In Washington Irving’s Bracebridge Hall, or The Humorists, A Medley (1822), Frank Bracebridge, a fictional squire, tries to protect his and his family’s old-fashioned lifestyle from the overwhelming wave of the industrial revolution. With the voice of Geoffrey Crayon, Irving ironizes their bigoted adherence to the disappearing customs of England’s “good old times.” William Hazlitt criticized this work as literary anachronism, blaming Irving for not seeing what the British were really like and building up his idealized image of them based on the old books he had read in America. Behind this anachronism, however, exists Irving’s critical vision on the parental-filial relationship between the United Kingdom and America, and the inheritance of the (trans) national past. “Dolph Heyliger,” a success story of a young American, placed near the end of Bracebridge Hall, evinces that Dolph’s relationship with his ancestral past is quite the opposite of what the English squire does for restoring the good old times in his fief. Dolph is neither a seeker for nor a guardian of what was gone. His ancestral ghost guides him to an itinerary in which he discovers his ancestral treasure in the end. Not only is this story a huge irony to Bracebridge’s unsuccessful restorationism, but also it works as Irving’s metaphorical vision on how America, a grown-up child that severed itself from the United Kingdom, can reinstall a new parental-filial relationship with this country. This transatlantic vision includes the American author’s aspiration for the role of America as the potential inheritor of British’s literary and cultural tradition. Bracebridge Hall opens a space to situate such a vision, without which Irving would not end his literary pilgrimage in the United Kingdom that he began with The Sketch Book.
In the Japanese contemporary literature on teacher education reforms, the term “Shishitsu-Nouryoku (Trait-Competency)” is very commonly used. Apparently, this term is unique; it is rarely used in fields other than teacher education. I will argue in this paper that the term is a vague buzz-word, but, at the same time, it has the potential to capture the learning and development of individual teachers in a holistic manner. I will first explain why “trait” and “competency” are both ambiguous and unscientific terms, and the issues entailed in artificially differentiating the two. Lastly, I will introduce a teacher education theory of a Dutch teacher educator, Fred A. J. Korthagen, to back up my argument that there is a certain significance in looking at teachers’ “traits” and “competencies” together. I conclude my article by giving a few suggestions to the current Japanese teacher education reforms based on the arguments given.