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.

Imagination rules the world.

Russell Kirk

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Highlights

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

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

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