Aesthetic literacy and autobiography

20 February 2024
Academic articles

This article explores the author’s own troubled upbringing and education to develop a personal theory of aesthetic literacy. The author felt an urgent need to do this because of his experiences as both a teacher and a creative writer in the state-run English education system. Feeling that existing pedagogical approaches to literacy are inadequate, he has sought to investigate the reasons why he felt so powerfully drawn to reading and writing literature during his childhood, despite the fact that he was labelled “backward”. The article utilises the disparate strands of the author’s life and thinking to draw up a model of aesthetic literacy which involves concepts of appreciation and creation. In particular, it examines the ways in which the author responded creatively to emotionally turbulent situations, showing that he developed a form of “aesthetic literacy”: a set of aesthetic responses that helped him understand the world and his situation. In his conclusions, he reflects on his explorations and offers a model of aesthetic literacy which might be used to understand other writers’ practices.

Reference details:

Gilbert, Francis. 2018. Aesthetic literacy and autobiography. Writing in Practice, 4, ISSN 2058-5535 [Article]

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