Progressivism's Aesthetic Education: The Bildungsroman and the Struggle for the American School, 1890-1920
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CitationRaber, Jesse Benjamin. 2014. Progressivism's Aesthetic Education: The Bildungsroman and the Struggle for the American School, 1890-1920. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
AbstractDuring the Progressive Era, literary writers such as Abraham Cahan, Willa Cather, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman engaged with ideas emerging from the newly consolidated educational profession about art's capacity to mediate between individual and social development. These ideas varied widely in their philosophical, pedagogical, and political implications, but all reinforced the authority of professional educators at the expense of democratically elected boards of education. Novels working through these ideas can be usefully theorized as Bildungsromane if the definition of the Bildungsroman is refined to be more sensitive to the wide range of educational philosophies that can inform it, and to the range of attitudes, from critical to worshipful, that it can assume toward these philosophies. This reimagining of the genre opens up the possibility that the Bildungsroman, and the Bildung idea more broadly, can have a more positive political valence than most scholars have acknowledged. In particular, a viable project of aesthetic education can be discerned in the philosophy of John Dewey, although it lacks a clear literary corollary.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:12271800
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