The Devil Knows Latin: Why America Needs the Classical Tradition

By E. Christian Kopff | Go to book overview

Chapter XVI
RUSSELL KIRK: BOHEMIAN TORY

Russell Kirk once called the South "The Permanence of the
American nation." He went there after the Second World
War to seek a master of arts degree among the ersatz traditional
loveliness of Duke University and had came to know a part of
America (as he put it in Confessions of a Bohemian Tory) "which
had captured my imagination years before, in books...: Richmond and Charleston and Savannah, cities that had not
surrendered incontinent to the new order of American life: and
quiet corners like Petersburg, in Virginia, and Hillsborough, in
North Carolina, and Fernandina Island, in Florida." It was in
this environment that he "first began to apprehend" the ideas
and insights of Edmund Burke -- in a land where it still made
sense to talk of "prescriptive rights," "the unbought grace of
life," "the spirit of religion and the spirit of a gentleman."

Kirk himself had claim to the title "Permanence of American

-181-

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