The many voices of Dartmouth
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The many voices of Dartmouth book
The month-long seminar of English teachers from the US, UK and Canada held in Dartmouth, New Hampshire in the summer of 1966 was a notable event in the history of the teaching of English. Fifty years later, the concept of ‘growth through English’, enshrined in the title of John Dixon’s report on the seminar, remains significant to the identity of the profession in the UK and abroad (Goodwyn, 2012). Yet the contributions of fifty delegates have been mediated to successive generations mainly through the reports written by John Dixon from the UK and Herbert J. Muller from the US. As several commentators (e.g. Daiches, 1968; Brass, 2016) have indicated, these differ widely in their approach and emphases. Dixon (1967, p.xi) acknowledges in the preface to the first edition of Growth through English that his report is inevitably partial: ‘a simpler view from a single vantage point’. Muller explains in his introduction to The Uses of English (1967, p.vi) that, while he aimed to do justice to the different opinions expressed, he has ‘not tried to write a wholly impersonal report’. Reflecting at the distance of a half-century on the seminar, it is natural to wonder about the provenance of these reports, and the process by which the many voices of Dartmouth were represented. What other views of Dartmouth are conceivable?