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Best of the Bookman

Highlighted articles from our archives.

Eric Voegelin: A Philosopher’s Journey Volume 18, Number 4 (Summer 1978)
“In our institutionalized society, it is indeed a phenomenon to have created a philosophic school without a graduate school as a base.” This 1978 essay from our archives looks at three distinct stages in the development of the thought of this key political philosopher.
The Middling Mind Volume 31, Number 3 (Fall 1991)
Modesty Is the Best Policy Volume 39, Number 3 (Fall 1999)
Dueling Visions Volume 39, Number 3 (Fall 1999)
No More Idols: Taking Measure of a Modern Prophet Volume 34, Number 4 (Winter 1994)
An Integrated Vision Volume 39, Number 3 (Fall 1999)
Paul Elmer More and the Relevance of Life and Letters Volume 22, Number 2 (Winter 1982)
In this essay from 1982, Mr. Jamieson reviews the life and thought of the great Humanist critic turned Christian apologist.
The Problem of Democratic Individualism Volume 28, Number 3 (Spring 1988)
In this item from 1988, Peter Augustine Lawler looks at both Tocqueville and Robert Bellah to illuminate the problem of democratic individualism.
Strong Essays on Burke Volume 9, Number 2 (Winter 1969)
Defining the Just Society Volume 13, Number 2 (Winter 1973)
Can America Find Order? Volume 12, Number 2 (Winter 1972)
‘Love Divine’: Remembering Gerhart Niemeyer Volume 37, Number 4 (Winter 1997)
An Extraordinary Book Volume 31, Number 3 (Fall 1991)
The Rebirth of a Christian State Volume 31, Number 2 (Summer 1991)
Conservatism and Decline Volume 14, Number 1 (Autumn 1973)
Unamuno: No Evangelist, No Secularist Volume 15, Number 1 (Autumn 1974)
Liberal Impartiality Volume 6, Number 1 (Autumn 1965)
A Dark Prospect Volume 14, Number 1 (Autumn 1973)
These Marks of Remembrance Volume 29, Number 4 (Summer 1989)
Leviathan’s Predictable Servants Volume 6, Number 1 (Autumn 1965)
The Critics of Burke Volume 31, Number 3 (Fall 1991)
The Moral Imperative of Edmund Burke Volume 31, Number 3 (Fall 1991)
Thank You, Gerhart Niemeyer Volume 37, Number 4 (Winter 1997)
This concise “Best of the Bookman” essay from 1997 honors the late Notre Dame professor Gerhart Niemeyer, student of Voegelin and authority on ideologies, and suggests some of his enduring legacies—including a very Platonic lesson—were those taught by example.
The Conservative Mind Renewed Volume 19, Number 2 (Winter 1979)
We mark the 60th anniversary of Russell Kirk’s The Conservative Mind in 2013. In this “Best of the Bookman” review from 1979, Senior Fellow George H. Nash reviews the sixth edition on the book’s 25th anniversary.
Farming, Community, and Culture Volume 34, Number 4 (Winter 1994)
An Exercise in Polemic Volume 38, Number 2 (Summer 1998)
Reflections on the Fundamental Law Volume 32, Number 2 (Spring 1992)
A Blinkered Life of Burke Volume 33, Number 4 (Fall 1993)
Burke Endures Volume 37, Number 4 (Winter 1997)
True Ethical Humanism Volume 33, Number 4 (Fall 1993)
A Conservative Scholar’s Wisdom Volume 31, Number 2 (Summer 1991)
The Character of Our Constitution Volume 38, Number 1 (Spring 1998)
Living Conservatism Volume 33, Number 4 (Fall 1993)
The Unknown Hegel Volume 29, Number 4 (Summer 1989)
Sir Henry Sumner Maine on Democracy Volume 18, Number 4 (Summer 1978)
Rediscovering a Neglected Conservative Mind Volume 34, Number 2 (Fall 1994)
Notes on the Cultural Revolution Volume 11, Number 1 (Autumn 1970)
In this 1970 essay, the future professor makes a classic argument that scientism is a true cultural revolution, an attempt to deny our true humanity.
Natural Law or Nihilism? Volume 29, Number 4 (Summer 1989)
Dos Passos: A Reassessment Volume 10, Number 2 (Winter 1970)
In this “Best of the Bookman” essay from 1970, novelist Richard Hill offers a reappraisal of the writings of John Dos Passos, whose work always returns to “the dream of the little man, the small farmer and worker who wants to be free from centralization and tyranny.”
The Declaration as the Constitution Volume 34, Number 1 (Summer 1994)
An American Classic Volume 22, Number 1 (Autumn 1981)
The Architecture of a Man’s Time Volume 29, Number 4 (Summer 1989)
Mistaken Identities Volume 34, Number 1 (Summer 1994)
Subterranean Truths Volume 20, Number 2 (Winter 1980)
The Relevance of T. S. Eliot Volume 12, Number 3 (Spring 1972)
America Is Hard to See Volume 13, Number 3 (Spring 1973)
Many Liberalisms Volume 37, Number 3 (Fall 1997)
Liberal Idealism Critiqued Volume 37, Number 3 (Fall 1997)
The Perceptivity of Isaac Hecker Volume 30, Number 4 (Summer 1990)
Practical Sermons Volume 37, Number 3 (Fall 1997)
The Arrogant Elite Volume 37, Number 3 (Fall 1997)
A Philosopher of Ordinary Language Volume 30, Number 4 (Summer 1990)
The Household Gods of Freedom Volume 18, Number 4 (Summer 1978)
Belloc’s Social Thought Volume 21, Number 2 (Winter 1981)
Uncanny Tales of the Moral Imagination Volume 19, Number 4 (Summer 1979)
The Art of Intimacy Volume 16, Number 1 (Autumn 1975)
The Private World of Unamuno Volume 15, Number 4 (Summer 1975)
The Light Invisible Volume 41, Nos. 1–2 (Fall 2001)
Outposts of Culture Volume 43, Number 1 (Fall 2003)
A Call to Timelessness Volume 5, Number 1 (Autumn 1964)
The Third Road Volume 4, Number 1 (Winter 1964)
Textbooks and the Audience for Poetry Volume 4, Number 2 (Spring 1964)
In this essay from Spring 1964, poet Robert Beum points to some virtues of poetry and offers a modest proposal to address the decline of poetry in American culture.
Oakeshott and Conservatism Volume 5, Number 1 (Autumn 1964)
A New ‘Rasselas’ Volume 3, Number 1 (Autumn 1962)
Memo to Irving Babbitt Volume 3, Number 1 (Autumn 1962)
In this Best of the Bookman essay from 1962, a writer who was then an associate professor of English at Michigan State, wrote a letter to Irving Babbitt, who died in 1933, assessing the state of education and culture in light of Babbit’s concerns during his lifetime.
For Our Time Volume 1, Number 3 (Spring 1961)
This review essay from one of our first editions in 1961 looks at an anthology of Edmund Burke.
The Achievement of Irving Babbitt Volume 2, Number 1 (Autumn 1961)
In this essay from Autumn 1961, Milton Hindus looks back at the life and thought of Irving Babbitt, an important influence on T. S. Eliot and many others.
A Literary Patrimony Volume 34, Number 2 (Fall 1994)
In this article from our 1994 Memorial issue, Russell Kirk's daughter Cecilia discusses the literary heritage that she was given by Kirk’s regular evening readings.
The Youthful Writings of Russell Kirk Volume 34, Number 2 (Fall 1994)
In this article from our memorial issue, one of Russell Kirk’s assistants reviews his juvenalia and points out continuities with his mature work.
Mr. Conservative Volume 34, Number 2 (Fall 1994)
In this excerpt from our memorial issue, the legendary professor of philosophy from the University of Dallas offers an homage to his friend Russell Kirk.
Death of a Giant Volume 34, Number 2 (Fall 1994)
Another tribute to Dr. Kirk from our memorial issue. The former publisher of National Review explains the difference between conservatism and “classical liberalism” and Kirk’s irreplaceable role in intellectual history.
An Augustine for Our Age Volume 34, Number 2 (Fall 1994)
A memorial to Russell Kirk from our 1994 tribute edition, from one of Dr. Kirk's personal assistants.
Russell Kirk: An Appreciation Volume 34, Number 2 (Fall 1994)
Another essay from our 1994 memorial issue. Human nature, as Kirk reminded us, is a constant.
Knight of Truth Volume 34, Number 2 (Fall 1994)
First Principles: Remedy for a Nation at Risk Volume 33, Number 1 (Winter 1993)
In Praise of Latin Assorted Items from Our Archives
This “Best of the Bookman” essay from the 1980s looks at the role of Latin in education between 1935 and 1985—and its consequences.
Universities: American, European, Third World Volume 21, Number 3 (Spring 1981)
In this 1981 installment from our archives, the late historian Thomas Molnar assesses the state of the modern university. Don’t be misled by the innocuous title: Molnar looks at institutions around the world to illustrate his argument that modern education is now wholly separated from true scholarship.
Robert Nisbet and the Idea of Community Volume 18, Number 3 (Spring 1978)
This “Best of the Bookman” essay from 1978 discusses Robert Nisbet's understanding of community and in particular his reading of the great sociologists on the subject of the severe and even pathological isolation of the individual in modern society.
The Oracle of the South Assorted Items from Our Archives
Habit and Being in Burke Volume 5, Number 1 (Autumn 1964)
This classic essay from 1963 introduces an important theme in the political thought of Edmund Burke. We need to cultivate habit because habit performs complex tasks with greater ease than does the conscious reason.
The Rescue of Culture Assorted Items from Our Archives
The Older Rhetoric Revisited: Hugh Blair and the Public Virtue of Style Assorted Items from Our Archives
The Deviant University Volume 10, Number 1 (Autumn 1969)
This 1969 essay, written during the educational uprisings of the time, is probably not the response to the student radicals expected from a conservative writer. And his critique of the modern university system still hits home today.
Education as Part of America’s Secular Religion Assorted Items from Our Archives
This essay from one of the very first numbers of the University Bookman in 1960 offers a fascinating mix of timeless reflection on the role of education and a window into the state of higher education half a decade ago.
Max Lerner’s America Assorted Items from Our Archives
In this “Best of the Bookman” essay, Russell Kirk amuses his readers with an acerbic review of a pretentious book, the 1957 third edition of Max Lerner’s America as a Civilization. Kirk’s critiques of a (literal) textbook case of liberalism are still worth serious reflection.
The Big Life of Brownson Assorted Items from Our Archives
The Farewell Address Revisited Volume 22, Number 3 (Spring 1982)
In this “Best of the Bookman” essay from 1982, Russell Kirk's friend John Bowling takes a careful look at George Washington's Farewell Address, offering a helpful summary of its concerns and a discussion of its origins and importance.
Christian Studies and the Liberal Arts College Volume 21, Number 4 (Summer 1981)
This lecture from 1980 was given at the launch of the Christian Studies Institute at Hillsdale College. Niemeyer makes a strong case for the central place of belief, and more specifically of Christianity, in a liberal arts education. “A thinking person needs purpose and insight. If his liberal education has not prepared his mind for those ultimate questions, it has totally failed him.”
Resisting the Imperial Academy Assorted Items from Our Archives
“To read Panichas is to be reminded what a noble thing conservatism is—and how little of it is promoted by most of the politicos who fly under its flag.”
Discerning of Spirits Assorted Items from Our Archives
In this review from our archives, the late Dr. Panichas reviews a book on the novels of Fyodor Dostoevsky and addresses reasons the great writer is misunderstood in the modern age.
America’s Fin de Siècle: End of a Century or a Civilization? Volume 30, Number 4 (Summer 1990)
Is our culture terminally decadent? In this “Best of the Bookman” essay from 1990, Gleaves Whitney looks at a collection of essays by Jacques Barzun on the status of American culture. It seems to have held up well in the twenty-plus years since its release.
The Enduring Brownson Volume 33, Number 3 (Summer 1993)
In this “Best of the Bookman” essay from 1993, Peter J. Stanlis looks at a book on the nineteenth century thinker Orestes Brownson and his conception of “the American Spirit.”
Modern Flaws and Lasting Norms Volume 10, Number 1 (Autumn 1969)
In this “Best of the Bookman” essay from 1969, Dr. Nicholas Joost reviews Russell Kirk’s Enemies of the Permanent Things. Readers interested in history and literature will be interested in the tone as much as his fascinating treatment of Kirk’s theme.
The Dark Ages of the Enlightenment Volume 3, Number 1 (Autumn 1962)
In this “Best of the Bookman” essay from 1962, Peter J. Stanlis looks at a book on the thinking of the Enlightenment and its consequences for the present age. “In our time, as never before since Descartes, unbounded faith in the methodology of physical science in human affairs has become an end in itself.”
Wilhelm Roepke and the ‘Third Road’ Volume 18, Number 1 (Autumn 1977)
In this “Best of the Bookman” essay from 1977, Patrick Boarman presents a survey of the writings of Wilhelm Roepke (1899–1966), the German economist and antitotalitarian. He presents Roepke as a defender of the free market system but with a clear understanding of its limits—as a central twentieth century proponent, in fact, of a humane economy.
The Merging of Cultures Volume 15, Number 4 (Summer 1975)
This review essay from 1975 from the late Notre Dame professor of political scientist looks at the historic role of Westernization in Russia and China. Did the importation or imposition of semirationality lead to the fall of these great cultures to totalitarianism?
The Great Historian of Culture Volume 33, Number 4 (Fall 1993)
Russell Hittinger reviews a biography of the Catholic historian Christopher Dawson in this “Best of the Bookman” from 1993.
The Faith of Men of Letters Volume 27, Number 4 (Fall 1987)
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.”
A Guide to Voegelin’s Thought Assorted Items from Our Archives
In this review published in the early 1980s, Gregory Wolfe looks at an early collection of essays on the work of the philosopher Eric Voegelin (1901–1985), who famously criticized ideological efforts to “immanentize the eschaton.” The essays offer a good introduction to the scope of Voegelin’s thought and the concerns of some critics.
The Stature of John Courtney Murray Volume 33, Number 2 (Spring 1993)

All great systems, ethical or political, attain their ascendency over the minds of men by virtue of their appeal to the imagination; and when they cease to touch the chords of wonder and mystery and hope, their power is lost, and men look elsewhere for some set of principles by which they may be guided.

Russell Kirk

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The Edmund Burke Society of America is pleased to announce a call for papers and open registration for “Edmund Burke and Patriotism,” their third conference on Edmund Burke. It will be held on February 27 and 28, 2015 at Villanova University. Keynote addresses will be from David Bromwich, Michael Brown, and Regina Janes. Please see this link for details and to register. (27 Aug 2014)

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