May 11, 2012 § 4 Comments
Revolutionary times: and while we look on from the littered margins, some thoughts on dissent…
Dissenters were nonconformist religious (including Protestants, Quakers and Jews) who disagreed with the doctrines of the established Church. As a result, they were unable to take degrees at Oxford and Cambridge. Dissenting Academies were set up, particularly in the north of England, as a result. There was one at Attercliffe near Sheffield whose alumni included archbishops and scientists.
Dissent di-sent’, v.i. to think differently: to disagree in opinion: to differ (with from). – n. the act of dissenting: difference of opinion: a protest by a minority. (Chambers)
The Blakes were Dissenters. As was Marvell. And Defoe.
dissentious (Shak.) disposed to discord, contentious.
Poetry being an antagonistic form (working in tension with the structures that serve to define it), any modern Dissenting Academy (whatever that may be) should accommodate it. Are there such things – physically or virtually? Might there be? What would the aims and principles of such a thing be?
My own initial thoughts:
It would be free and non-selective;
It would be anti-discriminatory;
It would, directly or indirectly, dissent from / protest against the dominance of ‘the centre’ (politically, culturally, socially);
It wouldn’t offer pathways, or qualifications of any kind; and would attack the notion that creativity’s contribution to the economy contributes significantly to its value.