Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn

Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn

Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn (1909-1999)
photo courtesy his grandson's web site

Kuehnelt-Leddihn (Ritter v.), Erik (Maria Anton Friedrich), Pol.Sc.D., Novelist, Publicist, former Univ. Prof.; b. 31 July 1909, Tobelbad, Styria; s. of Erik-Johannes v. K.-L., and of Isabella v. Leddihn, m. 1937 Countess M. Christiane Goëss; Educ.: Theresianic Academy, Vienna, Univ. Vienna (Law), Budapest (Pol.Sc.), Vienna (2 terms theology); Career: Vienna correspondent of Spectator, London 1926-28; Russian correspondent Magyarsag, Budapest, 1930-31; Master, Beaumont Coll., England, 1935-36; Prof., Georgetown Univ., Washington D.C., 1937-38; Head of History Dept., St. Peter's Coll., Jersey City, N.Y. [sic]; 1938-43; Fordham Univ., N.Y., 1942-43; Chestnut Hill Coll., Philadelphia, Pa, 1943-47; lives partly in Europe, partly in America, engaged in research work (coordination of humanities), writing, and lecturing; curator of "Abendländ. Akademie"; Publ.: (works not published in either England or USA. not included); Gates of Hell (London, 1933; N.Y. 1934, transl. into German, Hungar., Polish, Italian); Night over the East (London, 1935; N.Y. 1936, transl. into German); Moscow 1979 (N.Y., 1940, London, 1946, transl. into German, Span., Portuguese, French); The Menace of the Herd (Milwaukee, 1943); Liberty or Equality (London 1952; Caldwell, 1952, transl. into Germ., Span. in prep.); Black Banners (London, 1953, Caldwell, 1954, transl. into French, Span., Germ. in prep.); On Christian Freedom (New York 1960); contributor to Commonweal, America, National Review, Catholic World, Journal of the History of Ideas (all N.Y.), Table Ronde, Etudes, Vie Intellectuelle (Paris), Quadrant (Sidney), Criterio (Buenos Aires), Nuestro Tiempo (Pamplona), Humanitas (Brescia), Confluence (Cambridge, Mass.), Schweizer Rundschau (Arlesheim), Rheinischer Merkur (Cologne), Neues Abendland, Europäischer Osten (Munich), Una Sancta (Meitingen), Sophia & Seiki (Tokyo); Awards: Cardinal Bandrillant Prize, 1936; Fellow Amer. Geogr. Society; Recr.: Photography, painting, stamp coll.; hitch-hiking; Memb.: Knight of Grace, Sov. Order of Malta; A. Lans, Tyrol; T. Innsbruck 94 00 53; and 1408 Las Pulgas, San Mateo, Cal., USA.

— Who's Who in Austria 1959/60, Dr. Stephen S. Taylor, ed., Intercontinental Book And Publishing Co., Ltd., 1961, pp. 302-3.

I discovered the writings of Dr. Erik Ritter von Kuehnelt-Leddihn in college as a subscriber to National Review. At that time (the mid-'80s), K-L was NR's European correspondent — as I believe he had been since Buckley founded NR in the 1950s. I was immediately attracted, not only to the fascinating things he was writing about European politics and culture, but also by his idiosyncratic — as it then seemed — take on conservative politics and philosophy.

Since then, I've learned a lot from reading (and to a lesser degree, reading about) K-L. He's helped shape my views on history, politics, and religion. One of the most important revelations is the degree to which those three things, which Americans tend to think of, and perhaps want to think of, as disctinct, are in fact practically synonyms.

I only had the opportunity to see Dr. von Kuehnelt-Leddihn in person once, at a Heritage Foundation speaking event some time between 1991 and 1993. One of the nice, if unexpected, benefits to me of posting these pages on the Internet has been the chance to hear from a few people who knew him in person, and not just through his work.

K-L died on May 26, 1999. These pages are intended to focus attention on his English-language writing, including some of the vast store of quotations I've saved over the years.