History as Form: Architecture and Liberal Anglican Thought in E. A. Freeman

Conlin, Jonathan and Bremner, G. Alex (2011) History as Form: Architecture and Liberal Anglican Thought in E. A. Freeman Modern Intellectual History, 8, (2), pp. 299-326. (doi:10.1017/S1479244311000205).


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Traditionally viewed as one of the leading lights of Whig history in the High Victorian period, Edward Augustus Freeman (1823–1892) is best known for his History of the Norman Conquest (1865–1876). For all his reputation for scholarly pedantry, Freeman had wide-ranging interests, including architecture. His first book, A History of Architecture (1849), was both unique and controversial: unique in being the first history of world architecture in English, and controversial because its “philosophical” method differed so markedly from the two most common understandings of architecture in his own time (antiquarianism and ecclesiology). A closer look at Freeman's intellectual pedigree reveals links through Thomas Arnold to German idealist models of universal history. These links lead Freeman to open up a wider perspective on history by developing an understanding of the past based on an analysis of material culture. Architecture offered a window onto the “hidden law” by which human culture evolved. To study Freeman's historical writing on architecture is to gain a new insight into the development of the Liberal Anglican mind and its concern for a divinely ordained pattern in world history.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1017/S1479244311000205
ISSNs: 1479-2443 (print)
Related URLs:

ePrint ID: 79885
Date :
Date Event
30 August 2011Published
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2010
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2017 20:12
Further Information:Google Scholar
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/79885

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