- Review of James Hannam. God’s Philosophers: How the Medieval World Laid the Foundations of Modern Science. Icon Books: Cambridge, 2010, hb, 445pp, ₤20
When analyzing the importance of sectarianism within Unionist intellectual culture during the period of 1885-1965, it must be seen within both British and imperial contexts. Scotland’s public culture proudly identified with Presbyterianism as the nation’s established confession.
The history of the Long Eighteenth century within the British Isles remains a complicated narrative strewn with the efforts of competing historiographies. Since the 1980s we in the field of British History have had to come to terms with the Clarkite Revolution and its effects on our own scholarship.
I will be delivering a paper at the Northeast Conference on British Studies this October and will stay for several days in Providence, Rhode Island. As I plan my trip, I found myself thinking back to my undergraduate days at Brown University and the decade I lived in Providence before traveling to the United Kingdom for my doctoral work.
Canadian national identity consists of assertions that the nation’s culture comprises both British and French heritages in complex contradistinction to American republicanism. From Samuel De Champlain’s explorations to the Nova Scotia landing of the ship Hector, Canadian settlement became marked by these two legacies.
From The Pursuit of the Millenium to What is Intellectual History, these are the most inspiring books every aspiring Intellectual Historian should read.
A significant contributor to literary representation of Anglo-Scottish Unionism was the prolific Andrew Lang (1844-1912) whose historical works valorized the Stuarts and judged the 1707 Union as an inevitable stadialist development necessary for Scotland’s advancement. Born to a petit-bourgeois family in Selkirk, the young Lang experienced a similar Borders upbringing to John Buchan’s formative years.
The figure of Noel Skelton (1880-1935) must accurately be discussed when analysing Scottish Unionist intellectual culture. Skelton first developed the popular phrase ‘property-owning democracy’ which became utilized by successive Conservative Prime Ministers during the Twentieth century.
For early twenty-first century Britons, the political struggles and social morays of early nineteenth century Ultra-Tories seem completely submerged like Dunwich by the tide of history. So much flowed out with the ‘river god’ in Fitzjames Stephen’s famous description so that we now only dimly perceive the intellectual milieu of Colonel Charles De Laet Waldo Sibthorp (1783-1855) and His Grace Henry Pelham-Clinton, Fourth Duke of Newcastle (1785-1851).
The figure of John Heydon (1629-1667 A.D.) within English Rosicrucianism is a complicated one with competing claims and counter-narratives. His few chroniclers are tasked with the intensive work of parsing those few verifiable biographical facts from overlaid layers of deceit, exaggeration and outright falsehoods.
Jonathan Paquette currently studies Modern British political and intellectual history at the University of St Andrews, Scotland.