History, empire, and Islam

E. A. Freeman and Victorian public morality

By Vicky Randall

History, empire, and Islam


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-3581-0
  • Pages: 232
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: February 2020
  • BIC Category: Humanities / Historiography, Humanities / Colonialism & imperialism, History, Modern History, Colonialism & imperialism, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Colonialism & Post-Colonialism, HISTORY / Historiography, POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / Diplomacy, Humanities / Islam, Humanities / Social & cultural history
  • Series: Studies in Imperialism


This book offers the first comprehensive treatment of the historian and public moralist E. A. Freeman since the publication of W. R. W. Stephens' Life and Letters of Edward A. Freeman (1895). While Freeman is often viewed by modern scholars as a panegyrist to English progress and a proponent of Aryan racial theory, this study suggests that his world-view was more complicated than it appears. Revisiting Freeman's most important historical works, this book positions Thomas Arnold as a significant influence on Freeman's view of world-historical development. Conceptualising the past as cyclical rather than unilinear, and defining race in terms of culture, rather than biology, Freeman's narratives were pervaded by anxieties about recapitulation. Ultimately, this study shows that Freeman's scheme of universal history was based on the idea of conflict between Euro-Christendom and the Judeo-Islamic Orient, and this shaped his engagement with contemporary issues.


Introduction: 'History is past politics, politics is present history'
Part I: The West
1 The Norman Conquest (1867-79)
2 The Aryan race and Comparative Politics (1873)
3 'I am no lover of Empire': the critique of British expansionism
Part II: The East
4 Islam and Orientalism in the History and Conquests of the Saracens (1856)
5 The Great Eastern Crisis and the 'Oriental Conspiracy'
6 Fear and guilt in the Ottoman Power in Europe (1877)


Vicky Randall is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Gloucestershire

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