Richard M. Weaver

Richard M. Weaver

Richard M. Weaver

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Richard Malcolm Weaver, Jr (March 3, 1910 – April 1, 1963) was an American scholar who taught English at the University of Chicago. He is primarily known as a shaper of mid- 20th century conservatism and as an authority on modern rhetoric. A solitary figure in 20th century American academic life, briefly a socialist in his youth, a lapsed leftist intellectual conservative by the time he was in graduate school, a teacher of composition, a Platonist philosopher who wrote on the problem of universals and criticized nominalism, a literary and cultural critic, and a theorist of human nature and society. Described by Young (1995: 4) as a "radical and original thinker" remembered for his books Ideas Have Consequences (a recurring phrase in conservative intellectual and political discourse) and The Ethics of Rhetoric, his writings remain influential, particularly among conservative theorists and scholars of the American South. Weaver was also associated with the "New Conservatives," a group of scholars who in the 1940s and 1950s promoted traditionalist conservatism.

Life

Weaver was the eldest of four children born to a middle-class white Southern family in Asheville, North Carolina. His father, Richard Sr., owned a livery stable. Following the death of her husband in 1915, Carolyn Embry Weaver, supported her children by working in her family's department store in her native Lexington, Kentucky. Lexington is the home of the University of Kentucky and of...
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