News and Site Highlights Archives
(Also see our newsletter, Permanent Things.)
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Annette Kirk Remembers Valerie Eliot
Kirk Center President Annette Kirk has written a brief remembrance of Valerie Eliot, their meetings, and the literary friendship of their late husbands.
We are pleased to release the Fall 2012 Permanent Things, the latest number of the Russell Kirk Center newsletter, featuring updates on recent events and seminars at the Center.
Valerie Eliot (1926–2012)
We honor the life and memory of Valerie Eliot, who died earlier this month. Kirk Center Secretary Dr. Ben Lockerd has written a brief memorial for a charming lady who carefully guarded her husband’s literary legacy.
Kirk’s Ghostly Tales
Jeffrey D. Pearce recently guest edited two “lib guides”—thematic lists of reading resources—for the library of Everett Community College in Everett, Washington. In “Ghostly Sightings…And Other Scary Stories…”, Pearce links to Russell Kirk’s short story anthology Ancestral Shadows, the essay “A Cautionary Note on the Ghostly Tale,” and Dr. Kirk reading “There’s a Long, Long Trail A-Winding.” In “A Tribute to Ray Bradbury,” he features a quote by Dr. Kirk and a link to his essay on Bradbury.
A summary of the Conservative Mind
Aaron McLeod, a former Wilbur Fellow, has written an excellent Summary of Russell Kirk’s The Conservative Mind, the first number in the Alabama Policy Institute’s “Essential Readings for the Modern Conservative” series. Aaron takes 70 pages to explain the themes and approach of Kirk’s 509-page book, and we commend him for his fine work and recommend this free PDF e-book to all who would like to become acquainted with Kirk’s thought and the conservative intellectual tradition. It will whet your appetite.
Kirk’s most popular book
What was Russell Kirk’s most popular book during his lifetime? Perhaps surprisingly, it is the novel, Old House of Fear, which the New York Times called “a grandly satisfactory tale of vivid adventure.” Eerdmans released a new edition in 2007, and this morally weighty thriller is now also available on Kindle.
Morton Township Library honors Russell Kirk with dedication of display.
The new Morton Township library, a short walk from the Kirk Center in the village of Mecosta, Michigan, now features a display case and a bust of Dr. Kirk in its Fireside Room. The dedication ceremony was held on July 28, 2012. The local paper, The Pioneer of Big Rapids, reported that in her remarks, library director Mary Ann Lenon “emphasized Kirk’s unique share in the foundation of the library back in the mid-1960s, and noted the Kirk family’s continuing leadership in promoting not only the library itself, but also cultural growth and awareness throughout the area.” Kirk Center president Annette Kirk and director of publications Dr. Jeffrey O. Nelson both spoke at the dedication ceremony.
Ray Bradbury, In Memoriam
Ray Bradbury, a close friend of Russell Kirk, died on June 5, 2012 at age 91 in Los Angeles. He was the author of numerous novels and stories beloved by several generations of readers worldwide, especially The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, Dandelion Wine, Fahrenheit 451, and Something Wicked This Way Comes. Bradbury was a friend of the permanent things, a fact that Kirk and many other readers grasped and appreciated.
Charles W. Colson
The Russell Kirk Center is sad to hear of the death of Chuck Colson. He will mostly be remembered for the wonderful work he did with prisoners, giving their lives dignity and meaning.
After his time in prison, Colson devoted himself to cultural renewal, which he saw as essential in fending off the collapse of civilization. He saw our duty to be a people of conviction, to inflame the moral imagination of the West, as clear, no matter the outcome. Colson concludes his book, Against the Night, by asking, “Can the barbarians be resisted? I hope and believe so . . . but even if they are not, we must go forward in obedience, in hope, and in joy. For those who are ‘signed by the cross of Christ go gaily in the dark’. This is the challenge—and the promise—before us.”
Sunday, April 29, marks the eighteenth anniversary of the death of Russell Kirk. He would have agreed with the convictions Colson expressed, and to give them added emphasis may have invoked lines of T. S. Eliot: “There is only the fight to recover what has been lost. For us there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.”
(Photo: Charles W. Colson, William F. Buckley, and Annette Kirk at a 2003 White House celebration of the 50th anniversary of The Conservative Mind.)