Open Secrets: Literature, Education, and Authority from J-J. Rousseau to J. M. Coetzee by Michael BellOpen Secrets: Literature, Education, and Authority from J-J. Rousseau to J. M. Coetzee by Michael Bell

Open Secrets: Literature, Education, and Authority from J-J. Rousseau to J. M. Coetzee

byMichael Bell

Hardcover | June 17, 2007

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Open Secrets reflects on contemporary humanistic pedagogy by examining the limits of the teachable in this domain. The Goethean motif of the open secret refers not to a revealed mystery but to an utterance that is not understood, the likely fate of any instruction based purely on authority.Revisiting the European Bildungsroman, it studies the pedagogical relationship from the point of view of the tutor or mentor figure rather than with the usual focus on the young hero. The argument is not confined to works of fiction, however, but examines texts in which the category of fiction has acrucial and constitutive function, for a growing awareness of limited authority on the part of the mentor figures is closely related to fictive self-consciousness in the texts. Rousseau's Emile, as a semi-novelised treatise, whose fictiveness is at once overt and yet unmarked, is relatively unawareof the imaginary nature of its envisaged authority. Passing through Laurence Sterne, C. M. Wieland, Goethe and Nietzsche, the situation is gradually reversed, culminating with the conscious impasse of authority in Thus Spoke Zarathustra. All these writers have achieved their pedagogical impactdespite, indeed by means of, their internal scepticism. By contrast, in the three subsequent writers, D. H. Lawrence, F. R. Leavis and J. M. Coetzee, the impasse of pedagogical authority becomes more literal as the authority of Bildung is eroded in the wider culture. The awareness of pedagogicalauthority as a species of fiction, to be conducted in an aesthetic spirit, remains a significant prophylactic against the perennial pressure of reductive conceptions of the education as form of instructional 'production'.

About The Author

Michael Bell is from London, England, and took his undergraduate and doctoral degrees in English at University College, London. He taught in France, Germany, Canada and the USA before coming to the University of Warwick in 1973. Currently Director of the Centre for Research in Philosophy and Literature, he has taken an active part in ...

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Title:Open Secrets: Literature, Education, and Authority from J-J. Rousseau to J. M. CoetzeeFormat:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.98 inPublished:June 17, 2007Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199208093

ISBN - 13:9780199208098

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Table of Contents

Introduction: the 'Open Secret' and the Pedagogical CirclePart I1. Imaginary Authority in Rousseau's iEmile/i2. The Comedy of Educational Errors: (A) Sterne's iTristram Shandy/i3. and (B) C. M. Wieland's iHistory of Agathon/i4. Goethe's 'Open Secrets:' iWilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship/i5. Pedagogy, Fiction and the Art of Renunciation: iWilhelm Meister's Journeymanship, or the Renunciants/i6. Nietzsche as Educator and the Implosion of iBildung/iPart II7. 'The passion of instruction:' D. H. Lawrence and 'Wholeness' versus iBildung/i8. The Importance of being Frank: Criticism, Collaboration and Pedagogy in F. R. Leavis9. The Lecturer, the Novelist, and the Limits of Persuasion: Elizabeth Costello and J. M. Coetzee on The Lives of Animals and MenConclusion