Liberal Intellectuals and Public Culture in Modern Britain, 1815-1914

Liberal Intellectuals and Public Culture in Modern Britain, 1815-1914

Making Words Flesh

William C. Lubenow


Boydell Press



This book is a study of nineteenth-century liberalism, understood as a process rather than a philosophy, policy or ideology.
Liberal Intellectuals and Public Culture in Modern Britain shows how liberal values reconstructed public space in Britain after the repeal of the Test and Corporations Acts (1828) and the passage of Catholic emancipation (1829).
It traces the century-long process against subscription to the Thirty-Nine Articles. It examines the emergence of the intellectual authority of the universities and the social authority of the professions. It shows how these changes gave different political and social opportunities for new families such as the Bensons, the Venns, the Stracheys and the Trevelyans. When the social moorings of the confessional state diminished new forms of association emerged to devise and promote liberal values as a distinctive form of cultural capital. This cultural capital - antique and modern letters, mathematics - filled the public sphere and provided the materials for intellectual change. The final chapters on Roman Catholicism and nationalism reveal the fragilities of this public culture.

WILLIAM C. LUBENOW is Distinguished Professor of History at Stockton College, New Jersey. He is the author of The Politics of Government Growth, Parliamentary Politics and the Home Rule Crisis, and the Cambridge Apostles, 1820-1914.


September 2010
260 pages
23.4x15.4 cm
ISBN: 9781843835592
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press
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Table of Contents

From Confessional Values to Liberal Values
The Fashioning of Liberal Values in the Universities and the Professions
A Different Regime of Social Worth
Making Cultural Capital: Clubs, Societies, and New Forms of Binding Ties
Cultural Capital: From Literalism to the Edge of Certainty
Limitations: Roman Catholicism
Limitations: Nationalism


Deeply researched and gracefully written. (A) rich and resonant study. VICTORIAN STUDIES REVIEW

Makes an important contribution to the cultural history of British liberalism. (...) The scope and range of this book are remarkable. CULTURAL AND SOCIAL HISTORY

An affectionate, broad portrayal of the world of liberal sensibilities which sees intellectual engagements as wide, expansive and drawing in many more interlocutors and preoccupations than a focus on texts in political theory would allow. A strong biographical element predominates, drawn from extensive research in private papers. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW

This rich book makes real contributions to our understanding of the transitional nature of these intellectual and publicly minded elites. JOURNAL OF BRITISH STUDIES

This book will add much to our understanding of the nineteenth-century British intellectual world. JOURNAL OF LIBERAL HISTORY
While using a wealth of secondary literature, including many essays and review articles in literary weeklies and monthlies, William Lubenow charts new and important territory. (A) rich and tightly argued book. REVIEWS IN HISTORY

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