John's Reviews > James Martineau - A Biography and Study
James Martineau - A Biography and Study
Aug 24, 2013
The production quality of this hardback reprint is perfectly satisfactory. It looks and feels good, and at first I wondered if it was just me, taking some time to become comfortable with the style of writing in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. After a while I decided that it was more than that. There is certainly a great deal of information about the remarkable James Martineau, his background, his life and his ideas. The book is wholly in sympathy with him and for someone like me who wants to come to grips with the man, it is probably necessary to read it. Having finished the book, and before starting to write this review, I started reading a reprint of single lecture that Martineau himself gave in 1874 as Principal of Manchester New College (as Harris Manchester College was called in those days before it came to Oxford). Although I am only part way through it, I already feel that I am getting from it a more substantial sense of the man and why he had such an impact in Victorian England. Alfred, Lord Tennyson left it on record that he regarded Martineau as the master mind of all the remarkable company with whom he engaged, and William Ewart Gladstone said to Frances Power Cobbe, "Martineau is beyond question the greatest of living thinkers." I am afraid that on first reading, while there is lots of useful biographical data, and a sense of the ideas and the achievements, I don't feel that Jackson quite does justice to his subject.
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