Didacticism is a philosophy that emphasizes instructional and informative qualities in literature and other types of art.[1][2]


The term has its origin in the Ancient Greek word διδακτικός (didaktikos), "related to education and teaching", and signified learning in a fascinating and intriguing manner.[3]

Didactic art was meant both to entertain and to instruct. Didactic plays, for instance, were intended to convey a moral theme or other rich truth to the audience.[4][5] An example of didactic writing is Alexander Pope's An Essay on Criticism (1711), which offers a range of advice about critics and criticism. An example of didactism in music is the chant Ut queant laxis, which was used by Guido of Arezzo to teach solfege syllables.

Around the 19th century the term didactic came to also be used as a criticism for work that appears to be overburdened with instructive, factual, or otherwise educational information, to the detriment of the enjoyment of the reader (a meaning that was quite foreign to Greek thought). Edgar Allan Poe called didacticism the worst of "heresies" in his essay The Poetic Principle.


Some instances of didactic literature include:

Children's Books in England: Five Centuries of Social Life. by F. J. Harvey Darton[6]

See also


  1. ^ What’s Wrong with Didacticism? Academia.edu, Retrieved 30 Oct 2013
  2. ^ Didactic Literature or Didacticism, University of Houston–Clear Lake, Retrieved 30 Oct 2013
  4. ^ Didacticism in Morality Plays, Retrieved 30 Oct 2013
  5. ^ Glossary of Literary Terms Archived 2013-11-03 at the Wayback Machine, The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Retrieved 30 Oct 2013
  6. ^ Didacticism Archived 2015-05-04 at the Wayback Machine, Boston College Libraries, Retrieved 30 Oct 2013

Further reading

  • Glaisyer, Natasha and Sara Pennell. Didactic Literature in England, 1500-1800: Expertise Reconstructed'.' (Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2003).
Annette Volfing

Annette Marianne Volfing, FBA (born 5 February 1965) is a literary scholar and academic. Since 2008, she has been Professor of Medieval German Literature at the University of Oxford.

Battle of Thannuris

The Battle of Thannuris (or Battle of Mindouos) was fought between the forces of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire under Belisarius and Coutzes and the Persian Sassanid Empire under Xerxes in summer 528, near Dara in northern Mesopotamia. As they were trying to build a fortress in Minduous, the Byzantines were defeated by the Sasanian army. Belisarius managed to flee but the Sasanians destroyed the buildings. Despite their victory, the Persians suffered heavy losses, angering Kavadh I, the Sasanian king of Persia.


Benang (subtitled "From the Heart") is a 1999 Miles Franklin Award winning novel by Australian author Kim Scott. The award was shared with Drylands by Thea Astley.

Reviewing the novel for The Hindu, K. Kunhikrishnan wrote:

"For writing his second novel Benang Kim Scott conducted research for five years, tracing his family history through welfare files and from a diversity of sources. He confirmed that the novel was "inspired by research into his family and my growing awareness of the context of that family history". The novel is hence an imaginative blend of fact and fiction and archival documentation to explore in historical and emotional terms the shameful history of the White treatment of Australian aboriginal people without didacticism and bitterness or moral propaganda. It makes compelling reading, as it is a moving depiction of cultural oppression and the resilience of the Nyoongar people from the time of first contact with the White colonial power."Reading Benang, one could see that the narration could be seen as unreliable. Narration and writing style used are similar to that of stream of consciousness, factual information, history and memories. All of these help compose the complex and sometimes confusing narration of Benang. Writing styles can be compared to the novel Beloved by Toni Morrison, in the way the narrator speaks through his memories or stream of memories and facts. It is difficult to find what the narrator is going for but upon further reading all the memories, thoughts and emotions presenting in this novel finally come together.

Charlotte Maria Tucker

Charlotte Maria Tucker (8 May 1821 – 2 December 1893) was a prolific writer and poet for children and adults, who wrote under the pseudonym A.L.O.E. (a Lady of England). Late in life she spent a period as a volunteer missionary in India, where she died.


Chhayavaad (Hindi: छायावाद) (approximated in English as "Romanticism", literally "Shaded") refers to the era of Neo-romanticism in Hindi literature, particularly Hindi poetry, 1922–1938, and was marked by an upsurge of romantic and humanist content. Chhayavad was marked by a renewed sense of the self and personal expression, visible in the writings of time. It is known for its leaning towards themes of love and nature, as well as an individualistic reappropriation of the Indian tradition in a new form of mysticism, expressed through a subjective voice.

Christina Alberta's Father

Christina Alberta's Father (1925) is a novel by H. G. Wells set in London and environs in 1920–1922 with two protagonists: Albert Edward Preemby and his daughter, Christina Alberta.

Starting off as a seemingly light-hearted novel of social realism, highlighting the class system of contemporary society, much like he did in Kipps, Wells soon lambasts the then-current state of mental health legislation and of asylums, before ending the novel with the characters discussing feminism and the conflict between individual independence and being a willing part of a greater society. With the title character of the father dying of pneumonia after rescue from a mental hospital, and his daughter Christina Albert refusing to marry her love interest Bobby Roothers (after candidly admitting to him that she is no longer a virgin), the expected happy ending does not occur. Perhaps due to its descent into open didacticism, the novel was not one of Wells' most successful or popular.

Criticism of Akira Kurosawa

Despite the extraordinary acclaim that Akira Kurosawa's work has received both in Japan and abroad, his films, as well as Kurosawa as an individual, have also been subject to considerable criticism, much of it harsh. It should, however, be noted that, for many of the accusations leveled against the filmmaker's work or his personality that are cited here, commentators taking the contrary view in defense of the director — including Kurosawa himself — have also been cited.

The majority of these negative judgments fall into one or more of the following categories: a) accusations, by European commentators, of insufficient "Japaneseness," particularly compared to the work of the older director, Kenji Mizoguchi; b) accusations of sentimentality or didacticism; c) criticisms of the (alleged) political stances taken by Kurosawa in his films; d) objections to his films' treatment of women; e) accusations of elitism; f) accusations of pandering directly to the tastes of Western audiences; g) criticisms of his alleged lack of contact (after 1965) with contemporary realities; and h) claims of personal arrogance and mistreatment of colleagues.

Cuyahoga (song)

"Cuyahoga" is a song by R.E.M. from their 1986 album Lifes Rich Pageant. It was written primarily by R.E.M. bassist Mike Mills and drummer Bill Berry. It is one of R.E.M.'s earliest environmentally conscious songs, along with the album's lead single, "Fall on Me".The themes of Cuyahoga include the pollution of the Cuyahoga River in Ohio and the treatment of American Indians earlier in American history. Despite the grim themes, according to R.E.M. biographer David Buckley, the lyrics are "words of optimism, partnership and community, set against an age of individualism." R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck said of the song that the song "is a metaphor for America and its lost promises. This is where the Indians were and now look at it. It's one of the ugliest fucking rivers in the world." The song opens with the lines "Let's put our heads together and start a new country up," which R.E.M. biographer Tony Fletcher describes as sounding like a "call to arms." On the other hand, music writer Craig Rosen feels that the line adds to the song's optimism.Another line in the song states that "we'll burn the river down." This line comes from the fact that as early as the 1910s the river was so polluted that one method of cleaning the river was to throw a torch in it and thus burn the pollutants. The river also actually caught fire in 1969, an event which helped raise awareness of water pollution. This was another inspiration for the song, and for other songs such as Randy Newman's "Burn On." Newman biographer Kevin Courrier believes that "Burn On" was an influence on "Cuyahoga."Buckley describes the melody as "beautiful" and the refrain as "anthemic." Musically, "Cuyahoga" is propelled by Mills' bassline.Musician Ken Stringfellow described "Cuyahoga" as being "an anthem, but it's not self-congratulatory. It's about what's gone wrong with our country. It was an anti-anthem in that way. It took on an issue, but it was still unifying and powerful. That's a hard thing to do well." Slant critic Jonathan Keefe noted that even 25 years after the song's initial release its "optimism...is still inspiring and relevant." He goes on to note that the song's message "reflects an intelligent and decidedly nonpartisan approach to political reconstruction without resorting to...didacticism." Pitchfork Media critic Stephen M. Deusner states that "With its rousing chorus and pensive bass line, 'Cuyahoga' mails postcard dispatches from a museum where rivers and plains are artifacts, consigned to diorama and memory rather than reality." According to music author Martin Charles Strong, "Cuyahoga" (and "Fall on Me") showed the band developing "an assured poise." Fletcher described "Cuyahoga" as the "lyrical peak" of Lifes Rich Pageant. It is one of Mills' favorite songs and one he particularly enjoys playing live."Cuyahoga" has appeared on several R.E.M. compilation albums, including The Best of R.E.M. in 1991 and And I Feel Fine... The Best of the I.R.S. Years 1982–1987 in 2006. It was also included on the live albums R.E.M. Live, Unplugged: The Complete 1991 and 2001 Sessions and Live at the Olympia.

Dorothy Kilner

Dorothy Kilner (17 February 1755 – 5 February 1836), who used the pseudonyms M. P. and Mary Pelham, was a prolific English writer of children's books, who combined didacticism with a strong knowledge of children's character.

Edgar Allan Poe bibliography

The works of American author Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) include many poems, short stories, and one novel. His fiction spans multiple genres, including horror fiction, adventure, science fiction, and detective fiction, a genre he is credited with inventing. These works are generally considered part of the Dark romanticism movement, a literary reaction to Transcendentalism. Poe's writing reflects his literary theories: he disagreed with didacticism and allegory. Meaning in literature, he said in his criticism, should be an undercurrent just beneath the surface; works whose meanings are too obvious cease to be art. Poe pursued originality in his works, and disliked proverbs. He often included elements of popular pseudosciences such as phrenology and physiognomy. His most recurring themes deal with questions of death, including its physical signs, the effects of decomposition, concerns of premature burial, the reanimation of the dead, and mourning. Though known as a masterly practitioner of Gothic fiction, Poe did not invent the genre; he was following a long-standing popular tradition.Poe's literary career began in 1827 with the release of 50 copies of Tamerlane and Other Poems credited only to "a Bostonian", a collection of early poems that received virtually no attention. In December 1829, Poe released Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems in Baltimore before delving into short stories for the first time with "Metzengerstein" in 1832. His most successful and most widely read prose during his lifetime was "The Gold-Bug", which earned him a $100 prize, the most money he received for a single work. One of his most important works, "The Murders in the Rue Morgue", was published in 1841 and is today considered the first modern detective story. Poe called it a "tale of ratiocination". Poe became a household name with the publication of "The Raven" in 1845, though it was not a financial success. The publishing industry at the time was a difficult career choice and much of Poe's work was written using themes specifically catered for mass market tastes.

Evangelical Academy

An evangelical academy is a Protestant Christian conference center in Germany which bridges church and world by offering thematic, open discussions on contemporary social, economic, political and scientific questions.The evangelical academy movement arose after the Second World War in response to the moral collapse of German society. Helmut Thielicke and Eberhard Müller worked out the practical framework in 1945. Loosely modeled on Plato’s academy, the academies emphasized dialogue over didacticism. The first academy in Germany was founded in Bad Boll in 1945. The movement spread quickly throughout Germany, although academies in East Germany experienced political discrimination. The academies supported nascent West German democracy by providing open, ideologically-neutral forums for conversations between opposing interest groups. The Christian dimension of the academies was made unobtrusive to encourage participation by alienated Christians. Since leaders found it difficult to offer quality conferences on every topic of contemporary societal interest, many specialized in the arts, sciences, or politics. While most academies developed official ties with the ecclesiastical structures in their states, relations between local churches and academies frequently remained distant.

During the 1960s Some argued that the academies should not remain neutral with regard to social questions but should take the side of the oppressed. Others held that this proposed change violated the movement’s open spirit. Evangelical academies continue to flourish in contemporary Germany.

Higher Than Higher

"Higher Than Higher" is a song by British pop group Take That. It was released through Polydor Records on 8 June 2015 as the third single from their seventh studio album, III (2014). The song was written by Take That, Mattias Larsson, Robin Fredriksson, and Joe Janiak, and produced by Mattman & Robin and features Gary Barlow on lead vocals.

The song debuted at number one on the UK Physical Singles Chart shortly after release.

Iberian War

The Iberian War was fought from 526 to 532 between the Byzantine Empire and Sassanid Empire over the eastern Georgian kingdom of Iberia.

List of philosophies

Philosophies: particular schools of thought, styles of philosophy, or descriptions of philosophical ideas attributed to a particular group or culture - listed in alphabetical order.

Petre P. Negulescu

Petre Paul Negulescu (October 18, 1870 – September 28, 1951) was a Romanian philosopher and conservative politician, known as a disciple and continuator of Titu Maiorescu. Affiliated with Maiorescu's Junimea society from his early twenties, he debuted as a positivist and monist, attempting to reconcile art for art's sake with an evolutionist philosophy of culture. He was a lecturer and tenured professor at the University of Iași, where he promoted the Junimist lobby against left-wing competitors, and formalized his links with the Conservative Party in 1901. From 1910, he taught at the University of Bucharest, publishing works on Renaissance philosophy and other historical retrospectives.

After World War I, Negulescu was an affiliate (later president) of the radical-conservative People's Party, and an advocate of labor and education reform. Serving several terms in Parliament, he was twice the Public Education Minister in the 1920s, but failed to enact his project for vocational-centered schooling.

By 1934, as an adversary of the nationalist far-right, he wrote tracts rejecting biological determinism of all sorts, and scientific racism in particular. Pushed in the minority by supporters of statism, Negulescu supported meritocracy within the framework of classical liberalism. He was sidelined by right-wing totalitarian regimes after 1940, and ultimately banned, shortly before his death, by the communist regime.

Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle... and other Modern Verse

Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle... and other Modern Verse is a Lewis Carroll Shelf Award-winning anthology of poetry edited by Stephen Dunning, Edward Lueders and Hugh Smith. Compiled in an effort to present modern poetry in a way that would appeal to the young, Watermelon Pickle was long a standard in high school curricula, and has been described as a classic.The anthology consists of 114 poems, including ones by Ezra Pound, Edna St. Vincent Millay and E. E. Cummings, but also ones by lesser-known poets. It is particularly noted for "espous[ing] no specific morality, no politesse, and no didacticism", as well as for giving a relatively modern presentation with photographs and modern typefaces. This presentation was in stark contrast to the practices of textbook publishers of the 1960s, which seemingly "cramm[ed] as many problems onto a page as possible".In 1969, Watermelon Pickle was described by one commentator as having "become one of the more popular high school literature materials". Another commentator in 1999 called it "[t]he most widely used anthology for young adults ever and still in print". A 2002 article describes Watermelon Pickle as "establish[ing] a long-overdue niche" for young adult poetry.The book is titled after the last poem, "Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle Received from a Friend called Felicity" by John Tobias.

Semyon Vengerov

Semyon Afanasievich Vengerov (Семён Афанасьевич Венгеров; 1855, Lubny, Poltava Governorate – 1920) was the preeminent literary historian of Imperial Russia.

Vengerov was the son of Chonon (Afanasy) Vengerov and memoirist Pauline Wengeroff, a prominent Jewish family. His parents were of the few acculturated Russian Jews, and sent him to a Christian school, of which he once was expelled for refusing to kneel before an icon. As academic careers were barred to Jews, he converted to Orthodoxy after matriculating. He was the pater familias of an artistic clan that included his sister Isabelle Vengerova, a co-founder of the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, and nephew Nicolas Slonimsky, a Russian-American composer.

Vengerov studiously researched the careers of "second-tier" Russian authors of the 19th and (especially) 18th centuries. His materials proved indispensable for several generations of Russian literary historians. His archives contain the largest private collection of Dostoyevsky's letters and manuscripts. He was a great admirer of Ivan Turgenev, the subject of his first major work of criticism (approved by Turgenev himself).

Vengerov also presided over an influential Pushkin seminar and the Russian Book Chamber (which he had helped found). In the early 20th century he issued a detailed overview of recent Russian literature and edited the grand Brockhaus-Efron edition of Pushkin's works (1907–16) in 6 large quarto volumes; D. S. Mirsky refers to this edition as "a monument of infinite industry and infinite bad taste".Vengerov's interest in academic biographism gained him a reputation of being a positivist compiler of biographical data. According to Mirsky, his works contain "a great mass of prefatory, commentatory, and biographical matter, most of which is more or less worthless". In Noise of Time, Osip Mandelshtam claimed that Vengerov had "understood nothing in Russian literature and studied Pushkin as a professional task".For Vengerov, the greatest merit of Russian literature was its essential didacticism: "For the Russian reader, literature has always been a holy thing; contact with it makes him purer and better, and he always relates to it with a feeling of real religiosity".

Siege of Amida (502–503)

The Siege of Amida occurred in 502–503, during the Anastasian War. The city was not garrisoned by any troops of the Byzantine Empire but nevertheless resisted for three months before falling to the military of the Sasanian Empire under Kavadh I. According to the detailed account of Zacharias Rhetor, the city's sack was particularly brutal, and accompanied by a massacre of the population for three days and nights. The fall of the city urged the Emperor Anastasius I Dicorus to react militarily, before a truce was agreed between both parts in 505.

The Poetic Principle

"The Poetic Principle" is an essay by Edgar Allan Poe, written near the end of his life and published posthumously in 1850, the year after his death. It is a work of literary criticism, in which Poe presents his literary theory. It is based on a series of lectures Poe had given late in his lifetime.

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