Tag Archives: Dissenting academies

Tessa Whitehouse – The Textual Culture of English Protestant Dissent 1720-1800

It is with great pleasure that we are able to announce the publication on 17 December 2015 of Tessa Whitehouse’s book The Textual Culture of English Protestant Dissent 1720-1800 (Oxford University Press).

Cover for 9780198717843Publisher’s note: ‘Religious dissenters and their literary and social heritage are the principal subjects of this book. At its heart is a group of English men whose activities were local, transcontinental and circum-Atlantic. Drawing on letters, lecture notes, manuscript accounts of academies, and a range of printed texts and paratexts The Textual Culture of English Protestant Dissent 1720-1800 explores the connections between dissent, education, and publishing in the eighteenth century. By considering Isaac Watts and Philip Doddridge in relation to their mentors, students, friends, and readers it emphasizes the importance they and their associates attached to personal relationships in their private interactions and in print. It argues that this contributed to a distinctive literary style as well as particular modes of textual production for moderate, orthodox dissenters which reached beyond their own community to address and influence global discourses about education, enlightenment, and history. The book’s focus on ‘textual culture’ foregrounds relationships between forms as well as considering texts as they existed in one form or another. In examining textual culture, this book emphasises adaptation, transformation, fluidity and communality: it approaches the human relationships that make texts (including friendships, reading communities, intellectual exchange and business arrangements) with as much care as the content of the texts themselves. The book demonstrates that models of family and social authorship among Romantic-era dissenters advanced by Michelle Levy, Daniel White and Felicity James were rooted in the domestic culture at earlier academies and in the example of members of the Watts-Doddridge circle.’

Dissenting Academies Online: Virtual Library System (Dr Williams’s Centre for Dissenting Studies)

The Virtual Library System was relaunched in September 2013 with the addition of the Catalogue of the Library of the Lancashire Independent College, Manchester (1885) and details of the 2,500 surviving books from the Northern Congregational College, formed in 1958 from the amalgamation of Lancashire Independent College and Yorkshire United Independent College. The books, dating from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries, are unusually rich in provenance and evidence of use, both institutional and private, the latter including fascinating examples of the everyday reader–men and women who owned only a handful of books and whose annotations are the only evidence of their interaction with them. The VLS for the first time includes high resolution images of the title pages and marks of ownership for these books, which are held at The John Rylands Library, The University of Manchester. The details of the previous owners, both private and institutional, are included in the fully searchable database. For access and further information see: http://vls.english.qmul.ac.uk/

 The project ‘Private Books for Educational Use – the Formation of the Northern Congregational College Library’, funded by the AHRC, was directed by Professor Isabel Rivers (Queen Mary University of London) and Dr David Wykes (Dr Williams’s Library, London), and implemented by Dr Benjamin Bankhurst and Dr Rachel Eckersley, research assistants, and Dr Dmitri Iourinski, technical assistant, with the advice of Ed Potten (Cambridge University Library), principal consultant.