Turner, Frank M(iller) 1944-
TURNER, Frank M(iller) 1944-
Born October 31, 1944, in Springfield, OH; son of Ronald O. and Mary Elizabeth (Miller) Turner; married Margaret Good, August 26, 1967 (divorced 1981); married Nancy Rash, July 29, 1984 (deceased March, 1995); married Ellen L. Tillotson, August 7, 1999. Education: College of William and Mary, B.A., 1966; Yale University, Ph.M., 1970, Ph.D., 1971.
Historian and educator. Yale University, New Haven, CT, assistant professor, 1972-77, associate professor, 1977-82, professor, 1982—, provost, 1988-92, John Hay professor of history, 1992—.
British Council Prize, Conference on British Studies, 1982; Governor's Award, Yale Press, 1983; Guggenheim fellowship, 1983; LH.D., College of William and Mary, 1991.
Between Science and Religion: The Reaction to Scientific Naturalism in Late Victorian England, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1974.
(With Donald Kagan and Steven Ozment) The Western Heritage, Macmillan Press (New York, NY), 1979, 8th edition, Prentice Hall (Upper Saddle River, NJ), 2003.
The Greek Heritage in Victorian Britain, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1981.
(With others) The Heritage of World Civilizations, Macmillan Press (New York, NY), 1986, 6th edition, Prentice Hall (Upper Saddle River, NJ), 2002.
(Editor, with Steven Ozment) The Many Sides of History: Readings in the Western Heritage, Macmillan Press (New York, NY), 1987.
Contesting Cultural Authority: Essays in Victorian Intellectual Life, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1993.
(Editor) John Henry Newman, author, The Idea of a University (part of "Rethinking the Western Tradition" series), Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1996.
John Henry Newman: The Challenge to Evangelical Religion, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 2002.
(Editor) Edmund Burke, author, Reflections on the Revolution in France, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 2003.
Frank M. Turner, an educator and historian, has been a professor at Yale University for more than thirty years. His scholarly research encompasses a wide range of topics, including the Victorian struggle to find a balance between natural science and Christianity, the effect of scholarly studies about Greece upon the British intellectual life of the nineteenth century, and a study of the life of Cardinal John Newman.
Between Science and Religion: The Reaction to Scientific Naturalism in Late Victorian England documents the intellectual and spiritual journeys of six men living in Victorian England—Samuel Butler, Frederic Myers, George Romanes, Henry Sidgwick, Alfred Wallace, and James Ward—who were disenchanted with the dogmas of both Christianity and natural science. Turner describes how each of the men charted his own course through the narrow straits of traditional dogmatic thought. Many of these gentlemen were interested in spiritualism and the occult, and sought to transform orthodox religion into a personally "authentic spiritual experience." Some of them even went on to become the founders of the Society for Psychical Research.
"Turner's treatment [of the men] leads to quite important conclusions," said W. F. Cannon in American Historical Review. Cannon also remarked, "Each essay is good in itself." A Choice reviewer called Between Science and Religion an "absorbing study" and felt that "it combines detailed research … with a gracious prose style." "Though Mr. Turner's well-written book is meant as a period piece, we often seem to be reading about ourselves," wrote a critic for Times Literary Supplement. In Journal of Modern History, Lawrence F. Barmann commented, "Turner has done a commendable job throughout his book in synthesizing the thought of these six men," and he added that the book "is a delight to read."
Turner's work The Greek Heritage in Victorian Britain, documents how the scholars of nineteenth-century England strove to prove the relevance of ancient Greek art, history, mythology, and philosophy for contemporary religious, social, and political conditions. The author focuses on the biographies of both progressive and conservative Victorian scholars, and endeavors to illustrate their points of view.
" The Greek Heritage in Victorian Britain is a formidable and ground-breaking achievement," stated Peter Green in his Times Literary Supplement article. Green added, "It is a great virtue of Turner's method that he approaches his subject not generically, but in linear, evolutionary, historical terms." He felt that Turner's combination of insight and research led to "one of the most important and far-reaching investigations of the roots of intellectual history to be published in decades." In a Modern Language Review article, M. Kay Flavell noticed the wide philosophical range of the people described in The Greek Heritage in Victorian Britain and "the details of their arguments are so exhaustive that some loss of focus is inevitable." "[Turner's] new book is the product of extraordinarily wide reading … the footnotes are rich in valuable references," wrote Bernard Knox in New York Review of Books.
Contesting Cultural Authority: Essays in Victorian Intellectual Life consists of twelve essays that are an extension of Turner's previous forays into the topic of the religious and scientific controversies of nineteenth-century England. The author also returns to his study of Victorian classical thought in these pieces. In History Today, Ian Bradley summed up the work in stating that it "offers fairly conventional analyses of the Victorian crisis of faith and the paradigm shift in intellectual influence from religion to science."
"His focus on the relationship between institutions and ideas … has great explanatory and narrative power," said Jeffrey Cox in Journal of Interdisciplinary History. Norman Vance in English Historical Review suggested that "the volume as a whole is a little disappointing," but he concluded that "the extensive and often unfamiliar material presented usefully points the way to further enquiry." "[Turner's] mastery of political as well as intellectual history is precisely what makes his analysis so important," wrote Journal of Ecclesiastical History reviewer Peter Hinchliff. In a Canadian Historical Review article reprinted online at Utpjournals, Martin Fichman felt that "Contesting Cultural Authority is a powerful document" that succeeds in "setting the intellectual enterprise of nineteenth-century Britain in its full sociocultural context."
In 1996, Turner edited a re-issue of The Idea of a University by John Henry Newman. Newman, formerly a member of the Church of England, experienced a crisis of faith, converted to Roman Catholicism, and eventually became a high-ranking Church official. This book contains selections from Newman's publications and lectures between 1852 and 1873, during the years he served as the rector of the Catholic University in Dublin. Turner methodically places Newman's attempts at educational reform into the context of the political and historical events of the time.
John R. Griffin wrote in Catholic Historical Review that Turner's edition of The Idea of a University "is a worthy addition" to Yale University's "Rethinking the Western Tradition" series. A critic for Journal of Higher Education, John R. Thelin, felt that Turner's "efforts to provide context often come across as excuses and apologies which tend to point out the limits, not the strengths, of Newman's analyses." "[Turner's book is] impeccably edited, with challenging commentaries and enough scholarly apparatus to satisfy an academic audience without intimidating the lay reader," said Gertrude Himmelfarb in her Wall Street Journal article. She added that it is "even more pertinent today than when [it was] published."
In John Henry Newman: The Challenge to Evangelical Religion, Turner explores the life and times of this controversial religious figure. Tristram Hunt of Guardian appreciated Turner's approach to Newman's life because he moves away from the "contemplative, devout, if rather melancholy, reputation" which most other authors typically emphasize. "What Turner leaves us with is … a spirited combatant desperately battling the influence of evangelism within the Church of England," Hunt remarked. National Review critic George W. Rutler praised "Turner's beautiful writing," yet mentioned that "Turner does not consider deeper psychology" in regard to Newman. In a Spectator review, Digby Anderson felt that the author's "speculations … distract attention from the important points" in Turner's consideration of the Oxford Movement led by Newman. A Publishers Weekly reviewer called John Henry Newman an "absorbing" piece of work, and George Westerlund, a Library Journal writer, thought the book included "provocative text."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
America, September 21, 1996, Patrick H. Samway, review of The Idea of a University, p. 32.
American Historical Review, April, 1975, W. F. Cannon, review of Between Science and Religion: The Reaction to Scientific Naturalism in Late Victorian England, pp. 409-10.
Catholic Historical Review, July, 1998, John R. Griffin, review of The Idea of a University, p. 611.
Choice, May, 1974, review of Between Science and Religion, pp. 460-61.
English Historical Review, June, 1996, Norman Vance, review of Contesting Cultural Authority: Essays in Victorian Intellectual Life, pp. 768-69.
History Today, January, 1994, Ian Bradley, review of Contesting Cultural Authority, pp. 53-54.
Journal of Ecclesiastical History, July, 1994, Peter Hinchliff, review of Contesting Cultural Authority, pp. 525-27.
Journal of Higher Education, September, 1997, John R. Thelin, review of The Idea of a University, pp. 588-89.
Journal of Interdisciplinary History, autumn, 1995, Jeffrey Cox, review of Contesting Cultural Authority, pp. 290-91.
Journal of Modern History, September, 1975, Lawrence F. Barmann, review of Between Science and Religion, pp. 553-56.
Library Journal, March 1, 1981, Sally Mitchell, review of The Greek Heritage in Victorian Britain, p. 558; October 15, 2002, George Westerlund, review of John Henry Newman: The Challenge to Evangelical Religion, p. 79.
Modern Language Review, April, 1983, M. Kay Flavell, review of The Greek Heritage in Victorian Britain, pp. 413-15.
National Review, October 14, 2002, George W. Rutler, review of John Henry Newman, p. 65.
New York Review of Books, June 11, 1981, Bernard Knox, review of The Greek Heritage in Victorian Britain, pp. 24-28.
Publishers Weekly, August 12, 2002, review of John Henry Newman,, p. 294.
Spectator, October 26, 2002, Digby Anderson, review of John Henry Newman, pp. 53-54.
Times Literary Supplement, April 26, 1974, review of Between Science and Religion, p. 453; November 6, 1981, Peter Green, review of The Greek Heritage in Victorian Britain, pp. 1303-04.
Wall Street Journal, September 16, 1996, Gertrude Himmelfarb, review of The Idea of a University, p. A16.
Guardian,http://books.guardian.co.uk/ (January 4, 2003), Tristram Hunt, review of John Henry Newman.
Utpjournals,http://www.utpjournals.com/ (April 9, 2003), Martin Fichman, review of Contesting Cultural Authority.
Writer's Reps,http://www.writersreps.com/ (April 9, 2003), review of John Henry Newman.
Yale University Press,http://www.yale.edu/ (April 9, 2003), review of John Henry Newman.*