This article explores the opportunities for resisting what Bourdieu and Passeron (1977) see as the reproductive nature of higher education. Originating in an empirical and theoretical study of resilient learners, this article inhabits an interdisciplinary space between Education and Literature. It seeks to read the exceptions to Bourdieu and Passeron's schema - what they call 'des miraculés' - openly and optimistically. A reading of Shakespeare's late play, The Winter's Tale, is offered in the light of two other texts - conclusions extrapolated from a range of data from the study, and Hélène Cixous's essay Sorties (1975/1986). As a result, the presumption that teaching and learning in the university is inevitably a self-centred and exclusive enterprise is challenged and an alternative way of thinking about pedagogy suggested.