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Hogarth judge

December 2017

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Shock and Awe

More on Russell Kirk

While looking for quotes for the post I made yesterday, I was reminded that Russell Kirk, probably now best known for his 1953 political tract, The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Santayana, was also a writer of amiably traditional Gothic fiction.

His novel Old House of Fear, a lovely and quite conventional tale of a haunted house in the Scottish Hebrides, was probably better known during his lifetime than his political tales. He also wrote a fair number of short stories, that appeared in Fantasy and Science Fiction and New Terrors, among other late-period pulps.

His critics make a strong case in his favor:
What is more, Kirk's public influence was limited because he openly opposed wholesale attempts to export the American system of government and economics. Kirk's persistent criticism of what he deemed Americans' rampant materialism, along with his habit of sometimes writing in an archaic style reminiscent of nineteenth-century Scottish prose, led some of his opponents (and even some allies within the conservative movement) to dismiss him as an antiquarian.
He had the flaws you might expect from a 1950s era apologist for conservatism. But from the foregoing, you can understand why he's also someone I intuitively admire.

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