A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful (2nd edition)

ISBN : 9780199668717

Edmund Burke; Paul Guyer
208 ページ
130 x 195 mm
Oxford World's Classics
  • A new edition of one of the central works in the history of aesthetics, whose influence extends to literature and art and on philosophers from Kant and Nietzsche and beyond.
  • Paul Guyer's expert introduction deftly guides the reader through Burke's arguments, explaining the classical tradition that he overturned and analysing the Enquiry's influence on philosophical thinking to the present day.
  • Up-to-date bibliography guides the reader through the burgeoning literature on Burke's aesthetics.
  • Thorough notes places Burke's work in the context of the aesthetic theories of his time.

New to this Edition:

  • Introduction by distinguished scholar Paul Guyer providing a thorough and clearly written historical and analytical overview of the work and drawing on scholarship of the last twenty-five years since the previous edition.
  • Expanded and up-to-date bibliography.
  • Revised and expanded notes.

'Pain and pleasure are simple ideas, incapable of definition.'
In 1757 the 27-year-old Edmund Burke argued that our aesthetic responses are experienced as pure emotional arousal, unencumbered by intellectual considerations. In so doing he overturned the Platonic tradition in aesthetics that had prevailed from antiquity until the eighteenth century, and replaced metaphysics with psychology and even physiology as the basis for the subject. Burke's theory of beauty encompasses the female form, nature, art, and poetry, and he analyses our delight in sublime effects that thrill and excite us. His revolution in method continues to have repercussions in the aesthetic theories of today, and his revolution in sensibility has paved the way for literary and artistic movements from the Gothic novel through Romanticism, twentieth-century painting, and beyond. 
In this new edition Paul Guyer conducts the reader through Burke's Enquiry, focusing on its place in the history of aesthetics and highlighting its innovations, as well as its influence on many subsequent authors from Kant and Schiller to Ruskin and Nietzsche.


Note on the Text
Select Bibliography
A Chronology of Edmund Burke

The Preface to the First Edition
The Preface to the Second Edition
The Contents
Introduction on Taste
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five

Explanatory Notes


Edmund Burke
Edited by Paul Guyer, Brown University
Paul Guyer is a Research Prize Winner of the Alexander von Humboldt foundation of the Federal Republic of Germany. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the author of nine books on Immanuel Kant. He has edited and translated four works by Kant, and his recent publication is A History of Modern Aesthetics in three volumes (CUP, 2014).

"Burke's 'Enquiry' is essential reading on aesthetics. Paul Guyer's new edition helps the reader get the most out of the text, with a clear and thought-provoking introduction and excellent notes." - Minerva, Lucia Marchini