Intro to Edmund Burke

Portrait of the writer Edmund Burke

In 1757, Edmund Burke published A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful. The essay had a profound impact on the history of aesthetics. Burke’s contribution was to create a clear distinction between beauty and the sublime, qualities that had long been seen as inseparable.

This guide to Burke’s essay will take you through the entire essay, but if you’re pressed for time and just want to focus on the essentials, then the most important lessons are those on the passions, on beauty, and on the sublime.

Work Cited

[Painting of Edmund Burke]. By Studio of Joshua Reynolds – National Portrait Gallery, Public Domain,