Bagehot Notebooks

Scope and Content

Notebooks on lectures on mathematics, languages and political economy attended by Bagehot when a student at University College London.

Administrative / Biographical History

Walter Bagehot, an economist and journalist, was born at Langport in Somerset in 1826. He went to school in Bristol, and in 1842 he entered University College London, where he became a good mathematician under Professor De Morgan. He also read very widely in all branches of general literature. Poetry, metaphysics and history were his favourite studies. Bagehot took his BA degree in the University of London, with a mathematical scholarship, in 1846 and then his MA in the same university in 1848, with the gold medal in intellectual and moral philosophy and political economy. He then began to read law. He was called to the bar in 1852 but decided not to pursue the law as his profession, but to join his father in his shipowning and banking business at Langport. Bagehot still had a passion for literature and contributed first to the 'Prospective Review' and from 1855 onwards to the 'National Review' (of which he was one of the editors), a series of essays which attracted attention by their brilliancy of style and lucidity of thought. For the last 17 years of his life, Bagehot edited the 'Economist' newspaper which was established by the Right Hon. James Wilson. In 1858 Bagehot married Wilson's eldest daughter. Bagehot was a considerable authority on banking and finance, and was consulted by chancellors of the exchequer; but in the literary world he was even better known for his lively, vivid and humourous criticisms. He published many works including 'The English Constitution', 'Physics and Politics' and 'Lombard Street'; he also published a series of essays. Bagehot died in Langport in 1877.

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