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Authority and vision

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.

Jean R. Brink

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 Queene.

in The early Spenser, 1554–80
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Algernon Swinburne on ‘The Flogging-Block’
Yopie Prins

debated in Victorian England. In Essays on Liberal Education (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

in Algernon Charles Swinburne
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Cognition as recognition
James Simpson

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 liberal education since Antiquity – and, in my view, for our undergraduate pedagogy (as distinct from our research operation) – is the ­condition of reformist movement into the

in Contemporary Chaucer across the centuries
The educational vision of John McGahern
Kevin Williams

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 liberal education. 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 twentieth century.5 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 are

in John McGahern
Print, dissent, and the social society
Sara Lodge

liberal education 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

in Thomas Hood and nineteenth-century poetry
Dana Phillips

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 liberal education 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

in Literature and sustainability
William Welstead

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 liberal education. Purton sees this event as the ‘beginning of a complete rupture

in Writing on sheep
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Helena Ifill

report’, Cornhill Magazine, 10:55 ( July 1864), 113–​28 (pp. 113–​14). 177 178 Education, environment and circumstance 19 Thomas Henry Huxley, ‘A liberal education; 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 (p. 177). 22 In Barlow’s thinking, therefore, Hester can only truly be classified as insane when she finally

in Creating character
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Helena Ifill

to 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 liberal education’, 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

in Creating character