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Making HistoryEdward Augustus Freeman and Victorian Cultural Politics$
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G.A. Bremner and Jonathan Conlin

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265871

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265871.001.0001

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1066 and All That: E. A. Freeman and the Importance of Being Memorable

1066 and All That: E. A. Freeman and the Importance of Being Memorable

(p.3) 1 1066 and All That: E. A. Freeman and the Importance of Being Memorable
Making History

G. A. Bremner

Jonathan Conlin

British Academy

This introductory essay outlines the early life and career of Edward Augustus Freeman, setting the context for the subject-specific essays that follow. It discusses the influences that shaped Freeman’s worldview and argues for a closer reading of his contributions to key debates of the late Victorian period. Because of his attitude towards race, in particular his insistence on ‘Teutonic’ superiority, Freeman has often been written off or misunderstood. It is true that in light of social developments today many of his views are unpalatable, but he was not unusual for his time, and was seen by both his allies and adversaries as a prime interlocutor on issues ranging from architecture, politics, and historical method, to foxhunting and vivisection. Unsavoury many of his views may have been, but ill-considered they were not. Ultimately we are asked to reconsider Freeman’s importance and reputation in the whole as an intelligent, fiercely independent, and above all fearless contributor to the world of Victorian cultural politics.

Keywords:   Edward Augustus Freeman, early life, historical method, Oxford, Thomas Arnold, racial politics, imperialism, architecture

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