A Tribute to Russell Kirk
The death of Russell Kirk is an irreplaceable loss not only to his family and friends but to this review as well. For over thirty-three years he edited this publication, reminding us that education has for its ultimate ends wisdom and virtue. We present this special tribute issue of The University Bookman in affirmation of, and thanksgiving for, the life and legacy of Russell Kirk.
Included in this memorial issue is a statement by the governor of Michigan and a resolution proposed by our state senator, as well as remarks made at the services held in Michigan and New York. Additionally, three of the many literary assistants Kirk mentored over the years, Andrew Shaughnessy, Jeffrey O. Nelson, and Matthew Davis, contribute warm and interesting looks at Kirk. Two longtime friends and colleagues, William Rusher and Frederick D. Wilhelmsen, place him in a historical context, while Cecilia Kirk Nelson outlines the literary patrimony Kirk bequeathed to his four daughters. We conclude this memorial issue with the epilogue from his unpublished memoir, The Sword of Imagination.
Because my husband and I believed that it was important to encourage discussions of fundamental questions, we hosted seminars for hundreds of students in our home for over three decades. This association with the rising generation introduced us to thoughtful young people, many of whom—now published authors or active in politics or the professions—are contributors to and readers of this quarterly review. Through the pages of this journal, the editorial staff plans to carry on Kirk’s work of publishing individuals of all generations concerned about the transmission of our cultural patrimony.
As a new era of editorship commences, we want to assure our readers that we are committed to a policy of continuity. We hope to build upon the foundation that has been set for us—reviewing books and publishing original essays on cultural history, literature, politics, economics, and education—adding something of our own along the way, but working always within the framework of the traditional concerns of this review. Also in subsequent issues we will reprint selections from the voluminous writings of Russell Kirk, remembering with Eliot that “the communication of the dead is tongued with fire beyond the language of the living.”
Posted: October 1, 2003 in Editor’s Notes.