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OXFORD

The wide circulation of the National Society's Manuals on the ' Science and Art of Teaching' has induced the Literature Committee to undertake another series of Manuals on more advanced subjects, which they trust will be useful not only to Teachers in Elementary Schools and Students in Training, for whom they are primarily intended, but also to Teachers in Secondary and Higher Grade Schools.

The Manuals of the present serieslike those which have preceded it-have been written by men of distinguished reputation in their various subjects, and who have had large experience as teachers and examiners. They include all the subjects in Schedule 4 of the Education Code, with the exception of Mathematics, which is fully treated in The PupilTeacher's Course of Mathematics, published by the Society. The Manual on Teaching Languages has been planned to comprehend the teaching of German and French as well as Latin. In addition to the subjects under Schedule 4, the present series includes a Manual on the Training of PupilTeachers, by a tery successful Lecturer on Method in one of the larger Training Colleges.

In order to obtain greater clearness and precision, each subject has been treated independently, and is complete in itself. HOW TO TEACH ENGLISH LITERATURE.

CHAPTER I.

THE STUDY OF LITERATURE.

It is hardly necessary at this time of day, to enlarge on the pleasures and advantages to be derived from the study of literature. The already considerable, and constantly increasing number of cheap circulating libraries and mechanics' literary institutes in town and country is a sufficient evidence of its growing popularity; showing that many even of the classes supporting themselves by manual labour are glad to devote to reading the small margin of time which they can spare for self-improvement, and for the cultivation of pleasure in any of its higher and more permanent forms.' Literature belongs to that happy category of good things which are the common property of all civilised men and women-in which the wealth of one is not the poverty of another—which have a powerful tendency to promote sympathy and fellowfeeling among all classes, and go a long way to redress the balance of the unequal gifts of fortune. Nor is it necessary or desirable to attempt to analyse the motives which impel us to the study of literature, or to endeavour to ascertain whether the pleasure of being entertained, or the glow of satisfaction consequent on the acquisition of new knowledge, predominates in the love of reading. In proportion, however, as the latter motive prevails, the pursuit is likely to

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be attended with more valuable results, because the books and subjects selected for study will be of a more solid and permanently interesting character. But even what is called

light reading,' if only it be manly and pure in tone, and of acknowledged ability in composition, may be most valuable and important as an instrument of culture.

There are standard works of fiction, from Alice in Wonderland back to Gulliver's Travels, which no one pretending to literary culture can venture to be ignorant of; and some, at least, issue every year from the press, instructive and improving from their vivid descriptions of scenery, subtle analysis of character, polished language and cultivated tone; and in. directly conveying valuable information on social questions and the like, which the humbler classes could hardly get at in any other way.

Our own literature may well be described, in the language of Macaulay, as the most splendid and the most durable of the many glories of England. No other country possesses a literature so rich, so varied, and so continuous. Among the nations of antiquity, the literature of the Romans is worthless in its earlier stages, borrowed and imitative in its later. Among the moderns, German literature lay dead from the middle of the sixteenth to the middle of the eighteenth century. The seventeenth saw the last efforts of Spanish literature. From about the same period, till within living memory, Italy had given birth to no writer of the first rank. Of England and France only, among existing, and of Greece, among ancient civilisations, it can be said that during the whole of their mature existence they thought and wrote,' producing an unbroken series of monuments of literary genius. But the extant literature of Greece consists mainly of scraps and fragments, and those belonging to a dead world. The literature of France is indeed unbroken, copious, inventive, brilliant and graceful, a worthy representative and expression of the versatile genius of her gifted people; but many not unimportant departments might be named, in which the literature of France can hardly be said to stand on a level with that of England.

The English language. The language in which our books are written is of a very complex and composite kind of infinite variety both as to origin and subsequent modifications—the result of a long series of historical events, combinations, accidents, as we call them-all of which belong rather to the subject of Language than to that of this Manual. The English language is, however, pretty generally admitted to be, upon the whole, the most perfect living instrument for the expression of thought and emotion, 'less musical, indeed, than the languages of the South ; but, in force, in richness, in aptitude for all the highest purposes of the poet, the philosopher and the orator, inferior to the tongue of Greece alone.'

The aim of the teacher of English literature to the scholars of elementary schools should be to give his pupils a love for literature :—such a love, that is, for the study, and such an intelligent comprehension of the way to set about it, as may induce them to prosecute it for themselves in after life. This object must, under the conditions of the case, be attempted by making them acquainted with come one or more of the most attractive and beautiful productions of English authors; acquainted, not smatteringly, but thoroughly, (1) by securing that the passage shall be carefully learned by heart, and its sense, allusions, and constructions thoroughly mastered ; and (2) by pointing out to the learner the qualities and characteristics which constitute the superiority and charm of the writer. With such an object before him, the teacher will especially direct the pupil's attention as he advances in intelligence, to such points as these :First (generally), the author's selection of a subject capable

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