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Title: Intellectuals and the Eastern question : 'historical-mindedness' and 'kin beyond sea', c. 1875-1880
Author: Kelley, William Frank
ISNI:       0000 0004 7232 7539
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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The intractable problems posed by the decline of the Ottoman Empire were a defining feature of the nineteenth-century British experience. Events such as the Greek War of Independence (1821-32), the Crimean War (1853-5), and the Bulgarian Agitation (1876-8) were merely prominent denouements in the protracted history of what contemporaries called 'the Eastern Question'. The Eastern Question could be construed in many ways and admitted many answers. But by the 1870s, many Victorians had come to construe the Eastern Question as primarily an historical question. This thesis explores the ways in which Victorian public intellectuals brought 'historical-mindedness' to bear on the Eastern Question. Nineteenth-century historiography, it is suggested, may often be understood as a variety of contemporary political thought. Part One takes the historian E.A. Freeman, one of the Bulgarian Agitation's leaders, as its subject. Studied in depth, Freeman becomes a window onto how nineteenth-century intellectuals could experience and understand the Eastern Question. Part Two turns to the remarkable efflorescence of historical writing elicited by the so-called Eastern Crisis of 1875-80, investigating how historical arguments were invoked not merely in history books but also in newspaper reports, politically-freighted travel writing, and above all in periodical articles, over two-hundred of which are studied here. When Gladstone invoked the authority of 'the historical school of England' to criticise Lord Beaconsfield during this period, he did so advisedly, for historians both lay and professional were remarkably unanimous in their interpretation of events in south-eastern Europe. Drawing on the insights of comparative philology and often sympathetic to Eastern Orthodoxy for reasons of religion, these historians tended to emphasise the Balkan Christians' European identity, situating them within teleological narratives of progress which evoke contemporaneous Whig histories of England.
Supervisor: Young, Brian W. ; Skinner, Simon A. Sponsor: AHRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: 19th-Century History ; Balkan History ; Historiography ; Gladstone, W. E. (William Ewart), 1809-1898 ; Victorian Religious History ; Freeman, Edward A. (Edward Augustus), 1823-1892 ; Victorian Racial Thought ; race ; religion