The Great Melody

Conor Cruise O’Brien
Date Published
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Conor Cruise O’Brien’s majestic meditation on the life and writings of Burke was originally published in 1992.

‘O’Brien [had] been brooding on Edmund Burke for decades. First he worked on a narrative approach and came to a standstill, he knew not why. Then, in the light of much painful observation of the world and its wickedness, he turned to a thematic treatment, inspired by Yeats’s elliptic lines: “American colonies, Ireland, France and India / Harried, and Burke’s great melody against it.” “It”, he decided, was the abuse of power.’ Paul Johnson, Independent on Sunday

‘The best book about Edmund Burke ever written . . . It succeeds in liberating this remarkable, tormented and brilliant man from those confusing and confining details of British high political life . . . O’Brien’s version of Burke’s career is a self-reflective and immensely personal one, but its authenticity penetrates to the core.’ Linda Colley, Observer

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