Richard Bourke

Empire and Revolution

The Political Life of Edmund Burke

Princeton University Press 2015

New Books in BiographyNew Books in European StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Intellectual HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in PoliticsNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network September 30, 2016 Carl Nellis

Richard Bourke, Professor in the History of Political Thought in the School of History at Queen Mary University of London, began developing his history...

Richard Bourke, Professor in the History of Political Thought in the School of History at Queen Mary University of London, began developing his history of Edmund Burke’s political thought in 1991. Empire and Revolution: The Political Life of Edmund Burke (Princeton University Press, 2015) uses Burke as a window into the eighteenth-century articulations of British imperial power, exploring the way that Burke approached relations between Britain, Ireland, America, India, and France. Beginning with Burke’s boyhood in Ireland, and closing with the challenge of grappling with Burke’s ongoing legacy, this beautifully written book displays Professor Bourke’s long study, attention to detail, and gift for trenchant observation. Our conversation ranged over subjects as familiar today as they were in the 1700s, including Burke’s understanding of representative politics as a means of resolving conflicts present in the public at large, struggles between state and corporate power, and the warrant for popular revolution.


“A career doesn’t have the coherence we impose upon it belatedly, but there exist preoccupations that recur and drive our action.”

Carl Nellis is an academic editor and writing instructor working north of Boston, where he researches contemporary American community formation around appropriations of medieval European culture. You can learn more about Carl’s work at carlnellis.wordpress.com.

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