This introductory chapter sets out the book's purpose, to recover the authentic intellectual and professional contexts of Edmund Burke's early career as a writer—contexts freed from anachronistic terminology or retrospective interpretations drawn from his later political thought. Such an exercise entails a more nuanced and complex picture of his early intellectual development and of the literary profession that he joined, and therefore a sharper understanding of the term “Patriotism” as it informs the critical literature of early- and mid-eighteenth-century Britain. The chapter also addresses some persuasive historical perspectives that have persistently militated against a clear view the Patriot influence in Burke's early writings and career. This is followed by an overview of the subsequent chapters.
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