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

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In this major contribution to the intellectual history of Cambridge University, Dr Garland takes as her main theme the rise of a specific educational ideal in early Victorian Cambridge, how it enjoyed a moment of triumph, and then how it fell under the impact of a new set of challenges. The story revolves around the careers of a group of 'conservative reformers', led by the Trinity dons Whewell and Sedgwick. They were the self-designated providers of a refurbished version of traditional Cambridge values in the new environment of a rapidly industrializing England, and took as their ideal a general unified core of knowledge based upon mathematics, classics and moral philosophy. They wished to retain this general structure because they believed it corresponded to the structure of the human mind and its mental faculties. For them, belief in the harmony of science and religion was part and parcel of their basically Broad Church religious views.