William Wilberforce: Myths and Reality
by Dr Mark Smith

Date: Thursday 29 February 2024

An introduction to the real William Wilberforce as revealed in his manuscript diaries and journals.

William Wilberforce (1759 -1833) was the subject of considerable Victorian myth making, especially in the five-volume biography written by his sons Robert and Samuel published in 1837. However, the Wilberforce Diaries Project, which is in the course of producing the first ever critical edition, of Wilberforce’s manuscript journals, is producing a picture of a real man more complex and more interesting than the Victorian plaster saint. This talk will share with the audience some of the first results of the project casting new light on a leading figure in the social, political and religious history of eighteenth and nineteenth-century Britain.

Dr Mark Smith is an Associate Professor in History at the University of Oxford and a lead editor on the Wilberforce Diaries Project.

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