Michael Burleigh

Intellectual Lives

The Moral Imagination: From Edmund Burke to Lionel Trilling


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The American historian and public intellectual Gertrude Himmelfarb is almost as well known for her trenchant criticisms of the modern Western academy as for her major writings on morality in Victorian Britain. These writings were almost guaranteed to outrage the easily provoked academic Left, since they coincided with Margaret Thatcher’s all-too tentative efforts to re-moralise what, in the interim, has degenerated into a uniquely unappetising British underclass, whose equivalent the Victorians controlled with deportation, the lash and the noose, rather than ‘Asbos’ and electronic tagging. Some regard this as progress. 

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