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Popularity of Janua shortlived.
manner in which the mode of life two hundred years ago is described in it.*
§ 60. But though parts of the book may on first reading have gratified the youth of the seventeenth century, a great deal of it gave scanty information about difficult subjects, such as physiology, geometry, logic, rhetoric, and that too in the driest and dullest way. Moreover, in his first version (much modified at Saros-Patak) Comenius following the Jesuit boasts that no important word occurs twice; so that the book, to attain the end of giving a perfect stock of Latin words, would have to be read and re-read till it was almost known by heart; and however amusing boys might find an account of their toys written in Latin the first time of reading, the interest would somewhat wear away by the fifth or sixth time. We cannot then feel much surprised on reading this "general verdict," written some years later, touching those earlier works of Comenius: "They are of singular use, and very advantageous to those of more discretion (especially to such as have already got a smattering in Latin), to help their memories to retain what they have scatteringly gotten here and there, and to furnish them with many words which perhaps they had not formerly read or so well observed;
*This book must have had a great sale in England. Anchoran's version (the Latin title of which is Porta not Janua) went through several editions. I have a copy of Janua Linguarum Reserata "formerly translated by Tho. Horn: afterwards much corrected and amended by Joh. Robotham : now carefully reviewed and exactly compared with all former editions, foreign and others, and much enlarged both in the Latine and English: together with a Portall . . . by G. P. 1647," "W. D." was a subsequent editor, and finally it was issued by Roger Daniel, to whom Comenius dedicates from Amsterdam in 1659 as "Domino Rogero Danieli, Bibliopolæ ac Typographo Londinensi celeberrimo."
Lubinus projector of Orbis Pictus.
but to young children (whom we have chiefly to instruct, as those that are ignorant altogether of most things and words), they prove rather a mere toil and burden than a delight and furtherance." (Chas. Hoole's preface to his trans. of Orbis Pictus, dated "From my school in Lothbury, London, Jan. 25, 1658.")
§ 61. The "Janua" would, therefore, have had but a short-lived popularity with teachers, and a still shorter with learners, if Comenius had not carried out his principle of appealing to the senses, and adopted a plan which had been suggested, nearly 50 years earlier, by a Protestant divine, Lubinus,* of Rostock. The artist was called in, and with
* Eilhardus Lubinus or Eilert Lueben, born 1565; was Professor first of Poetry then of Theology at Rostock, where he died in 1621. This projector of the most famous school-book of modern times seems not to be mentioned in K. A. Schmid's great Encyklopädie, at least in the first edition. (I have not seen the second.) I find from F. Sander's Lexikon d. Pädagogik that Ratke declared he learnt nothing from Lubinus, while Comenius recognised him gratefully as his predecessor. This is just what we should have expected from the character of Ratke and of Comenius. Lubinus advocated the use of interlinear translations and published (says Sander) such translations of the New Testament, of Plautus, &c. The very interesting Preface to the New Test., was translated into English by Hartlib and published as "The True and Readie Way to Learne the Latine Tongue by E. Lubinus," &c., 1654. The date given for Lubinus' preface is 1614. L. finds fault with the grammar teaching which is thrashed into boys so that they hate their masters. He would appeal to the senses : "For from these things falling under the sense of the eyes, and as it were more known, we will make entrance and begin to learn the Latin speech. Four-footed living creatures, creeping things, fishes and birds which can neither be gotten nor live well in these parts ought to be painted. Others also, which because of their bulk and greatness cannot be shut up in houses may be made in a lesser form, or drawn with the pencil, yet of such bigness as
Orbis Pictus described.
Endter at Nürnberg in 1657 was published the first edition of a book which long outlived the Janua. This was the famous Orbis Sensualium Pictus, which was used for a centitry at least in many a schoolroom, and lives in imitations to the present day. Comenius wrote this book on the same lines as the Janua, but he goes into less detail, and every subject is illustrated by a small engraving. The text is mostly on the opposite page to the picture, and is connected. with it by a series of corresponding numbers. Everything named in the text is numbered as in the picture. The artist employed must have been a bold man, as he sticks at nothing; but in skill he was not the equal of many of his contem
they may be well seen by boys even afar off." He says he has often counselled the Stationers to bring out a book "in which all things whatsoever which may be devised and written and seen by the eyes, might be described, so as there might be also added to all things and all parts and members of things, its own proper word, its own proper appellation or term expressed in the Latin and Dutch tongues" (pp. 22, 23). "Visible things are first to be known by the eyes" (p. 23), and the joining of seeing the thing and hearing the name together "is by far the profitablest and the bravest course, and passing fit and applicable to the age of children." Things themselves if possible, if not, pictures (p. 25). There are some capital hints on teaching children from things common in the house, in the street, &c. One Hadrianus Junius has made a "nomenclator" that may be useful. In the pictures of the projected book there are to be lines under each object, and under its printed name. (The excellent device of corresponding numbers seems due to Comenius.) For printing below the pictures L. also suggests sentences which are simpler and better for children than those in the Vestibulum, e.g. "Panis in Mensa positus est, Felis vorat Murem."
In the Brit. Museum there is a copy of Medulla Lingua Græcæ in which L. works up the root words of Greek into sentences. He was evidently a man with ideas. Comenius thought of them so highly that he tried to carry out another at Saros-Patak, the plan of a "Coenobium" or Roman colony in which no language should be used but Latin.
Why C.'s schoolbooks failed.
poraries; witness the pictures in the Schaffhausen Janua (Editio secunda, SchaffhusI, 1658), in Daniel's edition of the Janua, 1562, and the very small but beautiful illustrations in the Vestibulum of "Jacob Redinger and J. S." (Amsterdam, 1673). However, the Orbis Pictus gives such a quaint delineation of life 200 years ago that copies with the original engravings keep rising in value, and an American publisher (Bardeen of Syracuse, New York), has lately reproduced the old book with the help of photography.
§ 62. And yet as instruments of teaching, these books, i.e. the Vestibulum and the Janua and even the Orbis Pictus which in a great measure superseded both, proved a failure. How shall we account for this?
Comenius immensely over-estimated the importance of knowledge and the power of the human mind to acquire knowledge. He took it for the heavenly idea that man should know all things. This notion started him on the wrong road for forming a scheme of instruction, and it needed many years and much experience to show him his error. When he wrote the Orbis Pictus he said of it: "It is a little book, as you see, of no great bulk, yet a brief of the whole world and a whole language;" (Hoole's trans. Preface); and he afterwards speaks of "this our little encyclopadia of things subject to the senses." But in his old age he saw that his text-books were too condensed and attempted too much (Laurie, p. 59); and he admitted that after all Seneca was right: "Melius est scire pauca et iis recté uti quam scire multa, quorum ignores usum. It is better to know a few things and have the right use of them than to know many things which you cannot use at all."
§ 63. The attempt to give "information" has been the in of a vast number of professing educators since Comenius
Masters "of the old school" whom some of us can still remember made boys learn Latin and Greek Grammar and nothing else. Their successors seem to think that boys should not learn Latin and Greek Grammar but everything else and the last error I take to be much worse than the first. As Ruskin has neatly said, education is not teaching people to know what they do not know, but to behave as they do not behave. It is to be judged not by the knowledge acquired, but the habits, powers, interests: knowledge must be thought of "last and least."
§ 64. So the attempt to teach about everything was unwise. The means adopted were unwise also. It is a great mistake to suppose that a "general view" should come first; this is not the right way to give knowledge in any subject. "A child begins by seeing bits of everything-here a little and there a little; it makes up its wholes out of its own littles, and is long in reaching the fulness of a whole; and in this we are children all our lives in much.” (Dr. John Brown in Hora Subseciva, p. 5.) So nothing could have been much more unfortunate than an attempt to give the young "a brief of the whole world." Compendia, dispendia.
§ 65. Corresponding to "a brief of the whole world," Comenius offers "a brief of a whole language." The two mistakes were well matched. In "the whole world" there are a vast number of things of which we must, and a good number of which we very advantageously may be ignorant. In a language there are many words which we cannot know and many more which we do not want to know. The language lives for us in a small vocabulary of essential words, and our hold upon the language depends upon the power we have in receiving and expressing thought by means of those words. But the Jesuit Bath, and after him Comenius,