The Writings and Speeches of Edmund Burke - Vol. 9

The Writings and Speeches of Edmund Burke - Vol. 9

The Writings and Speeches of Edmund Burke - Vol. 9

The Writings and Speeches of Edmund Burke - Vol. 9

Synopsis

Volume 1 of the Writings and Speeches of Edmund Burke presents Burke's early literary writings up to 1765, and before he became a key political figure. It is the first fully annotated and critical edition, with comprehensive notes and an authoritative introduction. The writings published here introduce readers to Burke's early attempts at a public voice.

Excerpt

The need for a new edition of Burke's writings and speeches has long been felt. Many editions have appeared in the course of the last hundred and fifty years, but all derive essentially from the first, which was commenced in Burke's own lifetime and finally completed in 1827. The work of the editors, French Laurence and Walker King, has many virtues, but, not surprisingly, it has proved less than adequate to the requirements of twentieth-century scholars. That it is now possible actually to undertake its replacement is owing to developments which have taken place only in recent years. The opening of the Earl Fitzwilliam's archive in 1948 has made available the great bulk of Burke's surviving papers. Closely related and equally important has been the publication of the definitive edition of Burke's correspondence. That work, which was begun in 1958, and proceeded throughout under the direction of the late Professor Thomas W. Copeland, was brought to a triumphant conclusion with the production of the final (index) volume in 1978. Without this extensive and preliminary labour there could have been no question of re-editing the writings and speeches.

This edition makes no claim to be comprehensive. So far as Burke's writings are concerned, it is intended to present all the pieces known to have come from Burke's hand. Thanks to the scholarly labours of Professor William B. Todd, the identification and reproduction of the major works is a comparatively straightforward task. The huge number of speeches made in public by Burke during his lifetime raise many more problems. A few major parliamentary speeches were published with Burke's consent soon after they were delivered. For the purposes of this edition, these have been treated as if they were published writings. For the vast majority, however, the only record is a mention or some kind of report in a newspaper, or in a number of cases the survival in Burke's papers of notes or some other MS. apparently relating to the speech. To reproduce a version of every known Burke speech would swell the edition to an enormous size, and much of what was reproduced would be of doubtful value, either because of the imperfections of newspaper reporting or because of the fragmentary and incoherent nature of the MS. This edition will endeavour to provide full texts for only a relatively small number of Burke speeches. Such speeches are . . .

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