Literary Education and the Ethics of Expansion: Principles, Processes and Examples
AbstractThis contribution is rooted in my vision of literary education as a humanistic practice devoted to expanding the students’ ideological and imaginative horizons. My efforts as a lecturer have always been aimed at exemplifying what, from my point of view, could be considered one of the main beliefs articulating ethical literary criticism: the power of literature to bring about meaningful social changes by empowering readers to extend their cosmovision beyond reductionist macro-discourses. This potential of literature can be activated by fostering a teaching practice based on some ethical principles, the anatomy of which will be modestly examined in this essay out of my personal experience and exemplified with references to the works by some writers. From a theoretical point of view, this contribution also drinks from Jüri Talvet’s “call for cultural symbiosis” (2005) between ‘self ’ and ‘other’ as a way of overcoming interested separations and impoverishing mutilations. Likewise, and following Yuri M. Lotman’s cultural semiotics, my approach sees the literature classroom as a space where the valuable tensions between ‘centre’ and ‘periphery’ within a given semiosphere can be analysed and seen as opportunities for the generation and addition of new meanings and ideas.
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