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William Wordsworth, James Joyce and E. M. Forster: the romantic notion of education and modern fiction

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posted on 2023-06-08, 15:29 authored by Sajjad Ali Khan
This thesis examines modern fiction’s debt to Romantic poetry for its key concepts in terms of educating an individual. The persistence of William Wordsworth’s views on education in the modern fiction of James Joyce and E. M. Forster is evidence of The Prelude as a classic study of the growth of an individual. It is argued that Wordsworth does not envisage the institutional mode of education as a totally reliable means of educating an individual. He challenges the assumptions underlying the institutional mode of education. It is argued that the influence of Wordsworth’s views on education is not limited to Victorian writers alone. Joyce and Forster take up a position similar to Wordsworth. Almost all the protagonists in the novels and short stories discussed in this thesis are educated at privileged institutions of education, and yet they rebel against the mode of education there. All the novels and short stories discussed, in a series of close readings, bear testimony to the fact that Wordsworth’s The Prelude is fundamental to both Joyce and Forster in terms of the growth of an individual. Seen within the framework of the Romantic notion of education, this thesis contributes to an increase of the understanding of modern fiction. It is possible to study this theme in other modern writers such as D. H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, and Ford Madox Ford. The thesis retrieves a traditional reading of the writers under discussion by foregrounding the pattern of humanitarian values the Wordsworthian model of growth engenders. The recent studies in my field are referred to where necessary to indicate what they are missing in their study of Joyce and Forster.


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