The Info List - Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson

--- Advertisement ---

(i) (i) (i) (i) (i)

GOLDSWORTHY LOWES DICKINSON (6 August 1862 – 3 August 1932), known as GOLDIE, was a British political scientist and philosopher. He led most of his life at Cambridge , where he wrote a dissertation on Neoplatonism before becoming a fellow. He was closely associated with the Bloomsbury Group .

Dickinson was deeply distressed by Britain's involvement in the First World War . Within a fortnight of the war's breaking out he drew up the idea of a League of Nations
League of Nations
, and his subsequent writings helped to shape public opinion towards the creation of the League.


* 1 Life

* 1.1 Early years * 1.2 Career * 1.3 First World War
First World War
and after * 1.4 Death and legacy

* 2 Works * 3 References * 4 Further reading * 5 External links


Portrait of Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson
Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson
as a child in 1869 by his father


Dickinson was born in London, the son of Lowes Cato Dickinson (1819–1908), a portrait painter, by his marriage to Margaret Ellen Williams, a daughter of William Smith Williams who was literary advisor to Smith, Elder "> 11 Edwardes Square , London W8, Dickinson's London home Blue plaque

In the summer of 1885 he worked at a co-operative farm, Craig Farm at Tilford near Farnham
in Surrey. The farm had been started by Harold Cox as an experiment in simple living. Dickinson was proud of his hoeing, digging, and ploughing. That autumn, and continuing to the spring of 1886, Dickinson joined the University Extension Scheme to give public lectures that covered Carlyle , Emerson , Browning , and Tennyson . He toured the country, living for a term at Mansfield
and for a second term at Chester
and Southport
. He spent a brief time in Wales

With financial help from his father, Dickinson then began to study for a medical degree, beginning in October 1886 at Cambridge. Although he became dissatisfied with his new subject and nearly decided to drop out, he persevered and passed his M.B. examinations in 1887 and 1888. Yet he finally decided he was not interested in a career in medicine.

In March 1887 a dissertation on Plotinus
helped his election to a fellowship at King's College. During Roger Fry
Roger Fry
's last year at Cambridge (1887–1888), Dickinson, a homosexual, fell in love with him. After an initially intense relationship (which according to Dickinson's biography did not include sex with Fry, a heterosexual), the two established a long friendship. Through Fry, Dickinson soon met Jack McTaggart and F. C. S. Schiller .

Dickinson then settled down at Cambridge, although he again lectured through the University Extension Scheme, travelling to Newcastle , Leicester
, and Norwich
. His fellowship at King's College (as an historian) was permanently renewed in 1896. That year his book _The Greek View of Life_ was published. He later wrote a number of dialogues in the Socratic tradition.

Dickinson did not live the detached life of a stereotypical Cambridge professor. When G. K. Chesterton chose contemporary thinkers with whom he disagreed for his book _Heretics_ (1905), the focus of Chapter 12 was "Paganism and Mr. Lowes Dickinson". There Chesterton writes:

Mr. Lowes Dickinson, the most pregnant and provocative of recent writers on this and similar subjects, is far too solid a man to have fallen into this old error of the mere anarchy of Paganism. To make hay of that Hellenic enthusiasm which has as its ideal mere appetite and egotism, it is not necessary to know much philosophy, but merely to know a little Greek. Mr. Lowes Dickinson knows a great deal of philosophy, and also a great deal of Greek, and his error, if error he has, is not that of the crude hedonist. But the contrast which he offers between Christianity and Paganism in the matter of moral ideals—a contrast which he states very ably in a paper called "How Long Halt Ye?" which appeared in the _Independent Review_—does, I think, contain an error of a deeper kind.

Dickinson was a lecturer in political science from 1886 to his retirement in 1920, and the college librarian from 1893 to 1896. Dickinson helped establish the Economics and Politics Tripos and taught political science within the University. For 15 years he also lectured at the London School of Economics
London School of Economics

In 1897 he made his first trip to Greece
, travelling with Nathaniel Wedd, Robin Mayor , and A. M. Daniel .

He joined the Society of Psychical Research in 1890, and served on its Council from 1904 to 1920.

In 1903 he helped to found the _Independent Review_. Edward Jenks was editor, and members of its editorial board included Dickinson, F. W. Hirst , C. F. G. Masterman , G. M. Trevelyan , and Nathaniel Wedd. Fry designed the front cover. Over the years Dickinson contributed a number of articles to it, some later reprinted in _Religion: A Criticism and a Forecast_ (1905) and _Religion and Immortality_ (1911).


Within a fortnight of the start of the First World War
First World War
, Dickinson had drafted schemes for a "League of Nations", and together with Lord Dickinson and Lord Bryce he planned the ideas behind of the League of Nations and played a leading role in the founding of the group of internationalist pacifists known as the Bryce Group . The organisation eventually became the nucleus of the League of Nations
League of Nations
Union . In his pamphlet _After the War_ (1915) he wrote of his "League of Peace" as being essentially an organisation for arbitration and conciliation. He felt that the secret diplomacy of the early twentieth century had brought about war and thus could write that, "the impossibility of war, I believe, would be increased in proportion as the issues of foreign policy should be known to and controlled by public opinion." Dickinson promoted his ideas with a large number of books and pamphlets, including his book _The International Anarchy_. He also attended a pacifist conference in The Hague in 1915, and in 1916 he set off on a lecture tour of the United States promoting the idea of a League of Nations.

In 1929 the Talks Department of the BBC
invited him to give the first and last lectures in a series called "Points of View". He went on to give several series of BBC
talks on various topics, including Goethe and Plato


After a prostate operation in 1932, Dickinson appeared to be recovering, but he died on 3 August. Memorial services were held in King\'s College Chapel, Cambridge , and in London.

E. M. Forster , by then a good friend, who had been influenced by Dickinson's books, accepted the appointment as Dickinson's literary executor. Dickinson's sisters then asked Forster to write their brother's biography, which was published as _Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson_ in 1934. Forster has been criticised for refraining from publishing details of Dickinson's sexual proclivities, including his foot fetishism and unrequited love for young men.


* _Revolution and Reaction in Modern France_, 1892 * _The Development of Parliament during the Nineteenth Century_, 1895 * _The Greek View of Life_, 1896, 1909 * _Letters from John Chinaman and Other Essays_, 1901 * _The Meaning of Good: A Dialogue_, 1901 * _Letters from a Chinese Official; Being an Eastern View of Western Civilization_, 1903 (published anonymously) * _Religion. A Criticism and a Forecast_, 1905 * _A Modern Symposium_, 1905 * _From King To King_, 1907 * _Justice and Liberty: A Political Dialogue_, 1908 * _Is Immortality Desirable?_, 1909 * _Religion and Immortality_, 1911 * _An Essay on the Civilisations of India, China Being Notes of Travel_, 1914 * _After the War_, 1915 * _The European Anarchy_, 1916 * _The Choice Before Us_, 1917 * _Causes of International War_, 1920 * _The Magic Flute: A Fantasia_, 1920 * _War: Its Nature, Cause and Cure_, 1923 * _The International Anarchy, 1904–1918_, 1926 * _After Two Thousand Years: A Dialogue between Plato
and a Modern Young Man_, 1930 * _ Plato
and His Dialogues_, 1931 * _J. McT. E. McTaggart_, 1931 ISBN 978-1-107-49491-6 * _The Contribution of Ancient Greece
to Modern Life_, 1932


* _The Autobiography of G. Lowes Dickinson: and other unpublished writings_, 1973, edited by Dennis Proctor, published by Duckworth, 287 pages, ISBN 0-7156-0647-6 (hardcover)


* ^ T. S. Eliot (2011). _The Letters of T. S. Eliot: Volume 1: 1898–1922, Revised Edition_. Yale University Press. p. 523. ISBN 9780300176452 . affectionately known as 'Goldie' * ^ Forster, E. M., _Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson_, p. 80 * ^ "Dickinson, Goldsworthy Lowes (DKN881GL)". _A Cambridge Alumni Database_. University of Cambridge. * ^ David Halperin , _One Hundred Years of Homosexuality_, Routledge, 1990, 'Introduction', p. 2. * ^ _A_ _B_ "The Papers of Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson", _Janus_, retrieved 27 February 2007 * ^ _After the War_ (1915), p. 34 * ^ "Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson", _Literary Encyclopedia_, retrieved 27 February 2007 (subscription required)

* E. M. Forster , (1934), "Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson", edited by L. G. Wickham Legg, London: Edward Arnold, 277 pages (hardcover) * P. D. Proctor, (1949), pages 225–227 in "The Dictionary of National Biography 1931–1940", edited by L. G. Wickham Legg, London: Oxford University Press, 968 pages (hardcover)


* Forster, E. M., and Ronald Edmond Balfour. _Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson_. London: E. Arnold & Co, 1934. * Dickinson, G. Lowes. _The Autobiography of G. Lowes Dickinson, and Other Unpublished Writings_. : Duckworth, 1973. * Fry, Roger, and J. T. Sheppard. _Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinso