and at least some of his credited writers had some connection with the controversial Institute for Historical Review, and with such book titles as Censorship in the U.S: I Accuse the Jews (1978) by apparently otherwise-unknown author Marguerite Pedersen and Erik Holden's claim to have founded the American Christian Church, there seems little doubt that Gorham and his group had anti-Jewish leanings. The title of Bowman's Sexual Being Versus Governments That Promote Homosexuality further suggests a leaning, of presently undetermined extent, toward homophobia.

Sovereign Press authors

Among authors affiliated with Sovereign (not to be confused with the publisher of the same name involved in Dragonlance publishing) besides Gorham, were:

  • John Harland, (author of Word Controlled Humans: A Brief History (Sovereign Press, 1981), Brave New World: A Different Projection (Sovereign Press, rev. ed. 1984), and The Life and Crucifixion of Julian and the Threat of Group-Entities (Sovereign Press, 1994).
  • Jill von Konen, author of the memoir Camp 38 (Sovereign Press, 1984) and possibly the co-protagonist Jill in memoir sections of Harland's Brave New World: A Different Projection.
  • Marguerite Pedersen, author of Censorship in the U.S: I accuse the Jews]] (Sovereign Press, 1978) The Cruise of the Skuld (Sovereign Press, 1987), and Life's Meaning (Sovereign Press, 1989).
  • possibly pseudonymous author Erik Holden, author of An American Christian Bible, Extracted by Thomas Jefferson, Together with a New Declaration of Independence for Today's Americans (1982).
  • possibly pseudonymous author Karl Bowman, author of Sexual Being Versus Governments That Promote Homosexuality (1983).

Associated Groups

An inspection of Sovereign Press books suggests that Gorham was the guiding spirit of the Valorian Society, who appears as author of the Sovereign Press books Human History Viewed As Sovereign Individuals Versus Manipulated Masses (1986) and Gangs and Governments: The Human Predicament (1991). As noted above, Erik Holden claims to have been founder of the American Christian Church, and at least one Sovereign Press book contains an endorsement from the Institute for Historical Review.

Bibliography of Gorham's Books and Booklets

(probably not complete, does not include possible pseudonymous works)

  • The Culture of Individual Integrity - Metropolitan Press (1951)
  • Sovereign Manifesto - Sovereign Press (1968)
  • Pagan Reality - Sovereign Press (1970)
  • The Ancient Story of Selentag - Sovereign Press (1970)
  • The Six Disciplines of Man's Being and Man's Relation to Government - Sovereign Press (1974)
  • Curse of the Ring: An Archetypal Translation of Richard Wagner's the Rhinegold - Sovereign Press (1975)
  • Melvin Gorham's Interpretation of Richard Wagner's The Valkyrie: A Play in Three Acts - Sovereign Press (1976)
  • The Ring Cycle - Sovereign Press (1979)
  • Atomic War And You: As An individual - Sovereign Press (1982)
  • Melvin Gorhan's Interpretation of Richard Wagner's The Rhinegold - Sovereign Press (rev. ed. 1990) - illus. Sanghuine
  • Kris Krinkle and the Moon Princess - Sovereign Press (1991) - (rev ed. of The Ancient Story of Selentag (1970), above)

External link

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