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Title: Vernon Lushington : practising positivism
Author: Taylor, David
ISNI:       0000 0004 2723 4421
Awarding Body: University of Roehampton
Current Institution: University of Roehampton
Date of Award: 2010
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Vernon Lushington (1832-1912) was a leading Positivist and disciple of Comte's Religion of Humanity. In The Religion of Humanity: The Impact of Comtean Positivism on Victorian Britain T.R. Wright observed that "the inner struggles of many of [Comte's] English disciples, so amply documented in their note books, letters, and diaries, have not so far received the close sympathetic treatment they deserve". Material from a previously little known and un-researched archive of the Lushington family now makes possible such a study. After a childhood influenced by the values of the Clapham Sect, Lushington went to Cambridge where he came under the spell of Thomas Carlyle, for whom he worked for a period as an unpaid secretary, and then Auguste Comte whose Religion of Humanity finally replaced any lingering orthodox Christian faith. At Cambridge Lushington mixed with leading Christian Socialists and worked as a tutor at the Working Men's College alongside Ruskin and D.G. Rossetti. Other friends included William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones who Lushington later introduced to Rossetti, an event which triggered the second phase of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, The altruistic Lushington used his legal skills to assist struggling trade union leaders consolidate their cause and his concern for the working classes led him to co-operate with Elizabeth Gaskell in raising funds to assist the struggling Manchester cotton operatives. It was as a Positivist that Lushington wished to be remembered. This thesis considers the attraction of Positivism for Lushington and his place in its development and spread during the second half of the nineteenth century. Specific areas covered are Lushington's childhood influences, his university life, his relationship with Carlyle and his adoption of Positivism. The thesis then turns to consider how Lushington outworked his new beliefs first in his public life - especially in the area of the Arts, and in then in his domestic role where his enthusiastic embrace of the Religion of Humanity placed severe strains on his marriage.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Victorian studies ; Vernon Lushington ; Positivism