Shifting Focus Strangers and Strangeness in Literature and Education
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
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
4. Spectral Strangers: Charlotte Brontë’s teachers
5. The Stranger Within: Dostoevsky’s underground
6. Being a Stranger and the Strangeness of Being: Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Sharer
as an allegory of being in education
7. The Servant: Class estrangement as experience in Grazia Deledda’s Canne al vento
8. Caring About Strangers: A Lingisian reading of Kafka’s Metamorphosis
9. A Desperate Comedy: Hope and alienation in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot
10. Confronting the Absurd: An educational reading of Camus’ The Stranger