John Dunn

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John Dunn posts a picture of the great Italian poet to support an extract on Dr John Dunn.

Unrestrained freedom

from Renaissance: Counter-Renaissance

Dante’s Comedy heralded the revolutionary uprising known to us as the Renaissance. There is, says Dante though the mouth of Marco Lombardo in Purgatory XVI, a part of the ‘Mind in you, that the sky does not have control of’. This free component of the mind defines the individual as human. If it ceases to be active through worldly distractions, the individual assumes a beast-like quality. And ‘if the world today goes awry’, Marco adds, ‘the cause is in yourselves, search for it in yourselves’

The world came into being in an act of spontaneity. There was no pre-determined reason for its creation, which was an act of total freedom. The spontaneity of this act was likened by Dante to a child at play who turns eagerly to what delights it. Such unrestrained freedom became the foundation for positing our own human freedom. It is because we were born out of this spontaneous action that we can go on believing that there is such a freedom for us.

It is no accident that this allegorisation of creativity and play occurs at the very centre of Purgatory and, thus, at the very centre of the Comedy as a whole. In Purgatory XVII, Dante presents the mind’s penchant for acts of creation that are unprompted by sense sensations and external influences, be they natural, social, cultural or political. Dante develops his thesis at the fulcrum point, making it the crux of the matter for the work as a whole.

© John Dunn.
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From the archive: For consciousness

Something said 3 Something said 3
Prose poems

Just a thought: The power to move the imagination is held innately within us. It is a faculty that is completely free from the solicitations of the outside world. It is the power within us to imagine worlds that do not even exist. (Renaissance: Counter-Renaissance) John Dunn

'Heidegger and improvised being' and 'The machinations of Heidegger' 'Heidegger and improvised being' and 'The machinations of Heidegger'
'Heidegger and improvised being'
Between birth and death a clearing emerges, in which we can decide to choose our world. It is a place in which authenticity demands that we undertake a ‘critical ontology of ourselves’ in order to escape the banal clutches of Das Man, or ‘the they’. We can inscribe this place of temporality with the temporarily improvised self-expression of our own being. This, for Heidegger, was freedom.
John Dunn

'The machinations of Heidegger'
He was wrong in this idealistic and naive belief. The truth is that deconstruction has evolved into a new logocentrism.
John Dunn


Toll House on Dr John Dunn. Supplement to Cary's Newport Pagnell to Bedford route

Oxford to Cambridge project

Pictured left: Toll House as it stands today, Newport Pagnell North Bridge

This bridge is a single span stone bridge, which allowed horse-drawn vehicles to pass in and out of town. Originally there was a ford at this point, and then later a timber bridge stood alongside the ford. This wooden bridge was rebuilt in stone around 1380 and was made up of three arches. It survived until 1810, when the present North Bridge wasbuilt. A single arch of the 14th century bridge can still be seen in Ousebank Gardens.

In the process of putting together the planning for the building of the present bridge authority was given to build a toll house with gates nearthe bridge to take tolls from anyone wishing to cross with vehicles or animals. The money raised was to pay costs incurred by the bridge. There was initially a temporary building. The present bridge was completed in 1809 and carries this date on the keystone of the arch on its west face. The present toll house was built. The bridge has undergone repairs since. In 1837 gas was used for lighting on the bridgeinstead of oil thanks to a gas works in the town. The front bay window of the toll house was used as a lookout so that no potential toll collection was missed. ( )

Toll House North Bridge late 19th early 20th C.

Cary left Newport Pagnell, travelling briefly on the Northampton to Newport Pagnell Turnpike. The first toll to pay was at the North Bridge over the River Great Ouse. The toll house still stands.

Grid ref on 2020 OS map

Cary then turned right to join the Kettering and Newport Pagnell Turnpike. The first toll to pay on this turnpike was at Sheringham Bridge. The old toll house had been incorporated into a still extant residential property called Bridge House.

Grid ref on 2020 OS map

Still on the Kettering and Newport Pagnell Turnpike, the next turnpike gate was encountered at Emberton.

Grid ref on 2020 OS map

After passing through Olney, Clifton Reynes and Newton Blossomville, Cary joined the Bromham and Olney Turnpike and had to pay a toll almost immediately at Turvey.

Grid ref on 2020 OS map

Another toll had to be paid on the same turnpike on the way to Bromham.