• Ian Hunter
Part of the Language, Discourse, Society book series (LDS)


We have begun to describe how literary education emerged in the morally managed environment of the popular school. Taking shape as a new means for deploying the disciplinary tactics invested in the ‘moral observation’ of the teacher, English would in fact become an important agency in forming the cultural attributes of a citizenry. The machinery of popular education therefore provided the first and fundamental ‘surface’ on which English emerged. The second such surface, we have already indicated, was provided by a specific caste practice of aesthetico-ethical self-cultivation. During the nineteenth century the Romantic culture of the self was a minority avocation, focused in the disciplines of literary criticism and cultural journalism. In this chapter we investigate the circumstances in which this esoteric ‘practice of the self’ entered the sphere of public education. These were the circumstances in which its exemplary functions entered into an exchange with the supervisory functions of the popular school system: an exchange that was to prove decisive for the formation of English, as we shall see in the next chapter.


Cultural Attribute Ethical Practice Human Capacity Social Sphere Class Consciousness 
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Copyright information

© Ian Hunter 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian Hunter
    • 1
  1. 1.School of HumanitiesGriffith UniversityAustralia

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