Dr Lawrence Klein

Photo of Dr Lawrence Klein

BA (Rochester), MA (Johns Hopkins), PhD (Johns Hopkins)

Emeritus Fellow; Editor of the College Magazine; Director of Studies in History
former University Senior Lecturer in History


Dr Klein, a New Yorker by birth and affinity, studied as an undergraduate at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York, and as a graduate student at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Between commencing his bachelor’s degree and finishing his PhD, he was also, among other things, an elevator operator, a gardener, a dairyman, a cook, a waiter, a journalist and an editor. Before joining the History Faculty of the University of Cambridge and the fellowship of Emmanuel College in October 2000, he taught at Stanford University and the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Teaching Interests

Dr Klein is a specialist in the cultural history of eighteenth-century Britain. He lectures for Part I of the Historical Tripos on eighteenth-century British politics, society and culture. For Part I, he supervises Paper 5 (‘British Political and Constitutional History 1700-1914’) and Paper 10 (‘British Social and Economic History 1700-1914’). He also offers a Part II ‘specified" paper, Paper 24, on ‘Culture and Identity in Britain’s Long Eighteenth Century’.


His scholarly work has focussed on ideas and practices associated with politeness in the eighteenth century. Politeness was a key term in the eighteenth-century vocabulary, conveying ideas about interpersonal civility and sociability but also ideas about refinement in material culture and the arts and about civilization as a stage of human development. He has published on politeness as an ideology and on various features of polite practice in the period. He is working on a synthetic study of polite culture in eighteenth-century Britain. Books: Shaftesbury, Characteristics of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times, Cambridge University Press, 1999. Edition, with introduction, notes and other apparatus, in the series "Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy." Enthusiasm and Enlightenment in Europe, 1650-1850 (co-edited with Anthony LaVopa), Huntington Library Press, 1998. Including "Introduction" and essay, "Sociability, Solitude and Enthusiasm." (Also published as Huntington Library Quarterly, Volumbe 60, Numbers 1 and 2.) Shaftesbury and the Culture of Politeness: Moral Discourse and Cultural Politics in Early Eighteenth-Century England, Cambridge University Press, 1994. Articles: "The Theory and Practice of Letter-Writing in the Third Earl of Shaftesbury," in Giancarlo Carabelli and Paola Zanardi, eds., Il Gentleman Filosofo: Nuovi Saggi su Shaftesbury, Padova: Il Poligrafo, 2003 "The Polite Town: Shifting Possibilities of Urbanness, 1660-1715," in Tim Hitchcock and Heather Shore, eds., The Streets of London, Rivers Oram Press, 2003 "Politeness and the Interpretation of the British Eighteenth Century," The Historical Journal, Volume 45, Number 4 (2002), pp. 869-898. "Enlightenment as Conversation," in Keith Baker and Peter Reill, eds., What’s Left of Enlightenment? A Postmodern Question , Stanford University Press, 2001,, pp. 148-166. "Making Philosophy Worldly in the London Periodical about 1700," in Joseph Marino and Melinda Schlitt, eds., Perspectives on Early Modern and Modern Intellectual History, University of Rochester Press, 2001, pp. 401-418. "Shaftesbury et l’Identité de la Philosophie," in Fabienne Brugère and Michel Malherbe, eds., Shaftesbury: Philosophy et Politesse, Editions Honoré Champion, Paris, 2000. "Sociability, Solitude and Enthusiasm," in Lawrence E. Klein and Anthony J. LaVopa, eds., Enthusiasm and Enlightenment in Europe, 1650-1850 , Huntington Library Press, 1998, pp. 153-177. "The Figure of France: The Politics of Sociability in England, 1660-1715," Yale French Studies, Number 92 (1997), pp. 30-45. "Coffeehouse Civility, 1660-1714: An Aspect of Post-Courtly Culture in England," Huntington Library Quarterly, Volume 59, Number 1 (1996), pp. 30-52. "Politeness for Plebes: Some Social Identities in Early Eighteenth-Century England," in Ann Bermingham and John Brewer, eds., The Consumption of Culture: Word, Image, and Object in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, Routledge, 1995, pp. 362-382. "Property and Politeness in the Early Eighteenth-Century Whig Moralists: The Case of The Spectator," in John Brewer and Susan Staves, eds., Early Modern Conceptions of Property, Routledge, 1995, pp. 221-233 "Gender and the Public/Private Distinction in the Eighteenth Century: Some Questions about Evidence and Analytic Procedure," Eighteenth-Century Studies, Volume 29, 1995, pp. 97-110. "‘Politeness’ as Linguistic Ideology in Late Seventeenth- and Early Eighteenth-Century England," in Dieter Stein and Ingrid Tieken-Boon van Ostade, eds., Towards a Standard English 1600-1800, Mouton deGruyter, 1994, pp. 31-50. "Gender, Conversation and the Public Sphere in Early Eighteenth-Century England," in Judith Still and Michael Worton, eds., Textuality and Sexuality: Reading Theories and Practices, Manchester University Press, 1993, pp. 100-115. "The Political Significance of ‘Politeness’ in Early Eighteenth-Century Britain," in N.T. Phillipson, ed., Cicero, Scotland, and "Politeness" (The Proceedings of the Center for the History of British Political Thought, Volume 5), The Folger Shakespeare Library, 1993, pp. 73-108. "Shaftesbury, Politeness and the Politics of Religion," in Nicholas Phillipson and Quentin Skinner, eds., Political Discourse in Early Modern Britain, Cambridge University Press, 1993, pp. 283-301. "From Courtly Politesse to Civic Politeness in Early Modern England and France," Halcyon: A Journal of the Humanities, 1992, pp. 171-181. A slightly modified version appears under the title, "Politeness in Seventeenth-Century England and France," in Cahiers du Dix-Septième, Volume 4, 1990, pp. 91-106. "Liberty, Manners, and Politeness in Early Eighteenth-Century England," The Historical Journal, Volume 32, Number 3 (1989), pp. 583-605. "Berkeley, Shaftesbury, and the Meaning of Politeness," Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, Volume 16, 1986, pp. 57-68. "The Third Earl of Shaftesbury and the Progress of Politeness," Eighteenth-Century Studies, Volume 18, Number 2 (Winter 1984-85), pp. 186-214.