By H. S. Jones
Within the Victorian interval English universities have been reworked past attractiveness, and the fashionable educational occupation started to take form. Mark Pattison was once one of many most advantageous Oxford dons during this an important interval, and articulated a particular imaginative and prescient of the academic's vocation often at odds with these of his contemporaries. within the first severe examine of Pattison as a philosopher, Stuart Jones exhibits his significance within the cultural and highbrow lifetime of the time: as a proponent of the German inspiration of the college, as a follower of Newman who grew to become an agnostic and a completely secular highbrow, and as a pioneer within the learn of the historical past of principles. Pattison is now remembered (misleadingly) because the intended prototype for Mr Casaubon in George Eliot's Middlemarch, yet this publication retrieves his prestige as probably the most unique and self-conscious of Victorian intellectuals.
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Extra resources for Intellect and Character in Victorian England: Mark Pattison and the Invention of the Don
This volume is numbered by page and not by folio. 34 Intellect and Character in Victorian England tension between any kind of doctrinal orthodoxy and the free life of the mind. Whatever the validity of its apostolic claims, he could be sure that Rome would fetter his intellectual freedom far more tightly than the Church of England would do. The question that faced him was this: was he more convinced of the truth of the claims of the Roman Catholic Church than he was convinced that his own selfhood rested on the free exercise of his mind?
108 The year after graduating he ranked learning Italian along with German among his priorities. 109 He does not come across as a Germanophile at this time. The ‘pains-taking German scholar’ was something of a cliche´, and a pejorative one, in his diary from around the time of his election to his fellowship. 110 This kind of hackneyed representation of German scholarship was common in the Oxford of the 1830s. At this time there was only the most superficial understanding of the flowering of learning in the wake of the creation of the new University of Berlin.
It was a generational rift in which academic conservatism was identified with religious laxity. 60 Pattison was an idealist who could not easily tolerate the kind of messy practical compromise which any kind of institutional life demands. It was natural for him to side with those – whether they were radicals or counter-revolutionaries – who stood for spiritual seriousness. The Tractarians were not alone in representing that cause, but for Pattison’s generation of young Oxford men they were quintessentially identified with it.