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The Portable Edmund Burke [Paperback]

Edmund Burke
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Book Description

July 2 1999 Portable Library
The intellectual wellspring of modern political conservatism, Edmund Burke is also considered a significant figure in aesthetic theory and cultural studies. As a member of the House of Commons during the late eighteenth century, Burke shook Parliament with his powerful defense of the American Revolution and the rights of persecuted Catholics in England and Ireland; his indictment of the English rape of the Indian subcontinent; and, most famously, his denouncement of English Jacobin sympathizers during the French Revolution. The Portable Edmund Burke is the fullest one- volume survey of Burke's thought, with sections devoted to his writings on history and culture, politics and society, the American Revolution, Ireland, colonialism and India, and the French Revolution. This volume also includes excerpts from his letters and an informative Introduction surveying Burke's life, ideas, and his reception and influence in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

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About the Author

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) was born in Dublin and educated at Trinity College. A lifelong member of Parliament, Burke was the author of A Philosophical Enquiry into the Sublime and Beautiful, A Vindication of Natural Society, and Reflections on the Revolution in France.
Isaac Kramnick was born in 1938 and educated at Harvard University, where he received a B.A. degree in 1959 and a Ph.D. in 1965, and at Peterhouse, Cambridge. He has taught at Harvard, Brandeis, Yale and Cornell, where he is now Professor of Government. He is married to Miriam Brody Kramnick and lives in Ithaca, New York. Among his publications are Bolingbroke and His Circle, The Rage of Edmund Burke and numerous articles on eighteenth century topics. He has edited William Godwin’s Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, The Federalist Papers by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay and, with Michael Foot, The Thomas Paine Reader for the Penguin Classics. Most recently he is the author, with Barry Sheerman, MP, of Laski: A Lift on the Left.

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First Sentence
WE LAID IT DOWN as a Certainty in our First Paper, that Taste and Virtue had a close Connection; in Consequence to which, before we attempted to reform the Morals of the People, we began with their Taste; and the Encouragement we have met with makes up hope, that our Industry may at last prove effectual to the Amendment of both: Several perhaps might have been alarmed, and attribute that to particular Prejudice, which was meant for the public Emolument: The Ladies might have feared this Paper was design'd to destroy their Pleasures, when its Aim was but to refine, and render them worthy their Attention. Read the first page
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thematic is best Jan. 23 2002
Format:Paperback
Presenting Edmund Burke thematically is perhaps the only way to really approach Burke, as Conor Cruise O'Brien or Russell Kirk (Burke's best biographers) would probably agree. So unlike 'On Empire, Liberty, and Reform,' which is chronological, the portable Edmund Burke instead tackles Burke under the themes of America, Ireland, India, and the French Revolution, and a couple other sub-themes, with invaluable commentary. By the end of the book, Burke is better enveloped here than in most biographies, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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Amazon.com: 3.2 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Broad but emasculated coverage Dec 6 2007
By Martin H. Ambuhl - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
"The Portable Edmund Burke" is useful in supplying a number of pieces not otherwise easily obtainable. It, like most books in the Viking Portable Library series, is missing the notes and especially the index that many people would have found useful. To make room for the 47 selections, several have been severely abridged. "Reflections on the Revolution is France" is whittled to leave only about 30% of it. Anyone needing this should look to a full-length treatment. Good ones include the Yale edition of Frank M. Turner, which has an excellent index, occasional notes, and several first-class essas; and Oxford World's Classic edition of L.G. Mitchell, which also has a helpful index and good notes. The speech on conciliation with America is similar chopped to a mere shadow of itself. The Lamont edition is not easily obtainable, which is a pity, but the notes and index of the Cambridge edition of Ian Harris will do well enough for most students. 'A Vindication of Natural Society' survives better (about half of it survives in this edition), but again the Harris edition is a better choice.

If you want a wide picture of Burke's writing, this text is probably for you. If you want to read any of his important texts, then choose something else.
51 of 54 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Amputated rather than edited... May 11 2006
By Edmund More - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Burke's most important work "Reflections on the Revolution in France" is reduced from nearly 200 pages to 60 pages in this volume. Yet nowhere in the book does the editor describe what he selected or what he dropped, or the basis for his decisions.

Comparing my copy of "Reflections.." to this chopped version I found that Kramnick had dropped passages that were highly insightful.

When I discovered this, I could no longer be confident that the other works were not similarly mangled. I will now search for an anthology of works that is more respectful of the originals (or at least one where the editor is more open about his approach).
34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thematic is best Jan. 23 2002
By Jared J. Nelson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Presenting Edmund Burke thematically is perhaps the only way to really approach Burke, as Conor Cruise O'Brien or Russell Kirk (Burke's best biographers) would probably agree. So unlike `On Empire, Liberty, and Reform,' which is chronological, the portable Edmund Burke instead tackles Burke under the themes of America, Ireland, India, and the French Revolution, and a couple other sub-themes, with invaluable commentary. By the end of the book, Burke is better enveloped here than in most biographies, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not meant to be All The Burke You'll Ever Need Oct. 18 2008
By A. Lowry - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I think the 2-star reviewers are missing the point; the "Reflections" are widely available, whereas much of the best of Burke is found in shorter texts that are harder to find. One would expect the editors to favor those texts instead of providing yet another full text of a book that any Burke reader should already have.

(That said, one also suspects that Penguin wants to keep selling its edition of the full "Reflections" ....)

Whatever its faults, there's really no alternative to this volume for the common reader.
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