Selected Papers from the IAUPE Malta Conference in 2010
The Barnaby Googe Experiment:Readings and Misreadings: Manfred Malzahn
The Barnaby Googe Experiment: Readings and Misreadings Manfred Malzahn Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates This paper grows out of experience gathered, methods tried and perspectives formed in well over twenty years of teaching English literature. The main concern of the argument is with the dialectic of reading and misreading in and out of the literature classroom, and in particular, with the option of making creative use of misreading in the expansion and refinement of reading or readings. Countermea- sures amounting to a didactic of misreading are submitted as a possible antidote to three forces that militate against inductive understanding of literary texts: the as- sumed ‘authority’ of authors, critics and teachers; the corresponding diffidence and anxiety of learners; and the ever easier access to assumedly ‘authoritative’ readings as a convenient bypass around the trials and errors involved in the individual en- counter with literature. The case presented here for the didactic of misreading as a subversion of the three abovementioned forces is based on readings and misread- ings of a ‘minor’ sixteenth-century poem by the ‘minor poet’ Barnaby Googe. Anyone who has been teaching EngLit for the abovementioned period can be expected to have formed a fairly comprehensive view of the benefits as well as of the difficulties inherent in this enterprise. Much has changed during that time, in a curriculum whose content and delivery have moved along with “the shift from the informative to the formative paradigm of teaching and learning” (Pieper et al. 2007: 16) that characterises modern pedagogical...
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