Russell Kirk

Russell Kirk (October 19, 1918 – April 29, 1994) was an American political theorist, moralist, historian, social critic, literary critic, and fiction author known for his influence on 20th century American conservatism. His 1953 book, The Conservative Mind, gave shape to the amorphous post–World War II conservative movement. Kirk is considered the chief proponent of traditionalist conservatism.

recent articles

Orestes Brownson: Orthodox Radical

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in the January 1991 print edition of Crisis Magazine. Nothing is deader than dead politics, we have been told. Why, then, revive the political essays of the philosopher, polemicist, and Catholic publicist Orestes Brownson (1803-1897)? Because the questions raised by Brownson confront us still. The “American Idea,” much discussed … Read more

Conservatism Requires a Religious Foundation

Not all religious people are conservatives; and not all conservatives are religious people. Christianity prescribes no especial form of politics. There have been famous radicals who were devout Christians—though most radicals have been nothing of the sort. All the same, there could be no conservatism without a religious foundation, and it is conservative people, by … Read more

What Should Children Read?

In recommending books to be read by young people from the age of seven to the age of twelve, this critic’s problem is not paucity, but plenitude. For the number of good books for young people is large, and it increases every year. So I set down here brief remarks about a select few books … Read more

Russell Kirk on the Moral Imagination

In the franchise bookshops of the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred eighty-one, the shelves are crowded with the prickly pears and the Dead Sea fruit of literary decadence. Yet no civilization rests forever content with literary boredom and literary violence. Once again, a conscience may speak to a conscience in the pages … Read more

Documentation: Who Was Orestes Brownson — Profile of an Orthodox Radical

Editor’s note: This essay by Russell Kirk constitutes the introduction to Orestes Brownson: Selected Political Essays, published this year by Transaction Books. Nothing is deader than dead politics, we have been told. Why, then, revive the political essays of the philosopher, polemicist, and Catholic publicist Orestes Brownson (1803-1897)? Because the questions raised by Brownson confront … Read more

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