By Jesse Norman (published by William Collins)
On hearing the name ‘Edmund Burke’, the first thing that many people remember is his most frequently anthologised passage from the Reflections on the Revolution in France about Marie Antoinette, which begins with the words: ‘It is sixteen or seventeen years since last I saw the Queen of France...’ Brian Friel’s character in Philadelphia, Here I Come, Gar O’Donnell quotes lines from Edmund Burke’s description of Marie-Antoinette as a defence against the onslaught of negative thoughts. Time and again through the pages of the play, Gar shouts out the words of Burke as if they were a mantra to lift his mind above the things that oppress him. MP, Jesse Norman also believes that Edmund Burke continues to have significance today. He says that both conservative and subversive, Burke’s beliefs have never been more relevant than in today’s ‘Big Society’. In his new book, Edmund Burke: Politician, Philosopher, Prophet, Jesse Norman explains that as a philosopher, statesman, and founder of modern conservatism, Edmund Burke is both the greatest and most under-rated political thinker of the past three-hundred years.