Australian Journal of French Studies

Lessons from East and West in François Cheng’s Le Dit de Tianyi

Australian Journal of French Studies (2017), 54, (2-3), 202–217.

Abstract

The theme of pedagogy in François Cheng’s Le Dit de Tianyi (1998) undergoes, in this article, a more systematic and sustained study than has been carried out so far. Principles associated with cultural learning, Experiential Learning Theory and acculturation theory are used to provide insights into the protagonist’s ethnic identification, cross-cultural learning and training as a painter during his early years in China and study trip to Europe (1950s). However, limitations to the usefulness of these three Anglophone theories from the Educational Sciences are discussed, and it is suggested that a circular conception of Tianyi’s learning experiences, reflecting Chinese philosophy, is revealed at certain points, and that this offers resistance both to Western theory and to the straightforward application of theory to literature. When combined, the two sets of approaches convey the spirit of Cheng’s own assimilation of East and West in terms of his translingualism and the cultural product that is the novel.

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Author details

Silvester, Rosalind

Silvester, Rosalind