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On Taste / On the Sublime and Beautiful / Reflections on the French…

de Edmund Burke, Charles William Eliot (Editor)

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In this unique book, Peter J. Stanlis, the leading Burke scholar in America, has collected all the most important works and speeches of Edmund Burke (1729-1797), British statesman, political philosopher, and founder of modern conservative thought and, with due care to preserve the beauty of Burke's prose, edited them down to their essentials. "The main purpose of these selections," Stanlis explains, "is to present extensive and in the main unbroken samples of Burke's most representative thought in his most characteristic style, on a great variety of subjects." In this major effort you can find--to name only a few topics covered--Burke's defense of ordered liberty, his advocacy of secure property rights, his love of Christianity and Europe's moral tradition, and his impassioned jeremiad against the orgy of destruction that the French Revolution became. Stanlis's general introduction gives important insight into Burke's early life, education, professional training, literary and political career, prose style, political philosophy, and more. In addition, each selection is preceded by a headnote that clarifies the selections in their historical context and includes a brief analytical interpretation. A chronology highlights important dates in Burke's life and career. In its compactness and comprehensiveness, this volume is the quintessential Burke reader. It will be of interest to historians, political scientists, and students of literature and intellectual history.… (més)

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Burke's comments on the contemporary French Revolution were important, however, they were confusing and mixed up with his fairly novel (at the time) concept of the importance of "property rights" to liberty. While brilliant, it is nonsense.

So is his defense of the English colonials in America based on their "antient" [his repeated word, which I think he made up?] rights as Englishmen. Just nonsense, but he just could never get himself to recognize that all people -- not just those of "the nobility"--are not only entitled to liberty but are collectively the source of all authority.

Wikipedia has done a great bio of him, and now I realize that "conservatives" have misled us in appropriating him as one of theirs. He is not. Not only did he almost get hung for his support of the American Revolution, but he also savaged the British East India Company and its "CEO". His peers thought him a "liberal". Lord Acton named him as one of the three great liberals -- see also Gladstone, Thos B Macaulay.

The Wiki article has quoted from his other work and in those he is genuinely eloquent. In addition, although it appears he began as a paid pigeon, he matured into an independent voice of genuine principle, with unequaled eloquence.

Of course, the effect of Burke's remonstrations against the most extreme forms of "Leftist" expressions was to embolden the Right. In effect, the British joined with the entire ancien regime in attacking the upstarts in France and went to a war. The war only forced the French people to defend themselves, which they did with unity and zeal they would not otherwise have exerted. The French managed to win the war in their "people's defense" against the entire "nobility" of Europe. But this of course, pushed them into the nasty little embrace of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Burke could not seem to focus on what the constitutes a "danger" to Liberty.
  keylawk | Aug 27, 2013 |
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Eliot, Charles WilliamEditorautor principaltotes les edicionsconfirmat
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This is volume 24 of the Harvard Classics series, and is an omnibus of various works by Edmund Burke. It should not be combined with any other omnibi that contain a different selection of works. The individual works in this omnibus are:
  • On Taste
  • On the Sublime and Beautiful
  • Reflections on the French Revolution
  • A Letter to a Noble Lord
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In this unique book, Peter J. Stanlis, the leading Burke scholar in America, has collected all the most important works and speeches of Edmund Burke (1729-1797), British statesman, political philosopher, and founder of modern conservative thought and, with due care to preserve the beauty of Burke's prose, edited them down to their essentials. "The main purpose of these selections," Stanlis explains, "is to present extensive and in the main unbroken samples of Burke's most representative thought in his most characteristic style, on a great variety of subjects." In this major effort you can find--to name only a few topics covered--Burke's defense of ordered liberty, his advocacy of secure property rights, his love of Christianity and Europe's moral tradition, and his impassioned jeremiad against the orgy of destruction that the French Revolution became. Stanlis's general introduction gives important insight into Burke's early life, education, professional training, literary and political career, prose style, political philosophy, and more. In addition, each selection is preceded by a headnote that clarifies the selections in their historical context and includes a brief analytical interpretation. A chronology highlights important dates in Burke's life and career. In its compactness and comprehensiveness, this volume is the quintessential Burke reader. It will be of interest to historians, political scientists, and students of literature and intellectual history.

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