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George Dangerfield: A Personal Account

  • Alfred Gollin

Extract

In March 1985 the Pacific Coast Conference on British Studies devoted its annual meeting to honoring George Dangerfield upon the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of his book, The Strange Death of Liberal England. Scholars from various parts of the United States and from several British Universities came together to pay their respects to Dangerfield, and to talk about his famous history.

The principal organizers of the meeting were Professor Peter Stansky of Stanford University; Professor R. J. Q. Adams of Texas A&M University; and Professor Dan Krieger, California Polytechnic State University. These organizers made two requests of me. They invited me to deliver an oral comment upon a paper about Dangerfield which was presented to the conference by Professor Carolyn White of the University of Alabama; and they also asked that I write this essay about “Dangerfield—the man and historian.” The idea was to make his personality known to a wider audience by recalling certain experiences and by relating certain anecdotes which illustrate the character of this remarkable scholar and man of letters.

The celebration of the anniversary of The Strange Death of Liberal England actually began a few months earlier when the Chancellor of the University of California, Santa Barbara, Dr. R. A. Huttenback, presented Dangerfield with a University Medal in commemoration of the book. At this ceremony at U.C.S.B. Dangerfield casually remarked that The Strange Death of Liberal England had appeared in nineteen editions and he thought, but was not entirely certain, that a twentieth edition was about to be produced.

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