In 1851 Archbishop Cullen of Armagh wrote to John Henry Newman, since 1845 the most celebrated English convert to Catholicism, asking his advice on appointing staff to the proposed Catholic University of Ireland, adding that he hoped Newman “could spare time to give us a few lectures on education.” This was a natural request, Newman having been, in his Anglican days, a renowned (and not entirely popular) tutor at Oxford, who had agitated for reform of the system there, so as to make tutors more directly the moral guardians of their pupils. Cullen could hardly have foreseen how amply his invitation would be answered. The volume published in 1873 as The Idea of a University Defined and Illustrated was a composite of the original lectures--delivered in 1852 and printed with some alterations and additions later that year—and Lectures and Essays on University Subjects (1858). There have been two major scholarly editions of The...


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