HISTORY LESSONS FOR ‘ENGLISH’
John Dixon, A Schooling in ‘English’: Critical Episodes in the Struggle to Shape Literary and Cultural Studies (Milton Keynes: Open University Press, 1991).
John Dixon is a deservedly prominent teacher of English teachers. His Growth Through English was perhaps the single most important manifesto-cum-manual for what has been known since the sixties as the ‘personal growth’ model of English. Still, it is one thing to practise a discipline and quite another to subject it to scholarly investigation. Apologists are rarely good historians or sociologists of their own disciplines. They are usually too convinced of the disciplines’s moral necessity-and too busy telling the story of its (pending) moral triumph-to allow the facts to assume less comforting patterns. John Dixon’s A Schooling in ‘English’: Critical Episodes in the Struggle to Shape Literary and Cultural Studies is no exception to this rule.