Monday, November 15, 2010

The Re-enchantment of Place

Ken Worpole (author of the ground-breaking book Dockers and Detectives) provides a short over-view of a new book: Towards Re-enchantment: Place and Its Meanings, edited by Gareth Evans and Di Robson, (Artevents, £9.99). This collection of essays and poems about visiting places which are beyond the reach of the car provides new insights into the landscape and history of Britain:

" the 19th and early 20th centuries, Essex provided a home to a variety of metropolitan social reform projects employing the vocabulary of the land colony, where under strict conditions, or in a spirit of political zeal, new lives might be moulded. These included the Hadleigh Farm Colony (founded1891, Salvation Army), Mayland Colony (1896, Socialist), Purleigh Colony (1896, Tolstoyan Anarchist), Ashingdon Colony (1897, Tolstoyan Anarchist), Wickford Colony, (Tolstoyan Socialist), Laindon Farm Colony (1904, Socialist/Municipal). Even today, though, there are still a lot of idealistic initiatives in the county – religious, ecological, social – which mainstream politics ignores, and long preceded, and will long outlast, ‘the Big Society’, if not the playing fields of Eton."

Towards Re-enchantment includes essays by Jay Griffiths, Kathleen Jamie, Richard Mabey, Robert Macfarlane, Jane Rendell, Iain Sinclair and Ken Worpole, and poems by Elizabeth Bletsoe, Lavinia Greenlaw, Alice Oswald and Robin Robertson.

Read Ken's much longer feature on the Open Democracy. website.