Didactic Literature

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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.
John Vale's Book, a collection of materials compiled in London in the years around 1480, provides an interesting basis for such discussion, since its contents range from works of political theory and politically didactic literature -- Fortescue's Governance of England and Lydgate's Serpent of Division -- to political manifestos and administrative documents.
She places Osofisan in a tradition of didactic literature whose writers are aware of and sometimes borrow from the Western tradition while remaining African.
charms, school, and didactic literature); religious worship and instruction; legal; historiographic; biblical; legends; drama; heroic literature; court narrative; lyric.
For example, many essays in this collection show the mobility of women and their texts across social, national, and linguistic borders, where earlier criticism may have taken for granted women's place within the home as emphasized in didactic literature of the period.
She ranges impressively over a large body of didactic literature, popular poetry, vernacular scrapbooks, confraternal processions and plays, as well as images and objects.
For comments as to the problematic reception of didactic literature, see Chartier, The Cultural Uses of Print in Early Modern France, p.7.
In the final part, "Consequences and Endings," Stephen Kolsky looks at biographies of famous court women in contrast to didactic literature. Linda Guzzetti produces a fascinating glimpse at sixteen legally separated fourteenth-century Venetian couples.
Allegory, after all, is an essentially didactic trope; modernism took its stand against didactic literature. Allegory depends heavily on the structure of an archetypal story; modernism insisted on close observation and description--"direct treatment of the `thing,' whether subjective or objective." Allegory is first and foremost about ideas; modernism demands "no ideas but in things." Yes, it's pretty clear there never was a less allegorical literary movement than modernism.
In his Epistle 94, Seneca writes that advice is important 'because nature does not teach what ought to be done in every specific circumstance.' Following this theme, a conscious choice was made in this volume to focus not on a specific period or place but on the longue duree of didactic literature, and to include a variety of sources, provided that they were 'created, transmitted, or received' with a design 'to teach, instruct, advise, edify, inculcate morals, or modify and regulate behaviour' (p.
Morgan's taxonomy of the various types of didactic literature serves as a research strategy but seems pedantic.
The first half of the nineteenth century, an era in which illicit sexual activity among the young seemed to be increasing, witnessed the rise of popular literary genres celebrating romantic love and emotional intimacy in marriage, and the proliferation of didactic literature advising young men to exercise self-control as competitors in a burgeoning and temptation-filled marketplace.