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RUSSELL KIRK was the apostle of “permanent things.” His book The Conservative Mind, published in 1953, was the rallying point for the renewal of a long-dormant spirit of serious attention to the founding moral, religious, social, and political principles animating the ideal of ordered liberty, especially in its flowering in the grand American experiment in self-governance. He was also an award-winning writer of Gothic fiction and is widely acknowledged to be one of the principal revivers of that genre. His relevance to our age remains immediate and exigent in his understanding of American identity and its conservative foundations.
A founding father of the American conservative movement, Russell Kirk (1918–94) was also a renowned and bestselling writer of fiction. Kirk’s focus was the ghost story, or “ghostly tale” – a “decayed art” of which he considered himself a “last remaining master.” Old House of Fear, Kirk’s first novel, revealed this mastery at work.