Download Cambridge Before Darwin: The Ideal of a Liberal Education, by Martha McMackin Garland PDF

By Martha McMackin Garland

During this significant contribution to the highbrow historical past of Cambridge collage, Dr Garland takes as her major topic the increase of a particular academic perfect in early Victorian Cambridge, the way it loved a second of triumph, after which the way it fell less than the impression of a brand new set of demanding situations. the tale revolves round the careers of a bunch of 'conservative reformers', led via the Trinity dons Whewell and Sedgwick. They have been the self-designated companies of a refurbished model of conventional Cambridge values within the new atmosphere of a speedily industrializing England, and took as their excellent a normal unified center of information established upon arithmetic, classics and ethical philosophy. They wanted to continue this common constitution simply because they believed it corresponded to the constitution of the human brain and its psychological colleges. For them, trust within the concord of technological know-how and faith used to be half and parcel in their essentially vast Church non secular perspectives.

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Additional resources for Cambridge Before Darwin: The Ideal of a Liberal Education, 1800-1860

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Troublingly, England had as one of its prize possessions a university ostensibly committed to mathematics b:ut in fact at least a hundred years behind the contemporary mathematics of other nations. The introduction of the continental notation was very like the introducĀ­ tion of a foreign language ; it made available to English scholars a wide range of mathematical thought previously beyond their reach. Having begun their scholarly association as undergraduates and having succeeded in reorganizing the 'language' of British matheĀ­ matics, these young scientists continued to maintain close contact with one another.

In 1 850 and again in 1 855 Peacock served on the Royal Commissions appointed to investigate and reform Cambridge ; by this point many of his old friends had become less interested in real change and Peacock became rather unpopular because of his continuing 'extremism' . For Trinity 1 8 1 2 was a good year, for i t was then that Julius Hare, the philologist and historian, and two more of the 'Northern Lights', Richard Sheepshanks and William Whewell, entered their names on the college books. Hare was in some ways unusual among this group of young scholars : for one thing his lack of mathematical interest and ability kept him completely off the wrangler list and made him ineligible for any prizes or honors whatever.

At the same time they were earnest, conscientious, 'Victorian' men who were determined to live up to the spirit as well as the letter of their various obligations. And their intellectual energy made them chafe at anachronistic restrictions which limited the growth of scholarship. Sir Robert Peel had appointed Whewell to the mastership of Trinity College, and in a broad sense Whewell and his friends were all 'Peelites' - that is, while they were essentially conservative about institutions, they were in favor of 'improvement'.

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