A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origins of the Sublime andBeauitful

A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origins of the Sublime andBeauitful

And Other Pre-Revolutionary Writings

  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780140436259
  • 528 Pages
  • Penguin Classics
  • Adult


Edmund Burke was one of the foremost philosophers of the eighteenth century and wrote widely on aesthetics, politics and society. In this landmark work, he propounds his theory that the sublime and the beautiful should be regarded as distinct and wholly separate states – the first, an experience inspired by fear and awe, the second an expression of pleasure and serenity. Eloquent and profound, A Philosophical Enquiry is an involving account of our sensory, imaginative and judgmental processes and their relation to artistic appreciation. Burke’s work was hugely influential on his contemporaries and also admired by later writers such as Matthew Arnold and William Wordsworth. This volume also contains several of his early political works on subjects including natural society, government and the American colonies, which illustrate his liberal, humane views.

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations
A Chronology of Edmund Burke
Further Reading
A Note on the Texts
A Vindication of Natural Society (1756; second edition, 1757)
A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1757; second edition, 1759)
Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents (1770; third edition, 1770)
Speech on American Taxation (1774; third edition, 1775)
Speech on Conciliation with the Colonies(1775; third edition, 1775)
Letter to the Sheriffs of Bristol on the Affairs of America (1777; third edition, 1777)
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