Foreword (BAR 6)

19 Mar 2017

In 1901, a group of distinguished scholars took independent action to fill a gap in the national and international representation of the ‘literary sciences’. Within six months they established ‘The British Academy for the Promotion of Historical, Philosophical and Philological Studies’, and secured a Royal Charter for the new body in 1902.

The Academy’s main Centenary celebrations will be in July 1902, but there will be other activities throughout the year. A programme of Centenary Lectures and a series of Centenary Monographs will reflect on the current state of the subjects that the Academy represents.

From modest beginnings, the British Academy is now firmly established as the national academy for rewarding and promoting excellence in the humanities and social sciences. Its wide spread of interests is reflected in the range of articles in this issue of the Review.

In these pages, readers will find investigations into topics a diverse as welfare reform, preceptions of risk in vaccination, the evolution of culture, and the reconstruction of ancient texts. And as we take stock at this auspicious moment in the Academy’s history, Sir Keith Thomas’ lecture on The Life of Learning provides a historical perspective on the public, personal and ethical goods of scholarship.

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