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Military service reinforced the traditionalist instincts of this shy and bookish young man: He deplored war and bureaucracy, and was horrified when the United States dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. When he left the Army, he returned to Michigan and moved to Piety Hill, the home of his great-grandparents in rural Mecosta, where he lived for the duration of his life.
Kirk traveled often, however, and doctoral studies took him to the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. It was from St. Andrews that Kirk wrote to the Chicago publisher Henry Regnery in the summer of He was on the lookout for critics of New Deal liberalism and secular humanism.
And then one presented himself.
Knopf, to whom Kirk first sent the manuscript, had requested he cut it in half. He intended for the reader to encounter his book as he had written it. Eliot replaced George Santayana in the subtitle beginning with the third edition, in The Conservative Mind was a critical and commercial success, turning its author into an intellectual celebrity. It also gave both a name and a philosophical and literary genealogy to a reemergent political persuasion: conservatism. Reihan Salam: Brett Kavanaugh and the future of elite conservatism. It was a question Kirk never quite answered.
As he reminded readers for decades, conservatism resists precise definition. There is no conservative platform applicable to all people, in all places, at all times. The Conservative Mind has provided generations of conservatives a sense of history and point of view. Where before conservatives had felt isolated, on the margins of political and cultural debate, they now could take their place in a great chain of thinkers, beginning in the modern era with Edmund Burke and continuing to the present.
His chapters on John Randolph and John Calhoun, defenders of the slave power, discomfit contemporary readers, yet he also greatly admired Abraham Lincoln. Here the plot is concerned with an American assigned by his employer to a bleak locale in rural Scotland—the same country where Kirk had attended graduate school. This was Kirk's most commercially successful and critically acclaimed fictional work, doing much to sustain him financially in subsequent years.
Jackman, an evil genius and nihilist intent upon wrecking destruction upon a world that failed to acknowledged his greatness and whom reviewers noted was a much more vividly drawn character than the hero Logan. Jackman appears to be a prototype of Kirk's best known character, Mandred Arcane, with the only difference being the former has no values while the latter does. Later novels were A Creature of the Twilight , a dark comedy satirizing postcolonial African politics; and Lord of the Hollow Dark , , set in Scotland, which explores the great evil inhabiting a haunted house.
A Creature of the Twilight concerns the adventures in Africa of a reactionary, romantic mercenary Mandred Arcane, a self-proclaimed mixture of Machiavelli and Sir Lancelot, who is an anachronistic survival of the Victorian Age who does not belong in the modern world and yet defiantly still exists, making him the "creature of the twilight". Arcane is both a dapper intellectual and a hardened man of action, an elderly man full of an unnatural vigor, who is hired by the son of the assassinated Sultan to put down a Communist rebellion in the fictional African nation of Hamnegri, which he does despite overwhelming odds.
The Lord of the Hollow Dark is set at the same Belgrummo estate first encountered in "Belgrummo's Hell" where an evil cult led by the Aleister Crowley -like character Apollinax have assembled to secure for themselves the "Timeless Moment" of eternal sexual pleasure by sacrificing two innocents, an young woman named Marina and her infant daughter in an ancient warren called the Weem under the Belgrummo Estate. Lovecraft, Kirk in the Lord of the Hollow Dark has Arcane survive a "horrid chthonian pilgrimage" as he faces dark supernatural forces, confront his own family's history of evil, and refuse the appeal of a "seductive, hubristic immorality".
Three more such collections have been published posthumously, but those only reprint stories found in the earlier volumes.
Many of Kirk's short stories, especially the ghost stories, were set in either Scotland or in the rural parts of his home state of Michigan. Among his novels and stories, certain characters tend to recur, enriching the already considerable unity and resonance of his fictional canon. Though—through their themes and prose -style—Kirk's fiction and nonfiction works are complementary, many readers of the one have not known of his work in the other. Having begun to write fiction fairly early in his career, Kirk appears to have stopped after the early s, while continuing his nonfiction writing and research through his last year of life.
For a comprehensive bibliography of his fiction, see the fiction section of his bibliography. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. American political theorist and writer. Plymouth, Michigan , U. Mecosta, Michigan , U. Annette Courtemanche m.
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Other organizations. Variants and movements. See also. American nationalism Bibliography Libertarianism List. Religious conservatism. Christian right Christian fundamentalism Jewish right Islamic fundamentalism Traditionalist Catholic.
National variants. Main article: Russell Kirk bibliography. The Russell Kirk Center. The Portable Conservative Reader. Viking: xxxviii. The American Conservative. The American Ideas Institute. Regina Magazine. General Features. Retrieved March 7, As republished in The University Bookman , November 10, The Atlantic. The Heritage Foundation. Regnery Publishing. Jaffa April 13, Jaffa Responds to Claes Ryn".
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