Author: Russell Kirk (Russell Kirk)

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The Age of Nixon
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The Age of Nixon

Russell Kirk, a venerated conservative man of letters, weighs in on Nixon’s response to the media-incited campaign against him.

Escape from Grub Street
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Escape from Grub Street

[This review first appeared in the October 1990 issue of Chronicles.] Walter Scott, in 1820, wrote that Fielding is “father of the English Novel.” Yet James Russell Lowell, in 1881, remarked to an English audience that “We really know almost as little of Fielding’s life as of Shakespeare’s.” Lives of Fielding, or important essays about...

The Mind and Heart of T.S. Eliot
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The Mind and Heart of T.S. Eliot

[This article first appeared in the June 1985 issue of Chronicles.] “Fuimus Troes, fuit Ilium et ingens Gloria Teucrorum.” (We once were Trojans, there once was Troy, and the vast glory of the Teucrian race.) -Vergil Peter Ackroyd: T. S. Eliot: A Life: Simon & Schuster; New York. “Ackroyd’s is the most comprehensive full-length critical biography...

Reader’s Digest
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Reader’s Digest

From the October 1988 issue of Chronicles. “Ask the booksellers of London what is become of all these lights of the world.” —Edmund Burke Some 40 nonclassic books are discussed by Professor Perrin in this pleasant volume of literary preferences. By a classic, Noel Perrin means a work that everyone recognizes as highly important, even though...

The Age of Nixon
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The Age of Nixon

From the July 1990 issue of Chronicles. This temperate and thorough book commences with a detailed description of President Nixon’s activities on May 8 and 9, 1970, when thousands of young people had poured into Washington to protest the American expedition into Cambodia. This was the most dramatic of the several crises in Richard Nixon’s...

Mysterious Island
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Mysterious Island

Missaukee County, in the heart of the lower peninsula of Michigan, is perfectly flat and perfectly rural, its farms possessed by Dutch Calvinists. When first I, aged 17, traveled across the county, every farmhouse and every barn was ornamented by conspicuous lightning rods, the rustics having been duped by some ingenious salesman. When I inquired...

Escape from Grub Street
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Escape from Grub Street

Walter Scott, in 1820, wrote that Fielding is “father of the English Novel.” Yet James Russell Lowell, in 1881, remarked to an English audience that “We really know almost as little of Fielding’s life as of Shakespeare’s.” Lives of Fielding, or important essays about him, have been written by distinguished men of letters—Arthur Murphy, Walter...

The Age of Nixon
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The Age of Nixon

This temperate and thorough book commences with a detailed description of President Nixon’s activities on May 8 and 9, 1970, when thousands of young people had poured into Washington to protest the American expedition into Cambodia. This was the most dramatic of the several crises in Richard Nixon’s life. As Dr. Parmet writes, “Nixon’s postmortem...

Dancing Man
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Dancing Man

A few months past there came to visit us for a weekend, at our house in the backwoods, Mr. Andrew Lytle, man of letters, aged 87 years. Although there are not many big houses farther north than ours, and although Mr. Lytle is very much a man of the South, he felt at home here....

The Ethics of English
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The Ethics of English

“When a thing ceases to be a subject of controversy, it ceases to be a subject of interest.” —William Hazlitt The treason of the teacher of English: that is the principal subject of Professor Booth’s discourses over two turbulent decades in the academy. Dr. Booth, a temperate rhetorician, does not call this dereliction of duty...

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Reader’s Digest

“Ask the booksellers of London what is become of all these lights of the world.” —Edmund Burke Some 40 nonclassic books are discussed by Professor Perrin in this pleasant volume of literary preferences. By a classic, Noel Perrin means a work that everyone recognizes as highly important, even though one may never have opened it:...

An Invisible Man
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An Invisible Man

“I never desire to converse with a man who has written more than he has read.” —Samuel Johnson The late Louis Lomax, columnist and television personality, had delivered a lecture at Ferris State College, Michigan, when there arose in the audience a large, militant, black activist. “Lomax,” said this challenger, grimly, “do you call yourself...

The Grandfather With the Tear-Gas Foundation Pen
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The Grandfather With the Tear-Gas Foundation Pen

Hard by the railroad station at the Michigan town of Plymouth there stands a bungalow so huge as to be almost majestic, now a kennel for well-bred poodles. There I was born, in 1918. The house—which belonged to my grandfather, Frank Pierce—was one of the earliest of prefabricated dwellings, purchased from Sears, Roebuck, and Company,...

The Unnatural History of Giant Ideology
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The Unnatural History of Giant Ideology

Born in a Parisian coffeehouse during the first year of the 19th century, Ideology has grown gigantic in our time. Infant Ideology was consecrated to an educational reform; the colossus Ideology that now bestrides the world is engaged successfully in the extirpation of culture. There comes to my mind often, when someone innocently utters such...

A Voice From Down South
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A Voice From Down South

“Had he been even a Yankee, this genius would have been rendered immediately manifest to his countrymen.” —Edgar Allan Poe “All a rhetorician’s rules,” we learn from Hudibras, “teach him but to name his tools.” Professor Bradford, who knows much about the art of rhetoric, is a massive exception to this observation. This is a...

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The Mind and Heart of T.S. Eliot

“Fuimus Troes, fuit Ilium et ingens Gloria Teucrorum. “ (We once were Trojans, there once was Troy, and the vast glory of the Teucrian race.) -Vergil   Peter Ackroyd: T. S. Eliot: A Life; Simon & Schuster; New York. “Ackroyd’s is the most comprehensive full-length critical biography we have of this almost talismanic figure of literary...

Essay: The Literature of Order
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Essay: The Literature of Order

Nature imitates art: so Oscar Wilde instructs us. Whether or not natural sunsets imitate Turner’s painted sunsets, surely human nature is developed by human arts. “Art is man’s nature,” in Burke’s phrase: modeling ourselves upon the noble creations of the great writer and the great painter, we become fully human by emulation of the artist’s...