Leo Strauss: September 20, 1899-October 18, 1973

Allan Bloom, "Leo Strauss: September 20, 1899-October 18, 1973," Political Theory, Vol. 2, No. 4 (Nov. 1974).


On October 18, 1973, Leo Strauss died in Annapolis, Maryland.  He was one of the very small number of men whose thought has had seminal influence in political theory in our time. He published thirteen books during his life (with at least two more volumes to come) and over eighty articles, and he left behind several generations of unusually devoted students. It is particularly difficult to speak of him, for I know I cannot do him justice. Moreover, those of us who knew him saw in him such a power of mind, such a unity and purpose of life, such a rare mixture of the human elements resulting in a harmonious expression of the virtues, moral and intellectual, that our account of him is likely to evoke disbelief or ridicule from those who have never experienced a man of this quality. Finally, Leo Strauss left his own memorial in the body of his works in which what he understood to be his essence lives on; and, above all, he was dedicated to intransigent seriousness as opposed to popularization. But an inner need to pay him tribute and a kind of filial piety urge me on in spite of the persuasiveness of the reasons that restrain me.