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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Burke: Where to Look?

If anyone out there is looking for a good biography of Edmund Burke, MP, I would heartily discourage anyone from reading Isaac Kramnick's The Rage of Edmund Burke, which makes a thoroughly bizarre attempt to psychoanalyze the Irish Whig through Freudian exegesis of his writings, and concludes he was a homosexual who didn't really believe his own principles.  Much better is Conor Cruise O'Brian's The Great Melody, which makes no such attempts at psychoanalysis, choosing instead to focus on his Irish heritage as an explanation for the great statesman's reactions to human exploitation.

It occurs to me that homosexuality is like racism--something one really might accuse anyone of, and which it is impossible to disprove in inclination in either case with any certainty.

1 comment:

Mark in Spokane said...

O'Brien's is the best biography of Burke from a center-left perspective. The best study of Burke I've ever read -- the study that turned me into a fan of Burke -- is Russell Kirk's book Edmund Burke: A Genius Reconsidered. Well worth reading.