1st Edition

Shifting Focus Strangers and Strangeness in Literature and Education

Edited By Peter Roberts Copyright 2015
    132 Pages
    by Routledge

    132 Pages
    by Routledge

    There is a long history of interest in ‘strangers’ and ‘strangeness’ in the West. Literature lends itself particularly well to an exploration of the strange in its richly varied forms, having often contained portraits of outsiders. These portraits depict people who are strange in their unusual appearance or demeanour, their out-of-the-ordinary actions or attitudes, their defiance of convention, their marginalisation from society, or their resistance to dominant structures and practices, as well as those who come from strange worlds.

    Each contribution in this collection focuses on a novel, story or play. The essays engage works by Shelley, Dickens, Charlotte Brontë, Dostoevsky, Conrad, Grazia Deledda, Kafka, Beckett, and Camus, all of whom have much to offer the central theme of ‘strangers and strangeness’. This book demonstrates that there is considerable value in encountering, experiencing and reflecting upon that which is strange. Education is, amongst other things, a process of learning to see the world otherwise, and literature has the capacity to promote this form of human development. This book allows readers to re-experience the ordinary, and to learn that what at first seems strange is rather closer to us than we had previously imagined.

    This book was originally published as a special issue of Educational Philosophy & Theory.

    1. Introduction: Educative strangeness

    Peter Roberts

    2. Strangers and Orphans: Knowledge and mutuality in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

    Claudia Rozas Gómez

    3. A Strange Condition of Things: Alterity and knowingness in Dickens’ David


    Richard Smith

    4. Spectral Strangers: Charlotte Brontë’s teachers

    Nesta Devine

    5. The Stranger Within: Dostoevsky’s underground

    Peter Roberts

    6. Being a Stranger and the Strangeness of Being: Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Sharer

    as an allegory of being in education

    Elias Schwieler

    7. The Servant: Class estrangement as experience in Grazia Deledda’s Canne al vento

    John Freeman-Moir

    8. Caring About Strangers: A Lingisian reading of Kafka’s Metamorphosis

    Ruyu Hung

    9. A Desperate Comedy: Hope and alienation in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot

    Alan Scott

    10. Confronting the Absurd: An educational reading of Camus’ The Stranger

    Aidan Curzon-Hobson


    Peter Roberts is Professor of Education at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. His primary areas of scholarship are philosophy of education and educational policy studies. His most recent books include Better Worlds: Education, Art, and Utopia (2013) and From West to East and Back Again: An Educational Reading of Hermann Hesse’s Later Work (2012). He is also President of the Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia.