'A Manly Desire to Learn' : the Teaching of the Classics in Nineteenth Century Scotland

Morris, Michael John (2008). 'A Manly Desire to Learn' : the Teaching of the Classics in Nineteenth Century Scotland. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000d578


This thesis presents an examination of the teaching of Latin and Greek in Scotland's universities and schools, both private and public, in the nineteenth century. This was the period when the Classics occupied a central position in Scottish education and, as a result, more undergraduates studied these ancient languages than ever before, or since. The thesis also details the very different institutional traditions exemplified by the nation's ancient schools and universities which were the subject of extensive government examination by a succession of Royal Commissions. This native, largely unexplored, tradition in teaching Latin and Greek is shown to be in marked contrast, both in content and pedagogical philosophy, to the English model as exemplified by the classical curricula taught at Oxford, Cambridge and the leading English public schools. This thesis also examines the anglophile forces which attempted to dilute this Scottish tradition of the 'democratic intellect'; a process that was accelerated by the creation, in 1873, of the Scotch Education Department, based in London, which controlled all school inspection and was later responsible for the introduction and management of the national School Leaving Certificate in 1888. The final chapter provides an examination of the importance of two events: the creation of Scotland's first modem university college, Dundee College, in 1882 and the impact of the admission of women to all the nation's universities a decade later.

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