News and Site Highlights Archives

(Also see our newsletter, Permanent Things.)

Roots in Russian

Newsletter coverThe Spring 2018 Permanent Things Newsletter is now available. News items include an announcement of Russell Kirk’s The Roots of American Order recently published in Russian for the first time. Translator Dr. Marina Kizima, a professor at Moscow State Institute, was a Wilbur Fellow at the Kirk Center while researching and writing on American literature, culture, and intellectual traditions.

May 2018

In Memoriam: Sally Sluhan Wright (1947–2018)

Sally Wright, a long-time family friend of the Kirks and the Kirk Center, passed away on June 15, 2018. Her father Clyde Sluhan, founder of Master Chemical Company in Ohio, and his wife Marian were great friends of Russell Kirk. The Sluhans exchanged many visits with the Kirks and on one occasion brought Count Nikolai Tolstoy, the Russian-English writer and politician, to visit the Kirks.

Sally was a prolific writer of mystery novels and an Edgar Alan Poe Award Finalist. Sally’s Ben Reese series chronicles the investigations of a WWII Ranger turned academic archivist in six mysteries that unfold in Britain, the U.S., and Italy where he researches arcane artifacts while seeking some sort of justice for the victims of unsolved murders. In her Jo Grant mystery series, the story is driven by the conflicts and emotional connections in three family businesses in the horse industry in Kentucky in the early 1960s. The University Bookman reviewed both series in an essay called “The Moral Imagination in the Mystery Novels of Sally Wright” by Ashlee Cowles.

Reviewers have compared her work to that of Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Josephine Tey, Margery Allingham, and Ngaio Marsh. Sally said that her literary influences ranged from all of those to Tolstoy and Jane Austen. “And yet it’s C. S. Lewis who’s probably influenced me most, through the whole body of his work, as a thinker, a person, and a writer,” she wrote. “In his Chronicles of Narnia and his metaphysical novels, The Great Divorce and The Screwtape Letters, he uses popular fiction to talk about what T. S. Eliot called ‘the permanent things’—consideration of morality, of origin, and spiritual meaning. It was those books that started me thinking about writing mysteries to begin with.”

Sally and her husband Joe were stalwart supporters of the Kirk Center. In honor of her memory, the Kirk Center is featuring the extensive personal interview that Sally conducted with Dr. Kirk.

Jun 2018

Undergraduate and Graduate Student Seminars This Spring

For a long weekend in March, Hillsdale College Honors Students gathered at the Kirk Center to explore the theme “Man as Maker in Moral Perspective.” Professor of Classics Eric Hutchinson guided the students on the complex topics of transhumanism and cloning, followed by readings from Ray Bradbury’s science fiction stories. Although the March winds deterred students from an afternoon walk, they rounded out the weekend with piano-playing and singing at the Kirk house.

Hillsdale Seminar March 2018

On April 26–29, the Kirk Center welcomes this year’s recipients of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s prestigious Richard M. Weaver Fellowships for a seminar about Plato’s writings on education, sponsored by The Liberty Fund of Indianapolis. Since 1964, the Weaver Fellowship Program has identified and supported graduate students committed to freedom-oriented teaching at the college level. This year, fifteen students from across the country were selected as Weaver Fellows. Dr. David Corey, professor of Political Science at Baylor University, and Dr. Richard Gamble, professor of history at Hillsdale College, will lead the discussions.

Apr 2018

Buckley Biographer Visits Kirk Library

The Kirk Center was pleased to host a research visit for prize-winning historian and former New York Times Book Review editor Sam Tanenhaus. Mr. Tanenhaus is the official biographer of William F. Buckley Jr. He made a trip from Connecticut to Mecosta to read the correspondence between Buckley and Kirk while enjoying the pleasant setting of the Kirk Library. Russell Kirk had a four-decades long friendship with Buckley, both admiring the other’s professionalism and contributions to the revival of the conservative tradition in America.

Jeff Nelson, Sam Tanenhaus, Annette Kirk

Apr 2018

Latest Newsletter

Newsletter coverThe new Permanent Things Newsletter is now available, featuring reports from a gathering of the John Adams Society of Harvard, highlights on recent Kirk Center Fellows, and a conference on the moral imagination in Kirk, Bradbury, Eliot, and others. We are also announcing an upcoming event for attorneys, and preparing for the Kirk Centenary in 2018.

Dec 2017

A Biographical Interview with Russell Kirk

Sally WrightWe have just posted an extensive biographical interview of Russell Kirk, conducted in 1989 by Sally Wright (whose novels were reviewed recently in the University Bookman). In “Russell Kirk: Reflections on a Vagrant Career,” Wright captured Kirk’s perspectives on his life, personality, conversion, opinions, and much more. The piece is a good introduction to Kirk for the new reader, and will also have much to interest those familiar with Kirk and his writings.

Dec 2017

Announcing Kirk on Campus

We are pleased to announce a web presence for Kirk on Campus, our new project that celebrates and defends the permanent things at America’s colleges and universities. As a unique source of cultural conservative thought, Kirk on Campus fills a critical niche in the national conversation. The program will bring scholars unashamed but not uncritical of the great legacy of America and the West to schools across Michigan and its neighboring region. In doing so it will help contribute to a greater variety of thought and informed opinion, as well as to cultivate much-need civilized discourse.

Nov 2017

Edwards on Kirk

Lee Edwards has written an essay on Kirk in the Fall 2017 edition of Modern Age—“The Mind Behind ‘The Conservative Mind’,” outlining the unique traits of character, background, and mind that enabled Kirk to write his catalytic book, The Conservative Mind.

Nov 2017

Kirk’s ongoing influence

We recently updated our page tracking people’s responses to the life and thought of Russell Kirk. In 2015, then-Governor Mike Pence noted that he hasn’t “taken a vacation in the last 25 years without a Russell Kirk book under my arm.” Seems like a good idea. (If you have other links to recommend for that page, please contact us.)

Jul 2017

Release of 2017 number of Studies in Burke and His Time

SBHT26 Cover The Edmund Burke Society of America announces a new issue of their journal, Studies in Burke and His Time. Volume 26 (2016–2017) features papers from a 2016 conference marking the completion of the Oxford University Press edition of Burke’s Writings and Speeches. The journal is being released as a PDF and is now available for download.

Jul 2017

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Kirk was convinced that in our age, the unimagined life is not worth living for a human being. He labored to reform our sensibilities, so that we could see ourselves both for what we are and for what we have become. He labored to make available an intellectual tradition of dissent from the modern age. He labored to release our hearts from the bondage of ideology.

Mark Henrie

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