Special Issue Guest Editorial: Literary Visions - Exploring Education Through the Lens of Literature


  • Catherine Samiei York St John University


Educational alternatives, progressive education, alternative education, difference, educational theory, educational philosophy


This special interest issue of Other Education: The Journal of Educational Alternatives emerged from a desire to explore the ways in which literature can provide alternative ways of imaging and practising education.

        From dystopias to utopias, literature can provide insights into the past, present and future of education. The aim of the special issue is to engage with wider questions around the purpose of education, the ways in which education is imagined, and the potential of literature to reshape educational thinking. We take as our starting point the notion that literary representations of schools and education and the use of literature in education operate as important creative and imaginative spaces. Literature can provide a critical distance and space to ‘speak the unspeakable’ or to act as sites of dialogue to foreground tensions and offer challenges to existing practices...


Bakhtin, M. M. (1981). The dialogic imagination: Four essays by M. M. Bakhtin. Austin, TA: University of Texas Press.

Buber, M. (2002 [1965]). Between man and man. London: Routledge.

Collins, P. (1963). Dickens and education. London: Macmillan Press.

Devlin, D. D. (1975). Jane Austen and education. London: Macmillan Press.

Dickinson, R. (2006). Harry Potter pedagogy: What we learn about teaching and learning from J. K. Rowling. The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 79(6), 240-244.

Ellsmore, S. (2005). Carry on, teachers: Representations of the teaching profession in screen culture. Stoke on Trent: Trentham Books.

Fisher, R. Harris, A. & Jarvis, C. (2008). Education in popular culture: Telling tales on teachers and learners. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

Friedman, M. F. (1955). Martin Buber. The life of dialogue. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Giroux, H. (2008). Hollywood film as public pedagogy: Education in the crossfire. Afterimage 35 (5), 7-13.

Hanratty. B. (2018). Selected representations of teachers and teaching in twentieth-century Anglo-Irish fiction and memoir: Some literary-critical and pedagogical explorations. Changing English, 25(1), 29-44.

Lurie, A. (1990). Don’t tell the grown-ups: Subversive children’s literature. London: Bloomsbury.

Nixon, P.G. eds. (2000) Representations of Education in Literature. Lewiston, New York, The Edwin Mellen Press.

Resnick, D. (2018). Representing education in film: How Hollywood portrays educational thought, settings, and issues. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Rudd, D. (2013). Reading the child in children’s literature: An heretical approach. London: Palgrave.

Thormählen, M. (2007). The Brontës and education. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ward, S. C. (2016). Using Shakespeare’s plays to explore education policy today: Neoliberalism through the lens of Renaissance humanism. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.





SI Editorial