John McGahern is one of those writers whose work continues to be appreciated across a range of readerships. As a writer who eschewed the notion of himself as 'artist' he addressed his task through a commitment to style, what he called the 'revelation of the personality through language'. McGahern's work began to receive critical attention only from when Denis Sampson's seminal study, Outstaring Nature's Eye: The Fiction of John McGahern was published in 1993. This book focuses on the physical landscape to show how the inadequacy of the State that emerged after 1922 is reflected in the characters' shifting relationship with the landscape, the connection has been made vulnerable through trauma and painful memory. It explores this sense of resentment and disillusionment in McGahern's novels, drawing parallels between the revolutionary memories and McGahern's own family experience. McGahern's All Over Ireland offers a number of fine stories, mostly set in Ireland, and dealing with distinctly Irish themes. He wrote a novel that is an example of openness, compassion and understanding for any form of strangeness. The vision of education and of the shaping of identity found in his writing is not an idiosyncratic one - it is consistent with much of the best thought within the tradition of liberal education. The book provides an intriguing comparison between McGahern and Flannery O'Connor, illustrating how diverse stories share an underlying current of brutality, demonstrating their respective authors' preoccupation with a human propensity towards evil.
This chapter explains that the Elizabethan grammar school education, which
Spenser and Shakespeare would have received, involved learning to read Latin
texts in Latin and to engage in double translation, i.e., sophisticated
exercises in translating from Latin to English and back again. Brink surveys
the unusually liberal education that Spenser would have received at Merchant
Taylors’ School and suggests that Richard Mulcaster influenced Spenser’s
decision to write in English. Mulcaster forcefully advocated educating the
lower classes and even supported educating women. In this chapter, the
reader is introduced to the typological reading encouraged by studying
Alexander Nowell’s Catechism. The reader is shown how typological reading is
likely to have influenced Spenser’s symbolism in Book I of the Faerie
debated in Victorian
England. In Essays on LiberalEducation (1868) for example, F. W.
Farrar published his essay ‘On Greek and Latin Verse-Composition
as a General Branch of Education’, as an extended polemic against
‘compulsory verse-making’. He complained about ‘the
mysteries of the dreadful drill’ and asked how any student could
possibly benefit from ‘the Latin which he endeavours to torture
general; the force of the recognition is
reformist and very particular.
The old, the dying and the general are, that is, the very conditions of the revivification, the reform and unique application. An
abiding literary canon is never therefore obsolete, since it remains
fresh for every generation of new readers. Informed conversation
with a recognised past, central to the entire tradition of liberaleducation since Antiquity – and, in my view, for our undergraduate pedagogy (as distinct from our research operation) – is the
condition of reformist movement into the
vision of education and of the shaping of identity
to be found in his writing is not an idiosyncratic one – it is consistent
with much of the best thought within the tradition of liberaleducation.
Indeed, his view of schooling is very close in spirit to that of Michael
Oakeshott, one of the most notable philosophers of education of the
McGahern also shows that not all learning takes place with school
or within institutions of formal education, and the following are some
distinctions that may help us to understand his educational journey. These
liberaleducation for their children. James Smith attended Alfred House
Academy (1790–1) after spending a year at Hackney New College
(1789–90), a better-known dissenting school, where Joseph Priestley
lectured. Horace Smith attended Alfred House between 1791 and 1795.
They would therefore have been gone before Hood began. But the fact
that Hood attended the same school is suggestive of the cultural ties
that bound writers born to nonconformist families in the early nineteenth
century. Horace and James wrote for the Monthly Mirror, published by
Hood’s father and owned
the Theodor Adorno or the Walter Benjamin in each of us.
Here, every document of civilisation can be exchanged, quite directly, for
a document of barbarism – and vice versa, too, or Blood-for-Roses if you
like. Crake and Jimmy acquire a liberaleducation by playing the game,
and each becomes a more critical thinker as a result. Or so Atwood
suggests. (It says something about the redemptive way in which most
novels continue to be read and received that while the hymns Atwood
wrote for The Year of the Flood have been set to music by a composer
from California (see the
voice’ (Padel 2009 : xviii). The collection of essays edited by Purton examines the influence of poetry on Darwin and of science on Tennyson. For Purton, ‘the men's minds seem to have operated in a strangely similar way, first moving to record and observe, and only then grasping imaginatively’ (61).
This harmony between the disciplines described by Purton was disrupted in the 1880s by Matthew Arnold's attacks on Thomas Huxley as to what should be included in a liberaleducation. Purton sees this event as the ‘beginning of a complete rupture
Magazine, 10:55 ( July 1864), 113–28 (pp. 113–14).
Education, environment and circumstance
19 Thomas Henry Huxley, ‘A liberaleducation; and where to find it’, in Collected
Essays, Vol. III, pp. 76–110 (p. 79).
20 Charles Kingsley, Glaucus: The Wonders of the Shores (Cambridge: Macmillan,
1855), pp. 47–8. Cited in Bale, ‘Anti-sport’, p. 38.
21 Anon., ‘Monomania’, Chambers’s Edinburgh Journal, 595 ( June 1843), 177–8
22 In Barlow’s thinking, therefore, Hester can only truly be classified as insane
when she finally
learn. Huxley likened learning the classics to ‘toiling up a steep hill, along
a bad road’, so that only a ‘strong man … can appreciate the charms of
[the] landscape’ (‘A liberaleducation’, p. 97). Braddon (using a similar
metaphor) shows that Flora’s progress is partially due to the fact that
Ollivant is a good teacher who ‘did his utmost to make the road easy’ (II,
p. 31). Importantly, however, rather than doing this by making things
simpler for her, Ollivant does ‘not bind her down to the dry details of
grammar … He gave her a Horatian ode almost at the