James E. Person Jr.

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James E. Person Jr. is a writer, editor, and lecturer who has been involved with the activities of the Kirk Center since its founding in 1995. He was named a Senior Fellow in 2011.

A graduate of the University of Michigan and the University of Denver Publishing Institute, Mr. Person has worked in publishing for over thirty years. He has edited and written for many literary, historical, and biographical reference works, including Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism, Contemporary Authors, Short Story Criticism, Rock: The Essential Album Guide, Literature Criticism from 1400 to 1800, What Do I Read Next? and many other titles, including American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia. Mr. Person is also a freelance writer who has published over 200 essays, articles, and book reviews in the Virginia Quarterly Review, Modern Age, the Detroit News, National Review, the Washington Times, the University Bookman, Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity, Crisis, the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, the Raleigh News & Observer, and other venues. He contributes a column to the University Bookman titled “The Classics Revisited.”

Mr. Person was a friend of Russell Kirk and has written and spoken extensively on his life and work. His lectures, delivered at the Kirk Center, Young America’s Foundation’s Reagan Ranch Center, and elsewhere, include such topics as “Russell Kirk’s The American Cause, Then and Now,” “‘To Renew and Rebuild Civilization’: An Introduction to T. S. Eliot and His Significance,” “A Cook’s Tour of The Conservative Mind,” “‘For Such a Time as This’: Russell Kirk and the Uses of History,” and “‘The Ancient and Honorable Pastime of Snapdragon’: An Introduction to the Fiction of Russell Kirk.”

Mr. Person produced the first two books on the distinguished man of letters: The Unbought Grace of Life: Essays in Honor of Russell Kirk (1994) and Russell Kirk: A Critical Biography of a Conservative Mind (1999). At present, he is researching, compiling, and editing “The Selected Letters of Russell Kirk.” In addition, the final stages of editorial work are being completed on a compendium titled “The Quotable Kirk.”

A native of Virginia, Mr. Person is a specialist on the literature and history of the American South, and is honored to be a friend and biographer of the Virginian writer Earl Hamner, author of Spencer’s Mountain and The Homecoming, as well as the creator of the beloved long-running television series The Waltons. (Mr. Person’s well-received biography Earl Hamner: From Walton’s Mountain to Tomorrow appeared in 2005.)

He lives in Northville, Michigan, with his wife Lista. They have two grown children, David and Rebekah.

The twentieth-century conservative is concerned, first of all, with the regeneration of the spirit and character—with the perennial problem of the inner order of the soul, the restoration of the ethical understanding, and the religious sanction upon which any life worth living is founded. This is conservatism at the highest.

Russell Kirk

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Highlights

RIP Justice Scalia

We marked the passing of Antonin Scalia with a tribute in the University Bookman. Justice Scalia wrote a letter to Annette Kirk in 2003 on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of The Conservative Mind, noting his admiration for Russell Kirk and his writings.

Mar 2016

Fall Newsletter

imageThe latest number of the Russell Kirk Center newsletter (Fall 2015) has just been posted. It features news on the publication of The Politics of Prudence in Croatia, and photos of the host of scholars, students, and visitors who attend the many Kirk Center Programs. You can download it, and past issues, here.

Jan 2016

Birzer on Kirk

book cover image Russell Kirk: American Conservative, the new biography from Bradley J. Birzer, is now out from the University Press of Kentucky. Lee Edwards reviewed it for the Wall Street Journal and calls it “a beautifully written and deeply insightful biography.” And Wilfred M. McClay said in National Review, “Given the confused and dispirited state of American conservatism at the present moment, it is high time for a Russell Kirk revival. The appearance of Bradley J. Birzer’s splendid and exhaustively researched biography of Kirk just might provide the catalyst needed to set it in motion.”

Jan 2016