By Gregory M. Pfitzer
Lately publishers at the Christian correct were reprinting nineteenth-century children’s heritage books and advertising them to folks as “anchor texts” for homeschool guideline. Why, Gregory M. Pfitzer asks, might books written greater than a hundred and fifty years in the past be presumed compatible for instructing twenty-first-century youngsters? the reply, he proposes, is that promoters of those recycled works think that heritage as a self-discipline took a mistaken flip within the early 20th century, whilst revolutionary educators brought social reports methodologies into public tuition historical past study rooms, foisting upon unsuspecting and weak young children ideologically distorted heritage books.
In background Repeating Itself, Pfitzer exams those assertions by way of scrutinizing and contextualizing the unique nineteenth-century texts on which those republications are established. He specializes in how the writers borrowed from each other to supply works that have been comparable in lots of methods but differed markedly by way of pedagogical technique and philosophy of background. Pfitzer demonstrates that faraway from being non-ideological, those works have been rooted in excessive modern debates over altering conceptions of formative years.
Pfitzer argues that the repurposing of antiquated texts unearths a lost resistance to the assumption of a contested previous. He additionally increases crucial philosophical questions about how and why curricular judgements are formed via the “past we elect to recollect” on behalf of our kids.
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Additional info for History Repeating Itself: The Republication of Children’s Historical Literature and the Christian Right
44 Fables were a sore spot for Goodrich, especially with regard to the theme of verisimilitude, since he believed most children were incapable of distinguishing meaningfully between fact and fiction. “There is little difference, as to moral effect upon children, between things real and things imaginary,” he lectured. ” Betraying a lingering eighteenth-century concern for the vulnerability of children, Goodrich agonized over the pernicious effects of nursery rhymes on the youngest readers. ” He was frightened by Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and especially by the story of Blue Beard, which “made a stronger and still more painful impression” on him.
In a review of Dickens’s A Child’s History of England, the British critic G. K. Chesterton claimed the British novelist’s approach to the past was less high-minded than that of a popular historian such as Goodrich, whose works personified the “mystical perversity of a man of genius writing only out of his own temperament” and advancing a moral agenda. But in Chesterton’s view virtuosity of the kind practiced by Goodrich was overrated among historians. “If a man has a new theory of ethics there is one thing he must not be allowed to do,” the critic quipped.
K. Chesterton, “The Duty of the Historian” “God Knows the Best Way to Teach History”: A True and Sacred Past In 2002 Hearthstone Publishing of Oklahoma City reprinted an edition of Parley’s History of the World from 1858 (fig. 2). Written originally by the popular historian Samuel Goodrich under the pseudonym Peter Parley, the book evokes, according to its Christian republisher, the important moral “lessons of history” that were once the basis of education for children in the United States. Nineteenth-century readers understood that the value of history resided in its storytelling qualities, Hearthstone’s publishers assert, whereas twenty-first-century histories are committed primarily to the dissemination of random facts disassociated from any synthesizing narrative.