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EARLY REALISM AND THE INNOVATORS
The intellectual awakening that appeared in the Renaissance and the Reformation found another avenue for expression in early realism.
This movement had two phases: (1) humanistic realism, which emphasized the content of classical literature; and (2) social realism, which strove to adapt education to actual life. But the two phases generally occurred together, and the classification of a treatise under one head or the other is largely a matter of emphasis.
The influence of the two phases was mostly indirect, but through social realism a special training arose in the Ritterakademien in Germany, while Milton's humanistic realism was embodied in the 'academies' of England, and afterward of America.
The Rise and Nature of Realism.-By the seventeenth century it is obvious that humanism was everywhere losing its vitality and declining into a narrow 'Ciceronianism,' and that the Reformation was hardening once more into fixed concepts and a dogmatic formalism. The awakened intellect of Europe, however, was tending to find still another mode of expression in the educational movement that is usually known as 'realism.' The process of emancipating the individual from tradition and repressive authority had not altogether ceased, but it was manifesting itself mainly
A new channel
for the emanci
pation of the
through a rather different channel. The movement of realism implied a search for a method by which 'real things' may be known. In its most distinct and latest form,-'sense realism,' it held that real knowledge comes through the senses and reason rather than through memory and reliance on tradition, and in this way it interpreted the 'real things' as being individual objects. Educational realism, therefore, concerned itself ultimately with investigation in the natural sciences; and it might well be denominated 'the beginnings of the scientific movement,' were it not that such a description and the earlier neglects the earlier phases of the realistic development. Humanistic Realism.-For, even before objects were regarded as the true realities, there seems to have been an effort among some later humanists to seek for the 'Real things' 'real things' in the ideas that were represented by the written words. This broader type of humanism, in consequence, tended to break from a restriction to words and set forms and return to the interest in the content of classical literature that marked the Renaissance be fore its decline into formalism. It may, therefore, properly be called 'humanistic realism.' With its emphasis upon content usually went a study of social and physical phenomena, in order to throw light upon the passages under consideration. Illustrations of this humanistic realism are found in many writers of the sixteenth and Tractate as an seventeenth centuries. Milton (1608-1674), for ex
in ideas, rather than words.
A method by things' may be
ample, while a remarkable classicist himself, in his Tractate of Education objects to the usual humanistic education with "its grammatic flats and shallows where they stuck unreasonably to learn a few words with lamentable construction"; and says of the pupil, “if he have not
studied the solid things in them as well as the words and lexicons, he were nothing so much to be esteemed as any yeoman or tradesman competently wise in his mother dialect only." And he would teach the Latin writers on agriculture, and the Greek writers on natural history, geography, and medicine for the sake of the subject
Social Realism.-But there was another phase of early realism, which often appeared in conjunction with humanistic education, and may be called 'social realism.' Its adherents strove to adapt education to actual living in a real world, and to afford direct practical preparation Preparation for living in a for the opportunities and duties of life. It was generally real world. recommended as the means of education for all members of the upper social class. It sought to combine with the literary elements taught the clergy in the Middle Ages and the scholar in the Renaissance, certain remnants of the old chivalric education as the proper training for gentlemen. It held schools to be of less value as an agency for educating the young aristocrats than training through a tutor and travel. Hence an education in social realism usually included a study of heraldry, Its content. genealogy, riding, fencing, and gymnastics, and involved a study of modern languages and the customs and institutions of neighboring countries.
A good illustration of this type of education is found in the educational essays of Montaigne (1533-1592).
In the Education of Children he holds that virtue comes Montaigne's Education of from experience and breadth of vision rather than from Children as an reading, and declares: "I would have travel the book my young gentleman should study with most attention; for so many humors, so many sects, so many judgments,
Locke's Thoughts better known.
opinions, laws, and customs, teach us to judge aright of our own, and inform our understanding to discover its imperfection and natural infirmity." This training, too, he feels, should be under the care of a tutor, who is to be a man of the world, one "whose head is well tempered, rather than well filled." While a gentleman has need of Latin and Greek, Montaigne maintains that one should first study his own language and those of his neighbors. He also stresses physical exercise, and fears the training of boys near their mothers, who "will not endure to see them mount an unruly horse, nor take a foil in hand against a rude fencer."
An educational work based on social realism that has been studied even more than the Essays of Montaigne is Some Thoughts concerning Education by John Locke (1632-1704). Locke states the aims of education in the order of their value as 'Virtue, Wisdom (i. e., worldly wisdom), Breeding, and Learning'; and holds that such a training can be secured by the young gentleman only through a tutor, who "should himself be well-bred, understanding the Ways of Carriage and Measures of Civility in all the Variety of Persons, Times and Places, and keep his Pupil, as much as his Age requires, constantly to the Observation of them." In considering the subjectmatter of the training, he maintains that "besides what is to be had from Study and Books, there are other 'Accomplish- Accomplishments necessary for a Gentleman,-dancing, of its content. horseback riding, fencing and wrestling."
ments' as part
The Relations of Humanistic to Social Realism.Humanistic and social realism, however, constantly appear together in the works of the same author, and it is often difficult to distinguish a writer as advocating
Aim of education.
one type or the
one type or the other. The differentiation seems to be largely a matter of emphasis. While one element or Difficult to disthe other may seem to be more prominent in the treatise author as of a certain author, the two phases of education are other, as can be largely bound up in each other. While Milton, for in- seen in Milton. stance, is in the main a humanistic realist and advises an education in languages and books, he recommends that considerable time be given, toward the end of the course, to the social sciences-history, ethics, politics, economics, theology-and to such practical training as would bring one in touch with life. He also specifically advocates the experience and knowledge that would come from travel in England and abroad; and defines education as "that which fits a man to perform justly, skillfully, and magnanimously all the offices both private and public of peace and war." On the other Montaigne, hand, Montaigne, the social realist, seems quite as strenuous in urging a more realistic humanism. In his essay, On Pedantry, he launches most vigorous ridicule against the prevailing narrow humanistic education, with its memorizing of words and forms, and insists: "Let the master not only examine him about the words of his lesson, but also as to the sense and meaning of them, and let him judge of the profit he has made, not by the testimony of his memory, but that of his understanding."
Out if educa
And it is equally difficult to state whether humanistic and others. or social elements prevail in Locke's Thoughts, the Gargantua of Rabelais (1495-1553), the Positions of Mulcaster (1530-1611), and other treatises of the period. It is true, of course, that in certain other works written upon the training of the aristocracy, social realism is