ABSTRACT. I started writing a Preface that became a study in a genre that is defined as the novel of educational self-formation together with the various other kinds of literature that this genre – the Bildungsroman – generated that focused on the question of self-transformation. It was evident that the Bildungsroman developed as a genre in the air of German idealism and in relation to the same philosophical concerns that informed the Humboldtian university. The specific form of the novel of educational self-formation was primarily a story of ethical self-constitution. Both and genre and the institution seemed to belong to the same universe. Today in many parts of the neoliberal world this ideal and sentiment – this vision of education – seems hopelessly quaint and out of place. Philosophy is no longer the centre of the institution and the humanities are rapidly shrinking. Subjects like theology and philology have mostly disappeared; the study of literature holds its ground but often given way to media or creative studies focused on web design. The professional schools like engineering, law, medicine and teaching seem to be doing well but the big winners in the current environment are business, technology and science even after the global financial crash. pp. 83–84

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University of Waikato;
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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