Dealing with the “Dissenting Grocer”

  • Peter Morton


In Grant Allen’s personal mythology the natural habitat of “dissenting grocers” is the land of Philistia. As early as 1827 Carlyle and others were using “Philistia” as a label for the most unenlightened or commonplace part of the British populace: “unenlightened” meaning, here, little more than holding views which the writer happened not to agree with. Matthew Arnold gave the term “Philistine” universal currency in Culture und Anarchy (1869), where it denotes a person deficient in liberal culture, “people who most give their lives and thoughts to becoming rich.”


Short Story Scarlet Fever Truth Teller Manly Complaint Liberal Culture 
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    George Moore, “A New Censorship of Literature,” Pall Mall Gazette, 40 (December 10, 1884), 1–2. The article generated some correspondence, but few were very sympathetic to Moore’s position. A common response was that Mudie was a businessman not a promoter of the arts, and his customers’ desires were paramount.Google Scholar
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© Peter Morton 2005

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  • Peter Morton

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