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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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Past History and Present Politics: E. A. Freeman and the Eastern Question

Past History and Present Politics: E. A. Freeman and the Eastern Question

(p.119) 7 Past History and Present Politics: E. A. Freeman and the Eastern Question
Making History

William Kelley

British Academy

While E. A. Freeman’s History of the Norman Conquest has tended to monopolise the attention of historians of historiography, this essay argues that the Eastern Question occupies a central place in his historical thought. Freeman was an ardent and influential contributor to debates on the Eastern Question, which he construed as an historical problem. In works such as his four-volume History of Sicily, his Chief Periods of European History, his third series of Historical Essays and his monographs History and Conquest of the Saracens and The Ottoman Power in Europe, Freeman elaborated a conception of universal history to which the Eastern Question was central. Freeman’s prominent role in the Bulgarian Agitation of 1876 must be seen in the context of this deeply historical engagement with the Eastern Question.

Keywords:   Eastern Question, Edward Augustus Freeman, historiography, Turkey, philhellenism, race, comparative method, Byzantine Empire, Bulgarian Agitation

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