Russell Kirk (1918-1994) was the author of some thirty-two books, hundreds of periodical essays, and many short stories. Both Time and Newsweek have described him as one of America’s leading thinkers, and The New York Times acknowledged the scale of his influence when in 1998 it wrote that Kirk’s 1953 book The Conservative Mind “gave American conservatives an identity and a genealogy and catalyzed the postwar movement.”

The Imaginative Conservative at 9

By |2019-07-10T09:30:47-05:00July 9th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Russell Kirk, Senior Contributors, The Imaginative Conservative, TIC|

Inspired by the writings of Russell Kirk, The Imaginative Conservative’s distinctiveness lies in recognizing that being “conservative” must represent something beyond mere political cravings. If one is to be conservative, one must conserve what deserves to be conserved—all that is best in experience, all that is best in metaphysical desires, and all that is [...]

“Vital Remnants” at 20

By |2019-07-10T16:53:38-05:00July 8th, 2019|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Russell Kirk, Senior Contributors|

Gary Gregg proposed in “Vital Remnants” that we see the Founding as the Founders saw it, not as we wish them to have seen it. In this, Dr. Gregg went directly against the reigning historiography of the 1990s and its fetishist obsession with social justice, class, and gender. Twenty years ago the Intercollegiate Studies Institute [...]

Russell Kirk’s Forgotten “Intelligent Citizen’s Guide to Conservatism”

By |2019-06-14T14:10:59-05:00June 9th, 2019|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Russell Kirk, Senior Contributors|

Within a few months of its release in early May 1953, Russell Kirk’s dissertation-turned-massive-best-selling book, “The Conservative Mind,” became an international media sensation. But few know of his later work, “An Intelligent Citizen’s Guide to Conservatism.” It is a deeply profound book, exploring the very depths and widths of the human person. Editor’s Note: This [...]

Ten Conservative Principles

By |2019-06-06T18:45:02-05:00May 20th, 2019|Categories: Conservatism, Essential, Featured, RAK, Russell Kirk|

Being neither a religion nor an ideology, the body of opinion termed conservatism possesses no Holy Writ and no Das Kapital to provide dogmata. So far as it is possible to determine what conservatives believe, the first principles of the conservative persuasion are derived from what leading conservative writers and public men have professed [...]

Measuring the Influence of Russell Kirk and Other Conservative Authors

By |2019-05-17T10:22:05-05:00May 12th, 2019|Categories: Christopher Dawson, Conservatism, Culture, Eric Voegelin, Irving Babbitt, Robert Nisbet, Russell Kirk|

By using Google’s Ngram Viewer, we find that Russell Kirk’s reputation hit its highpoint in 1964, and then began a painful decline that remained unabated until his death in 1994. What does Ngram tell us about other conservative authors, like Robert Nisbet, Leo Strauss, Eric Voegelin, and Christopher Dawson? While I would never consider [...]

The Radicalism of Russell Kirk

By |2019-04-28T15:53:42-05:00April 28th, 2019|Categories: Conservatism, Libertarianism, Politics, Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind|

The West has been undone by consumerism, the Sexual Revolution, outsourcing, urbanization, and centralization—all defended by modern conservatives as “the price we must pay” to live in a free and prosperous country. They’re wrong. As Russell Kirk argued, the principal function of government is not to ensure the material security and comfort of its [...]

Grace in the Garden: The Fall of Man & the British Pastoral Tradition

By |2019-06-12T16:09:14-05:00November 17th, 2018|Categories: Books, Featured, John Milton, Literature, Poetry, Russell Kirk, T.S. Eliot|

The transcendent ‘overcoming’ or reconciliation of the Fall of Man—that symbol of the cause of the disorder that we would wish re-ordered, of the return to the garden—is what great poetry graciously asks of us. “An intermediate nature... prevents the universe falling into two separate halves.” —Plato, Symposium (203b). Almost from the beginning of when human [...]

Why the Right Still Needs Russell Kirk

By |2019-05-30T12:10:26-05:00October 31st, 2018|Categories: Conservatism, Donald Trump, Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind|

When I bought The Conservative Mind in 1994, I thought it was probably a book about how bad President Bill Clinton and the Democrats were—because that’s what I thought conservatism was. I was nineteen, a high school graduate with no intention of attending university, and thought “conservative” simply meant whatever Rush Limbaugh had talked about that day. [...]

Russell Kirk’s Ghostly Tales: Horror and Eternity

By |2018-10-26T13:04:10-05:00October 25th, 2018|Categories: Ancestral Shadows, Books, Film, Heaven, Mystery, Russell Kirk|

Russell Kirk’s horror stories are fundamentally conservative, insinuating a chain of being that connects the living and the dead, reminding us of our duty and obligations to the past. They challenge us by piercing our day-to-day sense of the temporal with bright flashes of eternal order. And they lay upon us the heavy but joyous [...]

The Eternal Community of Russell Kirk

By |2019-04-23T15:42:19-05:00October 19th, 2018|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Community, Conservatism, Russell Kirk|

Russell Kirk never liked the word individualism, believing it both an incorrect way to understand the human person as well as aesthetically unattractive. Having read much of the great German and French Christian humanists in the 1940s and 1950s, Kirk accepted only the language of “personhood” and “personalism,” even in his long, pre-Catholic days. Indeed, [...]

Russell Kirk, Sage of Piety Hill: Planting Seeds for Generations to Come

By |2019-06-13T11:30:18-05:00October 19th, 2018|Categories: Barbara J. Elliott, Conservatism, Moral Imagination, Russell Kirk|

Russell and Annette Kirk with the author Driving across the snowy landscape of Michigan the day after Christmas in 1973, I was somewhat apprehensive. I had been invited to take part in the first seminar of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute in the ancestral home of Dr. Russell Kirk at Piety Hill. We were [...]

Firing the Imagination: The Legacy of Russell Kirk

By |2018-10-19T07:46:17-05:00October 19th, 2018|Categories: Conservatism, Prospects for Conservatives, Russell Kirk, The Imaginative Conservative, W. Winston Elliott III|

Russell Kirk offers us a rich legacy in words and deeds. If we heed them we may yet play our part in preserving our Republic’s ordered liberty... The thought of Dr. Russell Kirk has inspired many people and many projects, including the journal that you are now reading. Founded by Dr. Bradley Birzer and myself [...]

Columbus the Exemplar

By |2018-10-16T20:23:52-05:00October 7th, 2018|Categories: Christendom, Culture, History, Leadership, RAK, Russell Kirk, Timeless Essays|

Christopher Columbus offers us the example of those virtues that the old Romans called fortitude and constancy; and the example of those virtues that the early Christians called faith and hope... Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords readers the opportunity to join Russell Kirk as he considers the character and legacy of the [...]

Bradley Birzer and the Russell Kirk Revival

By |2018-08-24T23:45:10-05:00August 24th, 2018|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Russell Kirk|

While explicating Russell Kirk, Dr. Birzer is drawing attention to a larger conservative intellectual tradition and inviting a reconsideration of what that tradition has to offer. Dr. Birzer is here not merely an erudite and perceptive historian but also a thinker in his own right... Russell Kirk: American Conservative by Bradley Birzer (574 pages, University Press [...]