Creative writing and Schiller's aesthetic education

Journal of Aesthetic Education 41 (3):41-58 (2007)
Abstract
: In higher education creative writing's focus on producing the well-formed piece rather than the writing's historical and social context puts its pedagogy at odds with the majority of literary studies disciplines. Although problematic for the curriculum, there are good reasons—stemming from the anti-instrumentalism of Kant's notion of aesthetic freedom—why integrating creative writing is difficult. Examining two recent attempts to cross this creative-critical divide by making creative writing part of cultural studies, the article argues that the authors' sociological suspicion of the "aesthetic" leads to a misplaced criticism of the New Critics and T. S. Eliot as the originators of an apolitical, asocial aesthetic formalism perpetuated by creative writing. Instead, their aesthetic principles are shown to derive from Emerson and Schiller's Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Man, where formal principles of creativity are part of a political program for a united and freely democratic society. Schiller's problems with establishing his aesthetic state, however, are shown to suggest how creative freedom may always necessarily involve recognition of a work's social and historical position, and the article concludes with a series of practical suggestions for seminars that would relate students' experience of creative writing to the social contexts of literary criticism
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