Sunday, September 16, 2012

Regarding Russell Kirk

I write here to feature the corpus of Russell Amos Kirk, that insightful man of letters who directed us toward the good, the true, and the real for our considerations of history, politics, education, and literature. The title of my dissertation project was "Russell Kirk and the Rhetoric of Order," so I certainly have a strong bias as regards to the contributory value of his work for the academy and beyond. Notably, the centrality of order for both individual and social life was an operative theme within Kirk’s speeches and writings throughout his life. For the time being, because I am pursuing a book publication for my dissertation, aspects of my study of Kirk's corpus will not be available here online.

Of course, with Kirk’s direction we are certainly not prompted to favor those contemporary trends of education that give primacy to specialization and utilization. However, I would here recommend Vigen Guroian's book, Rallying The Really Human Things: The Moral Imagination in Politics, Literature, and Everyday Life (especially the chapter, "Why Should Businessmen Read Great Literature?"), for it points readers to the ways in which the humanities/liberal arts can enhance our lives, regardless of one's station and career. So, whether you work in academia, government, or business, a focused study of Kirk’s books will give to you a substantive layer of intellectual enhancement. As possible starting points, I will here feature four important titles within Kirk's body of work as follows: Redeeming the TimeThe Politics of Prudence, Eliot and His Age: T.S. Eliot's Moral Imagination in the Twentieth Century, and Enemies of the Permanent Things: Observations of Abnormity in Literature and Politics.

Finally, I would like to also recommend the website of the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal in Mecosta, Michigan, where Mrs. Annette Kirk and others keep alive the moral and scholarly legacy of Dr. Kirk. I continue to be grateful to Mrs. Kirk for my time there as a Residential Wilbur Fellow from September of 2005 to May of 2006. The website of the Kirk Center is as follows:

Thank you for reading.

Dr. Eric Grabowsky
Dickinson, North Dakota