Pedagogy and its paradoxes in castaway fictions from The Swiss Family Robinson to Lord of the Flies: Changing representations of subjectivity and ‘the child’
This thesis aims to broaden the scope of inquiry into castaway fiction for or about children by mapping the changing epistemological approaches to subjectivity, within five castaway novels spanning the early nineteenth century to post-World War Two. The novels include The Swiss Family Robinson (Johann Wyss, 1816), The Coral Island (Robert Ballantyne, 1857), Kidnapped (Robert Louis Stevenson, 1886), A High Wind in Jamaica (Richard Hughes, 1929) and Lord of the Flies (William Golding, 1954).
Taking close textual analysis as my default research method, this thesis is concerned with analysing how the child castaway materialised and evolved out a shift from religious hegemony and Humanist pedagogy operating in The Swiss Family Robinson to that of scientific rationalism and post-war postmodernism in Lord of the Flies.
As a means of identifying and exploring the castaway child through these paradigm shifts, I have developed a psychoanalytic and poststructuralist theoretical framing for my analysis that draws on Jacques Lacan’s The Mirror Stage As Formative Of The Function Of The I As Revealed In Psychoanalytic Experience (1966), and Julia Kristeva’s Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection (1980). These theoretical approaches to the relationship between subjectivity and language enhance my readings of how these castaways advocate historically specific language structures through which subjectivity is produced and can be read dialogically.
Chapter one will analyse how the castaway child materialises in The Swiss Family Robinson as a ‘knowable’ subject of Enlightenment pedagogy influenced by three key works: namely John Locke’s Some Thoughts Concerning Education (1693), Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Emile (1762) and Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1919). Developed through this intellectual triad, I interpret Wyss’s novel as representing the beginnings of the epistemological child castaway, which evolves dialogically.
The following chapters will investigate how this ‘knowable’ child is gradually destabilised through increasingly fragmented representations of the castaway child, developed through the epistemological contexts of scientific rationalism, Darwinism, psychoanalysis, and post-war postmodernism.
Kofteros, F. Pedagogy and its paradoxes in castaway fictions from The Swiss Family Robinson to Lord of the Flies: Changing representations of subjectivity and ‘the child’. (Thesis). University of the West of England
|Keywords||castaway fiction, children's fiction, literature, culture|
Frosoulla Kofteros Phd Final.pdf