Jeffrey Hart

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Jeffrey Hart
Jeffrey Peter Hart

(1930-02-23)February 23, 1930
DiedFebruary 16, 2019(2019-02-16) (aged 88)
EducationA.B. and Ph.D.
Alma materColumbia University
OccupationProfessor of English Literature
Years active1963–1993
EmployerDartmouth College
National Review
TitleProfessor emeritus
Political partyFormer Republican

Jeffrey Peter Hart (February 23, 1930 – February 16, 2019) was an American cultural critic, essayist, columnist, and Professor Emeritus of English at Dartmouth College.

Life and career[edit]

Hart was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. After two years as an undergraduate at Dartmouth, he transferred to Columbia University, where he joined the Philolexian Society and obtained his A.B. (1952) and Ph.D., both in English literature.[1]

During the Korean War he served in U.S. Naval Intelligence, in Boston.[1][2]

After a short period teaching at Columbia, Hart became Professor of English literature at Dartmouth for three decades (1963–1993). Hart specialized in 18th century literature but also had a fondness for modernist literature, he was popular with the students, from whom he required a great deal of writing. His political apostasy annoyed his faculty colleagues: when they were concerned about fossil fuels he made it a point to commute to campus in a Cadillac limousine; he might have a mechanical hand drum the table when faculty meetings were too long.[3][4][5]

In 1962 he joined William F. Buckley's conservative journal National Review as a book reviewer, requiring a trip from Hanover, New Hampshire to New York City every other week.[4] Later, he would contribute as a writer and senior editor for the better part of the ensuing three decades even as he fulfilled his teaching responsibilities as a professor at Dartmouth. In one review for the magazine, he wrote, "liberal rote anathema on 'racism' is in effect a poisonous assault upon Western self-preference."[6]

Hart took a leave of absence from Dartmouth in 1968 to work for the abortive presidential campaign of Governor of California Ronald Reagan; this role led to brief service as a White House speechwriter for Richard Nixon.[4] After nomination by his former student Reggie Williams, Hart was honored with his college's Outstanding Teaching Award, 1992, he has also received the Young America's Foundation Engalitcheff Prize, 1996, among other academic accolades. In 1998, he served as a visiting lecturer at Nichols College.[4]

The Dartmouth Review was founded in his living room in 1980, and he has served as an adviser to it since then,[2] he wrote a regular column for King Features Syndicate[4] and retired from teaching.

In recent years,[when?] he launched a fierce Burkean critique of the policies of President of the United States George W. Bush in the pages of the American Conservative, the Washington Monthly, and The Wall Street Journal. Hart supported John Kerry in the 2004 election and Barack Obama in 2008.[2][7][8]

He died on February 16, 2019, a week before his 89th birthday.[9][10]


External video
Booknotes interview with Hart on Smiling Through the Cultural Catastrophe, January 13, 2002, C-SPAN
Presentation by Hart on The Making of the American Conservative Mind, February 9, 2006, C-SPAN


  1. ^ a b "Guide to the Papers of Jeffrey P. Hart, 1982–2005". Rauner Special Collections Library. Dartmouth College. Retrieved October 30, 2008.
  2. ^ a b c Heddaya, Mostafa (October 21, 2008). "TDR Exclusive Interview: Obamacon Jeffrey hart". Dartmouth Review. Archived from the original on October 26, 2008. Retrieved October 30, 2008.
  3. ^ Robinson, Peter. "The Complete Hart". National Review. Archived from the original on December 21, 2004. Retrieved October 30, 2008.
  4. ^ a b c d e Baehr, James S. C. (October 1, 2001). "Jeffrey Hart: Outside the Ivory Tower". Dartmouth Review. Archived from the original on July 6, 2007. Retrieved October 30, 2008.
  5. ^ D'Souza, Dinesh. "Serious Jokes". National Review. Archived from the original on December 16, 2004. Retrieved October 30, 2008.
  6. ^ Blumenthal, Paul; Rieger, J. M. (March 4, 2017). "This Stunningly Racist French Novel Is How Steve Bannon Explains The World" – via Huff Post.
  7. ^ Heilbrunn, Jacob (May 2006). "The Great Conservative Crackup: What National Review wrought". Washington Monthly. Archived from the original on May 13, 2016.
  8. ^ Jamison, Peter (February 7, 2008). "Archconservative Sides With Democrat". Valley News. White River Junction, Vermont. Archived from the original on February 7, 2008.
  9. ^ "Jeffrey Hart, R.I.P." National Review. February 18, 2019.
  10. ^ "Professor Jeff Hart passes at 88". The Dartmouth Review. February 19, 2019. Retrieved February 19, 2019.

External links[edit]