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The Passion of Edmund Burke: “To Dr H––––––n” Revisited

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249–276
Number of pages27
JournalHUNTINGTON LIBRARY QUARTERLY
Volume82
Issue number2
DOIs
Accepted/In press14 Jan 2019
Published30 Aug 2019

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Abstract

This essay is the first detailed study of "To Dr H——n" (1748), a poem attributed to the young Edmund Burke. It argues that the ode's addressee was the Catholic doctor Paul Hiffernan, and suggests that it responded to Hiffernan's physico-theological Reflections on the Structure and Passions of Man (1748). Hiffernan and Burke were drawn together by efforts to reform Dublin theatrical culture, in a debate with fraught political and confessional dimensions. Set in this context, the ode sheds light on Burke's early thinking on the passions, significant for the genesis of his Philosophical Enquiry (1757), and reinforces the connection in his work of literary, moral, and political concerns.

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