A critical edition of John Henry Newman's 'Lectures on the present position of Catholics in England' (1851)

Nash, Andrew (2000). A critical edition of John Henry Newman's 'Lectures on the present position of Catholics in England' (1851). PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000e2d6


This critical edition of John Henry Newman's Lectures on the Present Position of Catholics in England is comprised of an Introduction, Editor's Notes and Textual Appendices. The text of the lectures themselves is appended separately bound. Section I of the Introduction draws on recent research to describe both the immediate historical context, the 1850-1 `Papal Aggression' crisis, and the wider background of anti- Catholicism in Britain. Section II gives a detailed account of the composition of the text, drawing on Newman's diaries and the extant preparatory material which is transcribed and compared with the published text in Textual Appendices 2 and 3. All the textual variants between the first and final editions are listed in full in Textual Appendix 1; the significance of these is assessed. Section III is a detailed survey of Newman as a satirist, showing the development of common themes in his satire and the relation of Present Position to both his earlier and later work. Section IV traces the central satirical strategy used in Present Position: a drama played out between the Catholic Church and a series of prejudiced opponents who are gradually disarmed. Key passages are analysed in detail. Section V analyses and evaluates contemporary reactions to the lectures from primary sources, both Catholic and Protestant. It then gives a comprehensive and detailed survey of critical responses from the death of Newman to the present day and analyses and evaluates them. The Editor's Notes give explanations of every historical, contemporary, political, literary, legendary, scriptural, ecclesiastical, theological, hagiographical or other reference in the text. Newman's primary sources are quoted, and all his quotations and references fully elucidated. Parallel passages in his other writings are identified, as are parallels from other sources. The Notes are in effect a commentary on the Lectures, shedding new light on their context and illuminating their meaning.

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