In 1854 Newman wrote twenty articles for the Catholic University Gazette which were like historical snapshots telling the tale of the organic growth and development of the university over two millennia. These ‘university sketches’ were published as Rise and progress of universities, and they form the third volume of Newman’s three works on ‘University Teaching’.
It was never Newman’s intention for the Dublin lectures to be taken in isolation from what he saw as three companion volumes on university education: the Dublin lectures (1852); the occasional lectures and essays (1859); and the university sketches (1856). While only the first two constitute the Idea of a university, all three examine the idea of a university: the first as the idea defined, the second as the idea illustrated, and third as the idea lived out in history.
The sketches are not intended to be historically rigorous essays about the development of the university, but a work of historical imagination. Composed in an age when the writing of history was frequently used to instruct or edify, the historical purpose of the sketches is subordinated to the didactic function of opening minds to the world of the university.
The two sketches which bring out Newman’s pastoral idea of a university are: