Volume 27, Number 4 (Fall 1987)
Best of the Bookman 27 February 2011
The Faith of Men of Letters
In this review from 1987, the late Dr. Panichas reviews Russell Kirk’s book on Eliot—he calls it Kirk’s greatest work—and discusses the cultural role of “the man of letters.”
The moral imagination is the principal possession that man does not share with the beasts. It is man’s power to perceive ethical truth, abiding law, in the seeming chaos of many events. Without the moral imagination, man would live merely day to day, or rather moment to moment, as dogs do. It is the strange faculty—inexplicable if men are assumed to have an animal nature only—of discerning greatness, justice, and order, beyond the bars of appetite and self-interest.
Russell Kirk, Enemies of the Permanent Things, 1969
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