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Edmund Burke’s A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful is one of the most important works of aesthetics ever published. Whilst many writers have taken up their pen to write of "the beautiful", Burke’s subject here was the quality he uniquely distinguished as "the sublime"—an all-consuming force beyond beauty that compelled terror as much as rapture in all who beheld it. It was an analysis that would go on to inspire some of the leading thinkers of the age, including Immanuel Kant and Denis Diderot. The Routledge Classics edition presents the authoritative text of the first critical edition of Burke’s essay ever published, including a substantial critical and historical commentary.