Edmund Burke
Edmund Burke; drawing by David Levine

Professor Kramnick sees “two Burkes: a bourgeois Burke and an aristocratic Burke.” Burke “personifies” the transformation from the aristocratic world to the bourgeois world. Burke’s social ambivalence is seen as reflecting a sexual ambivalence. The bourgeois Burke is the masculine side, the aristocratic Burke is feminine.

The roots of this, of course, are to be found in Burke’s childhood. It is known that Edmund Burke was strongly attached to his mother, and that his relations with his father were somewhat strained. It is also known that from the age of six to eleven Edmund Burke lived with his mother’s Nagle relatives in County Cork. Professor Kramnick thinks that Edmund must have felt this separation as equivalent to desertion by his father, and that subsequent patterns of behavior and of thought were shaped by his feelings about this desertion.

Hateful anger was directed at the father for the desertion, for his temper, for his partiality to the other sons. But there was also a love for father, a longing for reciprocal affection and paternal acceptance. [p. 56]

This love-hate ambivalence toward his betters, so evident in the later Burke, stemmed, in part, from his ambivalence to his father, an ambivalence which also helps explain his complicated sense of self in these early years reflected in the alternating moods of self-pride and self-deprecation found in his early letters. His realistic sense of his emerging abilities vied with a sense of uselessness implanted in his childhood. Surely he was unworthy if his father preferred his siblings and saw fit to desert him for five years. In his mind this was part of the explanation of his father’s activities.

But much more important was the legacy of these attitudes toward his father in shaping Burke’s feelings about authority in general. His resentment and anger inform that part of him that would be pushy and assertive, and generally rebellious. It helps explain the ease with which he would question and criticize the aristocracy and assert himself while seeking, indeed, to displace the traditional ruling class. On the other hand his search for love and affection, his idealization of what a proper father should be, inform that side of him that will glorify traditional authority, that will defer to his betters and superiors. This search for a loving father, this desire for the proper relationships to superiors, will also help explain Burke’s future strategy of entering into dependent political relationships with great and older men. [p. 63]

Successful resolution of the oedipal conflict requires an identification with the father. The fear of the father’s angry rebuke of the young boy for his incestuous designs on the mother is resolved in this identification. It was just when such identification should have occurred that Burke’s father was absent. Burke’s separation from his father from age six to eleven thus looms as the critical experience in Burke’s youth. His unresolved oedipal conflict becomes the intrapsychic, psychoanalytic issue which colors his entire life; it would be aspects of this irresolution which would recur in later neuroses. [p. 85]

Between the spring of 1750, when Burke arrived in London, and 1756, when he married Jane Nugent and published A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful and A Vindication of Natural Society, “almost nothing is known about Burke’s life.” Here “are the missing years.” “Filling in this glaring gap in the Burke biography,” writes Professor Kramnick, “is crucial for any understanding of the ambivalent and seemingly contradictory Burke described in the chapters to follow.” Professor Kramnick fills the gap, mainly by spirited conjecture.

It is known that during that period Edmund formed a close friendship with a certain Will Burke—whom he referred to as his “cousin” or his “kinsman.” Edmund and Will shared rooms at the Middle Temple and, after Edmund married Jane Nugent, Will Burke stayed with the married couple. Professor Kramnick, with pertinacity and ingenuity, finds “nuances of homosexual love” in a poem “The Muse Divorced” addressed by Edmund to William (November 1750) and since William is known to have been interested in trying to make money, Professor Kramnick identifies him with the bourgeois-masculine side of Burke’s psyche. By marrying Jane, and remaining friendly with Will, Edmund achieved a balance between the two sides of his nature.

He would spend much of his private adult life with both Jane and Will under his roof. The resolution of his ambivalence took the unique form of perpetuation in the components of his immediate household. Jane, as we shall see, was the embodiment of the traditional, feminine, and passive—Catholic as well. Will was the embodiment of bourgeois man on the make. In Will’s enterprise Edmund could vicariously satisfy the ambitious bourgeois longings within himself, while actively pursuing a public career notable for its aristocratic sympathies—reflective of the other side of his social ambivalence. Meanwhile, Edmund could express his male identity vis-à-vis Jane and his lingering female identity could be gratified by the relationship (latent or overt) with William which survived the marriage with Jane. Having both Jane and William in his household also brought into acceptable equilibrium the held over problem of the parental generation. Will provided Edmund the mirror of his father (Protestant, masculine and assertive) and Jane his mother (Catholic, feminine and passive). [pp. 79-80]

This equilibrium is seen as celebrated in Burke’s aesthetic treatise, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful. Professor Kramnick offers us his key: “For Burke the sublime is Will and the beautiful Jane, and both are essential to peace and well-being.”


Professor Kramnick sees the same themes as constantly present, though in varying relations to one another, throughout Burke’s political and parliamentary career. He sees them, for example, as underlying Burke’s emphasis on the importance of party, this being a concept which helped him to reconcile his bourgeois-masculine and aristocratic-feminine sides:

The intricacies and intensities of this dilemma were eased for Burke via party. It was not for [the Whig leader] Rockingham that he worked, it was for a party, “a cause,” the cause of a collectivity of highminded men. Burke could abide by the imperatives of the aristocratic principle as energetic servant of a party, and indeed Burke was the real organizer and critical element in Rockingham’s party for over sixteen years. While doing this he could still express the bourgeois principle, i.e., further his own ambitions and make his own mark, fortune, and fame. He could do this without threatening the aristocracy, or his social superiors, without being a usurping leveller like the ambitious men and women who went wholeheartedly into radicalism. [p. 113]

A similar tension and harmonization are discernible in his speeches on America:

Burke was defending the lost rights of America against the break in continuity brought by innovative English commercial policy. In this sense he was offering a defense of the aristocratic principle, inactivity, and continuity, against innovation and action, service of the lesser America to the greater England. But Burke’s ambivalence is at work here, too. On another level America means something completely different to Burke. Identification with America in the 1770s expressed that side of his personality that longed for the independence with which to be his own master, his own man. America, like the ambitious part of Burke, refused to keep its place, the rank and position assigned it by custom, history or social convention. It represented the triumph of the bourgeois over the aristocratic principle. [p. 120]

These factors also marked his style: “When Burke described the bourgeois principle in his letters and writings he repeatedly used stereotypical masculine adjectives. Fiery, hearty, bold, industrious, independent, enterprising, active, rough, spirited, pushy, ambitious, assertive, and adventuresome are some examples. When he described the aristocratic principle he used equally stereotypical feminine adjectives: listless, timid, diffident, idle, peevish, irresolute, precious, languid, indolent, passive, dependent, inactive, and supine.”

In his obsessions with Warren Hastings and with the Jacobins Burke is seen as defending the aristocratic-feminine side of his nature from violation by the bourgeois-masculine side, and Professor Kramnick draws on the sexual imagery of Burke’s speeches in support of this thesis. In his epilogue he says:

Burke’s life was a set of variations on oedipal themes. He wrote often in his youth and in later years of replacing the great, a displacement of the fact that he had indeed replaced the one great, the father. But he was ambivalent on this score, for throughout his life he also worshipped and served the great, warding off their feared oedipal punishment. In his writings he vented this issue time and again with his invocation of the forbidden and repressed theme of parricide. His characterization of the bourgeoisie as ambitious and phallic and of the aristocratic as idle and feminine, and, in turn, his own vacillation between those two ideals echoes the oedipal dilemma. So, too, did the flavor and tone of his indictment of Hastings and the Jacobins. Decrying their aggressive masculinity represented the recurring need to deny his own masculine oedipal conquest.

The cornerstone of Burke’s significance in western thought, his prophetic philosophy of conservatism, is closely bound up with his private self and personal needs. It is fitting that the oedipal theme should have played so significant a role, for as political theory his conservatism offers a profound legitimization of repression. Burke linked pessimism and repression, arguing that free, self-determining humanity is irrational and evil humanity. Within people, the conservative Burkean insists, are passions and inclinations which must be restrained, lest additional suffering, pain, and crime be unleashed on an already sinful world. Burke assigns part of this task of control, restraint, and repression to government, as have true conservatives ever since. [p. 195]

The Rage of Edmund Burke is a brilliant book, with glaring faults. Let me try to dispose of the faults first. The major one is the insensitivity with which the author intrudes the concepts and the vocabulary of a later age into the debate and dilemmas of the eighteenth century. In the introduction he apologizes for “the overly rich diet of direct Burkean citations found here.” But the real trouble is not that the citations are rich, but that they are so often mangled. You get little scraps of Burke embedded in great wedges of Kramnick prose, purporting to paraphrase Burke, and in fact “interpreting” him or just plain distorting him to suit the Kramnick thesis. The following is an example of the method:


In his earliest reference to the desirability of suppressing sexual passion, in the letter written at the age of fifteen to Shackleton, he spoke of sexuality as a devious plot organized by a crafty and subtle internal enemy that sought through using every bait imaginable to tempt the individual to destruction. Two years later he wrote to Shackleton of losing control to avarice and sensuality which “entirely take possession.” [p. 182]

If we turn to the actual letters of which Professor Kramnick is making use we find they do not say what he makes them say. In the first letter young Burke is commenting on a recent incident, in which a clerk, rejected by a servant-girl, poisoned himself. The passage on which Professor Kramnick relies runs as follows:

This accident has alterd my Sentiments concerning Love, so that I am now not only convinced that there is such a thing as love, but that it may very probably be the source of as many misfortunes as are usually ascribed to it this may I think be a sufficient example to shew to what Lengths an unrestrained Passion tho virtuous in itself may carry a man and with how much craft and sutlety our great Enemy endeavours by all means to work our Destruction, how he lays a bait in every thing, and how much need we have to care Lest he make too sure of us, as is the case of that unfortunate youth.

It will be seen that Burke makes no reference to “the desirability of suppressing sexual passion” and does not speak of “sexuality as a devious plot.” What concerns him is that “an unrestrained passion tho virtuous in itself” may lead a man to kill himself. The clerk’s passion in itself is virtuous, but by means of it he is lured not into the sin of lust, but into that of despair. Sexuality—if we have to use Kramnick’s terms instead of Burke’s terms—is not seen as “a devious plot,” but as something in which—as in everything—a bait may be planted, for our destruction.

The reference to the second letter is also misleading. The reader who learns that Burke “wrote to Shackleton of losing control to avarice and sensuality” is likely to assume that Burke was confessing a loss of control on his own part. He was not. He was talking about other people. He was commenting on Dublin society’s lack of intellectual curiosity, a lack felt as something stifling to a budding author, and he attributes this lack to the fact that “the only passions that actuate people high and low are these two—avarice and an abandoned love of sensual pleasure.”

The effect of these combined misrepresentations is to suggest a young Burke significantly less rational and less robust than the evidence cited actually warrants.

A critic or biographer who, like Professor Kramnick, relies heavily on psychoanalytic insights is always in danger of substituting himself for his subject. Since the psychoanalytic critic deems himself to know more than his subject did about what his subject’s words “really meant,” he is tempted to put the “real” meanings (which are guesses) in the place of what the subject is known to have really said, which is a matter of record. Professor Kramnick is not inclined to repress this temptation. Thus he can write easily of Burke’s “characterization of the bourgeoisie as ambitious and phallic.” But this is not Burke’s characterization of anything. It is Professor Kramnick’s interpretation of Burke’s imagery, and that interpretation itself advanced to a considerable extent by a substitution of Kramnick language and concepts for Burke language and concepts.

Occasionally and briefly Professor Kramnick shows signs of realizing that his takeover of Burke has gone too far. Thus after the passage (quoted above) dealing with Burke’s style (“when Burke described the bourgeois principle” etc.), he adds: “It is, of course, by no means certain that this patterning of words had conscious gender association for Burke, or, for that matter, particular linkage to social or class character” (reviewer’s italics). But if the linkage to social or class character is “by no means certain” what then becomes of the confident assertions: “When Burke described the bourgeois principle” and “when Burke described the aristocratic principle”? (And in what context, incidentally, does Burke use the word “pushy”?)

The very terms “bourgeois” and “aristocratic,” which are basic to this study, are largely foreign to Burke: terms given currency, in the sense in which they are used here, by the detested French Revolution. Burke was, in English terms, a middle-class person who worked for some great noblemen. There was social tension involved here, but of a fairly subtle character. There was certainly not the outright contradiction which the invocation of “bourgeois principle” and “aristocratic principle” suggests. Burke was not a spokesman for either of these principles. Burke and his friends were Whigs, and Whiggery had both aristocratic and bourgeois aspects.

The “ambivalence” which Professor Kramnick, rightly in some ways, discerns in Burke was present also in the Whig party. Professor Kramnick thinks that “in Burke’s writings the defense of property far exceeded the modest importance aristocratic thought gave it.” But whatever about “aristocratic thought” in the abstract—the kind of systematizing which never interested Burke—Whig thought gave the defense of property very great importance indeed. And Burke’s political significance is that he was the greatest, clearest thinker of Whig thought. He saw that the common interests of property owners greatly outweighed the differences between categories of property owners. Those who had a little property, or could hope to acquire some by their industry, had an interest in the existence of large estates. Property could defend itself best through “great masses of accumulation.” He saw the industrious middle class of England as having a vested interest in the institutions of the Throne, the Church, and the House of Lords, as well as the Commons.

When the propertied classes of nineteenth-century England—whether “aristocratic” or “bourgeois”—looked across the channel at the revolving instabilities of France, they saw Burke’s point, and his reputation for “wisdom” became established. Marx and Engels were impatient with the nineteenth-century bourgeoisie for not getting on with their “historic task” of destroying “feudal vestiges”—in order that, having discharged that task, they might themselves be more speedily destroyed by (or in the name of) the proletariat. But the bourgeoisie had been forewarned, by Burke.

Burke despised the “new Whigs” of the 1790s who sympathized with the bourgeois revolution in France for their failure to see that that Revolution threatened their own interests. They found it hard to take the idea of revolution seriously. For Burke, with his Irish associations, it was a desperately serious danger. It broke out there in the year after his death.

There was, of course, much more to Burke than Whiggery and the rational defense of property interests. His was a very complex personality indeed, and Professor Kramnick is right—as well as brave—to try and explore his psychology through his writings. But the Kramnick approach tends to overplay Burke’s emotional attitudes—and the hysteria of some parts of his late works and speeches—as against the large rational content of his work. Professor Kramnick, like most people who dislike what Burke is seen to stand for, praises his writing in the wrong way. He speaks of the “gorgeous excesses of his prose” and says that “all his literary genius” went into that tear-jerker about the Queen of France. But the excesses, gorgeous or not, are infrequent. Even in the Reflections the passage about the Queen is a departure (though not the only one) from the general tone of the work, which is one of forceful reasoned argument. To insert “all his literary genius” into that passage is to cut him down to a size much smaller than belongs to him in reality.

Professor Kramnick’s insensitivity to Burke’s style is a considerable handicap to him. It permits him, for example, to believe that “a compelling case” can be made for the view of Burke’s early work A Vindication of Rational Society as being “more than mere irony, as in fact containing a good deal of the radicalism that was already part of Burke.” He quotes “the contemporary libertarian anarchist” Murray Rothbard who, in 1958, claimed A Vindication for his cause as “perhaps the first modern expression of rationalistic and individualistic anarchism.” “No sooner,” says Professor Kramnick, “had Rothbard dared to question the consistency of Burke’s conservative credentials than orthodox Burkeans rose up to squash the heretical suggestion.” The first of the “orthodox Burkeans” to squash any such suggestion was Edmund Burke, who, in the preface of the second edition, tells us the purpose of the work:

The design was to show that without the exertion of any considerable forces, the same engines which were employed for the destruction of religion might be employed with equal success for the submission of Government; and that specious arguments might be used against those things which they, who doubt of every thing else, will never permit to be questioned.

There are those who have seen this explanation as a hypocritical disclaimer of what had been in fact literally intended as a dangerous radical tract. Professor Kramnick, without quite going overboard for that view, implies that it may be well founded. But in fact there is no reason at all to doubt Burke’s explanation. A Vindication, so interpreted, fits perfectly into his main line of thought. In effect he is warning rulers of England that the irreligious tendencies of Enlightenment thought have revolutionary political implications. Thirty-four years later the Reflections on the Revolution in France come as a resounding “I told you so.”

In form, of course, A Vindication is an attack on “superstition” developed into an attack on the political superstitions which sustain “artificial society,” as the theological superstition sustained the “artificial religion” attacked by Bolingbroke (and Rousseau). I find it hard to see how anyone reasonably familiar with Burke can take the thrust of this argument as anything but ironic, as anything different from what Burke says it is. Burke’s sarcasm is never very subtle and it is not subtle in A Vindication, even if it did elude Mr. Rothbard. Burke refers to “a most absurd and audacious method of reasoning voiced by some bigots and enthusiasts” which involves arguing “against any fair discussion of popular prejudice because, say they, though they would be found without any reasonable support, yet the discovery might be productive of the most dangerous consequences. Absurd and blasphemous notion!”

The “absurd and blasphemous notion” is of course one which is central to Burke’s thought, which insists on the social necessity of prejudice.

The paragraph concludes with the words:

We have something fairer play than a reasoner could have expected formerly; and we derive advantages from it which are very visible.

The dry little pause of that semicolon gives us the nasal intonation of “very visible.” You can almost hear the sniff.

At the end of the text of A Vindication Burke almost makes explicit the “design”:

If after all you should confess all those things, yet plead the necessity of political institutions, weak and wicked as they are, I can argue with equal perhaps superior force concerning the necessity of “artificial religion”: and every step you advance in your argument, you add a strength to mine.

The last page brings the message home:

We first throw away the tales along with the rattles of our nurses; those of the priest keep their hold a little longer; those of the governors the longest of all. But the passions which prop these opinions are withdrawn one after another; and the cold light of reason at the setting of our life, shows us what a false splendour played upon these objects during our more sanguine seasons. Happy, my Lord, if instructed by my experience, and even by my errors, you come early to take such an estimate of things, as may give freedom and ease to your life. I am happy that such an attitude promises me comfort at my death.

There is nothing anywhere in Burke which allows us to take that conclusion as anything except ironic. The last sentence is the bitterest irony of all. Burke, a religious man, was writing in the persona of the irreligious Bolingbroke and the “comfort” evoked is the comfort of the atheist’s deathbed as conceived by the religious.

A Vindication is quite certainly ironic in its design, and equally certainly serious in its general purpose, which is that of the defense of religion, through an argumentum ad homines, directed at the English ruling classes.

The arguments used by Burke in showing how powerful an attack can be mounted on “artificial society” may indeed be indicative, as Professor Kramnick believes, of Burke’s ambivalence about the inequalities of the society of his day, but they do not in any way put in question his central purpose in A Vindication. That purpose, as carefully explained by him, required him to show the strongest possible case against the social order. His ambivalence may have helped him to show that case, but his design is not directed against the social order. He does want to frighten the rulers of England, but it is a salutary and timely fright he aims to give them. He is telling them they are playing with fire. He is to repeat that message, more loudly and without a mask, long afterward in the Reflections.

The manifold and manifest deficiencies of The Rage of Edmund Burke should not deprive it of the credit it deserves as a pioneering investigation into Burke’s psychology. This was never seriously attempted before. Somebody as brash and irreverent as Professor Kramnick was needed to attempt it, and it is worth attempting. Not that Burke’s ambivalence is in itself a discovery. Mary Wollstonecraft and others in Burke’s own day were aware of the characteristic, and modern writers (including this reviewer) have also examined it. Where Professor Kramnick is original is in his effort to relate Burke’s social ambivalence to the psychological stresses of Burke’s childhood and youth. Professor Kramnick seriously damages his own case by overstating it, by manipulating Burke’s words to suit it, and by claiming too much for it, but he has a case, and it is an important one. The antithesis between Burke’s bourgeois-masculine and aristocratic-feminine sides may not be exactly stated but somewhere in this conception is a valuable clue to the understanding of Burke.

Many, perhaps most, students of Burke will be dismissive and even resentful of this attempt at posthumous psychoanalysis, not only for its detectable distortions, but because of the very nature of the attempt itself. I was myself disposed to be skeptical about it. Reading The Rage of Edmund Burke did convince me that the masculine-feminine components and their contention in him do have a relevance to his politico-social ideas and to his expression of them. Burke does expressly identify the sublime with the masculine and the beautiful with the feminine, and there is certainly an unusually strong vein of sexual imagery in his political writing and speeches. Few other parliamentarians, addressing the Commons on economical reform, would have been likely to hit on an image like this: “Let us cast away from us, with a generous scorn, all the love-tokens and symbols that we have been vain and light enough to accept;—all the bracelets…and miniature pictures, and hair devices, and all other adulterous trinkets that are the pledges of our alienation, and the monuments of our shame.”

In his political invectives—against Hastings, against the Jacobins—indignation at the violation, degradation, or torture of women occupies a prominent place, and we know that Burke himself was deeply moved by these descriptions. When he wrote the famous passage about Marie Antoinette, he wept so that “the tear wetted the page.” When he tried to detail the treatment by Warren Hastings of the Begums of Oudi he was so moved that he was more than once unable to proceed. Professor Kramnick is surely right in discerning strong forces at work in his psyche in these invectives and right also to question the sources of Burke’s “rage.”

Whether Professor Kramnick has got the answers right is another matter. The suggestion of homosexual tendencies will annoy many Burkeans. It can neither be established nor summarily dismissed. The evidence which Professor Kramnick finds for it in Burke’s letters and verse is not convincing. There is, however, something unexplained about Will Burke’s place in Edmund’s life. That place has been always a puzzle to Burke’s biographers and something of a scandal to some of them. Professor Kramnick’s explanation is a fairly tentative one, for him. It has a certain plausibility, in so far as it implies a possible, unconscious, homosexual attraction.

An overt homosexual relation is I think out of the question. Burke protested in the House of Commons in 1780 against the treatment of two homosexuals who had been sentenced to stand in the pillory. One of them died there as a result of mob brutality. Burke, in protesting against the use of the pillory in such cases, said that “sodomy was of all other crimes the most detestable because it tended to vitiate the morals of society, and to defeat the first and chief aim of society.” Burke’s condemnation of sodomy did not protect him from the wrath of those who resented the attempt to save homosexuals from being lynched and his winning a pension for the victim’s widow. Contemporary cartoons, as assessed by Professor Kramnick, show Burke as “a particularly effeminate Jesuit.” It would be hard to say what degree of effeminacy, in a cartoon of a Jesuit, would be regarded as the norm. In the rude logic of the time and place, Burke had to be a homosexual. An Irishman is a Jesuit, a Jesuit is a homosexual, therefore an Irishman is a homosexual. QED.

Much more important, in social and political terms, is the question of whether Professor Kramnick is right in relating “bourgeois” to “masculine” and “aristocratic” to “feminine.” These equations are suggestive and stimulating, but they do not altogether convince me. In relation to Burke’s Irish origins—a matter of vital significance for Burke’s psychosocial makeup—I am quite sure that Professor Kramnick has got things the wrong way round. He insists on seeing the Irish side of Burke as bourgeois-masculine, radical, opposed to the aristocratic-feminine side. This does not fit any of the known facts, some of them cited by Professor Kramnick. The people whom Burke loved in Ireland were his mother and her Nagle relatives. The Nagles were an old landed connection deriving from the Norman conquest of Ireland, established in the Blackwater Valley for centuries, partly compromised by Jacobite connections and reduced in circumstances, under the shadow of the Protestant ascendancy. They were not bourgeois: they were gentry “of the old stock.” That was the Ireland that Burke loved.

Professor Kramnick is I think misled by Burke’s references in England to his humble origins in Ireland. There were prudential reasons for such a stance. It would have been highly imprudent, in Hanoverian England, to be seen to take pride in Irish Catholic aristocratic descent: safer to seem a novus homo. That does not mean that the pride was not there. Burke’s resentment of the Protestant ascendancy in Ireland was not at all bourgeois resentment of aristocracy. It was the resentment of an old aristocracy at the domination of a new one. If anything it was the Cromwellians who were the bourgeois—and highly masculine ones at that. If any of Professor Kramnick’s equations is to be applied to Burke’s Irishness it has to be the aristocratic-feminine one. The strain of plangency and nostalgia, combined with indignation, is Irish. The theme of wronged womanhood is central to the Irish Jacobite literature.

In my introduction to the Pelican Classics edition of Burke’s Reflections I relate Burke’s ambivalence to a struggle within him between conscious Whig and repressed Jacobite, with the Jacobite re-emerging in his last years. Having considered what seems to me valid, and what invalid, in Professor Kramnick’s thesis, I would argue for “Whigmasculine” and “Jacobite-feminine.” I am grateful to Professor Kramnick for deepening my understanding of Burke. I have felt bound to take issue with him on a number of matters. I should not have done so at such length if I did not think the book of considerable importance and likely to exert influence even over people who will consciously reject its more “extreme” theses—which have, in fact, rather more to recommend them than some of his more “moderate” ones.

Finally, I cannot help smiling at the thought of this bourgeois-masculine bull entering the aristocratic-feminine china shop of Burke studies.

This Issue

September 29, 1977