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Beauty assignment #2: Theoretical Application

You are Edmund Burke and you find yourself in the year CURRENT YEAR. You want to find out if your ideas about beauty are still useful. Choose a popular contemporary text dealing with beauty and analyze it according to your theory, being sure to use at least one of your key terms (“sensation,” “imagination,” or “judgment”) to identify and analyze how beauty emerges in the text.

Audience: Those interested in Edmund Burke’s theories of beauty

Format: 1000 words (2-3 pages); MLA style

Advice: Having studied and written about some of Burke’s writing you should be quite familiar with his characterization of beauty. Apply this characterization of beauty to a text with which you are familiar—a play, poem, advertisement, film, or song. Center your argument on just one of the key terms listed and use the others as support. The way that you understand this central key term in relation to the text will serve as the basis for your thesis statement.


Type: Use a secondary source as a lens to analyze a primary source, and support a thesis with evidence.

Pre-Draft Activities:

  1. Excerpts from Burke’s Enquiry will be read together and discussed several times to prepare students for this assignment. Students will be able to and required to summarize Burke’s definition of beauty in their own words before embarking on their first draft.
  2. In-class writing analyzing a popular text through the lens of Burke’s ideas—to be discussed as a class.
  3. Paper proposals with feedback from instructor
  4. Thesis group/class work
  5. First draft and final draft cover letters to classmate and instructor, respectively
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