The James Ford Lectures in British History 2023 - Peculiarities of the English Enlightenment: Ancients, Moderns and Pagan Pasts

England was an outlier in the age of Enlightenment. It saw neither the emergence of an adversarial intelligentsia nor the rise of a new science of society. If there was an English Enlightenment, it was understated, unobtrusive and of a peculiarly conservative cast. These lectures approach the topic by way of eighteenth-century England’s acknowledged fascination with classical antiquity, focussing in particular on critical philology, pagan philosophical schools and ancient genres.

Lectures will take place in South Schools, Examination Schools.

The Ford Lectures in British History were founded by a bequest from James Ford, and inaugurated by S.R.Gardiner in 1896-7. Since then, an annual series has been delivered over six weeks in Hilary term. They have long been established as the most prestigious series in Oxford and an important annual event in the History Faculty calendar.

Though sometimes elected from among the Oxford History Faculty, the Ford Lecturer is often a distinguished visitor from elsewhere in the United Kingdom, or further afield. Towards the end of the series, the Lecturer generally convenes a seminar for faculty members and students, where the themes and ideas of the series are discussed.

The lectures alternate between medieval, early modern and modern history. They bring the opportunity for distinguished scholars to present their work to an Oxford audience, in a scholarly but accessible way. The attendance, which is often very large, habitually includes people from the local community as well as many from outside Oxford.

The Lectures invariably result in important books, many of them classic and pioneering works of British history.

Sorry, there are currently no talks scheduled in this series.

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