Sir Roger Scruton dies, aged 75

Sir Roger Scruton dies, aged 75

Philosopher and author Sir Roger Scruton has died at the age of 75 following a six-month battle with cancer.

Scruton, the author of more than 40 books on morals, politics, architecture and aesthetics, died peacefully on 12th January.

“His family are hugely proud of him and of all his achievements,” a statement on his website said.

His agent, Caroline Michel, told The Bookseller: "A world without Roger Scruton is unimaginable. Before Christmas we were due to meet as he had so many ideas for new books. His curiosity was endless, his intellect, towering, as well as being the loveliest of men. He was revered internationally and adored within the agency here at PFD. We will all miss him."

Scruton was a prominent Conservative voice and a government advisor on housing. He was dismissed from the advisory role last year following comments in a controversial interview with the New Statesman, before being re-instated following an outcry. 

Last year Bloomsbury published a series of "new look" paperback editions of Scruton’s books to celebrate the author and philosopher’s 75th birthday. A Political Philosophy, Fools, Frauds and Firebrands and How to Be a Conservative were all given “a fresh and contemporary look” in trade paperback format. 

Scruton’s publisher at Bloomsbury, Robin Baird-Smith, recalled: “In 1995, when Roger Scruton was at a low point in his career, I gave him a contract to write An Intelligent Person`s Guide to Philosophy - a small masterpiece which is still in print on the Bloomsbury Continuum list. It has now sold over 60,000 copies. An email had been intercepted in which he offered to be a consultant and to write copy for a tobacco company. He was instantly dropped by all the newspapers and journals who employed him - not least the New Statesman who recently put the knife into him yet again.

“After 25 years, I have now published fifteen of his books - all in print. He became the backbone of my publishing life and until recently he and I were still discussing new projects. I shall miss him sorely as will his countless readers and admirers. He was a major influence on the ethos of the Bloomsbury Continuum imprint.”

During his career, he sold 173,683 books for £1.8m according to Nielsen statistics. His bestseller was Kant: A Very Short Introduction (OUP), which sold 21,795 copies from 2001.

In 2016, he was knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, the same year he was awarded the Polish Lech Kaczynski Foundation’s Medal for Courage and Integrity for supporting dissidents behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War.

Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan branded Scruton “the greatest conservative of our age”, adding: “The country has lost a towering intellect. I have lost a wonderful friend.”

In a December piece for the Spectator, Scruton wrote: "During this year much was taken from me—my reputation, my standing as a public intellectual, my position in the conservative movement, my peace of mind, my health.

"Falling to the bottom in my own country, I have been raised to the top elsewhere, and looking back over the sequence of events I can only be glad that I have lived long enough to see this happen.

"Coming close to death, you begin to know what life means, and what it means is gratitude."

Scruton leaves behind wife Sophie and children Sam and Lucy.