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Edmund Burke

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 03 June 2010

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the work of the eighteenth-century philosopher, politician and writer Edmund Burke.Born in Dublin, Burke began his career in London as a journalist and made his name with two works of philosophy before entering Parliament. There he quickly established a reputation as one of the most formidable orators of an age which also included Pitt the Younger.When unrest began in America in the 1760s, Burke was quick to defend the American colonists in their uprising. But it was his response to another revolution which ensured he would be remembered by posterity. In 1790 he published Reflections on the Revolution in France, a work of great literary verve which attacked the revolutionaries and predicted disaster for their project. The book prompted Thomas Paine to write his masterpiece Rights of Man, and Mary Wollstonecraft was among the others to take part in the ensuing pamphlet war. Burke's influence shaped our parliamentary democracy and attitude to Empire, and lingers today.With:Karen O'BrienProfessor of English at the University of WarwickRichard BourkeSenior Lecturer in History at Queen Mary, University of LondonJohn KeaneProfessor of Politics at the University of SydneyProducer: Thomas Morris.

  • FURTHER READING

    Burke, Edmund, ‘On Empire, Liberty and Reform: Speeches and Letters’, ed. David Bromwich (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2000)

    Burke, Edmund, ‘Reflections on the Revolution in France’, ed. L. G. Mitchell (Oxford World Classics, 2009). Various editions available.

    Burke, Edmund, ‘Pre-Revolutionary Writings’, ed. Ian Harris (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993)

    Keane, John, ‘The Life and Death of Democracy’ (Simon & Schuster, 2009)

    Lock, F. P., ‘Edmund Burke, 1730–1784’ (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998)

    Lock, F. P., ‘Edmund Burke, 1784–1797’ (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006)

    O’Brien, Conor Cruise, ‘The Great Melody: A Thematic Biography and Commented Anthology of Edmund Burke’ (London: Sinclair-Stevenson, 1992)

    Kramnick, Isaac, ‘The Rage of Edmund Burke: Portrait of an Ambivalent Conservative’ (New York: Basic Books, 1977)

    Hampsher-Monk, Iain, ‘Burke’ in ‘A History of Modern Political Thought’ (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1992)

    Bourke, Richard, ‘Liberty, Authority and Trust in Burke’s Idea of Empire’, in ‘Journal of the History of Ideas’, 61:3 (Summer 2000), pp. 453–471

    Bourke, Richard, ‘Edmund Burke and the Politics of Conquest’, in ‘Modern Intellectual History’, 4:3 (November 2007), pp. 403–432

    Bourke, Richard, ‘Enlightenment, Revolution and Democracy’, in ‘Constellations’, 15:1 (March 2008), pp. 10–32

    Pocock, J. G. A., ‘Burke and the Ancient Constitution: A Problem in the History of Ideas’, in ‘Pocock, Politics, Language, and Time: Essays on Political Thought and History’ (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1971), pp. 202–32

    Pocock, J. G. A., ‘The Political Economy of Burke’s Analysis of the French Revolution’, in ‘Pocock, Virtue, Commerce and History: Essays on Political Thought and History, Chiefly in the Eighteenth Century’ (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), pp. 193–212

    Stanlis, Peter, ‘Edmund Burke and the Natural Law’ (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1958)

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