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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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Historical Mindedness and the World at Large: E. A. Freeman as Public Intellectual

Historical Mindedness and the World at Large: E. A. Freeman as Public Intellectual

(p.293) 16 Historical Mindedness and the World at Large: E. A. Freeman as Public Intellectual
Making History

H. S. Jones

British Academy

E. A. Freeman is best remembered as an historian, but he was also an extensive contributor to the ‘higher journalism’ of the mid-Victorian period. Yet his prolific journalistic output has never attracted sustained attention from historians. This essay analyses the relationship between Freeman’s historical work and his journalism in order to explore his place in Victorian intellectual life. It asks how far his journalism was reliant upon an authority derived from his distinction as an historian. While Freeman drew rather promiscuously on a number of analytically distinct ways of understanding the relationship between history and politics, he responded to accusations of ‘antiquarianism’ and ‘historical-mindedness’ by clarifying what he saw as the role of the historian in public life. Since history, he thought, would inevitably be deployed in political controversy, the important thing was that historical error should be expunged in order to clarify political issues.

Keywords:   E. A. Freeman, public intellectuals, higher journalism, antiquarianism, professionalisation, scientific history, endowments

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