This series of interlinked essays takes the form of historical 'voyages' around the Victorian intellectual John Henry Newman, and Newman's classic work The Idea of a University, as well as changes in the structure and culture of universities which occurred in Newman's lifetime. The voyages connect nineteenth and twentieth-century university history, mainly in Britain and the United States but with side excursions to continental Europe. Among the many important topics discussed are the history of student communities in Oxford and Cambridge, the growth of a modern examinations culture, university architecture and the use of space in connection with educational ideals, urbanism and universities, and the competition of states, markets and academic guilds for the control of universities and the right to define the missions of university professors.
"Rothblatt's historical meditations are stimulating reading about professional institutions and higher education in the era of their modern formulations." Michael J. Moore, The North Carolian Historical Review "In this philosophically sophisticated, historically enlightening analysis, Rothblatt provides new insight into the perennial debate about the basic function of the university." E.G. Rozycki, Choice "Readers will find these essays...rewarding. He makes wonderful use of individual examples, drawing out the larger meaning of the small details. He connects the history of universities with intellectual and social history in challenging and fruitful ways...readers will find excellent historical accounts of particular subjects..." Julie Reuben, Journal of Social History "...Sheldon Rothblatt...offers a profound reconsideration of some main themes in the development of British and, to a lesser extent, American universities. The result is an informative and provocative rethinking of what might be called the deep structures of British and American universities." Thomas William Heyck, Victorian Studies "Rothblatt's sensitively written work provids a glimpse into academia. For this, it is relevant to anyone associated with higher education." Jennifer Ford, Libraries & Culture