ERIC Number: EJ1021185
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Abstractor: As Provided
A Poetic Journey: The Transfer and Transformation of German Strategies for Moral Education in Late Eighteenth-Century Dutch Poetry for Children
Parlevliet, Sanne; Dekker, Jeroen J. H.
Paedagogica Historica: International Journal of the History of Education, v49 n6 p745-768 2013
One of the most popular Dutch educational enlightenment authors was Hieronymus van Alphen. His three volumes of "Little Poems for Children" published in 1778 and 1782 were extremely successful, both in the Netherlands and abroad. Inspired by the German poets Christian Felix Weisse and Gottlob Wilhelm Burmann, Van Alphen brought about an expansion of educational space based on the integration of moral education in the spirit of the educational ideas of Locke, Rousseau and the Philanthropinists with poetical ideas and the nature of the child in both the content and the form of his poems. His poems were translated almost immediately into English, French and, surprisingly, as many of his poems were more or less adaptations of poems by Weisse and Burmann, into German too. Van Alphen's trump card was a reversal of former strategies of education: instead of pressing moral ideas upon the children from an adult point of view, he aimed at identification by (1) writing from the perspective of children, (2) situating the poems in the world of experience of children, (3) using a childlike style with a frolicking metre, rhyme scheme and prosody, and (4) combining text and images, so putting the moral message across visually and textually at the same time. In this paper, we follow the journey of poems for children as media for the cultural transmission of moral educational ideas from Germany to the Netherlands from the perspective of cultural transmission, moral literacy and educational space. We conclude that Van Alphen, with the combined power of text and image, successfully adopted and adapted former educational strategies, such as the moral poetics developed by his German predecessors Christian Felix Weisse and Gottlob Wilhelm Burmann. Taking their strategies on a poetic journey from Germany to the Netherlands, he not only transferred them, but transformed them as well. Van Alphen did so in a specific Dutch utilitarian way. His poems could be read for fun but were intended for learning. They were useful and entertaining at the same time, because he took the life and living environment of children into account, and particularly accounted for the concept of development as a distinguishing characteristic of the specific nature of the child with which child readers could identify.
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Poetry, Eighteenth Century Literature, Childrens Literature, Educational History, Educational Strategies, Ethical Instruction, German Literature, Child Development, Family (Sociological Unit), Physical Environment, Religion
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Germany; Netherlands