The Portable Edmund Burke Paperback – Jul 1 1999
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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).
(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.
To re-iterate the faults of this book, as other reviewers have seen them:
1) Not all the stuff here suffers abridgement well. Anyone interested in Burke would want to read such texts as his diatribe on the French Revolution, but it would be best to read it in its entirety. It might have been better to stick to shorter pieces and summarize the major works.
2) Many of us would not want to admit it, but most of us need notes to understand Burke as well as we would like to. ***No notes***.
It might be better to go all the way over to Conor Cruise O'Brien's biography cum anthology, "the Great Melody". Sometimes this kind of fabulous animal is actually more useful than a biography or anthology alone. Try, for instance, Jonathan Cott's "Wandering ghost", a bio of Lafcadio Hearn that started out as an anthology.
Note: Hamazon wouldn't let me post the review without answering at least the first question here. I picked "full of surprises". I don't know how that will affect the review.
How would you describe the plot of this book?
Full of surprises
Which of these words best describes the mood?
Hopeful Dark Nostalgic Light-hearted Suspenseful Thoughtful
How would you describe the pace?
How would you describe the characters?
One-dimensional Developed Complex
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