AustLit logo
Issue Details: First known date: 2012... 2012 Education, Literature and the Emotions : A Salute to Eleanor Dark’s Prelude to Christopher
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'The current neoliberal climate has seen important changes to what is being taught to Humanities students in the Higher Education sector. With the emphasis increasingly on courses that make money and prepare students for vocations what is being lost is the kinds of reading practices and reading experiences that make for thoughtful caring citizens.

Both the writer Margaret Atwood in her novel Oryx and Crake and the philosopher Martha Nussbaum in her Not For Profit: Why Democracy needs the Humanities have reflected on the ways in which the study of literature and the arts contribute to the notion of a caring society and thoughtful global citizens. Nussbaum in particular has emphasised the importance of reading and teaching literature that values the finer emotions- those that cultivate justice, compassion, and empathy, seeing in these the pathway to what she calls human flourishing. I argue that of Australian literary texts that aim for something similar, a stand out example is Eleanor Dark's Prelude to Christopher. Although written more than eighty years ago during a different phase of capitalism, the novel's passionate critique of eugenics renders it surprisingly relevant to today's educational situation.' (Author's abstract)


  • Epigraph: It is kindness, fundamentally, that makes life seem worth living . . . and everything that is against kindness is an assault on our hopes (Phillips and Taylor 116).

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon JASAL Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature; Field, Curriculum, Emotion vol. 12 no. 1 2012 Z1883636 2012 periodical issue 2012
Last amended 26 Feb 2013 13:45:34 Education, Literature and the Emotions : A Salute to Eleanor Dark’s Prelude to Christophersmall AustLit logo JASAL