Edward Augustus Freeman: the Life and Times of a Victorian Intellectual

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference


'History is past politics, politics is present history'. Edward Augustus Freeman's activities as a scholar are widely acknowledged for having helped establish the study of medieval history on a professional footing. As his most cited remark indicates, however, for Freeman past and present were interlaced. The past afforded antecedents, but it also awoke analogies that caused "then" and "now" to collapse into a single impulse or moment. Freeman's frequent interventions in the current affairs of his day did not represent so many digressions from "scientific" research into history; they were implicit in that endeavour. The convenors have joined forces with the John Rylands Library, keepers of Freeman's archive, to organize a three-day conference based at Gladstone's Library, Hawarden - a shrine to another eminent Victorian, one with whom Freeman tussled on questions of foreign and imperial policy. Freeman considered becoming an architect and wrote the first history of world architecture published in English before he turned his attentions to medieval history. It is appropriate, therefore, that this conference should take place in two fine Gothic Revival institutions, and include architectural history within its remit. The overall aim is to bring medieval historians, architectural historians as well as historians of Victorian politics and culture together, to consider Freeman and his legacy as a whole and to place his life and work in the context of High Victorian ideas of empire, race and science (in its broadest sense, from the science of Ecclesiology to the science of evolution). In addition to enjoying lively discussion in a collegiate setting delegates will have the opportunity to view displays of archival material, including material relating to Freeman, Gladstone and Sir Stephen Glynne (1807-1874), this last a pillar of the Ecclesiological Society. The convenors are eager to hear from scholars interested in delivering a paper. Among the topics which suggest themselves are: Interpretations of the Norman Conquest The Cambridge Camden and Oxford Architectural Societies The Gothic Revival Constitutional theory and federalism Race and empire Freeman and his contemporaries The "Eastern Question" in High Victorian Britain Ideas of "development" and evolutionary change Co-organised conference with Dr Jonathan Conlin from the University of Southampton, in partnership with the Gladstone Library, Hawarden, and the John Rylands Library, University of Manchester.
Period21 Jun 201223 Jun 2012
Event typeConference
LocationManchester, United KingdomShow on map