Edmund Burke is difficult to classify. Born in Ireland in 1730, he entered parliament in 1765 having already achieved literary distinction for several philosophical works, including On the origins of the sublime and beautiful (1757). His subsequent career as a Whig statesman, politician, and reformer spanned the tumultuous decades of the late eighteenth century and culminated, less than a decade before his death, in his famous polemic against the French Revolution, Reflections on the revolution in France (1790). Over the course of his life, Burke opined with such frequency on so many topics that the nature of his ‘philosophy’ remains an open question, and scholars continue to offer strikingly different interpretations of his life and legacies. ‘Burke's legacy to history’, historian Richard Bourke summarized, ‘has been a complicated affair’.