Across the world, the pandemic has transformed adult education. After over a year, some governments are looking at a falling number of infections, and starting to relax restrictions; elsewhere, the situation is deteriorating. It seems as good time as any to take stock of the pandemic’s impact and the sector’s response, and this Call for Papers is therefore highly timely:
The Call is from the leading German journal for adult & further education research, the Zeitschrift für Weiterbildungsforschung. The journal is refereed, publishes open access contributions in English and German, and is issued by the prestigious Deutsches Institut für Erwachsenenbildung. The CfP will soon appear on the journal’s website, but in the meantime you can send queries to Dr. Kerstin Hoenig of the DIE at:
Saul Bellow was well into his 80s when he published Ravelstein, a portrait of a brilliant, opinionated, knowledgeable and influential philosopher – generally thought to have been modelled on Bellow’s friend, the classicist, philosopher, and conservative cultural critic Allan Bloom.
I took an instant and deep dislike to the novel’s central character, not so much for his opinions as for what I saw as his bumptious, show-off, intolerant, judgemental, controlling personality. I also recognise the book’s achievement as a complex exploration of love, friendship, learning, consumption and Jewishness, but I didn’t much enjoy it.
Bellow portrays Ravelstein’s character through the eyes of the narrator, an old friend of the philosopher. The narrator is not a philosopher, and he reflects on his lack of understanding as Ravelstein lies in the final stages of his illness: “I was too old to be a pupil, and Ravelstein didn’t believe in adult education. It was far too late for me to Platonize”.
Make of that what you will. Maybe Bellow is alluding to one of Allan Bloom’s deeply held prejudices, in this case against adult learners. Or perhaps Bellow was simply inserting another example of his hero’s fixed opinions, in a further development – if you can call it that – of the Ravelstein character.