Chicago: Henry Regnery Company, 1954. First edition. Octavo, original teal cloth, original dust jacket. Mild toning to unclipped dust jacket. A near-fine copy. Item #1167
"THE CONSERVATIVE, IN OUR TIME, MUST BE PREPARED FOR THE ROLE OF DON QUIXOTE"
First edition of Russell Kirk's prescription for the defense of tradition—published by Henry Regnery as the follow-up to The Conservative Mind (1953).
Guided by his philosophical lodestar, Edmund Burke, Kirk's continuing distillation of the impulse towards the preservation of "the permanent things" in the "Anglo-American tradition of justice and liberty" was published when the very term "conservative" was itself controversial. A title page epigraph by Cicero: "Our customs have perished for want of men to stand by them" (De Re Publica), followed by two introductory chapters, confronts the various "problems" of modern society. "The grand question before us," summarized in The Problem of Tradition, is answered with a description of a new dystopian age: "Are men and women to live as human persons, formed in God's image, with the minds and hearts and individuality of spiritual beings, or are they to become creatures less than human, herded by masters of the total state, debauched by the indulgence of every appetite, deprived of the consolations of religion and tradition and learning and the sense of continuity, drenched in propaganda, aimless amusements and the flood of sensual friviolity which is supplanting the private reason?" In 1964 Kirk would marry Annette Courtemanche (a devout Catholic) and be received into the Catholic Church in the same year. "In a disorderly age, he tirelessly and eloquently made clear the necessity and sources of order. Against the false prophets who proclaimed that all values were relative, derived from will and desire, he showed their immutability. And to those who believed that man is capable of all things, he taught humility and that the beginning of wisdom was respect for creation and the order of being" (Henry Regnery). The text is supplemented with a Bibliography ("Books Mentioned") and an Index. Dust jacket designed by Patricia K. Watters with reviews of The Conservative Mind on the rear panel.