Acts of Recognition: Essays on Medieval Culture by Lee Patterson

By Lee Patterson

This quantity brings jointly Lee Patterson’s essays released in a variety of venues during the last twenty-seven years. As he observes in his preface, “The one chronic popularity that emerged from writing those another way fairly disparate essays is that regardless of the textual content . . . and whoever the folks . . ., the values at factor stay important to modern life.” dialectics are at paintings during this e-book: that among the previous and the current and that among the person and the social, and either have ethical value. the 1st chapters are methodological; the 1st is at the old realizing of medieval literature and the second one on the best way to deal with the inseparability of truth and cost within the school room. the following 3 chapters absorb 3 “less-read” overdue medieval writers: Sir John Clanvowe, Thomas Hoccleve, and John Lydgate. each one is used to light up a social phenomenon: the character of courtroom tradition, the adventure of the town, and Henry V’s act of self-making. the subsequent bankruptcy explicitly hyperlinks previous and current through arguing that the bearing of the English aristocrat comes from a practice starting with Beowulf and later reinvoked in accordance with nineteenth-century imperialism. the following 3 chapters are the main literary, facing Chaucer and with literary conventions relating to a few texts. the ultimate bankruptcy is at the guy Patterson considers some of the most very important of our medieval ancestors, Francis of Assisi.

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C h a p t e r t w o The Disenchanted Classroom If a life fulfilled its vocation directly, it would miss it. —Adorno1 Discussions of pedagogy are subject to many different interests, not all of them compatible and some even disagreeable. The genre asks for descriptive pragmatism, a dispassionate account of the materials and strategies of teaching a certain body of texts. But as soon as one begins to reflect on why one does what one does in the classroom, self-justifying and polemical interests inevitably emerge.

In an earlier essay, he had also explained that only positive religions — or more precisely expressed: dogmatically bound sects —are able to confer on the content of cultural values the status of unconditionally valid ethical imperatives. . The fate of an epoch which has eaten of the tree of knowledge is that it must know that we cannot learn the meaning of the world from the results of its analysis, be it ever so perfect; it must rather be in a position to create this meaning itself. 16 Knowing as much about the world as we do, Weber urges us to admit, with a realism that recommends tolerance, that the values by which we live cannot be defended by appealing to canons of validity.

19 These, according to Weber, are the conditions of modern, disenchanted life, and there are only two possible responses: a futile, even selfdeluding rejection, or a clear-eyed, pragmatic acceptance. ” These are terms whose relevance to the vocation of teaching I wish to explore at some length. The ethic of commitment is a response to what Weber calls “the ethical irrationality of the world,” the fact that the conflict of values cannot be resolved by empirical means. Unwilling to accept disenchantment, some inspire themselves with “the flame of pure intentions”;20 they seek to “break out of the disenchanted world .

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