Highlights & News
Regnery Gateway Publishes Russell Kirk’s Concise Guide to Conservatism
On April 23, 2019, Regnery Gateway will release Russell Kirk’s Concise Guide to Conservatism, a new edition of a 1957 book originally titled The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Conservatism. This slim volume is an essential summary of conservative principles and a useful primer for anyone seeking to understand the origins and nature of conservatism better. The book includes a new introduction by Wilfred McClay, the G. T. and Libby Blankenship Chair in the History of Liberty at the University of Oklahoma.
Most amazingly of all, this book has required no dramatic revision after the passage of sixty-two years. That very fact gives it unexpected weight. Kirk’s insights about family, the importance of private property, education, religion, and a dozen other subjects not only remain completely sound but now seem downright prophetic. See if you don’t agree. If that’s not proof that Kirk’s conservatism was grounded in the Permanent Things, I don’t know what is.
– Wilfred M. McClay
If you know someone who is interested in conservative principles and have wished there was a summary that you could give them, there is now such a succinct book written by “the person most responsible for reinvigorating the intellectual heritage of conservatism in this country”(Roger Kimball, The New Criterion, January 2019).
The University Bookman Hosts Poetry Reading in New York
James Matthew Wilson, professor at Villanova University and poetry editor for Modern Age, read from and discussed his new collection of poetry for a University Bookman gathering in New York City on March 28. For the first time, James read in public a sonnet “For Russell Kirk” that he wrote to commemorate the centenary of Kirk’s birth and which will be published in National Review. The event was held at the beautiful St. Michael’s rectory before a full house of Bookman readers, some of whom traveled from other states to attend this gathering.
As a graduate student, James was a Wilbur Fellow at the Kirk Center. Of the lasting significance of his time as a Fellow, he writes:
All my study and my writing seeks to extend the tradition that Kirk so marvelously described in his many books; his was the mind of a historian, mine, I suppose, of a poet and philosopher, and so I have sought especially to understand the role that the fine arts play within a decent human existence and to understand as well those metaphysical principles which lie beneath and give form to the disposition of the conservative.
C-SPAN History Airs Conservative Writers’ Panel Discussion Exploring the Legacy of Russell Kirk
On November 13, 2018, University Bookman editor Gerald Russello, National Review Institute senior fellow John O’Sullivan, and Modern Age editor Daniel McCarthy gathered to discuss Russell Kirk’s influence, legacy, and the future of conservatism at an event in New York City called Kirk, Conservatism, and the Next Century. This Kirk Centennial event was co-sponsored by the Russell Kirk Center and the National Review Institute. C-SPAN history was on site to film the event which aired in early 2019 and can be viewed in its entirety at the link below.
Plymouth Library Hosts Capacity Audience
for Presentation on Russell Kirk
On October 19, 2018–100 years to the date that Russell Kirk was born in Plymouth, Michigan–the Plymouth District Library held an event celebrating his achievements. James Person, editor of Imaginative Conservatism: The Letters of Russell Kirk (2018), spoke on Kirk the man and the writer, accompanied by rarely-seen photos from Kirk’s boyhood in Michigan. In a surprise appearance, representative Jeff Noble presented a tribute in honor of Dr. Kirk from the State of Michigan. Among the several Wilbur Fellow alumni in attendance was attorney Max Goss, who spoke about the Society for Law and Culture, a new program he founded under the auspices of the Kirk Center. A stunning cake resembling a stack of Dr. Kirk’s most popular books made by a local bakery pleased the crowd. Each attendee received a booklet entitled “Russell Kirk: Pillar of Tradition,” a chapter from Ink Trails: Michigan’s Famous and Forgotten Authors, to bring wider attention to the work and thought of “Michigan’s greatest man of letters.”
Romanian Group Launches Essay Contest on Kirk’s Books
Remus Tanasă, a Romanian reader of Dr. Kirk’s books, founded the Russell Kirk Romania group in 2016 to promote Kirk’s ideas and books in that country. On October 18, Professor Tanasă launched an essay contest on the topic “Russell Kirk, Conservatism, and the Permanent Things,” sponsored by Russell Kirk Romania and LaPunkt magazine, to increase awareness of Dr. Kirk’s books. The contest winners will be selected by a distinguished panel of six judges which includes Dr. Mihail Neamțu, a scholar and author of ten books who was a Wilbur Fellow at the Kirk Center in 2008.
The Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal provided copies of several books for the essay contest. We are delighted to hear of this initiative by Professor Tanasă and encourage anyone who speaks Romanian to visit their website “Russell Kirk Romania.”
Imaginative Conservatism: The Letters of Russell Kirk
A prolific author and wise cultural critic, Russell Kirk kept up a steady stream of correspondence with friends and colleagues throughout the world, but these letters have never been published until now. In Imaginative Conservatism: The Letters of Russell Kirk, editor James E. Person, Jr. presents for the first time 190 of Dr. Kirk’s most provocative and insightful letters. Published by the University of Kentucky Press in 2018, the collection includes correspondence between Kirk and prominent figures T. S. Eliot, William F. Buckley Jr., Ray Bradbury, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Charlton Heston, Nikolai Tolstoy, Wendell Berry, Richard Nixon, and Herbert Hoover, among many others. In addition, there are letters to less famous but no less significant friends, family members, colleagues, students, and ordinary readers of Dr. Kirk’s syndicated column. The volume provides insight not only to substantial autobiographical information, but to the twentieth century’s influential interpreters of American political and culture.
In National Review, Gerald Russello wrote that the publication of this collection of Kirk’s considerable correspondence “it is a great service to American intellectual history generally and to that of conservatism in particular.” The full review can be found here:
Kirk Center Welcomes Interns from Michigan Think Tanks
Summer interns from the Acton Institute and the Mackinac Center came together for a one-day conference at the Kirk Center. They chose their internships because they are interested in building a more free and virtuous society through sound public policy. Dr. Lee Edwards, a Distinguished Fellow at The Heritage Foundation, historian of American conservatism and longtime journalist, spoke to the group. Drawing upon his fascinating personal experiences in the Goldwater campaign, traveling with Reagan, and working with anti-communist leaders during the Soviet era, Dr. Edwards shared what he has learned in a lifetime dedicated to liberty. He encouraged that students to deepen their understanding of first principles and to seek imaginative ways in their life to create public policy that promotes human flourishing. After the group explored the Kirk library, they walked to lunch at the Kirk home escorted by a bagpiper, a former Wilbur Fellow and current professor at Northwood University. Meeting new friends and good conversation occurred throughout what was a perfect Michigan summer day. The group visited a local bookstore before heading back to Grand Rapids and Midland energized by their day-long retreat.
Permanent Things Spring 2018 Newsletter Spotlight
Former Wilbur Fellow translates Kirk’s The Roots of American Order into Russian
Translated by Marina Kizima, a Professor at the Department of World Literature and Culture of Moscow State Institute of International Relations, The Roots of American Order was published in Russian in 2017. Dr. Kazima has twice participated as a researcher in the Fulbright Program at Yale University and at Harvard University. Read more about her Wilbur Fellowship at the Kirk Center on page 2: Permanent Things Spring 2018.