…is the title of an article by Sigmund Freud, who along with Marx and Nietzsche, has been seen as an originator of the “hermeneutics of suspicion” and thus a spiritual parent of postmodernism. In the wake of the Troppo theory wars, John Quiggin has reminded us that one of his early posts was on postmodernism and education… It’s a salutary reminder that this debate has been played out before, and perhaps in an instance of the Nietzschean phenomenon of the eternal return, we haven’t seen the last of it.
John also sets out his position, which is hostile to the traditional English curriculum (read on over the fold):
NOTE: No comments on this thread, as it seems to me more appropriate to respond to John’s arguments at his place. I’ve put the post up really just to note another entry in the conversation we’ve been having.
“In a marginally more serious vein, I’d like to say that the ‘old’ English literature curriculum displaced by postmodernism is, in my opinion, no loss. The basic task of students in the old curriculum was to learn to write literary criticism, mainly focused on Shakespeare in drama, and on Dickens and other C19 writers in prose. I object to this on the following grounds:
(a) The resulting literary criticism was very bad
(b) The world has more than enough literary criticism
(c) The favored writing style was ornate rather than efficient, and produced bad habits that universities then had to weed out
(d) Arguments about works of art are almost inevitably sloppy and illogical; and most importantly
(e) The subject inculcated a hatred of literature in the majority of students. On the whole, I think deconstruction of TV ads and sitcoms is far less harmful and might even be beneficial.”