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The Queen Mary Centre for Religion and Literature in English

Enlightenment and Dissent

Enlightenment and Dissent (1982-2016) was founded in 1982 as the successor to the Price-Priestley Newsletter. The latter was concerned with Rational Dissent in late eighteenth-century England; Enlightenment and Dissent set out to broaden its scope within the area of what can be described as the British Enlightenment. It has published articles on major as well as neglected figures. Articles published since 1982 have ranged from John Locke, Isaac Newton (special issue: Enlightenment and Dissent 25(2009) [PDF 1,709KB]), Matthew Tindal, Samuel Clarke (special issue: Enlightenment and Dissent 16 (1997) [PDF 1,065KB]), Henry Grove, Edmund Law, William Chambers, David Hartley, William Paley, Richard Price, Joseph Priestley (special issue: Enlightenment and Dissent 2 (1983) [PDF 22,102KB]), Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Hays, William Godwin, Gowin Knight, Francis Maseres, Joseph Towers, Sir William Jones, David Williams, John Thelwall and Jeremy Bentham. The journal’s significance was acknowledged early on by Roy Porter who wrote in the Times Literary Supplement:

Whether such a beast as the English Enlightenment ever existed is still a bone of contention. This admirable journal is helping to settle the question in the affirmative.

The journal is not confined to English Enlightenment studies. It has explored important themes of general relevance to the Enlightenment, such as the relationship between religious and secular ideas, the tension between universalist ideas and emergent nationalism and between paternalism and individualism, the cross currents between popular and Enlightenment culture, the foundations of religious belief in the Enlightenment, the role of women in enlightened Dissent (special issue: Enlightenment and Dissent 26 (2010) [PDF 1,323KB]), and the place of science in Enlightenment thought (special issue: Enlightenment and Dissent 17 (1998) [PDF 36,177KB]). It has published work concerning the Enlightenment in America, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France and Germany, including substantial pieces which would not have found an outlet in journals preferring the short and snappy. It also has published original documents of unusual interest including material by Richard Price, Joseph Priestley, Theophilus Lindsey, William Godwin, William Morgan and most recently published a special supplement of the Diary of Hannah Lightbody (Enlightenment and Dissent 24 (2008) supplement [PDF 850KB]).


Dr Martin Fitzpatrick

Professor James Dybikowski

Reviews editor:

Dr Anthony Page


Portrait of Richard Price, by Benjamin West - Copyright Trustees of Dr Williams’s Library
Portrait of Richard Price, by Benjamin West - Copyright Trustees of Dr Williams’s Library


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