Page:The Cambridge History of American Literature, v3.djvu/441

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

A General Comment 423 Butler, through his M eaning of Education and other essays, has . given more popular interpretation of educational principles. In this field of philosophical interpretation the writings of one man. john Dewey, ’ transcend all others in American educational literature. In fact it may be said that in the field of strictly technical literature Professor Dewey has made the one great American contribution. While most of these writings have ap- peared in monographie form, such as his School and Society (189o ), Interest as Related to Effort (1896), Child and the Cur- riculum (1902), How We Think (1911), his Democracy and Education (1917) is a complete logical scheme of educational interpretation, the only one ever worked out by an American, and the one most representative of present world thought and modern science. In th e 1i terature of appreciation some contributions have been made. Professor Barrett Wendell’s U niversities in France uses the foil of French customs and institutions to reveal A merican light and shade. Professor Gayley’s I dols, as well as occasional essays from a number of pens, reminds us of the inexhaustible field for appreciation or for criticism of the teach— e r’sexperience or of the teacher’s problems. Effective and de- lightful in its form is Professor Francis G. Peabody’s Education for Life (1918), an appreciation of one of America’s most significant educational experiments, Hampton Institute.

 Foreign observers, with either greater detachment or more

scientific attitude, have rendered their tribute of comment.

Some of  these, as the Moseley Commission from England, offer
 comments  valuable to both observed and observer. Perhaps
 the  chief defect to be noted in these foreign comments is the
 failure to perceive that the "feminization " of American educa-
 tion  does not necessarily mean its "effeminization."  
  On the whole, the literature of American education is typ-  
   ical of that education. In the past when education was a suber·  
 l  Qdinate thing, a concern of the church or of the family or of the  
       individual,  the literature was fragmentary and interpolated,
   education became general and technical in a crude way,
 a technical literature having similar crudities developed. With
 the  fresh substance for literary creation at hand, furnished by
 savages, by frontier life, by the new life of freedom, with its new

‘ See also Book III, Chap. xvu.