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Scenes of Instruction in Renaissance Romance$
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Jeff Dolven

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780226155364

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226155371.001.0001

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(p.65) Chapter Two Experience
Scenes of Instruction in Renaissance Romance

Jeff Dolven

University of Chicago Press

This chapter focuses on experience—experience as the opposite of school; what school is intended to prepare for, or perhaps to prevent. The occasion is a dispute between John Lyly and the dead schoolmaster Roger Ascham over whether it is possible, or wise, to learn from experience. The fictional terrain is the tangled streets of Naples and an England seen through foreign eyes. Yet the story begins, as it will end, in a hermit's cell. The chapter suggests that in Lyly's attempt to rescue experience from the schoolmasters, and to claim it for fiction, what he sets out to defend can be glimpsed as a kind of shadowy ideal: the power of experience to teach Euphues what he needs to know to live a good life; the power of romance narrative to tell that experience as it accumulates or develops over time.

Keywords:   experience, John Lyly, Roger Ascham, learning

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