The Holy Fool as Bohemian Tory

The Wise Faith of Russell Kirk

by James E. Person, Jr.

“I have enjoyed from my earliest years the advantage of being a Fool,” wrote Russell Kirk, that most unfoolish of men, in 1987. In explanation of this odd remark, he cited his antithesis: the Wise Man—the ungrounded intellectual—in Yeats’s play The Hour-Glass, who is saved from spiritual destruction in the last moment of his life when he discovers one person who still believes in God and in the soul, Teigue the Fool.

The name of Russell Kirk and the word “fool” seldom appear in the same sentence. A distinguished conservative man of letters, . . .

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James E. Person, Jr. is the author of Russell Kirk: A Critical Biography of a Conservative Mind (Madison Books), as well as Earl Hamner: From Walton's Mountain to Tomorrow (Cumberland House Publishing), and is a longtime book reviewer. He has written on Kirk and on Evelyn Waugh for Touchstone.

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