Didactic Literature


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Didactic Literature

 

instructional literature in artistic form. Didactic literature presents philosophical, religious, moral, and scientific knowledge and ideas in various imaginative literary genres. In the period when there was no ideological separation between science and art (syncretism)—in primitive art, for example—didactic literature was a vital, naively integral form of contemplation and could be realized poetically. But as the specialized forms of scientific and philosophical exposition were distinguished, particularly in modern times, the artistic form of didactic literature became, in Hegel’s words, simply “ornamentation,” lending a “cheerful aspect to dry, serious instruction.”;

Some examples of didactic literature still bear the mark of syncretism: for example, in ancient Rome, Hesiod’s moral-agricultural epic Works and Days, Lucretius’ philosophic poem On the Nature of Things, and Horace’s epistle The Art of Poetry, in ancient China, Lao-tsu’s philosophical poem Tao Te thing, in Iran, the works of Zoroaster, and in ancient Rus’, The Instructions of Vladimir Monomakh. In addition to the purely didactic literature of antiquity and the Middle Ages, numerous works and even specialized genres were created, which were imbued to various degrees with religious, moral, and philosophical didacticism (for example, the diatribe, parable, apologia, gnome, and miracle and morality plays). Similar to these Western genres were the Panchatantra, a collection of Indian fables, tales, and parables, and the Argument With God by the Persian poet Nasir-i Khusrau. In modern times a number of authors have resorted to didactic poetry, including N. Boileau (L’ Art poétique), Pope (Essay on Man), Goethe (The Metamorphosis of Plants), and M. V. Lomonosov (Letter on the Usefulness of Glass). Since the 19th century the term “didactic” has had a negative connotation suggesting a rationalistic, tendentious, and exhortatory art.

D. P. MURAV’EV

References in periodicals archive ?
Contents: Natasha Glaisyer and Sara Pennell, "Introduction"; Scott Mandelbrote, "The Bible and Didactic Literature in Early Modern England"; Susan Forscher Weiss, "Didactic Sources of Musical Learning in Early Modern England"; Randall Ingram, "Seventeenth-Century Didactic Readers, Their Literature, and Ours"; Anna Marie E.
Sperling has examined didactic literature of churchmen and canon lawyers aimed at rationalizing clausura by convincing nuns of the value of virginity and the need for constant struggle against carnal desire to assure virginity and chastity.
They reveal Pulci's familiarity with the hagiographic and didactic literature popular at the time, as well as with the great Florentine vernacular poets Dante and Petrarch.
Poe rejected allegory as part of his campaign against didactic literature, and he also tended to disparage allegorical works when they made explicit what should have been suggested.
She places Osofisan in a tradition of didactic literature whose writers are aware of and sometimes borrow from the Western tradition while remaining African.
She ranges impressively over a large body of didactic literature, popular poetry, vernacular scrapbooks, confraternal processions and plays, as well as images and objects.