© 2017

Literature, Pedagogy, and Curriculum in Secondary Education

Examples from France


  • Explores the importance of literature not as a spiritual or utilitarian discipline alone, but rather as a useful spiritual discipline

  • Seeks to examine the uncertain future of the “general education” status of literary studies by learning from its past

  • Accelerates progress in debate over the value of literary study by explaining and evaluating arguments from Western educators


Table of contents

About this book


This book argues for the importance of literature studies using the historical debate between the disinterested disciplines (“art for art’s sake”) and utilitarian or productive disciplines. Foregoing the traditional argument that literature is a unique spiritual resource, as well as the utilitarian thought that literary pedagogy promotes skills that are relevant to a post-industrial economy, Guiney suggests that literary pedagogy must enable mutual access between the classroom and the outside world. It must recognize the need for every human being to become a conscious producer of culture rather than a consumer, through an active process of literary reading and writing. Using the history of French curricular reforms as a case study for his analysis, Guiney provides a contextualized redefinition of literature’s social value.


cult of literature foundations of education French model rhetoric Baccalauréat Exam

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Modern Languages and LiteraturesKenyon CollegeGambierUSA

About the authors

M. Martin Guiney is Professor of French in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Kenyon College, USA. He has published on literary pedagogy in France and the United States, as well as on twentieth-century literature and film.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Literature, Pedagogy, and Curriculum in Secondary Education
  • Book Subtitle Examples from France
  • Authors M. Martin Guiney
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2017
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Education Education (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-52137-4
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-319-84830-3
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-52138-1
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages X, 305
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Early Childhood Education
    Curriculum Studies
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“This is a rare and invaluable book that is thoroughly grounded in a particular socio-historical context while also offering a compelling resolution to a problem that is both current and urgent: why and how to teach literature in a general education curriculum. It is essential reading  for those invested in the teaching of literature.” (Cristina Vischer Bruns, author of Why Literature? The Value of Literary Reading and What It Means for Teaching)

“The arguments in this book will echo far beyond the walls of French literary pedagogy. Guiney draws on reception theory and cultural studies, and makes a strong case for including economic theory in a new, robust defense of the teaching of literature and the humanities. His book is a must read for anyone attempting to defend a liberal arts education today.” (Dana Lindaman, Associate Professor of French Studies, University of Minnesota Duluth, USA)

“This book offers a wide-ranging, cogent analysis of the crisis of French literary pedagogy.  Guiney’s illuminating study sheds light on the urgent need to reinvent the literary pedagogy practiced in French high schools today in order to address its students’ experiences and concerns.” (Ralph Albanese, Professor of French, University of Memphis, USA)