Brian Russell Graham
Brian Russell Graham is a Fellow at the Institute for Liberal Values. He is a two-time graduate of the University of Glasgow, where he completed an M.A. and PhD in English Literature. His first monograph, The Necessary Unity of Opposites, published by University of Toronto Press in 2011, is a study of Northrop Frye, particularly Frye’s dialectical thinking. His second and third monographs – On a Common Culture and Speech Acts in Blake’s Milton – were published in 2022. In addition to his scholarly work, he has also published slow journalism in publications such as Quillette, Areo and Merion West, amongst others. Brian teaches the Liberal Bookshelf courses on behalf of the Institute for Liberal Values
What is liberalism to you?
I think my approach to liberalism is quite academic. I see it, first, as a matter of a small number of freedoms: the freedom to assemble, freedom of speech, and freedom of belief. It’s also tied in with property rights and voting rights. I think it’s also a matter of economic liberalism, although that strand of liberalism is always tempered by democracy. If that all sounds a bit abstract, if someone meddles with your access to those freedoms, the experience is as raw as can be.
Who are you?
I’m a two-time graduate of the University of Glasgow, situated in my hometown. I studied English literature at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, ultimately obtaining a PhD. I spent four years in Italy between my two study periods, learning Italian and developing what was to become an enduring bond with that country. However, 20 years ago I moved to Denmark. I have held a number of academic positions in Denmark, teaching at a number of universities in the country. My wife and I combine living in Denmark with travelling abroad as much as we can, typically to sunnier climes.
What do you do?
In addition to teaching, I dedicate my free time to writing. I’ve produced 3 books to date. My most recent book is about the poet William Blake, and the book before that one was about the idea of common culture. In addition to more academic writing, I started contributing commentaries to new online platforms a few years ago. My work has appeared in Quillette, Areo, Merion West, Culturico and several others.
Favorite book: Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov
Favorite food: Italian
Favorite place to visit: Greek islands
Favorite landscape type: mountains
Favorite kind of music: classical
Favorite city to visit: London
ILV Selected Publications
On A Common Culture, Zer0 Books, 2022
‘The knowledge industry: How to deal with disinformation and cancel culture’, Culturico, November, 2022
A review of The Constitution of Knowledge by Jonathan Rauch, Medium, September, 2022
‘On Cultural Poverty’, Merion West, August, 2022
‘The Idea of a Shared National Culture – a Common Culture – in the United Kingdom’, Medium, March, 2022
‘On a Common Culture: The Idea of a Shared National Culture’, Collective Ink blog, March, 2022
A review of Cynical Theories by Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay, Merion West, April, 2021
‘The Revolutionary Nature of Intersectionality’, Areo, September, 2018
‘Inquiry and Ideology in the Battle of Ideas’, Quillette, March, 2018
‘On the demise of our public language’. A review of Mark Thompson’s Enough Said, Quillette, December 2017