Edmund Burke and the French Revolution

May 21, 2015, 8.15 a.m.

An der Universität 5

Room U5/02.22

Prof. Dr. Richard Bourke (Queen Mary University of London)

Edmund Burke's engagement with the Revolution in France began in the early autumn of 1789. By November he had developed a deeply critical perspective, giving rise to one of the most influential interpretations of events by November 1790 with the publication of his Reflections on the Revolution in France. For Burke, the Revolution threatened the foundations of European civilisation, though the grounds for his apprehension are rarely fully appreciated. This lecture will recover the rationale for Burke's hostility, calling into question much of the historiography of the Revolution, and placing Burke's response in the wider context of his career.

Richard Bourke is Professor in the History of Political Thought and Co-Director of the Centre for the Study of the History of Political Thought at Queen Mary University of London. His new book, Empire and Revolution: The Political Life of Edmund Burke, will appear with Princeton University Press in September 2015.