Being a Stranger and the Strangeness of Being: Joseph Conrad’s ‘The secret sharer’ as an allegory of being in education

Educational Philosophy and Theory 45 (4):409-419 (2013)

Joseph Conrad’s ‘The secret sharer’ has often been associated with what can be called initiation stories. However, in this article I argue that Conrad’s text is more than that. It can, I suggest, be read as an allegory of the inaccessibility to reveal the essence of being in command, being in education, and also the inaccessibility of the essence of the meaning of the text itself. It keeps its secret by allegorically staging alternative readings. This inaccessibility gives rise to a feeling of strangeness, of the uncanny, that must be faced in order to pass through the initiation into the unknown that all the possible allegorical meanings of the text produce. In other words, ‘The secret sharer’ has an educational value that goes beyond the act of merely using it to exemplify a certain type of initiation. In this way I connect Conrad’s text to the themes of strangeness and the stranger and show how they mutually can involve a reading of education and literature as two distinct discourses of learning.
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DOI 10.1080/00131857.2012.718147
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References found in this work BETA

Totality and Infinity: An Essay on Exteriority.Emmanuel Levinas - 1969 - Distribution for the U.S. And Canada, Kluwer Boston.
Hölderlin's Hymn "the Ister".Martin Heidegger - 1996 - Indiana University Press.
What is an Initiation Story?Mordecai Marcus - 1960 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 19 (2):221-228.

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