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Artefacts of WritingIdeas of the State and Communities of Letters from Matthew Arnold to Xu Bing$
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Peter D. McDonald

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198725152

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198725152.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 September 2021

Oxford at the Crossroads

Oxford at the Crossroads

England and the world beyond

(p.35) 1 Oxford at the Crossroads
Artefacts of Writing

Peter D. McDonald

Oxford University Press

This chapter reflects on questions of language, culture, community, and the state via the history of Oxford University (1860 to 1939). After considering Matthew Arnold’s ambivalence about his alma mater, it turns to the quarrel over the identity of the English language between the historian E. A. Freeman and the lexicographer James Murray and its impact on the Oxford English Dictionary. The second section traces this quarrel through the disputes about the creation of the new School of English in Oxford in the 1890s, focusing on the relationship to the established School of Literae Humaniores and the idealist assumptions underpinning the debate. The third section shows what bearing this had on the creation of the International Committee for Intellectual Co-operation, the precursor to UNESCO, in the interwar years. It centres on Gilbert Murray, then Professor of Greek at Oxford, and concludes with his public exchange with Tagore in 1934.

Keywords:   philology, Oxford English Dictionary, national character, Literae Humaniores, League of Nations, Oxford University, Republic of Letters, philosophical idealism

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