Educational Theory 60 (1):61-80 (2010)

Scholars from multiple disciplines have commented on the divided nature of childhood as a historical construction: a period of life to be valued in itself as well as a means to adulthood. In this essay, James Stillwaggon considers George Orwell's “Such, Such Were the Joys,” an autobiographical account of his childhood education, as a site of conflicting views on childhood. On analyzing Orwell's own conflicted memories, Stillwaggon describes education as a process of suffering the loss of childhood and inquires into the adult subject's maintenance of such loss in memory. Drawing from Deborah Britzman and Jacques Lacan, Stillwaggon suggests that the adult subject's maintenance of a childhood state irrevocably lost is a melancholic identification against the transformative powers of the school
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DOI 10.1111/j.1741-5446.2009.00346.x
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