Commentary

[in chronological order]

Respectable Partisans of Modern Liberty

- Mark Blitz, "Respectable Partisans of Modern Liberty," Library of Law and Liberty, October 1, 2015.
Excerpt: Fifty years have passed since Harvey Mansfield’s path-breaking Statesmanship and Party Government first appeared. It is a book so good that Leo Strauss is said to have wished he had written it. The original edition is now available as an… More

The Brooklyn Burkeans

- Jonathan Bronitsky, "The Brooklyn Burkeans," National Affairs (Winter 2014), pp 121-136.
Excerpt: “[I]f I were to say what neo-conservatism is as an intellectual impulse,” [Irving] Kristol stated in 1983, “I’d say it’s an effort to link these two conservative traditions represented on the one hand by Edmund Burke, on… More

The Great Debate by Yuval Levin

- Yuval Levin. The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left. (New York: Basic Books, 2013)
Excerpt: This book seeks to examine Burke and Paine’s disagreement and to learn from it about both their era’s politics and ours. Using not only their dispute about the French Revolution but also the two men’s larger bodies of writing and… More

Edmund Burke in America: The Contested Career of the Father of Modern Conservatism

- Drew Maciag. Edmund Burke in America: The Contested Career of the Father of Modern Conservatism (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2013).
From the publisher: The statesman and political philosopher Edmund Burke (1729–1797) is a touchstone for modern conservatism in the United States, and his name and his writings have been invoked by figures ranging from the arch Federalist George Cabot to… More

Burke Between Liberty and Tradition by Peter Berkowitz

- Peter Berkowitz, "Burke Between Liberty and Tradition," Policy Review, December 2012.
Feuding among American conservatives for the title True Conservative is nothing new. Ever since conservatism in America crystallized as a recognizable school in the 1950s, more than a few limited-government conservatives, or libertarians as they have come to… More

Edmund Burke: The First Conservative

- Jesse Norman, Edmund Burke: The First Conservative, (London: 2012).
Written by British Member of Parliament Jesse Norman, this lively work of biography and intellectual history traces Burke’s intellectual development, and how he came to be regarded as the first conservative—a distinctly modern political position.… More

Patriotism and Public Spirit: Edmund Burke and the Role of the Critic in Mid-Eighteenth-Century Britain

- Ian Crowe. Patriotism and Public Spirit: Edmund Burke and the Role of the Critic in Mid-Eighteenth-Century Britain (Stanford University Press, 2012).
Excerpt: l h e picture ofBurke that emerges from this book is intended to capture those dominant personal and intellectual influences that have been marginalized by current historiographical and methodological orthodoxies. It will stress, in particular, the… More

Strauss, Voegelin, and Burke: A Tale of Three Conservatives

- Robert P. Kraynak, "Strauss, Voegelin, and Burke: A Tale of Three Conservatives," Modern Age, Fall 2011, Vol. 53 Issue 4.
Abstract: The article explores the political beliefs of twentieth-century philosophers Leo Strauss, Eric Vogelin, and eighteenth-century British politician Edmund Burke. It considers the books “New Science of Politics” by Vogelin and… More

Edmund Burke and the Art of Rhetoric

- Paddy Bullard. Edmund Burke and the Art of Rhetoric (Cambridge University Press, 2011).
Excerpt: My business in the following pages is to explain how the combination of these two terms, ‘rhetoric’ and ‘character’, can help us describe the function and the beauty of Burke’s writings. Burke is acknowledged to have been the most… More

Edmund Burke for Our Time: Moral Imagination, Meaning, and Politics

- William F. Byrne. Edmund Burke for Our Time: Moral Imagination, Meaning, and Politics (Dekalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2011)
Excerpt: Although the term “moral imagination” originated with Edmund Burke, much Burke scholarship fails to mention it. Two notable early and mid-twentieth-century thinkers, Irving Babbitt and Russell Kirk, do pick up on Burke’s concept and… More

Major Works

Reflections on the Revolution in France

- Recommended edition: Reflections on the Revolution in France, ed. J.G.A. Pocock (Indianapolis, Hackett, 1987). Originally published 1790.
Excerpt: It is now sixteen or seventeen years since I saw the queen of France, then the dauphiness, at Versailles; and surely never lighted on this orb, which she hardly seemed to touch, a more delightful vision. I saw her just above the horizon, decorating… More

Multimedia

Yuval Levin on Edmund Burke

- Yuval Levin, Conversations with Bill Kristol, August 11, 2014.
In this except from Conversations with Bill Kristol, Yuval Levin, editor of National Affairs, discusses Edmund Burke’s conservatism–and compares it to the vision of society offered by his contemporary Thomas Paine. Levin and Kristol also consider… More

After Words: Yuval Levin

- "After Words: Yuval Levin," CSPAN Book TV, 4 January 2014.
The author of The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left, Mr. Levin discusses the origin of the political Left-Right divide, arguing that today’s partisanship began with the debates over the French Revolution. He… More

Edmund Burke: The First Conservative

- Jesse Norman, "Edmund Burke: The First Conservative" Program on Constitutional Government, Harvard University, September 26, 2013.
Member of Parliament Jesse Norman discusses his recent intellectual biography of Burke at the Program on Constitutional Government at Harvard University. The event was hosted by Harvey Mansfield. Biography: Jesse Norman is a Conservative M. P. for Hereford… More

Edmund Burke and the Origins of Modern Conservatism

- David A. Norcross, "Edmund Burke and the Origins of Modern Conservatism," Lecture at The Citadel, 25 January 2012.
From CSPAN: [F]ormer General Counsel to the Republican National Committee David Norcross looks at Edmund Burke and the Origins of Modern Conservatism. Mr. Norcross is a guest lecturer at The Citadel Military College in Charleston, South Carolina, in a… More

In Our Time: Edmund Burke

- "In Our Time: Edmund Burke," BBC Radio 4, June 2010.
Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the work of the eighteenth-century philosopher, politician and writer Edmund Burke. With: Karen O’Brien Professor of English at the University of Warwick Richard Bourke Senior Lecturer in History at Queen Mary,… More

The Burkean Outlook

- Ian Shapiro, "The Burkean Outlook," Open Yale course, 31 March 2010.
Excerpt: [S]ociety is not subordinate to the individual, which is the most rock-bottom commitment of the workmanship idea. On the contrary, the individual is subordinate to society. Obligations come before rights. We only get rights as a consequence of the… More

Reflections on Burke’s Reflections

- Gertrude Himmelfarb, "Reflections on Burke's Reflections," American Enterprise Institute, CSPAN, 6 October 2008.
From CSPAN: Gertrude Himmelfarb spoke about the influence of the Irish political philosopher Edmund Burke and his book Reflections on the Revolution in France. Burke, who died in 1797, served in the British Parliament and became a leading figure in the… More

Edmund Burke on Politics

- Richard Bourke, "Edmund Burke on Politics," Philosophy Bites, 20 January 2008.
For this episode of Philosophy Bites Richard Bourke of Queen Mary, London,  puts Edmund Burke in his historical context and outlines his key ideas.

Other Works

On Empire, Liberty and Reform: Speeches and Letters

- On Empire, Liberty and Reform: Speeches and Letters, ed. David Bromwich (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000).
From the publisher: The great British statesman Edmund Burke had a genius for political argument, and his impassioned speeches and writings shaped English public life in the second half of the eighteenth century. This anthology of Burke’s speeches,… More

Thoughts and Details on Scarcity

- Miscellaneous Writings. ed. E. J. Payne. (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1999).
Editorial note: This document is the nearest thing to a formal treatise on economics that Edmund Burke ever wrote. Even so, it was not meant as a full treatment of the subject but was a lengthy memorandum to the Prime Minister, William Pitt, on an immediate… More

Selected Letters of Edmund Burke

- Selected Letters of Edmund Burke, ed. Harvey Mansfield (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984).
From Amazon: Edmund Burke (1729-97) was a British statesman, a political philosopher, a literary critic, the grandfather of modern conservatism, and an elegant, prolific letter writer and prose stylist. His most important letters, filled with sparkling prose… More

A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origins of the Sublime and Beautiful

- A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origins of the Sublime and Beautiful: And Other Pre-Revolutionary Writings, ed. David Womersley (New York: Penguin, 1998). Originally published 1757.
Excerpt: The passions which belong to self-preservation turn on pain and danger; they are simply painful when their causes immediately affect us; they are delightful when we have an idea of pain and danger, without being actually in such circumstances; this… More