Brian Russell Graham

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 QuilletteAreo 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 things?

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

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