Henry Sidgwick: Eye of the Universe - An Intellectual Biography

Henry Sidgwick was one of the great intellectual figures of nineteenth-century Britain. He was first and foremost a great moral philosopher, whose masterwork The Methods of Ethics is still widely studied today. He also wrote on economics, politics, education and literature. He was deeply involved in the founding of the first college for women at the University of Cambridge. He was also much concerned with the sexual politics of his close friend John Addington Symonds, a pioneer of gay studies. Through his famous student, G. E. Moore, a direct line can be traced from Sidgwick and his circle to the Bloomsbury group. Bart Schultz has written a magisterial overview of this great Victorian sage. This biography will be eagerly sought out by readers interested in philosophy, Victorian literary studies, the history of ideas, the history of psychology and gender and gay studies.

• First comprehensive biography of an eminent Victorian sage whose philosophy is still studied today • Broad inter-disciplinary appeal to readers outside philosophy, especially in Victorian studies • Lucidly written in a lively style


1. Overture; 2. First words; 3. Unity; 4. Consensus versus chaos; 5. Spirits; 6. Friends versus friends; 7. Colors; 8. Last words?


‘The style is lively and direct … there is a deep, complex and carefully thought out thesis running through the work, one that strikes me as insightful and extremely useful in seeing Sidgwick’s life and work altogether…’. J. B. Schneewind, Author of Sidgwick’s Ethics and Victorian Moral Philosophy

‘… does justice, at last, to the greatest exponent of utilitarian ethcis, and one of the greatest moral philosophers of all time.‘ The Irish Times

‘No brief review can do justice either to this rich and massive book or to the man who is its subject. … Any future biographical or philosophical study of Sidgwick will have to begin from this volume. … I found reading it a stimulating and rewarding experience.‘ Journal of the Society of Psychical Research

‘This is an extraordinary - and extraordinarily interesting - book, a model of intellectual biography.‘ London Review of Books

‘… he has produced a magnificent, close-focus study of the progress of a fine-honed intelligence in ongoing pursuit of the ultimate truth about the universe.‘ Contemporary Review