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The Border Within: John Williams' Stoner and Literature as Dark Matter in the Age of Learnification
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2017 (English)In: English Across Borders: Celebrating the Diversity of the English Language, 2017Conference paper, Abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The tension between Bildung and more utility-oriented dimensions of education is nothing new. For instance, Friedrich Nietzsche addressed the issue in a series of lectures presented at the Basel city museum in 1872. The German philosopher particularly abhorred 19th century tendencies to let education be controlled by external forces. The contemporary literature teacher may feel inclined to endorse some of Nietzsche’s sentiments. What is allowed to remain of the subject of literature in the age of massification, learnification, and criterion referenced teaching in secondary and tertiary education? Through an analysis of certain aspects of John Williams’ Stoner, the paper considers a few central questions: Why is the devoted literature teacher forced into a hypocritical position, pretending to do a set of stated things (learning outcomes), while actually doing (or wanting to do) something completely different? Is it not precisely what cannot be put into words that is the actual driving force of the study of literature? In addition, is it not this dark matter of words and unknowing that in extension constitute the suspense in the area of education as a whole? The paper suggests that this Gordian knot cannot be untied and that it should not be cut. But also that the attempts to untie the knot are in themselves vitalising forces that ought not to be neglected within literary studies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keyword [en]
learnification, Nietzsche, Heidegger, dark matter
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
English; Literature
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-142270OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-142270DiVA: diva2:1091938
Conference
National Forum for English Studies 2017: English Across Borders: Celebrating the Diversity of the English Language, Jönköping, Sweden, April 26-28, 2017
Available from: 2017-04-28 Created: 2017-04-28 Last updated: 2017-08-10Bibliographically approved

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