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Tolstoy

ON EDUCATION

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TOLSTOY

on Education

TRANSLATED FROM THE RUSSIAN BY

Leo Wiener

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY

Reginald D. Archambault

THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO PRESS


rUTCAGO AND LONDON
INTRODUCTION

EDUCATION is such a vital activity that it has been a


consistent focus for concern throughout all societies. The
manner in which the young are to be reared, the values
that are to be instilled, and the way they are expected to
function in the society have been major considerations in
all communities. The complex problems of education have
prompted discourse and debate on many levels and in
many different ways. The issues are so important that the
THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO PRESS, CHICAGO 60637
earliest philosophers developed highly sophisticated formal
THE UKIVERSl'.ry OF CHICAGO PRESS, LTD., LONDON theories of education, relating pedagogy to fundamental
conceptions of politics and human nature. In a less formal
sense, responsible parents have had to develop principles
of rearing children that would reflect their hopes and fears
Introduction © 1967 by The University of Chicago regarding the well-being of the young, their role in society,
and their future values as individuals and citizens.
A II rights reserved Often these two modes of discourse have been in some
conflict with one another, particularly in societies where
Published 1967 life has become so complex that it demands a formal means
of transmitting and-it is hoped-refreshing and renewing
Second Impression 1972 its culture. As educational theory became more formal,
more theoretical and abstract, the immediate practical
problems of nurturing the young often appeared to be
Printed in the United States of America
either neglected or deliberately disregarded. Indeed, edu-
ISBN: 0-226-80776-2 (clothbound); 0-226-80770-0 (paperbound) cational theory often took on such a load of intellectual
baggage that, at crucial points, it seemed necessary to
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 67-25514 reexamine the whole function of education in the culture.
There are many who feel that this is true in America
v
VI INTRODUCTION INTRODUCTION VII

today; Leo Tolstoy felt that this was true in the Russia of peasants' children at Yasno-Polyana. These i~fluences
the late nineteenth century. were reciprocal; seldom has there been so clear an ~nstance
Tolstoy's point of view was generated by frustrations of the mutual relation between thought and practIce. The
that are known today by many who view the educational professional author who had already published, b~ 1861,
scene objectively. He saw the educational enterprise func- several major works, is not only embarrassed by hIS utter
tioning automatically, apparently unheedful of its true inability to teach children to write by conventional meth-
aims and purposes, and bound by traditional modes of ods but is also moved by his experience as a teacher to
thought and procedure. The student, who should be the sharpen his interpretations of what art. in. genera:l and
chief concern of the educator, was, he felt, the neglected literature in particular are all about. (It IS InterestIng to
factor in educational thinking. Tolstoy felt that the failure note that Tolstoy uses the anecdote of his conversations
to recognize this central fact led to the more specific abuses with his student Fedka, about the relation of art to utility
and misconceptions that guaranteed educational failure: as a pivotal int;oduction to his major work in aestheti~s,
authoritarian discipline, student dependency, distaste for What is Art?) His practical experiences in the school reIn-
learning, and ultimately narrow-mindedness in the educa- force his views on politics, aesthetics, and religion.
tional "product." His concerns were not unlike those of Tolstoy's view of life is a romantic one, emphasizing the
Plato, who was distressed by the waste of talent and the importance of the individual free hu~an spirit n~urishe.d
lack of creativity and freedom among the young in Athen- by God and directed by interest, emotIOn, and desIre. It IS
ian society; his attitude was similar to Rousseau's, who a view which makes individual events and the purposes
felt that he must call for a completely fresh look at the that stem from them of primary importance in providing
whole process of educating and its rationale; his solutions a responsible, worthy, and justifiable direction fo~ a~tio?s.
were strikingly similar to Dewey's in their insistence on a In his basic approach to life, we see such a strong sImIlanty
new pedagogy based on a sensible psychology. His views on to Rousseau's that we tend to be surprised by his violent
education were not comprehensive, abstract, formal, or criticism and, indeed, rejection of Rousseau as an educa-
systematic, however. They were much more common- tional theorist. But this surprise is generated more by a
sensical, romantic, pragmatic, and ad hoc; in fact, Tol- conventional misunderstanding of Rousseau's views than
stoy's views were essentially antitheoretical. His approach by an inconsistency or inaccuracy in Tolstoy's appre.cia-
was similar to that of the engaged parent who must rely tion of Rousseau. In spite of all the popular conceptIOns
on his wisdom and intuition to cut through the traditional of Rousseau as an enfant terrible who wanted a return to a
verbiage on education. In the process of articulating these state of nature and who eulogized the "noble savage,"
opinions, he has provided us not only with a refreshing Tolstoy understood that there was another strain in Rous-
reminder of what the essentials of education actually are seau which might be considered the dominant one. In ~he
but, more positively, he has expressed some rather in- architecture of The Social Contract, we find a conceptIOn
genious insights into how we might proceed, in principle, of social freedom that stems from a volonte general, a gen-
to deal with the young. eral principle that is fundamentally anti-individualistic.
Tolstoy's view of education stems from two sources: his Rousseau's ideal society aims at an equilibrium through
philosophic conception of life in general and of art in par- subjugation of individuality to social authority which is
ticular, and the practical experience of his school for clearly Platonic in temper. This is the strain in Rousseau
VIII INTRODUCTION INTRODUCT ION IX

that Tolstoy finds distasteful, and in reaction to it he an end which lies beyond the process itself. To Aristotle,
points up his positive emphasis on individual freedom. But for example, the aim of education, as of all other activities
Tolstoy is not a philosopher. His principles are generated which are essentially political in nature, was to aid in the
from his specific attitudes and beliefs about specific prob- attainment of the good life, of happiness, a state which
lems and perplexities, and for that reason it would be best had no end beyond itself. This notion of education as
to ~onsider his conception of the educational process per menial has set the pattern for the logical arrangement of
s~ m the hope that it might give us further insight into the clements of education down to the present time when
Ins general philosophical position. education is seen as a means toward social adjustment, or
T?lstoy's style is loose, literary, non-logical. It is often adequate employment, or leadership in the society.
sentImental, ironical, sarcastic. It is riddled with para- Tolstoy saw education as having no ultimate aim. Its
?oxes, ~f ~o~ contradictions. Xevertheless, through his purpose was generated from the educational process itself
ImpreSSlOlllstlc and often emotional, indeed, poetical, and could best be stated in terms of understanding. For
s~atements a reasonably clear and vigorously distinctive Tolstoy, culture was a key concept, summarizing the val-
VIeW of education emerges. ues of the civilized society that had endured in the face of
Any educational situation consists of four major ele- criticism and conflicting claims. A culture appears as a
ments: the teacher, the prime purposive agent who directs vast, heterogeneous reservoir of values that are held to-
and. takes responsibility for the educative process; the gether loosely by their ability to meet the present needs of
pupl1, who is the object of the enterprise in the sense that a people and to nourish the quest for new and better modes
it is his behavior which is to be changed, his attitudes to of behavior. Again a comparison with Rousseau is instruc-
be nurtured and modified; the material, or subject matter, tive. Rousseau saw education as a means by which the
or knowledge which is to be instilled in the student· and individual would be freed from prejudices and released
fin~lly, the ends, aims, objectives, or purposes of edu~atio~ from the stagnating effect of tradition. However permis-
whlCh are used as the source of direction for the educa- sive his methods of teaching might be, Rousseau's tutor
tional process. Tolstoy's characterization of these elements would provide, subtly to be sure, a definite direction for
and his notion of how they should be properly construed education. The source for this direction was to be found
?oes. to ~he heart of his conception of education and, by in the general will of society, expressed in a set of values
ImphcatlOn, his view of human nature. not universal and final, as in Plato's scheme, but objective,
~he Pedagogical. Essays are in great part a polemic conservative, and stable. Tolstoy constantly reiterates his
a.gamst the educatlOnal theory and practice of Tolstoy's rejection of this view. Although he does not deny the im-
t~me. They are a wide-ranging critique of national educa- portance of the accidental utilitarian values that should
tlOnal sys~ems, not only in Russia but in western Europe accrue from education, he insists upon characterizing edu-
and ~lllenca as well. They encompass every level of in- cation as essentially a process of freeing the individual for
structlOn from the elementary school to the university. In creative improvisation through understanding. A gradu-
the course of developing his critique, Tolstoy attacks both ate is not to be trained rigidly to conform to a present so-
contemporary and classic educational theory. ciety, but rather to prepare himself either for a creative
~raditionally, education has been looked upon as a pur- mode of living within the bounds of his inherited society,
pOSIve activity that is a means toward the acquisition of or to enable him to reshape that society to meet new needs
x INTRODUCTION INTRODUCTION XI
and challenges. His entire approach is characterized not which it is to be learn~d, and, ~pecifically, wh.at ~he stu-
only by a lack of ultimacy but by a lack of definiteness. dent is expected to denve from It. In effect, thIS gIves the
Culture is multifarious in its manifestations. Aside from a teacher a much more comprehensive role with a far greater
few liberal humanistic principles regarding the equality of degree of responsibility than that, prescribe~ by conven-
men, the value of the individual, and the importance of tional educational theory. Tolstoy s teacher IS no~ ~erely
self-realization, there are no definite directives for human expected to transmit knowledge deemed tradItIOnally
activities. Rather than turning to external traditional val- worthy, nor even to convey the value.s o.f his con~emp.or~ry
ues, which are often cynical manifestations of corruption, society. He is not a mere filter for punfymg and simplIfymg
we should turn instead to the free and individual human a dominant strain of culture. He is, rather, a remarkably
spirit, which has its own sense of direction, and help to independent and creative artist who, by employing. the
nurture it. modes of knowledge and inquiry within his subject, stImu-
This conception of educational aims and the values that lates the pupil to understand those aspects of culture that
underlie them is a radical one that antedates the American he as teacher deems valuable. The teacher is, then, given
pragmatists' views by several decades, but it is clearly con- an extraordinary degree of independence. It is his judg-
sistent with the spirit of Emerson and the transcendental- ment which is final and crucial. His freedom is checked,
ists as well as with the German romantics. It is a view or rather defined, by several claims that give substance to
which takes the notion of educational aims out of the realm his freedom and remove it from the realm of license. One
of the abstract; it considers education as a practical pur- is the claim made by necessity, a governing principle
posive activity with clearly discernible effects and one which, together with utility, Rousseau considered para-
which depends heavily upon common sense. mount in the direction of education. For Tolstoy as well as
In any educational program that does not enjoy the Rousseau, necessity refers to the claims made by the actual
comfort of ultimate or external aims, an enormous burden world in which the pupil finds himself and which he must
of decision-making and the justification for it is placed live in successfully after his schooling has ended. His stud-
upon the individual teacher. One of the teacher's major ies must prepare him for the realities of that world. They
tasks is to find ways through which material can be made need not prepare him for a specific vocation or dictate a
meaningful for the pupil, to motivate him and to provide limited role for him; nor need they provide him with only
satisfaction for him in learning so that his schooling will be utilitarian skills which would enable him to cope with the
intrinsically enjoyable. This is a generally accepted func- practical problems of life. Rather than create a curriculum
tion of the teacher in most educational theories, but it is an that reflects an unreal culture fabricated on the prejudices
especially important one in Tolstoy's scheme, for he rejects or artificial conceptions of abstract theorists, the teacher
the claims of compulsion, authoritarianism, and externally must take cognizance of the real world, of the vital sur-
imposed discipline, with their concomitants of fear and rounding culture, and prepare the student to gr~w and
punishment. However essential this function may be, it is flourish within it. Tolstoy's incessant argument IS that
secondary in importance to that of director of learning in conventional education utterly fails to do this, and that it
the fullest sense of the term. For Tolstoy's teacher, as well fails because it has lost sight of the vital and determining
as deciding the method by which material is to be taught, relation between schooling and life in its most general
must also determine what is to be taught, the manner in sense, as it actually is effective.
XII INTRODUCTION INTRODUCTION XIII

A second basis for stabilizing and directing the teacher's obviously implied strong emphasis on the interests and
efforts is the subject, and the accepted modes of inquiry needs of students in dictating any school program.
within it, which he has chosen as a field of knowledge to By far the most radical of Tolstoy's educational views
be transmitted to his pupils. Discipline, intellectual hon- was reserved for his vision of the pupil. Not only did he
esty, and logical rigor are dictated by the subject itself, consider the pupil the central focus of all educational plan-
setting built-in standards by which the teacher's work ning, but his conception of the. psychology o~ the pupil
must proceed. In this fashion, through his own treatment served as a foundation for all of hIS other educatlOnalldeas.
of the subject which he knows well and is able to interpret His psychological views were based on general observa-
vividly, he is able to reveal, explain, and transmit living tion hard pedagogical experience at Yasno-Polyana, and
aspects of the culture for his pupils' appreciation and in- com~on sense. Once Tolstoy had made the climactic de-
terpretation. cision to reject conventional conceptions of education and
For Tolstoy, then, individual choice enters at every level traditional characterizations of its elements, he was free
and serves as a substitute and a remedy for categorical and to observe pupils, without prejudice, as young human be-
authoritarian directives. The vital center of the educa- ings with anxieties, fears, needs, and with unbounded in-
tional process is found in the dynamic involvement of the tellectual curiosity and imagination. Since Tolstoy had no
individual pupil with specific aspects of his culture through general theory of education, he built up a series of loosely
the direction of an individual teacher focusing on those connected hypotheses by trial and error. These trials were
elements of a subject which he deems most worthwhile. tempered by his generally sympathetic attitude toward
Curriculum, therefore, takes on a completely new char- children; he saw them as basically good, naturally curious,
acter for Tolstoy. The material to be studied is not dic- eager to grow and, hence-and perhaps most important-
tated by convention or by tradition alone. Nor does he see mischievous in their desire to be free. It is by now a clicM
any need for completeness or comprehensiveness in the that Rousseau was one of the first to see pupils as children
curriculum. There are no sacred subjects which all students rather than diminutive adults. But, for Rousseau, the proc-
must take, but only skills and sensibilities which necessity ess of educating was still a subtle one of molding a child to
demands that all acquire. When seeking masters for his a conception of what the tutor wanted him to become.
school, Tolstoy is more interested in their abilities as Tolstoy saw education as a striving to maintain and enrich
scholars and teachers than in the specific subject matter the child's original spirit.
they might teach. For him, scientific knowledge is unified, The psychology of the pupil served as a central source of
and science is one with culture. Science is the distillation direction for education in two ways: since the child's spirit,
of culture, a formal means by which culture is purified interest, and desire were to be nurtured rather than
and simplified in a disciplined and justifiable fashion. Each squelched, it was these individual "motives" which were
academic discipline can serve as a means for understanding to determine what subjects he would study and the way
concepts central to the culture. Consistent with his gen- he would come to know them; and since these motives
eral philosophic view of life and art, Tolstoy felt that there were the teacher's chief ally in effectively getting the
was no single avenue toward truth, beauty, or understand- child to learn, he must arrange his school so that discipline
ing, and that individual desires and specific circumstances worked along with these motives rather than opposed them.
must dictate the objects worthy of attention. This view Tolstoy was faithful to his principles, and the record of the
XIV INTRODUCTION INTRODUCTION XV
experiments at his school is a testament to that. Nowhere ward freeing the pupil, both during the teaching interval
is the radical nature of his views as evident as in his and after the interval is over. There are clear and impor-
conception of proper discipline in the classroom. tant relations among the aim of education, the role of the
We must remember that Tolstoy's school functioned in teacher, the conception of the pupil, the method of in-
the 1860's, that it was a practical peda~gical experiment, struction, and the'manner in which students are expected
and that it was in vigorous opposition to contemporary to come to use their minds.
educational theory and practice. Tolstoy's true conception It would be easy to read too much into Tolstoy's educa-
of the child is reflected by his actual method of instruction, tional views, to make him a thinker who serves as a link
which he arrived at only after many difficult and embar- in the development of modern educational theory begin-
rassing examples of the ineffectuality of conventional ning with Rousseau and extending through Pestalozzi and
techniques which he had tried, partly from convention and Froebel to the radical progressivism of John Dewey. But
partly from deliberate conviction. He offers us many ex- Tolstoy is no educational theorist in the sense that we use
amples of his repeated failures, until we fully realize that the term when referring to these other thinkers. He has no
they are due not to lack of pedagogical skill or inexperi- unified and logically related doctrine. In sum, his views are
ence but, rather, to their grounding in an inadequate psy- presented as an anti-theory. There are important aspects
chology, an inaccurate conception of the child's nature. of his thoughts on education that can be seen as precursors
Weare offered numerous iIlstJl.llCes of the failure of tradi- of central ideas in modern educational theory, however,
tional method when applied- to peas~t children whose particularly in those of Dewey. There is his attack on the
spirit has not been molded into a ri~d pattern of con- reactionary tendencies in contemporary culture which per-
formity. None is more touching and true 1J1an the anecdote petuate inadequate and inappropriate methods of school-
describing the actual effect of the guilt)'-'pupil's wearing a ing and reinforce social class distinctions on an arbitrary
sign to proclaim his guilt, and the psychological damage and artificial basis. There is the interesting attack on the
caused by such a disciplinary technique. The effect of all nineteenth-century belief in indefinite, and indeed auto-
these examples cited by Tolstoy is his development of a matic, perfectability propagated by Herbert S~encer. For
pedagogy of extreme permissiveness, not only regarding all of his belief in the free human spirit and the Importance
teaching techniques but curricular organization and prin- of self-realization, Tolstoy felt that progress was not auto-
ciples of discipline as well. Children are free to come and matic but would be the result only of careful instruction
go as they please and masters to teach what, how, and at and effort. For him, a free pedagogy did not mean no
whatever length they please. Noise and confusion are the pedagogy at all. Tolstoy's corollary attack on Hegelian
natural order of things. The primary role of the teacher is historical determinism similarly reinforced his own view
to listen and modify what he hears rather than talk at of the freedom and independence of the individual and his
children who silently listen to him. There is no thought ability to change historical forces. In all of this, he was
given to "coverage" of material, no syllabus to be finished, calling for a genuine acceptance of the responsibility for
no required learning to be fulfilled. educating. This stress on the social environment as an
Tolstoy's views, then, are all of a piece. Although they important factor in learning also foreshadowed emphases
lack logical rigor, there is a consistency that holds them found in modern thinkers. And his central notion of the
together: all of the aspects of education are directed to- importance of intrinsic motivation stemming from the
XVI INTRODUCTION INTRODUCTION XVII

needs of the child and serving as a basis for the only "pedagogy," and "science." These terms are never ade-
genuine discipline would be shared by modern pedagogical quately defined and are often used interchangeably with
theorists. little apparent intellectual rigor. The modern analyst be-
\Ve have seen that Tolstoy goes far beyond Rousseau in comes impatient until he remembers that Tolstoy is
his call for an educational setting in which permissiveness, primarily a poet who is attempting to gain a new and
freedom, and spontaneity would flourish. Hift belief in the deeper vision of the life-force of education and to com-
genuine worth and potentiality of all people, including municate it. William James would later say that the
peasants, pervades all of his educational prescriptions and universe, in its complexity, is like a spinning ball whose
determines their originality and their quality. He was not reality can only be observed in brief glimmers of insight.
interested merely in the reform of the contemporary educa- And Alfred r\ orth Whitehead, in his profound ruminations
tional system, but with building a fresh conception of the about education, would rely on poetic analogy and meta-
society itself and of the worth of the individual within phor to find meaning and order in the highly complex
that society. Education would need to be defined in rela- process of education. Tolstoy's approach is similar. His
tion to that ideal, and Tolstoy's resulting conception of views are riddled with tensions and provocative paradoxes.
education and its functions proved to be an extremely His treatment of the means-ends relation in education is
radical one, for it started afresh, rejecting convention and one example of his ability to reject conventional logical
tradition, and saw education in relation to a cluster of distinctions and to gain fresh insight into the way aims
needs totally different from those envisaged by the con- and purposes actually enter the vital process of education.
temporary system. He makes similar stimulating contributions through his
Tolstoy saw educational theory as a rationalization conception of the relations between discipline and free-
rather than as a rationale, a web of self-justifying st~te­ dom, aim and method, imposition and liberation. These
ments directed toward perpetuating the ongoing system ideas were seized upon by subsequent theorists who in-
in all of its banality. As a wholly new conception of edu- corporated many of them into their new and progressive
cational ends was needed to transform the process of theories of education, buttressed with evidence from the
learning, understanding, and maturing, a fresh approach newly developed social sciences.
to educational theory was needed. It should be based, Perhaps the best word to describe Tolstoy's educational
Tolstoy felt, not on rigorously ordered scientific or logical thought is heuristic in its proper sense of stimulating the
statements but rather on insight, analogy, immediate ob- reader to investigate, think, order, and evaluate for him-
servation, practice, and existential awareness. self. In his questioning of the most cherished of our con-
It is for these reasons that Tolstoy's total approach to ventional views on education, he prompts us to take a
education is romantic, unique, and insightful. His views truly fresh look at its essential components, their ar-
on education are not illogical but they are often non- rangement, and the ends of the process. Yet Tolstoy's
logical; he is not looking for a coherent system of educa- approach is not merely catalytic, for he suggests positive
tional thought but rather seeking insight into what educa- directions for educational reform and new bases for es-
tion might be. One result of Tolstoy's mode of thinking tablishing priorities. He searches for the meaningful in-
about education is the fuzziness of his definitions of such volvement of the pupil in his learning. This dimension of
central terms as "education," "instruction," "culture," schooling has become so important in our contemporary
XVIII INTRODUCTION

society that it is working its way more and more into cur- CONTENTS
rent educational discussion. Elliot Shapiro, the gifted,
sensitive, and creative principal of P.S. 119 in New York's
Harlem, referred to it as "involvement"; Martin Buber
and other theorists call it the existential dimension. They
see that in our logical, scientific, and formal thinking about
education the heart of it all is grossly neglected. There is
little attention to the self, the person, the pupil as human
being. ON POPULAR EDUCATION 3
Tolstoy was part of an important tradition in educa-
tional thought, the inexpert but intelligent and interested ON METHODS OF TEACHING THE RUDIMENTS 32
practitioner who relied on common sense and humane sen- A PROJECT OF A GENERAL PLAN FOR THE
sibility as guides to help him through the confusing and ESTABLISHMENT OF POPULAR SCHOOLS 60
depressing eddies of formalistic educational theory and 105
'" EDUCATION AND CULTURE
practice. He was less a pre-Deweyan theorist and more a
precursor of A. S. Neill, who came to strikingly similar PROGRESS AND THE DEFINITION OF EDUCATION 152
.'
conclusions to Tolstoy's in his experiment at Summerhill. ARE THE PEASANT CHILDREN TO LEARN TO
Aside from their obvious historical importance, the Peda- WRITE FROM US? 191
gogical Essays with their plain style and common mode of
discourse should prove refreshing, insightful, and helpful THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 227
to parents and laymen who need a new look at their com-
plex contemporary educational scene. That scene is char-
acterized in great part by a widening gap between school-
ing and life for a major segment of the school population,
a condition not unlike that of Tolstoy's own time. His
analysis of the cause of the gap and the way in which it
might be closed could prove highly significant.
REGINALD D. ARCHAMBAULT

xix
PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES
From the Periodical, rdsnaya Polyana

1862
ON POPULAR EDUCATION

POPULAR education has always and everywhere afforded


me an incomprehensible phenomenon. The people want
education, and every separate individual unconsciously
tends toward education. The more highly cultured class
of people - society, the government - strive to trans-
mit their knowledge and to educate the less educated
masses. One would think that such a coincidence of
necessities would satisfy both the class which furnishes
the education and the one that receives it. But the very
opposite takes place. The masses continually counteract
the efforts made for their education by society or by the
government, as the representatives of a more highly cul-
tured class, and these efforts are frequently frustrated.
Not to speak of the schools of antiquity, of India, Egypt,
ancient Greece, and even Rome, the arrangement of which
is as little known to us as the popular opinion of those
institutions, this phenomenon seems startling to us in the
European schools from the days of Luther to our own
times.
Germany, the founder of the school, has not been able
during a struggle of two hundred years to overcome the
counteraction of the masses to the school In spite of
the appointments of meritorious invalid soldiers as teach.
ers made by the Fredericks j in spite of the law which
has been in force for two hundred years j in spite of the
3
4 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES ON POPULAR EDUCATION 5
preparation according to the latest fashion, which teach- "ntroduction of the German law of compulsory education;
ers receive in seminaries; in spite of the Germans' feeling ~nd where all the schools, even those intended for the
of obedience to the law, - compulsory education even to higher classes, exist only as bait for preferments of rank
this moment lies as a heavy burden upon the people, and and for the advantages accruing therefrom.
the German governments cannot bring themselves to So far the children are everywhere sent to school by
abolish the law of compulsory education. Germany can force, while parents are compelled to send their ~hildren to
pride itself on the education of its people only by statisti- school by the severity of the law, or by cunmng, or by
cal data, but the masses, as before, for the greater part offering them advantages, whereas the mass~s everywhere
take away from the schools nothing but a contempt for study of their own accord and regard e~ucatl.on a.s good.
them. How is this? The need of educatIOn hes m every
France, in spite of the fact that education had passed man; the people love and seek education, as they love
out of the hands of the king into those of the Directory, and seek the air for breathing; the government and so-
and from the hands of the Directory into those of the ciety burn with the desire to educate the. masses, and yet,
clergy, has succeeded as little as Germany, and even less, notwithstanding all the force of cunnmg and the per-
in the matter of popular education, so say the historians sistency of governments and societies, the masses c?n-
of education, judging from official accounts. Serious stantly manifest their dissatisfaction with the ~ducatIOn
statesmen even now propose for France the introduction which is offered to them, and step by step submIt only to
of compulsory education as the only means for overcoming force.
the opposition of the masses. As at every conflict, so also here, it was neces~ary to
In free England, where the promulgation of such a law solve the question: What is more lawful, the resIstance,
has been and always will be unthinkable, - which, how- or the action itself? Must the resistance be broken, or
ever, many regret, - society, and not the government, has the action be changed?
struggled and still struggles with all possible means and So far, as may be seen from history, the questi?n has
more vigorously than elsewhere against the people's ex- been solved in favour of the state and the educatmg so-
pressed opposition to the schools. Schools are conducted ciety. The resistance has bee~ a~knowled?e~ to be
there partly by the government and partly by private unlawful, men seeing in it the prlllClple of evil mher.ent
societies. The enormous dissemination and activity of in man, and so, without receding from its mode of actIOn,
these religio-philanthropic educational societies in England that is, without receding from that form and from those
better than anything else prove the power of resistance contents of education, which society already possessed,
with which the educating part of society there meets. the state has made use of force and cunning in order to
Even the new country, the United States of North annihilate the people's resistance.
America, has not evaded that difficulty and has made It must be supposed that the educ~ting S?ciet.Y had
education semi-compulsory. some reasons to know that the educatIOn whICh It pos-
It is, of course, even worse in our own country, where sessed in a certain form was beneficial for a certain
the masses ale even more enraged against the idea of the people at a certain historical epoch.
school; where the most cultivated people dream of the What were these reasons? What reasons has the
6 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES ON POPULAR EDUCATION 7
school of our day to teach this, and not that, thus, and not the truth about the immortality of the soul, they try to
otherwise? make it clear to him that the nerves, which are common to
Always and in all ages humanity has endeavoured to man and to a frog, are that which anciently used to be called
give and has given more or less satisfactory answers to a soul; when, after the story of Joshua, the son of Nun,
these questions, and in our time this answer is even more which is transmitted to him without explanations, he finds
necessary than ever. A Chinese mandarin who never out that the sun had never turned around the earth; when,
leaves Pekin may be compelled to learn by rote the say- after the beauties of Vergil have been explained to him, he
ings of Confucius, and these saws may be beaten into finds the beauties in Alexandre Dumas, sold to him for five
children with sticks; it was possible to do that in the centimes, much greater; when the only faith of the teacher
Middle Ages, - but where are we to get in our time that consists in the conviction that there is no truth, that every-
strong faith in the indubitableness of our knowledge, thing existing is sensible, that progress is good and back-
which would give us the right of forcibly educating the wardness bad; when nobody knows in what this universal
masses? faith in progress consists?
Let us take any medireval school, before and after Lu- After all this, compare the dogmatic school of the Middle
ther; let us take all the learned literature of the Middle Ages, where truths were indubitable, with our school, where
Ages, - what strength of faith and of firm, indubitable nobody knows what truth is, and to which the children are
knowledge of what is true and what false, is to be seen in nevertheless forced to go and the parents to send their
those people! It was easy for them to know that the children. More than that. It was an easy matter for the
Greek language was the only necessary condition of an medireval school to know what ought to be taught, what
education, because Aristotle was written in that language, first, and what later, and how it was all to be taught, so
the truth of whose propositions no one doubted for sev- long as there was but one method and so long as all science
eral centuries afterward. How could the monks kelp centred in the Bible, in the books of St. Augustine, and
demanding the study of Holy Writ which stood on a firm in Aristotle.
foundation? It was natural for Luther peremptorily to But how are we, in this endless variety of methods of
demand the study of Hebrew, for he knew full well that instruction, proposed to us on all sides, in this immense
God Himself had in that language revealed the truth to mass of sciences and their subdivisions, which have been
men. Of course, so long as the critical sense of humanity evolved in our time, - how are we to select one of the many
was still dormant, the school had to be dogmatic, and it proposed methods, one certain branch of the sciences, and,
was natural for students to learn by heart the truths ~hich is most difficult, how are we to select that sequence
which had been revealed by God and by Aristotle, and ill the instruction of these sciences which would be sen-
the poetical beauties of Vergil and Cicero. For several sible and just? More than that. The discovery of these
centuries afterward no one could even imagine a truer p~inciples is the more difficult in our time, in comparison
truth or a more beautiful beauty. WIth the medireval school, for the reason that then educa-
But what is the position of the school in our day, which tion was confined to one definite class which prepared itself
has persevered in the same dogmatic principles, when, side to live in certain well-defined conditions, while in our time,
by side with the class where the scholar learns by heart When the whole people has declared its right to be educated,
8 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES ON POPULAR EDUCATION 9

it appears much more difficult and much more necessary Maybe the answer will be found in philosophy. Has
for us to know what is needed for all these heterogeneous philosophy as firm a foundation as religion? What are
classes. these principles? By whom, how, and when have these
What are these principles? Ask any~ pedagogue you principles been enunciated? We do not know them. All
please why he teaches this and not that, and this first and the philosophers search for the !laws of good and evil;
not later. If he will understand you, he will say that he having discovered these laws, they, coming to pedagogy
knows the God-revealed truth, and that he considers it his (they could none of them help touching upon that sub-
duty to transmit it to the younger generation and to edu- ject), compel the human race to be educated in conformity
cate it in those principles which are unquestionably true; with these laws. But each of these theories, in a series
but he will give you no answer in regard to the subjects of other theories, appears incomplete and furnishes only a
which do not refer to rdigious education. Another peda- new link in the perception of good and evil inherent in
gogue will explain to you the foundation of his school by humanity. Every thinker expresses only that which has
the eternal laws of reason, as expounded by Fichte, Kant, been consciously perceived by his epoch, consequently the
and Hegel. A third will base his right of compulsion on education of the younger generation in the sense of this
the fact that the schools have always been compulsory and consciousness is quite superfluous: this consciousness is
that, in spite of this, the result of these schools has been already inherent in the living generation.
real education. Finally, a fourth, uniting all these princi- All the pedagogico-philosophical theories have for their
ples, will tell you that the school has to be such as it aim and problem the bringing up of virtuous men. How-
is, because religion, philosophy, and experience have ever, the conception of virtue either remains the same or
evolved it as such, and that that which is historical is develops infinitely, and, notwithstanding all the theories,
sensible. All these proofs may be, it seems to me, divided the decadence and bloom of virtue do not depend on edu-
into four classes: religious, philosophical, experimental, and cation. A virtuous Chinaman, a virtuous Greek, Roman,
historical. or Frenchman of our time, are either equally virtuous, or
Education which has for its basis religion, that is, divine equally remote from virtue.
revelation, the truth and legality of which nobody may The philosophical theories of pedagogics solve the ques-
doubt, must indisputably be inculcated on the people, tion of how to bring up the best man according to a given
and in this - only in this - case is violence legal. Even theory of ethics, which has been evolved at one time or
thus missionaries do at the present time in Mrica and other, and which is accepted as indisputable. Plato does
in China. Thus they have proceeded up till now in the not doubt the truth of his own ethics, and on its basis he
schools of the whole world as regards religious instruction, builds up education, and on that education he constructs
Catholic, Protestant, Hebrew, Mohammedan, and so forth. the state. Schleiermacher says that ethics is not 'yet an
But in our time, when religious education forms but a accomplished science, and therefore the bringing up and
small part of education, the question what ground the school the education must have for their aim the preparation of
has to compel the young generation to receive religious men who should be able to enter upon such conditions as
instruction in a certain fashion remains unanswered from they find in life, and who should at the same time be able
the religious point of view. to work vigorously upon their future improvement. Edu-
10 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES ON POPULAR EDUCATION 11
cation in general, says Schleiermacher, has for its aim the and on these more or less correctly divined needs they
presentation of a member all prepared to the state, church, build up their new school.
public life, and science. Ethics alone, though it is not a Luther wants people to study Holy Writ in the original,
finished science, gives us an answer to the question what and not according to the commentaries of the holy fathers.
kind of a member of these four elements of life an educated Bacon enjoins the study of Nature from Nature, and not
man shall be. from the books of Aristotle. Rousseau wants to teach
Like Plato, so all the philosophical pedagogues look to life from life itself, as he understands it, and not from
ethics for the problem and aim of education, some regard- previously instituted experiments. Every step forward
ing this ethics as well-known, and others regarding it as taken by the philosophy of history consists only in free-
an eternally evolving consciousness of humanity; but not ing the school from the idea of instructing the younger
one theory gives a positive answer to the question of what generations in that which the elder generations considered
and how to teach the masses. One says one thing, another to be science, in favour of the idea of instructing it in
another, and the farther we proceed, the more their propo- what are the needs of the younger generations. This one
sitions become at variance. There arise at one and the common and, at the same time, self-contradictory idea is
same time various contradictory theories. The theologi- felt in the whole history of pedagogy: it is common,
cal tendency struggles with the scholastic, the scholastic because all demand a greater measure of freedom for the
with the classical, the classical with the real, and at the school; contradictory, because everybody prescribes laws
present time all these directions exist, without contending based on his own theory, and by that very act that free-
with each other, and nobody knows what is true and dom is curtailed.
what false. There arise thousands of various, strangest The experience of past and of existing schools? But
theories, based on nothing, like those of Rousseau, Pesta- how can this experience prove to us the justice of the
lozzi, Froebel, and so forth; there appear side by side existing method of compulsory education? We cannot
all the existing schools: the real, the classical, and the know whether there is not another, more legal method,
theological establishments. Everybody is dissatisfied with since the schools have heretofore not yet been free. It is
what is, and nobody knows that something new is needed true, we see at the highest rung of education (universities,
and possible. public lectures) that education strives to become ever
If you follow out the course of the history of the phi- more free. But that is only a supposition. Maybe edu-
losophy of pedagogics, you will find in it, not a criterion cation at the lower steps must always remain compulsory,
of education, but, on the contrary, one common idea, and maybe experience has proved to us that such schools
which unconsciously lies at the foundation of all the are good.
pedagogues, in spite of their frequent divergence of opin- Let us look at these schools, without consulting the
ion, - an idea which convinces us of the absence of that statistical tables of education in Germany, but by trying
criterion. All of them, beginning with Plato and ending to know the schools, and learn their influence on the
with Kant, tend to this one thing, to the liberation of the masses in reality.
school from the historical fetters which weigh heavily This is what reality has shown to me: A father sends
upon it. They wish to guess what it is that man needs, his daughter or son to school against his wish, cursing
12 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES ON POPULAR EDUCATION 13
the institution which deprives him of his son's labour, away from school a mechanical knowledge of reading and
and counting the days up to the time when his son will writing, and such a strong loathing for the paths of
become schulfrei (this expression alone shows how the science traversed by them that they never again take a
people look at the schools). The child goes to school book into their hands.
with the conviction that the only power of which he Let those who do not agree with me show me the books
knows, that of his father, does not approve of the power that the people read; even the Badenian Hebel, and the
of the state, to which he submits upon entering school. almanacs, and the popular newspapers are read as rare
The information which he receives from his older com- exceptions. As an incontrovertible proof that the masses
panions, who were in that institution before, is not cal- have no education serves the fact that there is no popular
culated to enhance his desire to enter school. Schools literature and, above all, that the tenth generation has to
present themselves to him as an institution for torturing be sent to school with the same compulsion as the first.
children, - an institution in which they are deprived of Not only does such a school breed loathing for educa-
their chief pleasure and youthful needs, of free motion; tion, but in these six years it inculcates upon these pupils
where Gehorsam (obedience) and Ruhe (quiet) are the hypocrisy and deceit, arising from the unnatural position
chief conditions; where he needs a special permission to in which the pupils are placed, and that condition of
go out" for a minute;" where every misdeed is punished incoherence and confusion of ideas, which is called the
with a ruler (although in the official world corporal pun- rudiments of education. During my travels in France,
ishment with the ruler is declared abolished) or by the Germany, and Switzerland I tried to discover the informa-
continuation of study, - the more cruel condition for tion held by pupils, their conception of school, and their
the child. moral development, and so I proposed the following ques-
School justly presents itself to the child's mind as an tions in the primary schools and outside of schools to
establishment where he is taught that which nobody former pupils: What is the capital of Prussia or Bavaria?
understands; where he is generally compelled to speak How many children did Jacob have? Tell the story of
not his native patois, Mundart, but a foreign language; Joseph!
where the teacher for the greater part sees in his pupils In the schools they sometimes delivered themselves of
his natural enemies, who, out of their own malice and tirades learned by rote from books; those who had fin-
that of their parents, do not wish to learn that which he ished the course never answered the questions. If not
has learned; and where the pupils, on their side, look learned by heart, I hardly ever could get an answer. In
upon their teacher as their enemy, who only out of personal mathematics I discovered no general rule: they some-
spite compels them to learn such difficult things. In times answered well, and sometimes very poorly.
such an institution they are obliged to pass six years and Then I asked them to write a composition on what
about six hours every day. they had been doing on last Sunday. All the girls and
What the results must be, we again see from what they boys, without a single exception, replied the same, that
really are, not according to the reports, but from actual on Sunday they had used every possible chance of pray-
facts. ing, but that they had not played. This is a sample of
In Germany nine-tenths of the school population take the moral influence of the school.

I
lw....
14 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES ON POPULAR EDUCATION 15
To my question, which I put to grown men and women, never had any instruction with a gentleman's son who
why they did not study after leaving school, or why they has been for five years under the ~are of a tutor: ~he
did not read this or that book, they invariably replied superiority of mind and knowledge IS always on the SIde
that they had all been to confirmation, that they had of the first.
passed the quarantine of the school, and that they had re- More than that. The interest in knowing anything
ceived a diploma for a certain degree of education, - for whatever and the questions which it is the problem of
the rudiments. the school to answer are created only by these home
In addition to that stupefying influence of school, for conditions. Every instruction ought to be only an answer
which the Germans have invented such a correct appella- to the question put by life, whereas school not only does
tion, "verdummen," which properly consists in a con- not call forth questions, but does not even answer those
tinuous contortion of the mental faculties, there is that are called forth by life. It eternally answers the
another, a more injurious influence, which consists in same questions which had been 'put by humanity.several
the fact that during the long study hours, when the child centuries back, and not by the mtellect of the child, and
is dulled by his school life, he is for a long period of which he is not interested in. Such questions are: How
time, so valuable at his age, torn away from all those was the world created? Who was the first man? What
necessary conditions of development which Nature herself happened two thousand years ago? What kind of a
has made. country is Asia? What is the shape of the earth? Ho.w
One frequently hears or reads the statement that the do you multiply hundreds by thousands? What will
home conditions, the rudeness of the parents, the field happen after death? and so f?rth. . .
labour, the village games, and so forth, are the chief But to the questions whICh hfe presents to him he
hindrances to school education. It may be that they receives no reply, the more so since, acco~ding to the
really interfere with that school education, as pedagogues police regulation of the school, he has no rIght t~ open
understand it j but it is time to convince ourselves that his mouth even to ask to be allowed to go out, whICh he
these conditions are the chief foundation of all education, must do by signs in order not to break the silence and
and that they are far from being inimical and hindrances not to disturb the teacher.
to the school, but that they are its prime and chief The school is arranged in such a manner because the
movers. A child could never learn to distinguish the aim of the state school, established from above, is, for
lines which form the distinctive letters, nor numbers, nor the main part, not to educate the people, but to educate
could he acquire the ability to express his thoughts, if it them according to our method, - above all, that there
were not for these home conditions. It seems strange should be schools, and plenty of them! Are there no
that this coarse domestic life should have been able to teachers? Make them! But there are not enough
teach the child such difficult things and should all of a teachers. Very well! let one teacher te~ch five hundre~
sudden become unfit to instruct him in such easy things pupils: mecaniser l'instruction, Lancastenan method,pup",l
as reading, writing, and so forth, and should even become teachers. For this reason the schools which are estab-
injurious for such an instruction. The best proof of this lished from above and by force are not a shepherd for the
is found in the comparison of a peasant boy who has flock, but a flock for the shepherd.
16 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES ON POPULAR EDUCATION 17
School is established, not in order that it should be con- give way to other, semi-animal faculties, which consist in
venient for the children to study, but that the teachers pronouncing sounds independently from any concept,
should be able to teach in comfort. The children's con- in counting numbers in succession, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, in per-
versation, motion, and merriment, which are their neces- ceiving words, without allowing imagination to substitute
sary conditions of study, are not convenient for the images for these sounds, in short, in developing a faculty
teacher, and so in the schools, which are built on the for crushing all higher faculties, so that only those might
plan of prisons, questions, conversation, and motion are be evolved which coincide with the scholastic condition of
prohibited. fear, and of straining memory and attention.
Instead of convincing themselves that, in order to act Every pupil is so long an anomaly at school as he has
successfully on a certain object, it is necessary to study not fallen into the rut of this semi-animal condition. The
it (in education this object is the free child), they want moment the child has reached that state and has lost all
to teach just as they know how, as they think best, and his independence and originality, the moment there
in case of failure they want to change, not the manner of appear in him various symptoms of disease, - hypocrisy,
their teaching, but the nature of the child itself. From aimless lying, dulness, and so forth, - he no longer is an
this conception have sprung and even now spring (Pesta- anomaly: he has fallen into the rut, and the teacher
lozzi) such systems as would allow to mecaniser I'instruc- begins to be satisfied with him. Then there happen those
tion, - that eternal tendency of pedagogy to arrange by no means accidental and frequently repeated phe-
matters in such a way that, no matter who the teacher nomena, that the dullest boy becomes the best pupil, and
and who the pupil may be, the method should remain the most intelligent the worst. It seems to me that this
one and the same. fact is sufficiently significant to make people think and
It is enough to look at one and the same child at try to explain it. It seems to me that one such fact
home, in the street, or at school: now you see a vivacious, serves as a palpable proof of the fallacy of the principle of
curious child, with a smile in his eyes and on his lips, compulsory education.
seeking instruction in everything, as he would seek More than that. Besides this negative injury, which
pleasure, clearly and frequently strongly expressing his consists in removing the children from the unconscious
thoughts in his own words; now again you see a worn- education which they receive at home, at work, in the
out, retiring being, with an expression of fatigue, terror, street, the schools are physically injurious, - for the
and ennui, repeating with the lips only strange words in a body, which at this early age is inseparable from the soul.
strange language, - a being whose soul has, like a snail, This injury is especially important on account of the
retreated into its house. It is enough to look at these monotony of the scholastic education, even if it were
two conditions in order to decide which of the two is good. For the agriculturist it is impossible to substitute
more advantageous for the child's development. anything for those conditions of labour, life in the field,
That strange psychological condition which I will call conversation of elders, and so forth, which surround him;
the scholastic condition of the soul, and which all of us, even so it is with the artisan and, in general, with the
unfortunately, know too well, consists in that all the inhabitant of the city. Not by accident, but designedly,
higher faculties, imagination, creativeness, inventiveness, has Nature surrounded the agriculturist with rustic con-
18 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES ON POPULAR EDUCATION 19
ditions, and the city dweller with urban conditions. lated, it becomes incomprehensible to us how it is these
These conditions are most highly instructive, and only schools still exist. School, so it would appear to us,
in them can each develop. And yet, school lays down ought to be an implement of education and, at the same
as the first condition of education the alienation from these time, an experiment on the young generation, constantly
conditions. giving new results. Only when experiment will be at
More than that. School is not satisfied with tearing the foundation of school, only then when every school
the child away from life for six hours a day, during the will be, so to speak, a pedagogical laboratory, will the
best years of the child, - it wants to tear three-year-old school not fall behind the universal progress, and experi-
children away from the influence of their mothers. They ment will be able to lay firm foundations for the science
have invented institutions (Kleinkinderbewahranstalt, in- of education.
fant schools, salles d'asile) of which we shall have occasion But perhaps history will answer our fruitless question:
to speak more in detail. All that is lacking now is the On what is the right based of compelling parents and
invention of a steam engine to take the place of wet- pupils to be educated? The existing schools, it will tell
nurses. us, have been worked out historically, and just so they
All agree that schools are imperfect (I, on my side, am must continue to evolve historically, and to change in
convinced that they are injurious). All admit that many, conformity with the demands of society and of time; the
very many, improvements must be made. All agree that farther we go, the better the schools become.
these improvements must be based on a greater comfort To this I will reply: in the first place, that exclusively
for the pupils. All agree that these comforts may be philosophic arguments are just as one-sided and false as
found out only through studying the needs of the children exclusively historical arguments. The consciousness of
of school age and, in general, of every class in particular. humanity forms the chief element of history; conse-
Now, what has been done for the study of this difficult quently, if humanity becomes conscious of the inadequacy
and complex subject? For the period of several centuries of its schools, this fact of consciousness becomes a chief
each school has been based on the pattern of another, itself historical fact, upon which ought to be based the structure
founded on the pattern of one before it, and in each of of the schools. In the second place, the farther we pro-
these schools the peremptory condition is discipline, which ceed, the schools do not get better, but worse, - worse as
forbids children to speak, ask questions, choose this or regards that level of education to which society has
that subject of instruction, - in short, all measures are attained.
taken to deprive the teacher of all possibility of making School is one of those organic parts of the state which
deductions in regard to the pupils' needs. cannot be viewed and valued separately, because its worth
The compulsory structure of the school excludes the consists only in a greater or lesser correspondence to the
possibility of all progress. And yet, when we consider remaining parts of the state. School is good only when
how many centuries have passed in answering the chil- it has taken cognizance of the fundamental laws by which
dren's questions which it did not occur to them to put, the people live. A beautiful school for a Russian village
and how far the present generations have departed from of the steppe, which satisfies all the wants of its pupils,
that ancient form of culture, with which they are inocu- will be a very poor school for a Parisian; and the best
20 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES ON POPULAR EDUCATION 21
school of t~e seve~teenth century will be an exceedingly restriction of the educational movement, have been only
bad school In our tIme ~ and, on the other hand, the very temporary and insufficiently consistent. Therefore, the
worst school of the Middle Ages was in its time better Chinese of all the nations may, at the present time, pride
tha? th.e best in our time, because it better corresponded themselves on a good school, one that completely corre-
to Its ~Ime~ and ~t least stood on a level with the general sponds to the general level of education.
educatIOn, if not In advance of it while our school stands If we are told that the schools are perfected historically,
behind it. ' we shall only reply that the improvement of schools must
If .t~e proble~ of .the schoo~, a.dmitting the most general be understood relatively, but that in respect to school, on
defimtlOn, conSIsts In transmIttIng everything which the the contrary, the compulsion becomes worse and worse
peop~e have ,,:orked out and. have become cognizant of, in every year and with every hour; that is, they more
and In ans,:erIng those questIOns which life puts to man, and more depart from the general level of education, be-
then there IS no doubt but that in the mediffival school cause their progress is disproportionate to the progress of
th~ traditions were more limited and the questions which education since the days of the invention of printing.
presented themselves in life were easier of solution and In the third place, in reply to the historical argument
this problem ?f the school. was more easily satisfied. It that schools have existed and therefore are good, I shall
was much eaSIer to transmIt the traditions of Greece and myself adduce a historical argument. Last year I was in
Rome from insufficient and improperly worked out sources Marseilles, where I visited all the schools for the working
the r~ligiou~ dogmas, the grammar, and that part of math~ people of that city. The proportion of the pupils to the
ema~I?S whic~ was then known, than to impart all those population is very great, and so the children, with few ex-
tradItIOns whICh we have lived through since, and which ceptions, attend school three, four, and even six years.
have removed so far the traditione of antiquity, and all The school programmes consist in learning by heart
that knowledge of the natural sciences, which are neces- the catechism, Biblical and universal history, the four
s~ry in our day as ~swers to the every-day phenomena of operations of arithmetic, French orthography, and book-
hfe. At the same tIme the manner of imparting this has keeping. In what way bookkeeping could form the sub-
remained the same, and therefore the school has had to ject of instruction I was unable to comprehend, and not
fall behind and get, not better, but worse. In order one teacher could explain it to me. The only explanation
to maintain the school in the form in which it has been I was able to make to myself, when I examined the books
and not to fall behind the educational movement, it ha~ kept by the students who had finished the course, was that
?een necessary to be more consistent: it not only became they did not know even three rules of arithmetic, but that
Incumbent to make education compulsory, but also to they had learned by heart to operate with figures and
keep this educa~i~n from. moving forward by any other that, therefore, they had also learned by rote how to keep
path, - to prohIbIt machInes, roads of communication books. (It seems to me that there is no need of proving
and the art of printing. ' that the tenue des livres, Buchhaltung, as it is taught in
So far as we know from history, the Chinese alone have Germany and England, is a science which demands about
bee~ logical in .this respect. The attempts of the other fifteen minutes of explanation in case of a pupil who
natIOns to restrIct the art of printing, and, in general, the knows the four operations in arithmetic.)
22 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES ON POPULAR EDUCATION 23

Not one boy in these schools was able to solve, that is, lishments, without having seen .the people in the,streets, in
to put the simplest problem in addition and subtraction. their shops, in the cafes, in thel~ home. surroundmgs, wh~t
And yet, they operated with abstract numbers, multiply- opinion would he form of a natIOn whICh was educated m
ing thousands with ease and rapidity. To questions from such a manner? He certainly would conclude that that
the history of France they answered well by rote, but if nation was ignorant, rude, hypocritical, full ~f prejud.ices,
asked at haphazard, I received such answers as that Henry and almost wild. But it is enough to enter mto relatIOns,
IV. had been killed by Julius Cresar. The same was and to chat with a common man in order to be convinced
the case with geography and sacred history. The same that the French nation is, on the contrary, almost such as
with orthography and reading. More than one half of it regards itself to be: intelligent, clever, affable, free from
the girls cannot read any other books than those they prejudices, and really civilized. Look at ~ city workman
have studied. Six years of school had not given them the of about thirty years of age: he will wnte a lett~r, not
faculty of writing a word without a mistake. with such mistakes as are made at school, often WIthout
I know that the facts which I addnce seem so incredible mistakes; he has an idea of politics, consequently of
that many will doubt them; but I could write whole modern history and geography; he knows more or less
books about the ignorance which I have witnessed in the history from novels; he has some knowledg~ of the
schools of France, Switzerland, and Germany. Let any natural sciences. He frequently draws and applies math-
one who has this thing at heart study the schools, not ematical formula to his trade. Where did he acquire all
from the reports of public examinations, but from extended that?
visits and conversations with teachers and pupils in the I involuntarily found an answer to it in Marseilles,
schools and outside the schools. In Marseilles I also vis- when, after the schools, I began to stroll down the streets,
ited a lay school, and another, a monastic school, for grown to frequent the dram-shops, cafes chantants, museums,
persons. Out of 250,000 inhabitants, less than one thou- workshops, quays, and book-stalls. The very .boy who
sand, of these only two hundred men, attend these schools. told me that Henry IV. had been killed by Juhus Cresar
The instruction is the same: mechanical reading, which is knew very well the history of the" Thre: M,:sketeers"
acquired in a year or in longer time, bookkeeping withont and of "Monte Cristo." I found twenty-eIght illustrated
the knowledge of arithmetic, religious instruction, and so editions of these in Marseilles, costing from five to ten
forth. After the lay school, I saw the daily instruction centimes. To a population of 250,000 they sell thirty
offered in the churches; I saw the salles d'asile, in which thousand of them, - consequently, if we suppose that ten
four-year-old children, at a given whistle, like soldiers, people read or listen to one copy, we find that all ha~e
made evolutions around the benches, at a given command read them. In addition there are the museum, the pUbh,c
lifted and folded their hands, and with quivering and libraries the theatres. Then the cafes, two large cafes
strange voices sang laudatory hymns to God and to their chantants where each may enter for fifty centimes'
benefactors, and I convinced myself that the educational worth of' food or drink, and where there are daily as
institutions of the city of Marseilles were exceedingly many as twenty-five thousand people, n?t counting the
bad. smaller caIes, which hold as many more: m each of th~se
If, by some miracle, a person should see all these estab- cafes they give little comedies and scenes, and reClte
24 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES ON POPULAR EDUCATION 25
verses. Ta~ing the lowest calculation, we get one-fifth of to instil into the schools. The education goes on quite
the populatIOn, who get their daily oral instruction just as independently of the schools.
the Greeks and Romans were instructed in their amphi- The historical argument against the historical argument
theatres. is found in considering the history of education, where we
Whether this education is good or bad is another do not find that the schools have progressed in proportion
~atter; but here it is, this unconscious education which to the people's development, but that, on the contrary,
IS so. much more powerful than the one by compulsion' they have fallen and have become an empty formality in
here IS the unconscious school which has undermined th~ proportion with the people's advancement; that the more
compulsory school and has made its contents to dwindle a nation has progressed in general education, the more has
down a~most to nothing. There is left only the despotic education passed away from school to life, making the
form WIth hardly any contents. I say with hardly any contents of the school meaningless.
conten~s, because I exclude the mere mechanical ability Leaving aside all the other means of education, the
of puttmg letters together and writing down words, _ the development of commercial relations, the improved inter-
only knowledge which is carried away after five or six communication, the greater measure of personal liberty,
years' study. Here it must be remarked that even the and the participation of the individual in affairs of state,-
mere. mechan~cal art of read!ng and writing is frequently leaving aside meetings, museums, public lectures, and
acqUIred outSIde of school lD a much shorter period and so forth, it suffices to look at the mere art of printing
that fre9-uent~~ the p~p~s do not carry away from s~hool and its evolution, in order to understand the difference in
e.ven thIS abIlity, or It IS lost, finding no application in the condition of the old school and the new. The uncon-
hfe, and that .there wh~re the law of compulsory school scious education of life and the conscious scholastic educa-
attendance eXIsts there IS no need of teaching the second tion have always gone side by side, complementing each
generation to read, write, and figure because the parents other; but in the absence of the art of printing what
we should think, would be able to do that at home ami insignificant amount of education could life afford in com-
that, too, much easier than at school. ' parison with the school! Science then belonged to a few
Wh~t I saw in Marseilles takes place in all the other elect, who were in possession of the means of education.
~ountrI.es: everywhere the greater part of one's education See, now, what share has fallen to the education afforded
IS acqUIred, not at school, but in life. There where life is by life, when there is not a man who has not a book;
instruc~i~e, as in London, Paris, and, in general, in all when books are sold at an insignificant price; when public
large CItIes, the masses are educated' there where life is libraries are open to all; when a boy, as he comes from
not in~truc~ive, as in the country, th~ people are unedu- school, carries with him, not only his note-books, but also
cated, III spIte of the fact that the schools are the same in some cheap illustrated novel carefully concealed; when in
both. The knowledge acquired in cities seems to remain' our country two primers are sold for three kopeks, and any
t~e k.nowledge acquired in the country is lost. Th~ peasant of the steppe will buy a primer and will ask a
d:r:ctlOn a~d spirit of the popular education, both in the transient soldier to show and teach him all the wisdom,
CItIes and In the villages, are absolutely independent from which the latter had in former years learned in the course
and generally contrary to the spirit which it is intended of many years from a sexton; when a gymnasiast abandons
26 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES ON POPULAR EDUCATION 27

the gymnasium and from books alone prepares himself to make use of, and let us not forget that we are call~d to
for the entrance examination at the university; when accomplish a new labour in this. field. On .the ba~Is of
!oung people leave the university and, instead of study- hat humanity has already expenenced and m consIdera-
Ing the professors' not~s, work directly on the sources; :on of the fact that our activity has ~ot yet begun, we
whe~, smcerely speakmg, every serious education is e able to bring to bear a greater conSCIOusness upon our
acqUIred only from life, and not in school. ~~bour, and, therefore, we are obliged to do so.
The las~ an~, in ~y opinion, the most important argu- In order to borrow the methods of th~ E~ropean
ment conSIsts In this: granting even that the Germans schools, we are obliged to distinguish that WhICh m th~m
have a rig~t to .defend the school historically, on the 's based on the eternal laws of reason from t~at whICh
ground of ItS eXIstence for the period of two hundred ~wes its origin to historical condition~. .There IS ~o gen-
yea.rs, what reason have we to defend the public school eral sensible law, no criterion, which Justifies the VIOlence
which we do not yet possess? What historical right which the school exercises against the people; therefore,
have we to say that our schools must be such as the other every imitation of the Europ~an school will be not a step
Eur~pean sch.ools are? We have not yet a history of in advance, but a retrogreSSIOn as regards our people,-
pub~c educatIOn. But if we examine closely the univer- it will be a treason to its calling.
sal h~story of popular education, we shall not only become It is intelligible why in France ther~ has been evolved
conVInced that we can in no way establish seminaries for a school of discipline with the predommance o~ the exact
teachers according to the German pattern, work over the sciences, _ mathematics, geometry, and drawmg; why
German sound method, the English infant schools the in Germany there has been ~volved a .gra:duated educa-
F~ench lyceums and special schools, and thus catch up tional school with the predomInance of smgmg and analy-
WIth ~urope, but also that we Russians are living under sis; it is intelligible why in Eng~and t~ere have ~eveloped
except~onally fortunate conditions as regards the popular such a mass of societies foundmg philanthropIC schools
edu~atIOn; that our school must not issue, as it had in for the proletariat, with their strictly moral and,. at the
medireval Europe, from the conditions of civil life· must same time, practical tendencies; but what school IS to ,?e
not serve c~rtain governmental or religious ends; m~st not evolved in Russia is not known to us and never WIll
be evolved m the darkness of uncontrolling public opinion be known, if we do not permit it to be ~orke.d out free~y
a.nd of an absence of the. highest degree of vital educa- and in proper season, that is, in confor~llty WIth t?at ~IS­
tion; must not with new pain and labour pass through torical epoch in which it is to de.velop, ~n confo~mIty WIth
and get out of that vicious circle, through which the its own history and still more WIth ulllve~sal .hIStory. . If
European s~hools passed so long, and which consists in we become convinced that popular educatIOn IS advancmg
the assumptIOn that the school was to move the uncon- on the wrong path in Europe, then, ~y doing nothin? for
scious education, and the unconscious education was to our popular education, we shall be dOIng more than If we
m~ve ~he school. The European nations have vanquished should force upon it all that which seems good to us.
this dIfficulty, but of necessity have lost much in the So the little educated people want to be better edu-
struggle. cated, and the educated class wants to educate the mas~es,
Let us be thankful for the labour which we are called but the masses submit to education only under constramt.
28 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES ON POPULAR EDUCATION 29
We have looked in philosophy, experience, and history for tions may need, but that we feel ourselves obliged to
those principles which would give the educating class study these wants and that we wish to do so? that we
such a right, but we have found none; on the contrary, do not wish to accuse the people of ignorance for not
we have convinced ourselves that human thought is con- accepting our education, but that we shall accuse our-
stantly striving after freeing the people from constraint in selves of ignorance and haughtiness if we persist in
matters of education. educating the people according to our ideas?
In looking for a criterion of pedagogics, that is, for a Let us cease looking upon the people's resistance to our
knowledge of what ought to be instructed and how to do education as upon a hostile element of pedagogics, but, on
it, w~ fo~nd .nothing but the most contradictory opinions the contrary, let us see in it an expression of the people's
and lllstltutlOns, and we have come to the conclusion will which alone ought to guide our activities. Let us
that the farther humanity advanced, the less possible did finally profess that law which so plainly tells us, both
such a criterion become. Looking for this criterion in from the history of pedagogics and from the whole his-
the history of education, we have come to the conclusion tory of education, that for the educating .class to. know
that for us Russians the historically evolved schools can- what is good and what bad, the classes whICh reCeIve the
not serve as patterns, and that, moreover, these schools education must have the full power to express their dis-
with every step in advance, fall more and more behind th~ satisfaction, or, at least, to swerve from the education
common level of education, and that, therefore, their com- which instinctively does not satisfy them, - that the
pulsory character becomes more and more illegal, and criterion of pedagogics is only liberty.
that, finally, education itself in Europe has, like oozing We have chosen this latter path in our pedagogical
water, chosen another path for itself, - it has obviated activity.
the schools and has poured forth in the vital tools of A.t the basis of our activity lies the conviction that
education. we not only do not know, but we cannot know, wherein
What are we Russians to do at the present moment? the education of the people is to consist; that not only
Shall we all come to some agreement and take as our does there not exist a science of education, - pedagogics,
basis the English, French, German, or North A.merican _ but that the first foundation of it has not yet been
view of education and anyone of their methods? Or, laid; that the definition of pedagogy and of its aims in a
shall we, by closely examining philosophy and psychology philosophical sense is impossible, useless, and injurious.
discover what in general is necessary for the development We do not know what education is to be like, and
of a human soul and for making out of the younger gen- we do not acknowledge the whole philosophy of pedagogy
eration the best men possible according to our conception? because we do not acknowledge the possibility of a man's
Or, shall we make use of the experience of history,- knowing what it is he ought to know. Education and
not in the sense of imitating those forms which history culture present themselves to us as historical facts of
has evolved, but in the sense of comprehending those one set of people acting upon another; therefore, the
laws which humanity has worked out through suffering, problem of the science of education, in our opinion, is
- shall we say frankly and honestly to ourselves that we only the discovery of the laws of this action of one set
do not know and cannot know what the future genera- of people upon another. We not only do not acknowl-
30 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES ON POPULAR EDUCATION 31

edge in our generation t~e knowledge, nor even the right one common end takes place, and the indication of those
of a knowledge of what IS necessary for the perfecting of conditions which retard this coincidence.
man, but are also convinced that if humanity were pos- Thus the science of education, on the one hand, be-
sessed of that knowledge, it would not be in its power comes easier to us in that it no longer puts the ques-
to tr~nsmit, or not to transmit such knowledge. We are tions: what is the final aim of education, and for what
convmced that the cognition of good and evil, independ- must we prepare the younger generation.? and so forth j
ently of man's w~ll, lies in humanity at large and is on the other, it is immeasurably more difficult. Weare
~e,:,el~ped u~lConscIOusly, together with history, and that compelled to study all the cond~tions ,,:hich have aided
I~ IS ImpossIble to inculcate upon the younger genera- in the coincidence of the tendenCIes of hIm who educates,
tIOn ?ur cogniti?~, just as it is impossible to deprive it and of him who is being educated j we must define what
o! thIS our. cogmtIOn and of that degree of a higher cogni- that freedom is, the absence of which impedes the coin-
tIOn \0 whICh the next step of history will take it. Our cidence of both the tendencies, and which alone serves
pu~a~Ive .knowledge of the laws of good and evil, and our as our criterion of the whole science of education j we
actIvIty III regard to the younger generation on the basis must move step by step, away from an endless number of
of these laws, are for the greater part a counteraction to facts, to the solution of the questions of the science of
the development of a new cognition, which is not yet education.
wor~ed out by our generation, but which is being worked 'Ve know that our arguments will not convince many.
out III the younger generation, - it is an impediment We know that our fundamental convictions that the only
and not an aid to education. ' method of education is experiment, and its only criterion
We are convinced that education is history, and there- freedom will sound to some like trite commonplace, to
fore has no final end. Education, in its widest sense some like an indistinct abstraction, to others again like
including t~e bringing ~p, is, in our opinion, that activiti a visionary dream. We should not have dared to violate
of ~an, ,;hICh has for ItS base the need of equality, and the quiet of the theoretical pedagogues and to e~press
the Illvanable law of educational progress. these convictions which are contrary to all expenence,
A mother teaches her child to speak only that they if we had to co~fine ourselves to the reflections of this
m~y understand each other; the mother instinctively article; but we feel our ability to prove, step after step,
tnes to come down to the child's view of things, to his and fact after fact, the applicability and legality of our
lang~age, but the law of educational progress does not so wild convictions, and to this end alone do we devote
~ermIt her to descend down to him, but compels him to the publication of the periodical Ydsnaya Polydna.
nse to her knowledge. The same relation exists between
the author and the reader, the same between the school
and the pupils, the same between the state and society,
- the people. The activity of him who gives the educa-
tion has one and the same purpose. The problem of the
science of education is only the study of the conditions
under which a coincidence of these two tendencies for
ON TEACHING THE RUDIMENTS 33
sound method is very good j a s~cond assures !ou that
Z610tov's method is the best; a thud knows a still better
method the Lancasterian, and so forth. Only a lazy man
does not ,
make fun of teaching °
" bu k ~ - az -:- ba,"1
O

° ~n
d
all are convinced that for the sake. of dIssemill~tmg
education among the people all that IS necessary IS to
ON METHODS OF TEACHING send for the best method, to contribute three roubles
in silver, rent a house, and hire a t.eacher, or, from the
THE RUDIMENTS superabundance of their own educatIOn, to o~e~ a small
particle of it, on Sunday, between mass and VISItS, to the
unfortunate people that are perishing in ignorance, - and
the deed is done.
VERY many people are at the present time very seri- Some clever, cultivated, rich people have come together:
ously busy finding, borrowing, or inventing the best a happy thought flashes through the head of ~ne of th~m,
method for the instruction of reading; very many have and that is to confer a benefit on the terrIble RussIan
invent~d ~d found thi~ be~t me.thod. We frequently people. " Let us do it !" All agree to it, and a soc~ety
meet ill lIterature and ill lIfe wIth the question: By is born, the aim of which is to foster popular educatIOn,
what method do you teach? I must, however, confess to print good, cheap books for the masses, to found
that this question is generally heard from people who schools to encourage teachers, and so forth. By-laws are
are very little educated, and who for a long time have written.' up; ladies take p~r~ in it; they g~ th,roug~ ~ll
been instructing children as a trade, or from people who the formalities of such SOCIetIeS, and the SOCIety s actIVIty
sympathize with the popular education from their cabinets, begins at once. .
and who, to help it along, are ready to write an article, To print good books for the m~sses ! How s~m?le and
and to take up a contribution for the printing of a primer easy it looks, just like all great Ideas. There IS Just one
according to the best method, or from people who are difficulty: there are no good boo~s for the people, not only
biassed in favour of their one method, or, finally, from in our country, but even not m Europe. In order to
people who have ?ever had anything to do with teaching, print such books they must be written firs~, but ~ot one
- from the publIc who repeat that which the majority of the benefactors will think of undertakmg thIS task.
of men say. People who seriously busy themselves The society commissions somebody, for the collected
with it and who are cultured no longer ask such ques- roubles, to compose, or select and translate the very best
tions. (it is so easy to select it!) from the European. popular
It seems to be an accepted truth with everybody that literature, - and the people will be happy, and WIll .marc~
the problem of the public. sc~ool is to teach reading, with rapid strides toward education, and the SOCIety 18
that the knowledge of readillg IS the first step in educa- very much satisfied.
tion, and that, therefore, it is necessary to find the best 1 The Slavic names of the first two letters are az, buki, hence
method for its instruction. One will tell you that the azbuka = alphabet.
32

l
34 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES ON TEACHING THE RUDIMENTS 35
This society proceeds in just the same way in respect representing them. What is there in common between
to the other side of the schools' activity. Only the rarest, the rudiments and education? The rudiments are a
swayed by self-sacrifice, apportion their precious leisure definite skill (Fertigkeit); education is a knowledge of
to the instruction of the masses. (These people do not facts and their correlations. But maybe this skill of
take into consideration the circumstance that they have composing words is necessary in order to introduce man
never read a single book on pedagogy, and have never into the first step of education, and maybe there is no
seen any other school than the one in which they have other road? This we do not see at all; we very fre-
studied themselves.) Others encourage the schools. Again quently perceive the diametrically opposite, if, in speaking
it looks so simple, and again there is an unexpected per- of education, we shall understand not alone the scholastic,
plexity, which is, that there is no other way of promoting but also the vital education.
education except by learning and completely devoting one- Among people who stand on a low level of education
self to this matter. we notice that the knowledge or ignorance of reading and
But beneficent societies and private individuals some- writing in no way changes the degree of their education.
how do not notice this perplexity, and continue in this We see people who are well acquainted with all the facts
manner to struggle on the arena of popular education, and necessary for farming, and with a large number of inter-
remain very much satisfied. This phenomenon is, on the relations of these facts, who can neither read nor write;
one hand, amusing and harmless, because the activity of or excellent military commanders, excellent merchants,
these societies and of these people does not embrace the managers, superintendents of work, master mechanics,
masses; on the other, this phenomenon is dangerous in artisans, contractors, and people simply educated by
that it casts a denser mist over our still unformed view life, who possess a great store of information and sound
of popular education. The causes of this phenomenon reasoning, based on that information, who can neither
may be partly the irritable condition of our society, and read nor write. On the other hand, we see those who can
partly the universal human weakness to make out of read and write, and who on account of that skill have
every honest idea a plaything for vanity and idleness. acquired no new information. Everybody who will seri-
The fundamental cause, it seems to us, is in the great mis- ously examine the education of the people, not only in
apprehension of what the rudiments are, the dissemination Russia, but also in Europe, will involuntarily come to the
of whic~ forms the aim of all the educators of the people, conclusion that education is acquired by the people quite
and WhICh has caused such strange discussions in our independently of the knowledge of reading and writing,
country. and that these rudiments, with the rare exceptions of
The rudiments, a conception which exists not only in extraordinary ability, remain in the majority of cases an
our country, but in all Europe, are acknowledged to be unapplied skill, even a dangerous skill, - dangerous be-
the programme of the elementary school for the people. cause nothing in life may remain indifferent. If the
Lesen und schreiben., lire et ecrire, reading and writing. rudiments are inapplicable and useless, they must become
What are these rudIments? and what have they in com- injurious.
mon with the first step in education? The rudiments are But perhaps a certain degree of education, standing
the art of composing words out of certain signs and of above those examples of the rudiment-less education
36 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES ON TEACHING THE RUDIMENTS 37
which we have adduced, is impossible without the rudi- with physical labour - nowhere read books. W ~ should
ments ? Very likely it is so, but we do not know that, hink that this phenomenon would deserve attentIOn an.d
and have no reason to suppose that for the education of ~lucidation, whereas people imagine th~t the matter IS
a future generation. All we know is that the degree improved by continuing to teach the ru~ments. All ~he
of education which we have, and outside of which we are vital questions are extremely e~sy and SImple of. solutIOn
not able and do not want to imagine any other, is impos- in theory, and it is only when It comes to applymg t~em
sible. We have an example in the primary school, which, that they prove not so easy of solution and break up mto
in our opinion, forms the corner-stone of education, and we thousands of difficult questions.
do not want to know all the degrees of education which It looks so simple and so easy to educate the mass~s:
exist, not below, but entirely outside, and independently teach them the rudiments, if necessary, by force~ and g~ve
of, our school. them good books, and the deed is done. But m reality
We say: All those who do not know the rudiments something quite different takes place. The masses do
are equally uneducated, - they are Scythians for us. The not want to study the rudiments. Well, we can force
rudiments are necessary for the beginning of education,
and we persist in leading the masses by that road up to
them. Another impediment: there are no books. W. e
can order them. But the ordered books are bad, and It
our education. Considering the education which I possess, is impossible to order people to write good books. The
it would please me very much to agree with that opinion; main difficulty is that the masses do not want to read
I am even convinced that the rudiments are a necessary these books and no one has as yet invented a method of
condition of a certain degree of education, but I cannot compelling them to read these. boo~s j be~ides, the masses
be convinced that my education is good, that the road continue getting their educatIOn ill theIr own way, and
over which science is travelling is the right one, and, not in the primary schools. ,.' .
above all, I cannot leave out of account three-fourths of Maybe the historical time for the people ~ partlClpa~IO.n
the human race, who receive their education without the in the common education has not yet arrIved, and It IS
rudiments. necessary that they study the rudiments for another .hun-
If we by all means must educate the people, let us ask dred years. Maybe the people are spoilt (as many think) j
them how they educate themselves, and what their favour- maybe the people must write their own books; maybe
ite instruments for attaining this end are. If we want to the best method has not yet been found; maybe, t?O, the
find the foundation, the first step of education, why should education by means of the book and of the rudlme~ts
we look for it perforce in the rudiments, and not much is an aristocratic means less adapted to the workmg
deeper? Why should we stop at one of the endless num- classes than other instruments of education which have
ber of the instruments of education and see in it the alpha been evolved in our day. Maybe the chief, advant~ge ?f
and omega of education, whereas it is only one of the instruction by means of the rudiments,. wh1C~ consl~t~ ill
incidental, unimportant circumstances of education? the possibility of trans~tting s:ience WIthout Its aUXIlIary
They have been teaching the rudiments for quite a time means does not in our tIme eXISt for the masses. Maybe
in Europe, but still there is no popular literature; that is, it is ~asier for a workman to study botany from pla~ts,
the masses - the class of people exclusively occupied zoology from animals, arithmetic from the abacus, WIth
38 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES ON TEACHING THE RUDIMENTS 39

which he has to deal, than from books. Maybe the work- state, the more the necessity is felt at each step of mak-
man will find time to listen to a story, to look at a museum ing the education independent and compl~te. .From the
or an exhibition, but will not find time to read a book. gymnasium only one-fifth enter the umversIty; ~rom
Maybe, even, the book method of instruction is abso- the county school only one-fifth enter the gymnasmm;
lutely contrary to his manner of life and composition from the popular school only one-thousandth enter the
of character. Frequently we observe attention, interest, hiaher institutions of learning. Consequently, the corre·
~nd a clear comprehension in the workingman, if a know- sp~ndence of the popular school to the higher institution
I~g person ~ells ,or explains to him something; but it is is the last aim to be pursued by the popular school. And
dIfficult to Imagrne that same labourer with a book in his yet, only by this correspondence can be explained the view
blistered hands, trying to make out the sense of a science which looks upon the popular schools as upon schools of
popularly expounded to him on two printing sheets. All the rudiments.
these are only suppositions of causes, which may be quite The discussion in our literature of the usefulness or
e.rroneous, but the very fact of the absence of a popular injuriousness of the rudiments, which it was so easy to
literature, and of t~e people's resistance to education by ridicule, is in our opinion a very serious discussion, which
means of the rudiments, nevertheless exists in all of will elucidate many questions. However, this discussion
Europe. Even thus the educating class in all of Europe has existed elsewhere, too. Some say that it is injurious
looks upon the primary school as the first step to edu- for the masses to be able to read books and periodicals,
cation. which speculation and political parties put into their
.The origin of this apparently unreasonable conception hands; they say that the ability to read takes the .labo~r.
Wl~l become very clear when we look closely at the his- ina class out of their element, inoculates them Wlth dIS-
torICal progress of education. First were founded not the co~tent with their condition, and breeds vices and a decline
lower, but the higher schoQls: at first the monastic then of morality. Others say, or infer, that education cannot
the secondary, then the primary schools. Fro~ this be injurious, but must always be useful. The first are
~tandpoint, Smaragdov's text-book, which on two print- more or less conscientious observers, the others are theo-
rng sheets pr~sents the whole history of humanity, is just rists. As is always the case in discussions, both are
as necessary lD the county school, as the rudiments are entirely right. The discussion, we think, is due to the
needed in the primary school. The rudiments are in this fact that the questions are not clearly put.
organized hierarchy of institutions the last step, or the The first quite justly attack the rudiments as a sepa-
first from the end, and therefore the lower school is to rately inoculated ability to read and write withou~ a.ny
respond only to the exigencies of the higher schools. other information (as is actually done by the vast maJonty
But there is also another point of view, from which of the schools, for that which is learned by rote is forgot-
the popular school appears as an independent institution ten, and all that is left is the art of reading); the last
which is not obliged to perpetuate the imperfections of defend the rudiments, understanding by it the first step
the higher institution of learning, but which has its inde- in education, and are mistaken only in the wrong conc~p­
pendent aim of the popular education. The lower we tion of the rudiments. If the question were put lIke
descend on this ladder of education, instituted by the this: Is the primary education useful to the people, or

I.
40 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES ON TEACHING THE RUDIMENTS 41
not? no one could answer it in the negative. But if we of amusement busy themselves with primary schools will
ask: Is it useful, or not, to teach the people to read when do much better if they will exchange this occupation for
they cannot read and have no books for reading? I hope a more interesting one, because the business of popular
that every unbiassed man will answer: I do not know, education, which does not consist in the mere rudime~ts,
just as I do not know whether it would be useful to teach presents itself not only as very difficult, but of necessIty
the whole nation to play the violin or to make boots. demands immediate, persistent labour and a study of the
Looking more closely at the result of the rudiments in masses.
the form in which they are transmitted to the masses, I The primary schools make their appearance in measure
think the majority will express themselves against the as the rudiments are necessary for the masses, and they
rudiments, taking into consideration the protracted com- exist of their own accord to the extent to which they are
pulsion, the disproportionate development of memory, the wanted. These schools exist with us in large number for
false conception of the completeness of science, the loath- the reason that the teachers of these schools can impart
ing for a continued education, the false vanity, and the nothing else of their knowledge but the rudiments, and
habit of meaningless reading, which are acquired in these that the people have the need of ~nowing a certa~n
schools. In the school at Yasnaya Polyana all the pupils amount of these rudiments for practIcal purposes, - m
who come to it from the primary schools constantly fall order to read a sign, write down a figure, read the psaltery
behind the pupils who enter from the school of life; they over a deceased person for money, and so forth.
not only fall behind, but their backwardness is in propor- These schools exist like workshops for tailors and
tion to the time they have spent in the primary school. joiners; even the view held by the masses in respect to
What the problem and, therefore, the programme of the them and the methods of those who study are the same.
popular schodl consists in, we cannot explain here, and The pupil in time somehow manages to learn by himself,
do not even regard such an explanation as possible. The and as the master employs the apprentice for his own
popular school must respond to the exigencies of the needs, sending him to fetch brandy, chop wood, cl~an t~e
masses, - that is all which we can positively assert in gutter, just so there is here a period of apprentIceshIp.
regard to this question. What these exigencies are, only And just like the trade, the rudiments are never used as
a careful study of them and free experiment can teach. a means for further educating themselves, but only for
The rudiments constitute only one small, insignificant practical purposes. A sexton or a soldier is the teacher,
part of these exigencies, in consequence of which the and the peasant sends one of his three sons t~ be an
primary schools are probably very agreeable to their apprentice at the rudiments, as he would send hIm to a
founders, but almost useless and frequently hurtful to tailor, and the legal exigencies of both are sati~fied. B~t
the masses, and in no way even resemble the schools of it would be a crime and a mistake to see in thIS a certam
primary education degree of culture, and on this foundation to construct the
For the same reason, the question how to teach the state school, putting all the fault only on the method of
rudiments in the shortest possible time and by what the primary instruction, and to inveigle and force the
method is a question of little importance in the matter of people into it.
popular education. For the same reason, people who out But in the school of popular education, as you under-
ON TEACHING THE RUDIMENTS 43
42 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES

st~nd i~, they will tell me the teaching of the rudiments


2. The method of vowels with the attachment of
WIll stIll form one of the first conditions of education consonants which are expressed only in connection with
both because the need of knowing the rudiments lies i~ a vowel
the. p~pular conception of education, and because the great 3. The sound method.
maJonty of the teachers know the rudiments best of all Z610tov's method is a clever combination of the second
a.nd thus the ques~ion of the method of primary instruc.: and third, just as all the other methods are only combina-
tlOn after all remarns a difficult question and one demand- tions of these three fundamental methods.
ing a solution. All these methods are equally good; every one has
To this we will r.eply that, in the majority of schools, its advantages over the others from some one side, or in
on account of our Illsufficient knowledge of the masses regard to a given language, or even i~ res~ect to.a certain
~d of J?edagogy, education actually begins with primary ability of a pupil, and everyone has Its dIfficultIes. The
I?structlOn, but that the process of teaching the printed first, for example, makes the learning of the letters easy,
~I~S ~nd the art of writing presents itself to us as very by calling them az, buki, vyedi, or apple, ?ook, a~d ~o
~nsigUlficant and long known. The sextons teach reading
forth, and transfers all the difficulty to spelling, whIch IS
III three rnonths by the" bu7ci-az - ba" method' an intel- partly learned by heart and partly acguired ~stinctively
ligent father or brother teaches by the same :nethod in from reading a whole book by heart WIth a pornter.
much less time; according to the Z610tov and Lautir- The second facilitates the spelling and the consciousness
methode, they say, reading may be learned faster still; of the vowellessness of the consonants, but complicates
but, whether they learn to read by one or the other the study of the letters, the pronunciation of the semi-
method, nothing is gained if the children do not learn to vowels, and in the case of the triple and quadruple sylla-
comp~ehend.what t~ey read, which is the chief problem
bles, especially in our language. This method in ~ussian
of pnma!y rnstructlOn i and yet no one hears anything makes matters difficult on account of the complexIty and
about thIS necessary, dIfficult, and undiscovered method. greater variety of shades in our vowels. "'" and all ~he
For this reason the question of how to teach the rudi- vowels formed with it, 'a = ya, 'e = ye, 'u = yu, are Im-
ments most c~nveni~nt~y, .although demanding a reply, possible' ya with b before it will be b'ya, and not bya.
appea!s exc~edrngly rnslgmficant to us, and the persist- In orde~ to pronounce bya and byu, b' and bye, the pupil
ency III find~g a method, and the waste of energy, which must learn the syllables by rote, else he will say b'ya
finds a more Important application in the more advanced b'yu, b, and b'ye.
~ducation, see~ to us to be a great misunderstanding aris- The sound method one of the most comical monstrosi-
rng from an Improper comprehension of the rudiments ties of the German ~ind, presents greater advantages in
and of education. compound syllables, but is impossible in the study of
So. far .as we know, all the existing methods may be the letters. And, notwithstanding the regulation of the
classified IlltO three methods with their combinations. seminaries which do not acknowledge the Buckstabir-
1. The method of "azes," of letter combinations and methode, the letters are learned by the old method, only,
spelling, and the learning by rote of one book - Buch- instead of frankly pronouncing as before ej, i, scka, teacher
stabirmethode. ' and pupil contort their mouths in order to pronounce
44 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES ON TEACHING THE RUDIMENTS 45
f-i-sh, and, at that, sh consists of sen, and IS not one consciously refuting the old methods, have only compli~
letter. ated matters and have fallen behind those who con-
Z6~0~ov's method presents great conveniences in· ~ciously had used the old and unconsciously the new and
co.mbmmg syllables into words and in gaining the Con~ the future methods.
sClOusn~ss of t~e vowellessness of the consonants, but' Let us adduce as an example the oldest and the newest
offers dlfficult~ m .learning the letters and in complicated methods: the method of Cyril and Methodius I and the
syllable combmatlOns. It is more convenient than the sound method the ingenious Fisehbueh, in use in Germany.
~e~t o~ly because it is a combinatioIl of two methods, but A sexton, a p~asant, who teaches as ~f old az, buki, will
It IS stIll far from being perfect, because it is - a method. always hit upon explaining to the pupIl the vowellessness
Our former method, which consisted in learning the of the consonant by saying that buki is pronounced as b.
letters, namin~ them be, ve, ge, me, le, se, fe, and so forth, I once saw a peasant who was instructing ~is so~ and
and the~ spelling aloud, by throwing off the useless vowel who explained the letters as b, r, and then agam contmued
e and VICe versa, also offers its conveniences and disad~ to teach by the composition and spellin.g of the ~or~s.
vanta~es, and is also a combination of three met~ods. Even if the teacher does not hit upon It, the pupIl WIll
ExperIence has convinced us that there is not one bad himself comprehend that the essential sound in be is b.
and .not .one good method; that the failure of a method That is the sound system. Nearly every old teacher,
conSIsts m the exclusive adherence to one method and who makes the pupil spell a word. of two or .m?re sylla-
that the best method is the absence of all method, but bles will cover one syllable and will say: ThIS IS bo, and
the knowledge and use of all methods and the invention this' go, and this ro, and so forth. This is in part the
of new ones according to the difficulties met with. artifice of Z610tov's method and of the method of vowels.
.We. h~~e d~vided the methods into three categories, but Everyone who makes a pupil study the primer point~ to
thIS, dlvislOn IS not essential. We only did so for clear~ the representation of the word God and at the same time
ness ~ake; properly speaking, there are no methods, and pronounces God, and thus h~ re~ds the whole. book with
each mcludes all the rest. Everybody who has taught him and the process of spelling IS freely acqUIred by the
another to read. has made use for the purpose, though he pupil, by uniting the organic with the dismembered ele-
may not know It, of all the existing methods and of all ments, by uniting the familiar speec~ (the prayer, as to
~hose that may ever exist. The invention of a new method the necessity of the knowledge of whIch there ?an be no
IS only.the consciousness of that new side from which question in the child's mind) with the analysIs of that
the pupIl may be approached for his comprehension and speech into its component parts.
~herefore the new method does not exclude the old: and Such are all the new methods and hundreds of other
IS not only no better than the old, but even becomes artifices which every intelligent old teacher unc?nsciousl.y
worse, because in the majority of cases the essential employs in order to explain the pro~ess of. readmg to hIS
method is divined in the beginnina. In most cases pupil, giving him all liberty to explam to .hlmself the pro.c-
the .ill.ve~tion of the new method has been regarded as the ess of reading in a manner most convement to the pUpIl.
anmhilatI?n of the old, although in reality the old method
1 The proto-apostles of the Slavs, the inventors of the Slavic alpha-
has remamed the essential one, and the inventors, by bet, of which the Russian is but a variation.
46 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES ON TEACHING THE RUDIMENTS 47
Leaving out the fact that I know hundreds of cases of This is not the worst yet. A teacher from a German
rapid acquisition of the art of reading by the old method seminary, who has been instructed by the best meth~d,
buki-az - ba, and hundreds of cases of very slow acqui- teaches by the Fischbuch. Boldly, self-confidently he SIts
sition by the new methods, I only affirm that the old down in the class-room, - the tools are ready: the blocks
method has this advantage over the new, that it includes with the letters, the board with the squares, and the primer
all the new methods, even though it be only unconscious, with the representation of a fish. The teacher surveys
while the new excludes the old, and also this other his pupils, and he already knows everything which th~y
advantage that the old method is free, while the new is ought to understand j he knows what their souls conSIst
compulsory. What, free? they will tell me, when with of, and many other things, which he had been taught
the old methods the spelling was beaten in with rods, in the seminary.
and with the new children are addressed as "you" and He opens the book and points to a fish. "What is
politely asked to comprehend? this dear children? " This, you see, is the Anschauungs-
It is right here that the strongest and most injurious unt~rricht. The poor children will rejoice at this fish, if
violence is practised on the child, when he is asked to the report from other schools or from their elder brothers
comprehend in precisely the same manner th~t the has not yet reached them, what the sauce is which goes
teacher comprehends it. Anybody who has himself with this fish, how they are morally contorted and vexed
taught must have noticed that b, r, a may be combined for the sake of that fish.
in as many different ways as 3, 4, and 8 may be added up. However it be, they will say: "This is a fish."
With one pupil 3 and 4 = 7, and 3 more = 10, and 5 is " No," replies the teacher (what I am tellin~ here is
left; even so a, or az, and r, or rtsy, and b in front of ra not a fiction, a satire, but the recital of facts which I saw
makes bra. With another 8 and 3 = 11, and 4 more in all the best schools of Germany and in those schools
= 15; even so buki, rtsy must be bra, because they had of England where they have succeeded in borrowing this
been spelling bra, vra, gra, and so forth, and if not b1'a, most beautiful and best of methods). " No," says the
then bru, and a thousand other ways, out of which b, r, teacher. " What do you see? "
and a will make bra, and this will be one, and, in my The children are silent. You must not forget that they
opinion, one of the last. One must never have taught are obliged to sit orderly, each in his place, without
and know nothing of men and children, to imagine that, moving - Ruhe und Gehorsam.
since bra is only the combination of b, r, and a, every " What do you see?" . .,
child needs only to learn b, r, and a, in order to be able "A book," says the most stupid chIld. All the mtelh-
to pronounce it. You tell him: B, r, a is what sound? gent children have in the'meantime thought o~ a ~housand
He says ra, and he is quite right, - he hears it so; another thinO's which they see, and they know by lllstmct that
says a, a third br, just as he will pronounce shch as sch, and f the/will nevar guess that which the teacher wants them
as khv,1 and so forth. You tell him a, e, i, 0, u are the main to say and that they ought to say that a fish is not a fish,
letters, but to him l, r are the chief letters, and he catches but something else which they cannot name.
entirely different sounds from what you want him to. "Yes, yes," joyfully says the teacher, "very good,-
I In the popular speecll every I is in Russian changed into khv, etc. a book."
48 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES ON TEACHING THE RUDIMENTS 49

The brighter c~ildren get bolder, and the stupid boy connection with the rudiments, - it is the art of mak~ng
does not know hImself what he is praised for. the children think. But now this .Anschauungsunterncht
"And what is in the book?" says the teacher. is ended, and there begins the ana~ysis of the word.
The quickest and brightest boy guesses what it is and The word Fisch, composed of letters, IS shown on charts.
with proud joy says, "Letters." , The best and most intelligent pupils hope to redeem
" No, no, not at all," the teacher replies, almost dole- themselves and at once to grasp the forms and names
fully, ': you must t~ink what you say." of the lett~rs, but that's where they are mistaken.
Agam all the brIght boys keep a sullen silence and do " What has the fish in front?"
not even try to guess, but begin to think what kind The intimidated ones keep silent, and finally a bolder
of glasses the teacher has, why he does not take them off, boy says: "A head."
but keeps looking over them, and so forth. " Good, very good. Where is the head? "
" Well, what is there in the book?" " In front."
All are silent. " Very well. And what comes after the head?"
" What is here?" " The fish."
"A fish," says a bold little lad. "No think!"
" Yes, a fish, but not a living fish? " The; must say: "The body - Leib." They finally say
" No, not a living fish." it, but they lose every hope and confi~ence in themselves,
" Very well Is it dead ?" and all their mental powers are strallled to comprehend
" No." that which the teacher needs. "The head, the body, and
" Very well. What kind of a fish is it ?" the end of the fish - the tail. Very well! Say all
" Ein Bild, - a picture." together: A fish has a head, a body, and a tail. Here is
"Yes, very well." a fish composed of letters, and here is a paint~d fish."
All repeat that it is a picture and imagine that all is The fish which is composed of letters IS suddenly
ended. ~ 0, they ought to have said that it is a picture divided into three parts: into F, into i, and into sch.
rep~esentlllg a fish. And this is precisely the way by The teacher with the self-satisfaction of a sleight-of-hand
which the tea?her gets the pupils to say that it is a pic- performer ~ho has showered flowers on the audie~ce,
ture representlllg a fish. He imagines that the pupils instead of sprinkling wine on them, removes the F, ~OllltS
:easo~, and does not have enough shrewdness to see that to it, and says: "This is t~e head, i.~~.the body,schIs.t~e
if he IS o~dered to get the pupils to say that it is a picture tail," and he repeats: "Ftsch, ffff t~~~ shshshsh. This IS
represe~tlllg a fish, or that if he himself wants them to ffff, this is iiii, shshshsh.". .
say so, It would be much simpler to make them frankly The poor children writhe, and hISS, and blow,. try.mg
learn that wise saying by heart. to pronounce the consonants witho~t vowel~, whlC~l IS a
Fortunate are the pupils if the teacher will stop here. physical impossibility. W~thout belllg CO?SCIOUS of It, t~e
I myself. heard ~ne make them say that it was not a fish, teacher himself uses a semIvowel, somethlllg between u lD
bu~ a. thlllg - e~n Ding, and that thing only was a fish. urn and y in pity. At first the pupils are amused by that
ThIs, If you please, is the new .Anschauungsunterricht in hissing, but later they observe that they are supposed to
50 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES ON TEACHING THE RUDIMENTS 51

memorize these f/, ii, shsh, and they say shi!, shish, fif, kind of teaching can there be, if not object-teaching?
~?~ absolutely fall to recognize their word Fisch, ffff _ All five senses take part in the instruction, therefore there
~~~~ - shshshsh. The teacher, who knows the best has always been and always will be an Anschauungsun-
method, will not come to their rescue, but will advise terricht.
them to remember / from the words Feder Faust and sch For the European school, which is trying to get away
from Schurze, Schachtel, and so forth, and ~ill co~tinue to from medireval formalism, there is some sense in the
ask. them to say s~shshsh; he will not only not come to name and idea of object-teaching as opposed to the former
thelr rescue, but WIll absolutely prohibit their learning the mode of instruction, and some excuse for the mistakes,
letters from the pictorial ABO, or from phrases, such as a which consist in retaining the old method and in chang-
stands for apple, b stands for boy; he will not permit ing only the external manner; but for us, I repeat
them to learn syllables and to read what is familiar to it, Anschauungsunterricht has no meaning. Up to the
them, without ~nowing syllabication; in short, to use a present I have, after vain endeavours to find this
German expressIOn, he ignores, - he is obliged not to Anschauungsunterricht and Pestalozzi's method in all
k~ow any other method but Fisch, and that a fish is a Europe, discovered nothing but the statements that geog-
thing, and so forth. raphy is to be taught from surface maps, if they can be
There is a method for the rudiments, and there is a had, colours from colours, geometry from drawings,
method for the primary development of thinking - An- zoology from animals, and so forth, something which each
schauungsunterricht (~ee Denzel's" Entwur/"); both are of us has known ever since our birth, which it was not at
connected, and the chIldren must pass through these eyes all necessary to invent because that has long ago been
of needles. All measures have been taken so that there invented by Nature herself, so that anybody who is not
sh?uld be no other de~elopment at school, except along brought up under contrary views knows it well.
thIS. path. Every motIOn, every word and question are And it is these methods and others similar to them,
forbIdden. Die Hande seien zusammen. Ruhe und and the methods of preparing teachers according to given
Geh?rs~m.. And there are people who ridicule buki-az- methods, which are in all seriousness proposed to us,
ba, mSlstmg that buki-az - ba is a method which kills who are beginning our schools in the second half of the
all the mental faculties, and who recommend the Lautir- nineteenth century, without any historical ballast and
"}'/'ethode in Verbindung mit Anschauungsunterricht; that blunders weighing us down, and with an entirely differ-
IS, .who reco~mend to learn by heart a fish is a thing, and ent cocrnition than that which lay at the foundation of the
/ IS a head, ~ a body, and sch the tail of a fish, and not to Europ~an schools. Even leaving out of discussion the
learn by rote the psalter and the Book of the Hours falseness of these methods and the violence exercised
E.nglish and French pedagogues proudly pronounce th~ upon the spirit of the pupils, - why should we, with
dlffi?ult wor.d A.nsc~auungsunterricht, and say that they whom the sextons teach to read in six months, borrow the
ar~ mtroducmg It WIth the primary instruction. For us Lautiranschauungsunterrichtsmethode, under which they
thIS A.nschau.ungsunterr~cht, of which I shall have to say have to study a year and more?
mor~ m detaIl, app~ars ~Ike s?mething entirely incompre- We have said above that, in our opinion, every method
hensIble. What IS thIS obJect-teaching? What other is good and, at the same time, one-sided; each of them is
52 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES ON TEACHING THE RUDIMENTS 53

convenient for a certain pupil and for a certain languag divided into three classes, and the teacher carefully went
and nation. ~or this reaso~ the sound method and ever; from one division to another. Some, of the lower division,
other un-RussIan method WIll be worse for us than b k' were standing at the table and memorizing certain parts
aZ-b.a. If .the Lautiranschauungsunterricht has produ:e~ of a paper chart, on which there were the letters. I
s~ch mglonous results in Germany, where several genera- beaan to ask them questions: more than one-half of them
tlO~S have been taught to think according to certain laws, kn~w the letters and named them: az, buki, and so forth;
defined by a K.ant or a Schleiermacher, where the best others knew even syllabication; one could read, but was
~eachers are tramed, where the Lautirmethode was begun learning anew, pointing with his finger and repeating a,
m ~he seve~teenth century, - what would happen with be ve, imaaining that he was getting something entirely
?-s If a certam method, a certain Lesebuch with moral say- n~w; othe~s again, of the middle division, were spelling
mgs should. be ado:rted by law? What would be the s, k, a - ska, one asking questions and the others answer-
result of an. mst.ructlOn according to any newly introduced ing them. This they had been doing for more than two
method whlCh IS not assimilated by the people and by weeks, although one day is more than enough to acquire
the teachers? this process of casting off the superfluous letter e. A.mong
I will tell a few cases near at hand. This autumn a these I also found some who knew syllabication in the
teacher, who had studied in the Yasnaya Polyana school old fashion and who could read. These, just like the
had opened a school.in a village, where out of forty pupil~ others, were ashamed of their knowledge and recanted it,
one-h~lf ?ad been mstructed according to the azes and imaainina that there was no salvation except in spelling
syllablCatlOns, and one-third could read. A.fter two weeks be, ,::'e, a ~ bra. The third, in fine, were reading. These
the peasants express~d th~ir universal dissatisfaction with unfortunate ones were sitting on the floor and, each of
the school. The chIef pomts of accusation were that the them holding a book right before his eyes and pretending
teacher t~ught in German a, be, and not az, buki, that he that he was reading, were repeating aloud these two
taught fany-tales and not prayers, and that there was no verses:
" There where ends the vaulted sky,
~~der at scho?l.. Upon meeting the teacher I informed People eat nor wheat nor rye - "
l.m of th~ opl~lOn o~ ~he peasants. The teacher, a man
wIth a ulllver.slty trammg, explained to me with a con-
~emptuous sllille that he taught a be instead of az b k' Having finished these verses, they began anew the same
mod t f iI' ' , , , u~, with saddened and anxious faces, now and then squinting
. r er 0 ac Itate spelling; that they read fairy-tales
m ord~r to get used to understanding what was read at me, as much as to ask me whether they were doing well.
ac.cordl~g to the pupils' intellects; and that, in conformity It is terrible and incredible to mention: of these boys
Wlt~ hIS new, method, he considered it unnecessary to some could read well, and others could not spell; those
pUlllsh the .chlldren, and that, therefore, there could not who could read kept themselves back from a feeling of
be that stnct order to which the peasants were accus- friendship; those who could not, had for the last three
tomed, who had seen their children with pointers on the weeks been repeating these two verses from the most
syllables, abominable remodelling of ErshOv's poor fairy-tale, so far
I visited this school two weeks later. The boys were as the masses are concerned.
54 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES ON TEACHING THE RUDIMENTS 55
I began ~o examine them in sacred history: nobody Another example I saw in the count! school. of ?ne of
knew anyt~llng, because the teacher, according to the new our capitals. After having listened WIth trepIdatIOn to
met~od, dId not make them memorize, but told them the best pupil of the highest class, a~ he ratt~ed off the
stone~ fro~ the ~bbreviated sacred history. I examined waterways of Russia, and to another, ill the mIddle class,
them m anthmetw: nobody knew anything, although the ho honoured us with the story of Alexander the Great,
teacher had, again according to the new method been wy companion with whom I was visiting the schools, and
showing all the pupils together numbers up to millions ~ were on the point of leaving, when the superinte?dent
all a~ once, wit~out making them learn by heart. I invited us to his room to look at his new method of pnmary
examm~d them m ,the prayers: not one knew anything; 'nstruction invented by him and in preparation for the
they saId the Lord s Prayer with mistakes as they had ~ress. " I' have selected eight of the most indigent boyst
learned .it at ho~e. .And all of them were ~xcellent boys, he said to us, " and am experimenting on them and ven-
full of hfe, and mtelhgence, and eagerness for instruction! fying my method." . .
The most terrible thing about it is that it was all done We entered: eight boys were stan~mg m a ~oup.
according to my method! Here were all the devices "Back to your places!" cried the supermtendent, m .the
employed at my school: the study of the letters written voice of the most ancient method. The boys stood m a
by al.l at ?n.ce with .chalk, and the oral spelling, and the circle in soldierly fashion. He harangued us for about an
first mtelhglble reading for the child, and the oral account hour, telling us that formerly thi~ beautiful sound ~ethod
of sacred history, and mathematics without memorizing. had been in use in the whole capItal, but that now. It w~s
At the same time, in everything could be felt the device left only in his school, and that he 'Yanted t? resuscItate It.
most fam.iliar to t~e teacher, of learning by rote, which The boys were standing all the tlme. Fmally, he took
he conscIOusly aVOIded, and which alone he had mas- from the table a chart with the representation of c-~-t.
tered .and against his will applied to entirely different "What is this 1" he said, pointing to cat. "Claw," replied
mate~~ls: .he made them memorize not the prayers, but a boy. "What is this 1- c." The boy sald c. :' And
Ershov s fal:y-tale, and sacred history not from the book, this is a, and this t, together - cat. Add mp to this, ~nd
but from hlS own poor, dead recital' the same was true you will get camp." The children ~ad the greatest dl~­
?f .mathematics and ~pelling. It is impossible to knock culty in reciting to us these memOrIzed answers. I t~ed
It 1?~O the head of thIS unfortunate teacher of university to ask them something new, but nobody knew anythmg
trammg that. all t~e accusations of the rude peasants are but cat and cow. I wanted to know how long th~y had
a thousand tImes Just; that a sexton teaches incompara- been studying. The superintendent had been experImen.~
bly better than he; and that if he wants to teach he can ing for two years. The boys were between the ages of SlX
teach reading according to the lmki-az - ba, by'making and nine, - all of them wide-awake, real boys, and not
them. memorize, and that in that way he could be of some dummies, but living beings.
pra.ct;cal benefit. Bu.t the teacher with the university When I remarked to the superintendent that in Germany
trammg had, to use hIS own words, studied the method of the sound method was used differently, he explained to me
the Yasnaya Polyana school, which he for some reason that in Germany the sound method was unfortunately f~ll­
wanted to take as a pattern. ing into disuse. I tried to convince him of the OppOSIte,
56 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES ON TEACHING THE RUDIMENTS 57
but he, in proof of his idea, brought me from another room Another pupil of the Yasnaya Polyana school, who had
five German ABC's of the thirties and forties, composed by studied before from a sexton, a boy ten years of age, once
another than the sound method. We were silent and brought his brother to me. This boy, seven years old, read
went away, while the eight boys were left to the superin- well, and had learned to do so from his brother during the
tendent to be further experimented upon. This happened evenings. of one winter. I know many such examples, and
in the fall of the year 186l. whoever wants to look for them among the masses will
How well this same superintendent might have taught find very many such cases. What use is there, t.hen, in
these eight boys reading, by putting them orderly at tables inventing new methods and by all means abandomng th~
with ABC books and pointers, and even pulling their top- az-buki - ba, and to regard all methods as good except buk'/,-
locks, just as the old deacon, who had taught him, had az-ba?
pulled his! How very, very many examples of such teach- Besides all that, the Russian language and the Cyrillian
ing according to new methods may be found in our day alphabet surpass all the other European langu~ges and
which is so prolific in schools, not to mention the Sunday alphabets by their distinctive features, from ~hlCh ~ust
schools that swarm with such inconsistencies! naturally spring the especial mode of teachl~g r~adinl?'
And here are two other examples of an opposite char- The superiority of the Russian alphabet CO~SlStS m. t~lS
acter. In a village school, which was opened last month, fact, that every sound in it is pronounced Just as It. IS,
I in the very beginning of the instruction noticed a sturdy, which is not the case in any other language. Oh ~which
snub-nosed fourteen-year-old boy who, whenever the boys we throughout this work transliterate as tskh] IS pr?-
repeated the letters, kept mumbling something and smiling nounced tskhe and not she, as in French, and not khe as m
self-contentedly. Jj:e was not inscribed as a pupil. I spoke .
German', a is' a , and not i, e, a, as in English; s is s, and
to him and found that he knew all the letters, now and c [ts] is ts, and not ch and k, as in Italian, not to me~t~on
then falling into buki, rtsy, and so forth; as with others, the Slavic languages that do not possess the Cynlhan
so he, too, was ashamed of it, supposing that it was pro- alphabet. . ,
hibited and something bad. I asked him syllabication and What, then, is the best method for teachmg the reading
he knew it; I made him read, and he read without spelling of Russian? Neither the newest sound method, nor the
out, although he did not believe he could do it. oldest of the azes, letter combination, and syllabication,
"Where did you study?" nor the method of the vowels, nor Z61otov's method. The
" In the summer I was with a fellow shepherd; he knew, best method for a given teacher is the one which ~s most
and he taught me to read." familiar to the teacher. All other methods, whlCh the
"Have you an ABC book 1" teacher will know or invent, must be of help to the in-
" Yes." struction which is' begun by any one method. In or~er to
" Where did you get it 1" discover the one method, we need only know according to
" I bought it." what method the people have been studying longest; that
"How long have you been studying? " method will in its fundamental features be most adapted
"During the summer: I studied whenever he showed to the masses. For us it is the method of letters, combi-
me in the field." nations, syllables, - a very imperfect one, like all methods,
ON TEACHING TIlE RUDIMENTS 59
58 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES
will, on its basis, go farther, and that, as the ,business of
and therefore capable of improvement by means of all ' . an art completeness and perfectIOn are not
inventions, which the new methods offer us, teach mg I S , f 'bTt
Every individual must, in order to acquire the art of obtainable, while development and per ectl 1 1 yare
reading in the shortest possible time, be taught quite apart endless.
from any other, and therefore there must be a separate
method for each. That which forms an insuperable diffi-
culty to one does not in the least keep back another, and
vice versa. One pupil has a good memory, and it is easier
for him to memorize the syllables than to comprehend
the vowellessness of the consonants; another reflects
calmly and will comprehend a most rational sound
method; another has a fine instinct, and he grasps the
law of word combinations by reading whole words at a
time.
The best teacher will be he who has at his tongue's
end the explanation of what it is that is bothering the
pupil. These explanations give the teacher the knowledge
of the greatest possible number of methods, the ability of
inventing new methods, and, above all, not a blind adher-
ence to one method, but the conviction that all methods
are one-sided, and that the best method would be the one
which would answer bes', to all the possible difficulties
incurred by a pupil, that is, not a method, but an art and
talent.
Every teacher of reading must be well grounded in the
one method which has been evolved by the people, and
must further verify it by his own experience; he must
endeavour to find out the greatest number of methods,
employing them as auxiliary means; must, by regarding
every imperfection in the pupil's comprehension, not as a
defect of the pupil, but as a defect of his own instruction,
endeavour to develop in himself the ability of discovering
new methods. Every teacher must know that every
method invented is only a step, on which he must stand
in order to go farther; he must know that if he himself
will not do it, another will assimilate that method and

"\
A PROJECT FOR POPULAR SCHOOLS 61
from without, or that, having undertaken it, they will not
be able to carry it on, - the government imposes on
the people a new, the largest of all the existing taxes, the
school tax, and entrusts the officials of the ministry with .
the management of all the newly opened schools, that IS,
the appointment of teachers and choice of programmes and
A PROJECT OF A GENERAL manuals. The government, in consideration of the new
levy, puts itself under obligation before the people of fi~d­
PLAN FOR THE ESTAB- ing and appointing fifty thousand teachers and of foundmg
at least fifty thousand schools. However, the government
LISHMENT OF POPULAR has constantly felt its inadequacy in managing the exist-
ing parochial and county schools. All know that there
SCHOOLS are no teachers, and nobody dissents from that view.
This idea, so strange in all the barrenness of its expres-
sion to any Russian who knows his country, is in the
Project shrouded in all kinds of excuses, expressions of
intentions, and grants of privileges, which not one Rus-
I. sian has heretofore ever thought of doubting. However,
it is not a new idea. It has been applied in one of the
THE other day I read the Project of a General Plan for greatest countries of the world, namely, ~n ~he Nort?
the Establishment of Popular Schools. That reading pro- American States. The results of the applicatIOn of thIS
duced upon me an effect such as a man must experience idea in America have been comparatively very brilliant;
when he receives the sudden news that the young grove, nowhere has public education developed so fast and so
which he has known and loved so much, and which he universally. That is quite true. But, if America, begin-
has seen growing up under his eyes, is to be changed into ning its schools after the European States, has been more
a park, by cutting out here, clearing off and lopping there, successful in its public education than Europe, all that
by pulling out young shoots by the root and laying out follows from it is that it has fulfilled its historic mission,
pebble walks in their place. and that Russia, in her turn, must fulfil hers. By trans-
The general idea of the Project is this: Considering it planting on her soil the American compulsory system
necessary to disseminate popular instruction, and surmis- (by means of levies), she would c~mmit. th~ same ~ista~e
ing that the education of the masses has not yet begun that America would have commItted If, m foundmg Its
and that it is hostile toward its future education; surmis- schools, it should have applied the German or the English
ing that the statute of the year 1828, prohibiting persons system. The success of America is due to the fact that its
not specially entitled to do so from opening schools and schools have developed in accordance with the time and
teaching, is still in force; surmising that the masses will the surroundings. Russia, it seems to me, ought to pro-
never consider their own education without compulsion ceed in the same way; I am firmly convinced that for
60

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62 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES A PROJECT FOR POPULAR SCHOOLS 63
the Russian system of public education not to be Worse Who will select the place to b\lild the school on? Who
than.t?e other systems (taking into consideration all the will appoint the teacher? Who will invite the children
condItlOns of the times it must be better), it must be in- and will get the parents interested to send them? All
dependent and not like any other system. those are questions to which I found no answer in the
. The law of the school tax has been enacted in Amer- Project. All that will be done by officials of the Min-
ICa by ~he. people itself. If not the whole nation, at least istry of Public Instruction and by the jus~ices of t~e
the maJorIty was conv~nced of the necessity of the pro- peace with the cooperation of the local police; but III
posed system of educatIOn, and had its full confidence in what manner and on the basis of what data?
the government, to which it has entrusted tile establish- A re to be established throughout the Empire in sufficient
ment of scho?ls. If the levy has appeared in the nature number, in proportion to the population. Leaving out of
of ~ compulSIOn, only an insignificant minority is affected consideration the impossibility of subjecting the whole
by It. population of Russia to the same tr~atmen~ ~s regards
As is well known, America is the only country in the popular education, it seems to me, ill ~ddItl.on, to be
world which ~as no peasant class, not only de jure, but exceedingly inconvenient and dangerous ill thIS manner
even de jacto, III consequence of which there could not in forcibly to bring education to one common level. T~ere
America exist that difference of education and that differ- are Governments, counties, and districts where there IS a
ence of opinion concerning education, which exists in our great need of schools (where the need is as great as two
c?untry be~ween the 'peas.ant and the non-peasant popula- and three hundred pupils to every thousand of popula-
tIOn. BesIde~, AmerIca, ~n establishing its schools, was, I tion) and where there is a need of schools with more
suppose, convmced that It had the essential element for exte~ded programmes. On the other hand, there are locali-
the establishment of schools, - the teacher. ties where the need has not yet risen as high as fifty or
I~ we co~pare Russia and America in all their respects, even ten in every thousand of the population, and where
the I~prO~rIet:r of transferring the American system upon the compulsory school will either be injurious, or, at ~he
RUSSIan soil wIll become manifest to us. very least, the means set aside for the popular educatIOn
I now turn to the Project itself. Chapter I General will be wasted uselessly.
Oonsiderations. . I know localities within a distance of twenty versts of
§l. In order to strengthen the masses in their religious each other' in one of these there is a free school, and
and moral concepts and offer the whole peasantry and the nobody se~ds his children there; in the other, ch.ildren
lower clas~es oj the ~rban population primary, general, and are glad to walk a distance of three versts, and theIr par-
neces~ary 2njormatwn,. schools in sufficient number, in pro- ents are only too glad to pay fifty kopeks. a month.. The
portwn to the populatwn, are to be established throughout compulsory establishment of the school, ill .proportIOn. to
the Empire by rural and urban Oom1nunes. the population, produces in the first mentIOned l?cah~y
What does it ~ean "establish"? By what process? nothing but suspicion of the school and rage agamst It,
yve may be ~onvIllced that the people will take no part while in the second the average proportion of the whole
ill the establishmentr of these schools; the people will of Russia will be insufficient. Consequently the com-
only look upon the school tax as an increased burden. pulsory establishment of schools in proportion to the
64 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES A PROJECT FOR POPULAR SCHOOLS 65
population would be partly an injurious and partly a use- a curator? People who take delight in the name and who
less waste of the money set aside for the popular education. for it will sacrifice their money. Out of respect to the
§2. , The popular schools have a course of primary in- human race I cannot admit that anyone will be willing
structwn as defined .by the Ministry of Public Instruction. to assume that strange office, or that the municipalities
It seems to me Impossible to define a course for the and Communes will want to elect anybody to such a
popular schools. doubtful honour.
. ~~apter VI. gives us a fine example of such an impo~­ §5. In their scholastic relations all th~ 1!0p7dar schoo~s
slblhty. There, for example, writing is not included in the of the Empire are in charge of the M7r~7stry of P~blw
programme, and, according to the sense of a note, writing Instruction, and are governed by spec7ully app07nted
~ay be taught only by special permission of the educa- directors of schools for each of the Governm,ents.
tIOnal authorities. §6. The material part of each school 7S managed by
§3. The popular schools are open institutions that is each Commune at whose expense the school is maintained.
they ~re in~ended only for day scholars. ' , §7. No pay'for the instruction of the pupils is levied ex-
~hls ~rtICle belongs to that order of many similar cept in the cases provided for in Arts. 925, 926.
artICles ~n ~he .law, where a circumspect and serious Art. 7, with its reference to Arts. 25,26, belongs to the
~xplanatIOn IS gIven of that which nobody would doubt category of those serio-official articles which have been
~n the lea.st. The appearance of such negative articles mentioned before. It means that the peasants who have
InvQlu~tarily makes us think that they were written already paid thirty kopeks a he~d tor the s?hoo~ are fully
solely In order to swell the volume of the Projed, or privileged not to pay a second tIme for theIr chIldren.
be.cause there happened to be some members on the com- Articles 6 and 7 are far from being definite. What
mltte~ who had insisted that the popular schools be made means the educational part, the maintenance of which is
boardIng-schools. left to the director of schools, and what is the material
§4. For the purpose of a constant and im,mediate con- part, which is left to the Commune? The appointment
trol of each school, the Communes and municipalities at and dismissal of teachers, the arrangement of the school,
whose expense .the schools are supported, are entitled to ;lect the choice of a place for it, the teacher's pay, the choice of
curators of etther sex; where such curators shall not be books and programmes, - all that depends on the Mi~is~ry
e~ecte~, the inspection of the school is incumbent on the of Public Instruction. What, then, does the remallllllg
Justwe of the peace. part which is left in charae of the Commune, consist in ?
Who will chose these curators 1 Who will want to be In the purchase of dampe~s and latches, i~ the c~oice of
~ curator 1 And what do these curators mean? What the left or right side to cut a door through, In the hue of a
IS meant by inspection of schools? All that does not janitor for the school, in washin~ the floors, and so f~rth,
appear from the law. Even in this case the Commune IS granted only the r.lght
T~e money will not be in the hands of the curator' the to pay for everything out of its own money. What IS to
appoIntment and discharging of the teachers doe; not be built and how, - all that is attended to by ~~e law,
depend ~n th~ curator; the change of the school pro- and will be carried out by the educational authOrItIes.
gramme IS not In the curator's power; what, then, I ask, is According to Art. 5 there is to be a director of schools.

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66 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES A PROJECT FOR POPULAR SCHOOLS 67

Each dir~ctor will have from three to five hundred schools keeps this from being a school, and why may the paris~es
under hIS charge. It will be impossible for him to visit only do it ? I used to think that when we have pupIls,
all t~e schools once a y~ar, consequently the business of a teacher, and a place in which to teach, we have a school;
the dIrector of schools will be carried on from his office. why, then, are a teacher, a schoolroom, and pupils not a
Chapter II: Th.e Establishment of School&. school? But if we are to understand that small, remote
I shall o~mt Artlcles 8 and 9, which deal with the town Communes have the right to choose their own teachers,
schools, whICh I have not studied and about which I con- without conforming to the law about the maintenance of
sequently, cannot judge. ' the teacher, as laid down in the Project, and without
§10. In the rural districts every parish is obliged to writing the word School" over the hut, - then no Ol~e
f(

have at least one popular school. has ever doubted this right, and all have made use of thIS
The word" obliged" leaves no doubt as to whether the right, and always make use of it, notwithstanding the
¥:asants, in accordance with the meaning of the Project, prohibition of the law, which is unable to keep a father,
WIll "?e compell~d to open schools, or not: The only uncle, or godfather from teaching one, two, three, or fif,teen
questIOns t~at anse are: (1) What is a parish (the writers boys. All it says in this article is .th~t ~he teacher. IS. to
of the ProJe~t must have had in mind a township)? and be hired by the Commune, but thIS IS m .the maJonty
(2) What WIll be the procedure in case (which will hap- of cases inconvenient, because all schools whICh are freely
pen most frequently) the peasants will refuse to take any established are generally maintained by contributions from
m~erest what~ver in the establishment of the schools, and the parents, and not from the whole Commune, which is
wIl~ pay theIr school tax only under the pressure of both more convenient and more just.
police measures? Who will select the place, the build- §§13, 14, and 15. Where no possib~lity presents its:lf
mg, the teacher, and so forth? of arranging a separate school for g~rls, boys and g~rls
§11. .The parishes, whose means are not sufficient for shall be taught in one and the same school, by one a?Ld the
the ma~ntenance of schools, may, in lieu of establishing same teacher, but at different hours of the day or on different
a school, hir~ ~ tea.cher at. the Oommune's expense for the days of the week. In places where .there is no separate
pur1!0se ?f gw~ng ~nstructwn gratis to the children of said school for girls, the Oommune may h~re a lady teacher to
pansh ~n a house set aside for him, or in the assembly help out thc male teacher. Girls up to the age of thirteen
house, or by rotation in the houses of the peasants. years may be admitted to instruction with the boys of the
.§12. The, rules laid down in the preceding Art. 11 same age. .., .
mll also gu~de the separate settlements, remote from parish The girls, of whom mentIOn IS made III Art. 13, bemg
chu:ches, when, on account of such remoteness and incon- above the age of thirteen years, are called maidens by the
ve~Mnt communication, it becomes difficult to send the people, - and to suppose that the maidens would be per-
ch~ldr~n to the respective parish school. mitted by their parents, or would themselv~s choose, to
ArtICles 11 and 12 are, on the one hand, quite incom- go to school with small boys, and to pre~cn~e rules for
pre~ensible, and, on the other, belong to the category of them, in order to secure the popular morahty, IS the same
eluCldatory official articles, mentioned above. ' as to prescribe laws for wha~ is not and ~ever can be.
When the parishes hire a teacher and rent a hut, what With the present popular VIew of educatIOn even the
68 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES 69
A PROJECT FOR POPULAR SCHOOLS
thought of it is out of the question. Even if such a case bers of the committee should have known so little
should arise in the next generation, Art. 14 has provided
for it, giving the Commune the unheard-of right to hire
:~~onditions of the country in which they live, and the
conditions of the popular education, to which they have
again at their own expense, a lady teacher. The instruc~
tion of women in schools has not yet begun, and I dare devoted their labours. . . '
The number of children sub}ect to pr~mary ~nstructwn,
t~ink that Articles 13, 14, and 15 have not divined all pos- that is, of those between the ages of eight to ten years.forms
sIble cases that may arise during such instruction. It about five per cent. of the whole mass of the pop,,!,latwn..
seems to me in general that it is exceedingly difficult to vest The number of children subject to primary lllstructlOn
in legal forms that which is not yet, and has not yet begun. will be three times the figure mentioned, because, no
Chapter III. The Maintenance of the Schools. doubt it is known to everybody who takes the troub~e
I omit the articles dealing with the town municipalities. of visiting a popular school that the normal school age .I,S
Articles 20, 21, 22, and 23 decree a compulsory levy not from eight to ten years, but rather from seven to th~­
on the parish for the maintenance of the schools and for teen or more conectly, from six to fourteen y:ear~. t
a Government fund.
the pre~ent time, with the insufficient dis~emlllatlOn .of
We must repeat once more that, in spite of the seeming schools there are in the Yasenets townshIp 15~ p~pils
definiteness of these articles, we do not comprehend many to one 'thousand souls, in the Golovenkov townshIp SlX~y
very essential things; namely: Who apportions the neces- pupils to four hundred souls, and in the Trasnen township
sary amount of money for the schools? Who receives sevent pupils to five hundred souls. With the present
this money, and under what conditions? Have the Com-
munes the right to declare themselves poor on the basis
undev~oped condition of the schools there are everywhere
not five per cent., but twelve per cent. and fifteen pe~ cent.
of Articles 10 and 11? I am sure that all the Communes It must be kept in mind that by far not all the c~llldren
without exception will be anxious to invoke this ricrht b , study now, and that the girls form but one·twentIeth of
and therefore its elucidation is exceedingly important.
From the above mentioned articles it appears only that all the pupils. 1 t'
Consequently, to one thousand of the male popu awn,
the writers of the Project propose to burden the rural proceeds the Project, we must assume abou~ fifty b~ys wh~
population with a tax, which is to be used for the estab-
on account of age, are sub}eet to primary ~nstructwn,'l~nb
lishment of schools and for the formation of a Govern-
in the same nurnber of the female populatwn t~ere ~tl ~
mental fund. By an extremely faulty calculation, attached about fifty girls. The teaching of such anum cr w~ no
to the law, twenty-seven and one-half kopeks from each
be too burdensome for one teacher. . h
soul will fall to the share of each peasant. This tax is We have pointed out above that there WIll be tree
enormous, and in reality it will be more than increased times as many pupils, and it is not only bur~ensome, but
sixfold, for (p. 18) the calculation there adduced is based
simply impossible to teach fifty boys and g~rls t~rt~er.
on the statistical data furnished by Academician Vese-
But that is not the worst of the typographica~ un t~'
16vski, in a memoir of the Imperial Russian Geographical Every Russian knows that in Russia there ~re ~IX mon s
Society, and not only is groundless, but must contain of winter with frosts and snow-storms, whIle lD sum:~r
some typographical error. It is hard to believe that the the peasa~t children are doing some field labour, an III
70 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES A PROJECT FOR POPULAR SCHOOLS 71
winter few have enough warm clothing to venture out observed that the parents prefer to buy their own books,
any distance; they run about the street with their slates, and pencils for their sons, in order that the things
father's short fur coat thrown over their heads, and back may always remain in the house, rather than give the
again to the hut, and upon the oven. In Russia the money for the purchase of these things by the school;
great majority of the population is scattered in settle- besides, these things are safer and more useful at home
ments of from fifty to one hundred souls, at a distance than at school.
of from two to three versts from each other. How can In spite of it being mentioned in Art. 24 that the
one in Russia get as many as fifty pupils together in one expenses for the maintenance of the school are allowed
school? As facts have shown to me, one cannot count by the village elder and audited by the village meeting,
au more than ten to fifteen pupils for one school. I affirm that it does not appear from the Project who is
If there was no mistake in the calcnlation, and the entrusted with the expense for the maintenance of the
Project was really meant to be executed, then, on the school. Who is to put up a school building, where, when,
basis of the blunder in the calculation concerning the per- what kind of a h01.3e? Who buys the school appliances?
centage of the school population, the taxes will have What books and pencils, and so forth, and how many are
to be increased threefold, because there will be three to be bought? All this is either passed by in the Project,
schools instead of one, of fifty pupils in each. On ac- or it is entrusted to the director of schools. The Com-
count of the blunder in the calculation, which brings munes have only the right to collect the money and give
together fifty pupils into one school, the tax will have it away, also to rent or build a house, also to cut off
to be doubled, that is, by supposing as high as twenty-five half a desyatlna of land for the teacher, also to travel
pupils to each school, and six schools to each one thou- to town for the purpose of buying dampers, and also,
sand souls, we get six times twenty-seven and one-half which is most flattering of all, to audit the accounts over
kopeks, which, deducting the ten per cent. of the Govern- which they have no control. All that is done, as it says
ment fund, makes at least one rouble and a half to each in the Project, in order to awaken in the Communes a
soul, without counting what is necessary for the estab- greater readiness to provide the means for the support
lishment and for the repairs of the school, and for the of the school.
support of the teacher in kind. It is an impossible levy. It is ordered to give the Communes full liberty both in
In a note to Art. 23, which is based on an observation the apportionment and collection of the sum necessary for
deduced from practice, that the expenses of teaching fre- the maintenance of the school and in the material care of
quently keep the uneducated parents from sending their acquiring everything necessary for the schools.
children to school, it says that the appliances of education It seems to me that in this matter there is a lack of
and the text-books are not bought by the parents them- sincerity in the Project; it would have been simpler
selves, but by the person mentioned in the Project as to say that the Communes are granted no rights what-
having charge of the expenses for the maintenance of ever in the matter of the school government, but that,
the school. on the contrary, a new burden is imposed upon them,
This observation deduced from practice is not true, which is to acquire certain necessary things and look
for, on the contrary, it has always and at all times been after the school accounts.
72 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES A PROJECT FOR POPULAR SCHOOLS 73
Art. 25 imposes the obligation of finding proper Articles 31, 32, and 33 do not properly refer to the es-
quarters for the school and for the teacher, and for pro- tablishment of village schools, but deal with the formation
viding heat for them. The obligation is very dimly of the Government fund. We cannot agree with the
defined, very burdensome, and, on account of its indefi- wisdom of a measure which alienates from the Communes
niteness, liable to give rise to abuses on the side of the a certain part of their moneys and transfers it to the Gov-
school authorities. ernment, which is again to use it for these Communes.
Art. 26 refers to towns. It seems to us that this money could be more justly and
In Art. 27 it is carefully explained that especial more usefully applied to each Commune from which any
payment may be made by persons who have not con- amount is taken.
tributed at large. Chapter IV. The Personnel of the Popular Schools.
§28. Towns and village parishes, which, on account In Art. 34 it says that in every school there must be a
of their sparse population and poverty of inhabitants, teacher and a religious teacher, which is quite just. In
are really unable to support schools and even to hire addition to these, the Commune has the right to elect
a teacher, may receive aid, at the discretion of the Minister curators of eitner sex. The following articles explain
of Public Instruction, from the general reserve school fund. that the curators have no meaning whatever and no rights
As has been pointed out above, all the Communes whatever, and that in order to be elected they need have
without exception will, if they understand the meaning no qualifications.
of the Project, be anxious to fall under the provision of Art. 37 explains that the curators enter upon their duties
Art. 28, and they will quite justly remark that the immediately after the election, informing the director of
majority of the inhabitants are poor. (Poverty, espe- schools of the Government ofhaving entered upon said duties.
cially as regards money, is a well-known common condi- In addition to this, Art. 38 declares that the curators
tion of the Russian peasantry.) Who is to define what are not subject to, but only confer with the educational
Commune falls under the provision of Art. 28? Which authorities; they, therefore, do not write reports, but
first, and which later? communications, which is both exceedingly flattering and
On what basis and by whom will similar questions definite.
be decided? The Project tells us nothing concerning On the other hand, in Art. 36, where it says that the
it, and yet, it is our opinion, these questions will uni- curators supervise the teachers in the correct fulfilment of
versally arise. their duties, and see to it that the teachers receive their
Art. 29 again repeats that the Commune has the right to pay promptly, that everything necessary is supplied to
cut a door on the right or left side, to make pine or oak the school in proper time, and that the external order is
seats, and even not to be embarrassed in the manner of preserved in the school, nothing is said as to what a cura-
their acquisition; that is, they have the full right to buy tor can and must do in case of the teacher's improper
them, or to build them from their own timber. execution of his duties. He may only communicate the
Art. 30 is the only one which, being a promise to find fact to the director; he may do so justly or unjustly,
means for cheapening the text-books, meets with our full with the knowledge of the matter, or, as may be sup-
sympathy. posed, more frequently, without the knowledge of the
74 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES A PROJECT FOR POPULAR SCHOOLS 75
matter. It is not to be supposed that the interference of uncle of the curator or justice of the peace may recom-
an ent~rely superfluous outsider could be of any use. mend a teacher to the director.
ArtICles 39, 40, 41, and 46 define the relations of the Chapter V. The Rights of Persons Connected with the
teacher of religion to the school. Popular Schools.
Art. 42 says directly, without leaving the slightest In Art. 47 it says that curators are not granted the
doubt about the matter, that the management of the privilege of wearing cockades and short swords. (I do
schools i~ each Government, in spite of the imaginary not omit a single article, and the reader who will consult
com~lete ~ndependence of the Communes and in spite of the Project will convince himself that I am quoting it
the lllcomprehensible invention of curators, is left to one correctly.)
person, - the. director of schools, since the discharge Articles 48, 49, 50, and 51 define the material position
an~ ~he appolltment of a teacher form, according to our of the teacher.
opllllOn, the only essential management of a school. We This position is superb, and we must confess that if the
shall h~ve occa~ion, later on, to speak at greater length Project is to be put in force, we shall, in this respect, at
of the lllconvemence connected with the centralization of once outdo Europe.
such an enormous power in the person of one man. The village teacher is to get 150 roubles in silver a
Art. ~3 pr?mise~ the training of teachers, although, as year, lodgings with heating, which, in our locality, means
a promIse, thIS artICle does not even enter into the com- about fifty roubles. In addition to that, he is to receive,
position of the Project; I cannot withhold the remark in grain or flour (by a provision of the Project the Com-
that the attempts at training any teachers whatever both munes are granted a great freedom in this matter), two
in our Pedagogical Institute, as also in the German'sem- puds 1 a month, which, according to our prices, will amount
inaries and French and English normal schools, have so to about twelve roubles a year; he is to get, besides, half
far led to no results, and have only convinced us of 'the a desyatina 2 of land fit for a vegetable garden, which
impossibility of training teachers, especially for the popu- means another ten roubles, and thus the whole amounts
lar schools, just as it is impossible to train artists and to 222 roubles. (All this is to come from the Commune
poets. Teachers are educated only in proportion to the which, by the calculation adduced above, is hardly able to
general demands of education and with the raising of get together an average of twenty pupils.) In addition to
the general level of education. this, the Commune is to pay the teacher of religion fifty
.Articles .44 an~ 45 e.xplain that the belonging to a cer- roubles, for school appliances fifty roubles, and twenty-five
talI~ class IS no ImpedIment to a man's carrying on the roubles interest on the Government fund; it has to build
dutIeS of a teacher, and that people belongina to the cleri- and maintain the school, hire a janitor, which, at the least
cal profession and those who are not of the g~ntry may be figure, means eighty roubles more, - and thus the Com-
teachers; here it also says that if a clergyman undertakes mune has to pay 427 roubles.
to be a teacher, he must teach by all means! That is all In Art. 50 it says that the Commune has the right to
ver! tr:ue. In a note to Art. 45 it says that the curator hire also a lady teacher.
or Justlce of the peace recommends teachers for vacancies 1A pud is equal to almost thirty-six pounds.
to the director of schools. I surmise that a brother or 2 A desyatfua is eqm,l to about three acres.
78 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES A PROJECT FOR POPULAR SCHOOLS 79
may be taught only with the consent of the educational does not exist at all. Here all the subjects are united
authorities; in the same providential sense are composed in one, and after this they gradually branch out.
Articles 59, 60, and 61, by which the very method of Let us look at Articles 2 and 3 of the programme.
instruction and the manuals to be used in the instruction What is meant by native tongue? Does it include
of that impossible and narrow programme are to be deter- syntax and etymology? There are some teachers who
mined upon by the Ministry of Public Instruction. regard both as the best means for teaching language.
I do not mention that this is unjust; that it is inju- What is meant by the reading of books, and by explana-
rious to the development of education; that it excludes tory reading? He who has learned his ABC book can
the possibility of all lively interest of the teacher in his read, and he who reads and understands the Moscow Gaz-
work; that it gives rise to endless abuses (the writer of ette also only reads. How are the books to be explained,
a programme or of a text-book need only make one mis- say the chrestomathy published by the society for the
take, and that mistake becomes obligatory for the whole publication of cheap books? To take through with ex- ..
of Russia). I say only that every programme for the planations all the articles of this book, would be tanta-
popular school is absolutely impossible, and every such a mount to going through nearly the whole course of human
programme is only words, words, words. I can compre- knowledge, - theology, and philosophy, and history, and
hend a programme which defines the obligation which the natural sciences; and to read through the book by
teachers, or the power establishing the school, take upon syllables and for the purpose of explanation to repeat
themselves; I can understand how one may say to the each phrase by other incomprehensible words is also
Commune and to the parents: I am the teacher; I open explanatory reading. Writing is entirely omitted in the
the school, and I undertake to teach your children this or Project; but even if it were allowed, and most precisely
that, and you have no right to ask of me that which I defined in the programme, one might understand by writ-
have not promised you; but to open a school and to ing the mere copying of letters, or the knowledge of the
promise that one will not teach this or that is both impru- art of the language, which may be acquired only by a
dent and absolutely impossible. And it is precisely such whole course of subjects and exercises. The programme
a negative programme that the Project proposes for all defines everything and nothing, nor can it define anything.
of Russia and for the popular primary schools. In a In mathematics. What is meant by the four opera-
higher institution, I presume, it is possible for the instruc- tions on abstract and concrete numbers? I, for example,
tor, without deviation, to stick to one given course. In in my teaching, do not use concrete numbers, leaving the
lecturing on the Roman civil law, a professor can bind so-called concrete numbers for multiplication and division.
himself not to speak of zoology or chemistry, but in It Arithmetic in general I begin with progression, which
popular school the historical, natural, and mathematical every teacher does, for numeration is nothing but decimal
sciences mingle, and at any minute questions arise in all progression. It says: an idea of fractions. But why
the branches of these sciences. only an idea? In my instruction I begin the decimal
The most essential difference between the higher and fractions at once with numeration. Equations, that is,
the lower school lies in the degree of subdivisibility algebra, I begin with the first operations. Consequently,
of the subjects of instruction. In the lowest school it I transcend the programme. Plane geometry is not in-
80 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES A PROJECT FOR POPULAR SCHOOLS 81
dicated in the programme, and yet problems from plane that such fears are quite groundless. No matter how
geo~etr! are the most natural and the most intelligible much a Commune is removed from the control over its
applicatIOns o~ the firs~ rules. With one teacher geometry schools, a father cannot be kept from being interested in
a.nd alge?ra wIll enter llltO the teaching of the four opera- that which is being taught to his son; and however com-
tIOns; wIth another teacher the four operations will form pulsory a sGnool may be, a mass of pupils cannot be kept
only a mechanical exercise in writing with chalk on a from judging their teacher and giving him just the weight
blackboard, and for either the programme will be only he deserves. lam fairly convinced, both by ratiocination
words, words, words. So much the less is it possible to and by experience, that a school is always secure against
give the teacher instruction and guidance. For the suc- baneful influences by the control of the parents and by
cessful progress of the teaching, the teacher must have the sentiment of justice in the pupils.
the .means ~or his own ins~ruction and full liberty in the In Art. 62 it says that the Communes may establish
chOIce of hIS methods. It IS convenient for one to teach libraries; that is, nobody is forbidden to buy books,
by the buki-~z - ba method, and for another by the be-a, neither singly, nor in partnership, if they are so minded.
and for a thIrd by the b-a method, each being master of Chapter VII. Of the Students in the Popular Schools,
his. For the teacher to assimilate,another method, it is not and of the Distribution of the Time of Study.
enough to know it and to prescribe it to him, - he must § 63. Children may enter the popular schools with
believe that this method is the best, and he must love it. their eighth year. No preliminary knowledge is required
This refers both to the methods of the instruction of those who enter school.
itself, as also to the treatment of the pupils. Why eight years and not six years and three and one-
Circular instructions and prescriptions to the teachers half months? This question demands just such positive
will only embarrass them. More than once have I seen proofs as that other question why teachers are to receive
teache~s instructing a.ccording to the sound method, just as 150 roubles, and not 178 roubles and sixteen and one-
accor~lllg. to the buh-az - ba method, memorizing letters, third kopeks; and this the more, since I know by per-
comblllatIOns, and syllables, and calling buki "by," and sonal experience that at least one-fourth of the children
dobro " dy," but this was only done in the presence of the going to school are below eight years of age, and that
authorities, because such was the order. during this age, of from six to eight years, the children
. As.to th.e.aim, which the committee may have had in learn to read more rapidly, more easily, and better. All
VIew m wn~I~~ out the programme, - the aim of warding the children I know of, who are instructed at home, also
off the pOSSIbilIty of any baneful influence of evil-minded begin much earlier than at eight years. That is the
teachers, - it mus~ be said that ~o programme will keep a freest time for a peasant child, - a period during which
te~cher from exertmg a banefulmfluence upon his pupils. he is not yet employed at domestic labour, and unreserv-
WIth such a programme the presence of a captain of edly devotes himself to the school until his eighth year.
gendarmes would become necessary in every school, for Why, then, did the writers of the Project take such a
nobody could re!y on the statements of the pupils, nei- dislike to that age ? It is absolutely necessary to know
ther for nor agalllst the teacher. The fact is that such the ground on which children before the age of eight are
fears are not in the least allayed by the programme, and excluded from the schools.
82 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES A PROJECT FOR POPULAR SCHOOLS 83
In the second part of the article there is a statement Project, to conforming to thl'\ needs of the people, this
that no preliminary knowledge is required in those who ought to be written down too.
enter. We cannot comprehend what that is for. Are Art. 66 directs the attention to the fact that instruction
those who enter obliged to wear canvas blouses in the is given during week-days, and not on holidays, with
summer, and the well-known uniform in winter? which one cannot help agreeing, as in the case of all such
If everything which is not needed is to be defined this decrees, written down no one knows why, and expressive
too, ought to be stated. ' , of absolutely nothing.
In Art. 64 it says: No definite period of instruction in But Art. 67 again makes us stagger. There it says
the popular school is established; every pupil is declared that the pupils shall have but one session, and shall study
to have finished his course of instruction whenever he has not more than four hours, with a recess.
sufficiently acquired that which is taught in the school. It would be interesting to see the progress made by at
We vividly imagine the joy and happiness of some least fifty pupils (and maybe even one hundred, as is
Akhramyey when he is declared to have finished a intended by the calculation) studying only during the
course. winter, and not more than four hours a day, with a recess!
§ 65. In the village popular schools instruction shall I have the boldness to consider myself a good teacher,
begin from the time the field labours are ended, and shall but if I were given seventy pupils under such conditions
last ur:til the beginning of work in the following year, con- I should say in advance that half of them would be
/orm~ng to the local conditions 0/ peasant life. unable to read in two years. As soon as the Project shall
.Here the a':thors of t?e ~roject, apparently trying be confirmed, not one teacher, in spite of the half desya-
~Isely to SUb~It to the eXIgenCIes of actuality, again are tina of garden land, will add one hour of work contrary
In .error, despIte the shade of practicalness which this to the regulation, lest, by not complying with the philan-
artIcle has. What are the beginning and the end of rural thropic foresight of the Project, he should exhaust the
labours? So long as there is a law upon it, this ought to youthful minds of the peasant children. In a sufficiently
b~ defined. The ~eacher, wh~ in everything will comply larO'e number of schools, which I know, the children study
wIth .the law, WIll execute It promptly. And in this fro~ eight to nine hours a day, and remain overnight at
case, If the 1st of April is to be the last day, he will not school so as to be able in the evening once more to recite
teach a day too mucll. Let alone that it is difficult to to the teacher, and neither the parents nor the teachers
define the period, in many localities a number of pupils will observe any evil consequences from it.
stay through the summer, and there will nearly everywhere According to Art. 69 there is to be an annual public
be about a ~hird of them. The peasants are everywhere examination. This is not the place to prove that exam-
firmly convInced, on account of the method of memorizing inations are injurious, and more than injurious, - that
in vogue with them, that what has been learned will they are impossible. I have mentioned this in the article
soon be forgotten; and so only those who are in need " The School at Yasnaya Polyana." In reference to Art.
of their children unwillingly take them out for the sum- 69 I will limit myself to the question: "For what and
mer, but even then they beg to have their children recite for whom are these examinations?"
at least once a week. If it comes at all to writing a The bad and baneful side of the examinations in a
A PROJECT FOR POPULAR SCHOOLS 85
84 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES
such information, the expenses for printing to be credited to
popular school must be evident to anybody: they lead to the sum allowed him for office appliw/~ces. .
official deceit, forgery, useless mustering of children, and How well everything is thought out! How everythmg
the consequent interruption of the customary occupations. has been provided for, - even the printing of the blanks,
The usefulness of these examinations is totally incom- even the sum from which the expense is t.o be met.!. One
prehensible to me. It is injurious by means of examina- simply feels the stern regularity and ImmutabIlity of
tions to awaken a spirit of rivalry in children eight years form and even of contents of the future reports, suc~ as
old, and it is impossible by means of an examination of the government wants to get: not reports of what IS to
two hours' duration to determine the knowledge of eight- be in reality, not even of what is,:- f~r the chief part of
year-old pupils and to judge of the merits of a teacher. the education in private schools wIll shP. away fro~ these
According to Art. 70 the pupils received stamped reports _ but of what ought to be accordmg to the Imprac-
documents, called diplomas. As to what these documents ticable'decrees of the government. With this article ends
are to be used for, nothing is said in the Project. No the whole Project of the state schools. Then follows:
rights and no privileges are connected with them, and so Chapter VIII. Private Popular Schools.
I suppose that the deceptive idea that it is very flattering Three articles of this chapter grant all persons the
to have a stamped document will long be current among riaht to open private schools, define the conditions under
the people or will serve as an incitement for attending which they may be opened, limit the programmes of such
school. Even though at first the masses may be deceived schools to the mere rudiments in the narrower sense, and
as to the meaning of these papers, they will soon come to establish the control of the clergy over them. One may
see their error. be sure that in the Nord and in other foreig~ papers
Art. 71 grants the same right of stamped documents to the granting of such a privilege will be re?81ved and
people who have been instructed outside the school, and esteemed as a new step toward progress. WhICh w~ are
who, in my opinion, will still less be flattered by such a taking. The critic of the Project, who IS unacquamted
privilege. with Russian life, will take down the law of ~828,.accord­
Art. 72, with a note to it, on the contrary, deserves ing to which the opening of schools and pnvate m~tr~c­
our full confidence, and, more than all the others, corre- tion is prohibited, and, comparing ~he old~r restnchve
sponds to the aim and spirit of the Project. It runs as measures with the new Project, in whICh one IS only. asked
follows: At the end of each scholastic year, the teacher to give information of the opening of a school? wIll .say
reports to the director of the Government, on the enclosed that in matters of public education the Project gives
blank, as to the number of pupils in the popular school, and incomparably greater freedom than :vas t~e case before.
as to the number of those who have been subjected to exam- But for us, who are living a RUSSIan hfe, the matter
ination for the purpose of receiving a diploma. appears different. .
Note. This information contains statistical data, neces- The law of the year 1828 was ?n1y. a law, and It n~ver
sary for the final report to the Ministry of Public Instruc- occurred to anyone to comply WIth It; all, ?ot~ sOCIety
tion, and therefore its form must always agree with the and the executors of the law, acknowledged ItS ImpraCti-
questions, as defined by that report. The director of cability and the impossibility of carrying it out. There
schools shall furnish the schools with printed blanks of
86 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES A PROJECT FOR POPULAR SCHOOLS 87
have existed and still exist thousands of schools without I read, while others study the rudiments, or look at draw-
permission, and not one superintendent or director of a ings and models. Are these schools, or not 1 And yet,
gymnasium has ever raised his hand to close these schools, what a field for abuses! I am a justice of the peace and
because they do not comply with the articles of the law am convinced that education is harmful for the masses,
of 1828. By tacit consensus of opinion, society and the and so I fine an old man for having taught his godchild
executors of the law accepted the law of 1828 as non- reading, and take away from him the ABC book and the
existing, and, in reality, in the teaching and opening of psalter, on the ground that he ought to have informed
~chools men were guided by a complete time-honoured me of the establishment of the school. There are rela-
liberty of action. The law passed by entirely unnoticed. tions of man to man, which cannot be defined by laws,
I opened a school in 1849, and only in March of 1862 such as the domestic relations, the relations of him who
did I learn, upon the occasion of the promulgation of the educates to him who is being educated, and so forth.
Project, that I had no right to open such a school. Out Chapter IX. On the Government of Schools.
of a thousand teachers and founders of schools scarcely Here it says that the government of the schools is
one knows of the existence of the law of 1828. It is entrusted to the director of schools, one to each province.
known only to the officials of the Ministry of Public In the Project there is frequent mention of the subdivi-
Instruction. sion of the schools as regards their government into an
For this reason it seems to me that Articles 73,74; and educational part and some other kind of a part. I posi-
75 of the Project offer new rights only as regards sup- tively cannot comprehend this division, and I can see
posedly existing restrictions, but when compared with the no other part in a school than the educational, from
existing order of things, they only impose new restrictive which springs the material part, naturally subject to it
and impracticable conditions. Nobody will be willing to and in no way to be separated from it. According to the
establish schools, if he is not to have the right of appoint- Project, everything is left in charge of the one director.
ing and dismissing teachers, himself choosing text-books, The director, to judge from the indistinct expression of
and of getting up his own programme. The majority of Art. 87 (who has gained e~perience in matters of education
teachers and founders of schools - soldiers, sextons, can· during the period of his service as a teacher), is to be se-
tonists I-will be afraid to report the establishment of their lected from among the teachers of a gymnasium or from
schools; many will not know of this requirement, and, if the professors. The director must personally supervise
they want to do so, will know how to elude it in legal the instruction, and must even show how to act and
form. As I have said in the preceding article, it is im- teach, - there being but one director to three hundred
possible to define the limits between a home education or five hundred schools in the Government. In order to
and the school. The innkeeper has hired a teacher for have the right to offer any kind of advice to a teacher,
his two children, and three others come to his house; the one must for at least a week study up the condition of
landed proprietor teaches four of the children of his each school, but, as everybody knows, there are only 365
manorial servants and two peasant children with his own; days in the year. These officials will cost the govern-
labourers come to me on Sundays, and to some of these ment about two hundred thousand roubles for the whole
1 Soldiers raised from boyhood in soldier-colonies. of Russia.
88 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES A PROJECT FOR POPULAR SCHOOLS 89

In Art. 79 it says that the director is to avoid corre- are, and how frequently they succeed iu deceiving good
spondence, but shall superintend in person. and honest superiors t There is hardly use in speaking
In the following articles the director is given instruc- of the terrible injury which such a higher authority does
tions as to what he is to demand of the teachers. to the pupils. But even if my readers should not agree
In Art. 86 the director is furnished with travelling with me on that score, the creation of the office of the
expenses. It is the evident desire of the authors of the director will be useless and harmful for this reason alone,
Project that the supervision of the director should not be if for no other, that one director to a Government will
formal, but real. But the very position of this official appoint and discharge teachers and will offer rewards only
precludes the possibility of actual observation. An alum- by hearsay, by supposition, or arbitrarily, because it is
nus of the university, a former teacher at a gymnasium, impossible for one man to know what is going on in five
or a professor at a university, that is, a man who has hundred schools.
never had anything to do with the masses and with the Then follows a sample of a report on the number of
popular schools, is obliged, living in the city and attend- pupils, a calculation of the sum necessary for the main-
ing to his office duties, to the appointment of teachers, tenance of the popular schools, and the personnel of the
to rewards, reports, and so forth, to guide the schools Governmental Office of Popular Schools. Then there
which he can visit only once a year, if at aU as often as comes an explanatory note.
that. I know directors of gymnasia, who are almost in From the explanatory note it appears that the activity
the same situation, who with the greatest possible zeal of the committee was divided into two parts: (1) the
and love busy themselves with the parochial schools, and finding of measures for the development of the popular
who at every step, at revisions, at examinations, at ap- instruction at the present time until the final adjustment
pointments and exchanges of teachers, make blunder of the rural population; (2) the plan of the Project itself,
after blunder only because their circle of activity is a which we have been discussing. The preliminary meas-
hundred times wider than it should or could be. One ures have been realized, so far as I know, by a circular of
man may manage an army corps and, making one inspec- the Ministry of Internal Affairs as regards the order of the
tion, may know whether the corps is in good or bad order, opening of schools and the obligation of making announce-
but to manage a dozen schools is more than one man can ment about them. In reference to the appointment and
do. dismissal of teachers by the director of the Government, to
Everybody who knows the popular schools must know the supervision entrusted to the local clergy, and to the
how difficult and how impossible it is by inspection or order that the text-books in use should be approved by
by an examination to ascertain the degree of success and the Ministry of Public Instruction and by the Holy
the direction of a certain school. How often a conscien. Synod, I do not know, although I am specially interested
tious teacher, with a feeling of his dignity and not allow- in schools, whether that is a request, or a law. It is very
ing himself to show off his pupils, will appear in a worse likely that I am committing a crime when I use unap-
light than a soldier-teacher who has been ruining his proved books in my school, and that the Communes are
pupils for a year and who is working only in view of the also criminal in changing and appointing teachers without
final parade! And how cunning these unprincipled men the director. If such a law has been in fOlce, or is to
90 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES A PROJECT FOR POPULAR SCHOOLS 91
be in force, it is not enough to fall back on the first they have not learned to know and value them properly?
article of the Code of Laws, which declares that the igno- The people appreciate the clergy and give them such a
rance of the laws does not excuse anyone; such new and part and influence upon their education as the clergy
unexpected laws ought to be read in all the churches deserve. In the Project there are many such insincere,
and in all the parishes. We are equally ignorant whether diplomatic articles. As a matter of fact they will all be
the Ministry of Public Instruction has adopted the propo- eluded, and it would make no difference if they had never
sition of the committee of training teachers in the quick- been written; but these articles, as, for example, the one
est time possible, and where and how many of them are we have just mentioned, on account of their falseness and
undergoing such training. I have mentioned before that obscurity, open an enormous field for abuses which can-
the measure prescribed in the circular of the Ministry of not be foreseen. I know some clergymen who say that
Internal Affairs is not practicable. Let us now turn to to teach reading by the be method and not by buki is a
some of the thoughts expressed in the explanatory note, sin; that to translate the Slavic prayers into Russian and
which have startled us most. to explain them is a sin; that sacred history should be
It would seem that there is no good cause for not taught only as set down in the ABC book, and so forth.
being sincere in such a serious matter of state. I have in
mind the part, meaning, and influence, which, in matters
of education, is given, according to the Project, to our
Russian clergy. I vividly present to myself the authors
of the Project, who, when writing the note: and entrust-
ing the parochial clergy with the supervision of the educa-
tion so that it be carried on in the spirit of Orthodox
Ohristian morality, etc., - I vividly present to myself
the smile of submission and of the consciousness of their
certain superiority and, at the same time, of the falseness
of this measure, which must have played on the lips of
the a.utho~s of the Project as they listened to the reading
of thIS article and ordered it written down in the minutes.
Just such a smile is produced by it on all experienced
men who claim to know life.
"What is to be done 1 This is natural," say some.
Other, inexperienced, intelligent people interested in the
matter are provoked and become enraged at the reading
of this article. From whom do they wish to conceal the
sad truth 1 No doubt from the masses. But the masses
know it better than we. Is it possible that, having lived
so many centuries in the closest relations with the clergy,
A PROJECT FOR POPULAR SCHOOLS 93
time it was incumbent upon it to establish a system of
popular education. Having arrived at such a conviction,
it naturally had to entrust the establishment of this sys-
tem to certain officials of various ministries. Nothing
more fundamental and more liberal could have been
invented, or might have been expected, than the idea that
II. representatives of all the ministries should take part in
the authorship of this Project. (It may, however, be
I. MYSELF fee~ that my manner of discussing the Proj- remarked that it is strange that to this committee, whose
ect IS not s~ffiClently serious and that it looks as though labours are a thousand times more important than those
I were making fun of the Project and as though I had set of the serf committee, no experts were invited, as had
out to deny everything contained in it. Such a relation been done in the case of the deliberations of the question
to th~ Project has arisen involuntarily as the result of the of the emancipation of the serfs. But this remark has no
OpposIteness of my practical view on matters, growing out force because, in our opinion, the Project would have been
of my close relations with the people, and from the abso- little changed from what it is, even if so-called experts
lute estrangement from reality, which is evident in the had been invited.) It was, of course, out of the question
concertion. and draft of the Project. We occupy such to let the people who are concerned in the Project, them-
OpposIte, dIstantly remote points of view that, in spite of selves, by means of their representatives, create that
the respect and even ~error roused in me by the Project, system.
I so~ehow. cannot brlllg myself to believe in its reality, People, very respectable though they be, who have
and, III spIte of the efforts which I am making over served as officials, who have never studied the masses,
~yself, I am unable to re~ain quite serious in respect to nor the questions of popular education, who are no special-
It. I can find no retorts III the sphere of ideas in which ists in the business with which they were occupied, con-
t~e committee a?ted. The essence of my objections is tinuing their former occupations, having no time to devote
dIrected, not agalllst the mistakes and omissions of the dozens of years to the study of the question in hand,
Project, but against that very sphere of action from which began to assemble on certain days of the week and to
it has emanated, and consists only in the denial of the discuss the greatest question of creation, - popular educa-
applicability and possibility of such a Project. tion in Russia. It must also be remarked that the most
. I shall end~avour to tran.sfer myself to that spbere of essential question of the subordination of the schools to
Ideas and actIOns, from whlCh the Project has emanated. the Ministry of Public Instruction had been settled in the
It is clear to me why in the present period of universal committee of the ministers, and that, therefore, the mem-
reforms in Russia ~he question of establishing a system bers of the committee were confined to the narrowest
of popu~ar educatIOn should naturally rise in govern- possible limits.
men~a~ ?lr?les.. The government, which has always taken I take in advance all the members of the committee to
the Illltlative III all reforms and innovations, must have have been highly cultured and moral men, pervaded by love
naturally arrived at the conviction that precisely at this for the masses and by a desire to benefit their country, and
92
94 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES A PROJECT FOR POPULAR SCHOOLS 95
yet, in spite of it, I cannot assume that anything else system of education, such as would spring from the needs
could have resulted under the conditions under which of the people, is a matter of impossibility for a committee
they were working. Nothing but the Project which we or for anybody else in the world, - one has to wait for it
are discussing could have resulted. In the whole Proj- to grow out of the people. To divine the measures which
ect we observe not so much a study of the national needs may facilitate, and not hamper such a development, takes
and a study of education itself and the determination much time, labour, study, and freedom of view; none of
of new laws based on such a study, as a struggle with these did the committee possess. To solve the question
something unknown, baneful, and deadening. The whole it was necessary to turn to the European systems. I
Project, as the readers have seen, is filled with articles suppose that officials had been sent to the various countries
stating that popular schools are open establishments; that for the purpose of studying up their systems. (I even
priests may teach only if they have the time for teaching; saw such investigators aimlessly wandering from place to
that no privileges are granted a curator; that teachers are place and concerned only about the thought of writing up
not subject to preferments of rank; that there is no conven- a memoir to be presented to the ministry.)
tional form of school buildings; that private individuals On the basis of such memoirs, I suppose, all the foreign
may teach; that libraries may be established; that systems had been discussed in the committee. We cannot
directors of schools shall visit the schools; that men belong- be grateful enough to the committee for having selected
ing to any class may become teachers; that salaries are the least bad of all the inapplicable systems, the American.
paid but once; that teachers are not to be prohibited from Having solved the main financial question on the basis of
passing over to other occupations (Art. 22 of the explana- this system, the committee passed over to the adminis-
tory note); that teachers need not wear any uniform, etc., trative questions, being guided only by the predetermina-
etc. The reading of this Project makes one living in the tion of the committee of the ministers as to subordinating
country marvel why such articles are written, and the the schools to the Ministry of Public Instruction, and
Project is full of such articles, as may be seen from our making use, for the information of the facts of the case,
analysis. of such material as was at hand in St. Petersburg: of the
Working under such conditions of ignorance of the memoir of the Geographical Society for the dissemination
matter and of ignorance of the people and their needs, of the schools, and of the official reports of the religious
and, above all, under the restrictions which one feels department and of the directors for the determination of
throughout the whole Project, one can only marvel that the number of schools, - and the Project was written up.
it has not turned out much worse. From the standpoint of the government, schools will be
The question was put like this: There are no means opened in Russia in proportion to the population, the
and will be none; the popular education is to be subject moment the Project is made effective. In the majority
to the Ministry of Public Instruction; the clergy must of cases the well-to-do peasants will gladly pay twenty-
have the power of guiding and directing the spirit of the seven and one-half kopeks for each soul, and in the poor
education i the management of the schools mid the schools settlements the schools will be opened gratis (from the
themselves are to be uniform throughout Russia, - now, government fund). The peasants, having such excellent
make the system the best possible. To invent a Russian schools, will not let their children be instructed by soldiers,
96 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES A PROJECT FOR POPULAR SCHOOLS 97

but will gladly bring them to the school. For every The means of the school will always be sufficient, not
thousand inhabitants (all this from the government point only for the teachers' pay, which is secured by means of
of view) there will be a beautiful house, which, although a twenty-seven-kopek levy, but also for school appliances
not constructed in a prescribed way, will bear the inscrip- and for the 1:luildings, the construction of which is left to
tion "School" and will be provided with benches and the discernment of the Commune, so that the Communes
tables and a reliable teacher appointed by the government. will not stint the means, but, on the contrary, will con-
The children of the whole parish will be gathered here. tend in rivalry with each other. Not only will the
The parents will be proud of the diplomas which their Communes not spare the means, but each school will
children will receive; such a diploma will be regarded have its curators, and these persons, in sympathy with the
as the best recommendation for a lad, - and they will be popular education, - presumably rich peo~le, ~ will co~e
more willing to give him a maiden in marriage and to give to the aid of the school, both by furnlshmg matenal
him work, if he has a diploma. Three or four years later means and by governing it. The slightest irregularity of
not only boys, but girls also will attend school. One the teacher or misunderstanding on the side of the parents
teacher, by dividing up the hours of the day, will teach will be removed by the curators or justices of the peace,
one hundred pupils. who will gladly devote part of their leisure to the holy
The instruction will be successful, in the first place, work of popular education, which rouses the sympathy
because by granting a reward the best method will be of all the enlightened men of Russia.
found, selected, and approved by the Ministry of Public The time of instruction will not be a burden to the
Instruction, and this method will be obligatory for all moral powers of the pupils; the whole summer will be
schools (and after awhile the teachers will all be trained devoted to field labour. The course of instruction will
in this one, best method) ; in the second place, because the contain the most essential knowledge and will cooperate
text-books will also be the best, being approved by the in strengthening in the masses their religious and moral
Ministry, like those of Bertet and Obod6vski. The concepts. Evil-minded, coarse, uncultured people, being
teacher will be well provided for, and he will be attached obliged to report the opening of their schools, will by that
to and united with the people, in the midst of whom he very act fall under the control of the educational author-
will live. The teacher, as in Germany, will with the priest ities, and thus will be deprived of the possibility of doing
form the aristocracy of the village, and will be the first any harm. The government schools will naturally be so
friend and adviser of the peasants. For every vacancy good that the competition of the private schools will prove
among the teachers there will be dozens of candidates, as impossible as it has proved in America, the more so
from among whom the expert and cultured director will since the government schools will be free.
choose the worthiest. The provincial authority over the schools will be
The teacher of religion, for an appropriate remuneration, concentrated in one cultivated, expert, independent person,
will confirm the children in the truths of the Orthodox _ the director of schools. This person, materially secure
faith. Since nearly all the young generation will be and not bound by any bureaucratic exigencies, will all
drawn to the school, all possibility of a further spread of the time be making the round of the schools, examining,
the schism will stop. and personally watching over the progress of instruction.
98 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES A PROJECT FOR POPULAR SCHOOLS 99
It looks all so nice! One seems to see in his mind's of force. The captain of the rural police will det.ermine
eye large school buildings erected all over Russia with t.he place where the school is to be built and will demand
iron roofs, presented by curators or by Commune~; one that the Communes choose their own supervisors of the
sees, ~t the hour appointed by the ministry, the pupils building. The peasants will, naturally, see in this a new
gathermg from the various villages, carrying knapsacks tax, and will carry out the command only under compul-
over their shoulders; one sees a cultured teacher who sion. They will not know what to build or how to build
h~s studied the best method, and a lady curator,' filled it, and will only carry out the command of the authorities.
wIth love for the work and present during classes and They will be told that they may elect a curator for
~atching. the instruction; one sees the director arriving their school; they will not comprehend this under any
ill a carrIage drawn by fine horses, for a third or fourth circumstances, not because they are so stupid and igno-
time that year, greeting the teacher and the pupils, nearly rant, but because they will fail to understand how it is
all of whom he knows, and giving the teacher practical they are not to have the right of watching in person over
advice; one sees the happiness and contentment of the the instruction of their children, while they are to elect
parents, who are present at the examinations and who for that purpose a person that, in reality, does not possess
in treJ?idat~on are waiting for the rewards and the diplomas that right either. The tax of twenty-seven and one-half
of theIr chIldren; and one sees all over Russia the dark- kopeks, the levy for the building, the obligation to have
ness of ignora~ce quickly dispelled, and the rude, ignorant it erected, - all that will breed in the people such a hos-
people becommg all changed, growinO' in culture and tility to the idea and to the word" school," with which
happiness. b
they naturally will connect the idea of taxation, that they
. But there ~ill be nothing of the kind. Reality has will not wish to elect anybody, fearing lest they should
Its laws and ItS demands. In reality, so far as I know be mulcted for the curator's salary. The captain and the
the people, the application of the Project will lead to the justice will come down upon them, and they will in terror
following results: and trepidation choose the first man who happens to call
It will b~ announced through the rural police or through himself a curator. The curator will be the same justice
the townshIp offices that the peasants are to levy a tax of of the peace, or, nearly always, it will be the first landed
twenty-seven and one-half kopeks per head against such proprietor of the village, who will be elected, and thus
~nd such a date. They will be informed that this money the curatorship will become his amusement and pastime,
IS for the purpose of a school Then there will be an- that is, the most serious business in the world will become
nounced another levy for the building of the school' if it his plaything or will serve him as a means for satisfying
will be said that the amount of the levy depends 'upon his vanity. The justice of the peace, as matters now
them, the peasants will set it at three kopeks so they stand, is not physically able to attend even to his direct
w~ll be compelled to make a stated levy. The' peasants duties; and it is an exceedingly difficult matter, demand-
WIll, naturally, not comprehend this, and will not believe ing great knowledge and conscientious labour, to be the
it. The majority will decide that there is an ukase from representative of a Commune, in relation to the control
the Tsar to increase the tax, and that is all. The money exercised by this Commune over the school. The majority
will be collected with difficulty, through threats and use of the curators will visit the school two or three times a
100 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES A PROJECT FOR POPULAR SCHOOLS 101
month, will probably make a present of a home-made course to one who has not, and will thus constantly be
blackboard, on Sunday will invite the teacher to the makina blunders. But the majority of directors, ~ho do
house (and that is the best thing of all), and in case of a not lo~k so severely upon their duties, wi.ll be gmded by
vacancy will recommend their godchild, the priest's son philanthropic recommendations and theIr good hearts:
expelled from the theological school, or their former office why not give a piece of bread to a poor man? - and thus
lad. they will commit the same "4lunders as the first. I ~ee no
Having built the school and paid the money, the Com- juster means for the director's choice than the castmg of
munes will conclude that they are through with the taxes, ~~ .
- but that is where they will be mistaken. The captain One way or other, the teacher will be appoIllted: T~e
will announce to them that they are to cut off half a Communes are informed that they may send theIr chIl-
desyatina of the hemp-field for the teacher's use. Again dren without any farther expenses to the. v.ery school
there will be meetings, again the words "school" and which has come so hard to them. The maJorIty of peas-
"forcible alienation" will mingle in one inseparable idea. ants will everywhere give the same reply to such. a prop?-
The peasants will go through their fields, trying to cut off sition: "The devil take that school, - we are SICk of It.
the desired strip, and they will call each other names, and We have lived so many years without a school, and we
quarrel, and sin, as they call it, and will come together a shall manage to get along without ~t; if I want my boy
second and a third time, and somehow, fulfilling the to learn something, I shall send him to the sexton. I
command of the authorities, will manage to deprive know something about that instructio~, and God knows
themselves of a piece of valuable garden land. But that what this will be: it may be they WIll teach my boy
is not all: there has to be another meeting in order to something and then they will take him entirely away
apportion the teacher's allowance of grain throughout the from me:,' Let us suppose that such an opinion will not
parish. (The contributions in kind are the most disliked be universal, that it will disappear in time, and that,
of all by the peasants.) Finally the school is built, and seeing the progress of the children ~ho ~ave entered
the maintenance of the teacher is assured. before, others will wish to send theIrs; III ~hat. case,
If the landed proprietor or the justice of the peace has which I do not at all admit, only those who lIve. m t~e
not recommended his office lad, or godchild, the director village where the school. buildin.g is ~ll se~d theIr ch~l­
of schools has to appoint his own teacher. The choice dren there. No gratis mstructlOn WIll e~tICe the pupIls
will be either very easy or very hard for the director in the winter from villages one verst dIstant from the
of schools, for thousands of teachers, expelled from the school. That would be physically impossible. There
seminaries, or discharged scribes, will every day be stand- will be an average of about fiftee~ pupi~s to a sch~ol.
ing in his antechamber, treating his secretary to wine, The remaining children of the parIsh ~Ill study wIth
and in every possible way trying to gain his favour. The private people in the villages, or they WIll not study at
director, a former teacher of a gymnasium, will, if he is all, while they will be counted in as attending school and
an absolutely conscientious and cautious man, be guided will be so reported. .
in his choice of teachers only by the degree of their edu- The success of the schools will be just the same as, If
cation, that is, he will prefer one who has finished a not worse than, the success obtained with private teachers,
102 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES A PROJECT FOR POPULAR SCHOOLS 103
sextons, and soldiers. The teachers will be men of the that institution were just as fully and frankly transferred
same calibre, seminarists, for there are as yet no others to the Commune, whereas in the Project before us the
but with this difference: in the first case they are bound Commune is made to pay, and the government takes upon
by no repressive conditions and are under the control itself the organization of the schools. It is from this that
of the parents who demand results corresponding to the naturally will spring that enormous moral evil, though it
money paid out by them, while in the government school, may not be apparent to all, which for a long time will
~here they have to submit to methods, manuals, limita- undermine the development of education in the Russian
tions of hours each day, and the interference of curators people. The need of education is just beginning freely
and directors, the results will certainly be worse. to take germ in the masses. After the llilanifesto of Feb-
The:director will receive an enormous salary, will be ruary 19th, the people everywhere expressed their con~c­
travelling, and now and then bothering good, conscientious tion that they now need a greater degree of educatlOn
teachers, appointing poor teachers, and dismissing good and that, in order to acquire this education, they are ready
ones, for it is impossible to know the conditions of the to make certain sacrifices. This conviction has found its
schools for a whole Government; as he must supervise expression in the fact that everywhere free schools have
them, he will at stated times make reports, which will been arising in enormous numbers. The masses have
be as unwittingly false as those are which are made been advancing on the path on which the government
now. ( would like to see them go.
Private schools will exist just as they exist now, with- Suddenly, by exerting an oppression on the free schools
out giving information of their existence, and nobody will and by imposing an obligatory school tax upon all, the
know ~nything of them, although in them will take plaQe government not only does not acknowledge the previous
the chief movement of the popular education. educational movement, but, as it were, denies it: the gov-
All that is not the worst, nor the most baneful thing. ernment seems to be imposing the obligation of another,
In all the branches of the Russian administration we are unfamiliar education on the masses, removing them from
accustomed to the incompatibility of official legislation participation in their own affair, and demanding from them
with actual conditions. It would seem, then, that there not guidance and deliberation, but only submission. Not
might be here the same incompatibility in matters of the qnly has my own experience shown to me in particular
popular education. What is faulty and inapplicable in cases, but history and common sense indicate to us, the
the Project will be eluded, and much will be carried into possible results of such interference: the masses will
effect and will be useful. With the Project a beginning regard themselves as the martyrs of violence. The old
of a system of popular education has at least been made, sexton's schools will appear to them as sanctuaries, while
and whether good or bad, small or large, there will be the new government schools will seem to them to be sin-
at least one school to every thousand of the Russian ful innovations, and they will in rage turn away from the
population. very business which they had begun themselves in love,
This would be quite true if the establishment of the simply because the government has been in a hurry and
schools, in the administrative and financial respect, were has not given them a chance to think out the matter to
fully and frankly taken up by the government, and if its conclusion, has not given them a chance to select their
104 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES

own road, but has forcibly led them along a path which
they do not yet regard as the best.
The realization of the Project will, in addition to its
essential imperfections, breed one immeasurable evil: a
schism of education, a taciturn negative resistance to
the school, and a fanaticism of ignorance or of the old
education.
EDUCATldN AND CULTURE

THERE are many words which have no clear definition


amI are easily taken one for the other, but yet are neces-
sary for the transmission of thought. Such words are
"education," "culture," and even " instruction."
Pedagogues sometimes do not acknowledge any distinc-
tion between culture and education, and yet are not able
to express their thoughts otherwise than by using the
words culture, education, instruction, or teaching. There
must certainly be separate conceptions corresponding to
these words. There may be some reasons why we do not
wish to use these conceptions in their precise and real
sense i but these conceptions exist and have a right to
exist separately.
In Germany there exists a clear subdivision of the con-
cepts as Erziehung (education) and Unterricht (instruc-
tion). It is assumed that education includes instruction,
that instruction is one of the chief means of education,
and that every instruction has in it an educational
element, erziehliges Element. But the concept of culture,
Bildung, is mistaken either for education, or for instruc-
tion. The most general German definition will be like
this: education is the formation of the best men in
conformity with the ideal of human perfection, worked
out by a certain period. Instruction which introduces
a moral development is a means, though not an exclusive
105
106 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES EDUCATION AND CULTURE 107
means, toward its attainment; among the other means, I will not repeat the discussions and conversations I
outside of instruction, is the placing of the subject under have had with pedagogues in respect to this subject, nor
education into certain conditions favourable to the ends will I copy from books those contradictory opinions
of education, - discipline and compulsion, Zucht. which are current in literature regarding this matter,-
The spirit of man, say the Germans, must be broken in that would be a waste of time, and everybody who has
as the body is broken in by gymnastics. ])er Geist muss read my first pedagogical article may verify the truth of
gez'iichtigt werden. my words, - but will only try to explain here the
Culture, Bildung, in Germany, in society, and some- origin of these cOllJeptions and the causes of their
times even in pedagogical literature, as already mentioned, obscurity.
is either mistaken for instruction and education, or is According to the conceptions of the pedagogues, educa-
represented as a social phenomenon with which pedagogy tion includes instruction.
has nothing to do. In the French language I do not even The so-called science of pedagogy is interested only in
know a word corresponding to the concept of culture: education, and looks upon a man receiving his culture as
education, instruction, civilization are entirely different upon a being entirely subject to the educator. Only
concepts. Even thus there is no word in English which through him does the man in the formative period of
corresponds to the concept of obrazovanie (culture).l culture receive cultural or educational impressions,
The German practical pedagogues sometimes do not whether these impressions be books, stories, memorizing,
acknowledge the subdivisions into education and culture: artistic or bodily exercises. The whole external world
both are welded into one inseparable whole. In talking is allowed to act upon the pupil only to the extent to
once with the famous Diesterweg, I led him up to the which the educator finds it convenient. The educator
question of culture, education, and instruction. Diester- tries to surround his pupil with an impenetrable wall
weg spoke with malicious irony of people who made such against the influences of the world, and allows only so
subdivisions, for according to him all these ran together. much to pass through his scientific scholastico-educational
And yet we spoke of education, culture, and instruction, funnel as he deems to be useful. I am not speaking of
and we clearly understood each other. He himself said what has been done by so-called unprogressive men, - I
that culture had an educational element which was am not fighting windmills, - I am speaking of the com-
included in every instruction. prehension and application of education by so-called
What do these words mean? How are they under- excellent, progressive educators. Everywhere the influ-
stood, and how should they be understood? ence of life is removed from the cares of the pedagogues;
everywhere the school is surrounded with a Chinese wall
1 The Russian word for" culture," obrazovanie means also "for- of book knowledge, through which only so much of the
mation," being derived from a word meaning " ir'nage" or "form." vital cultural influence is admitted as may please the
~0lst6y is mistaken in not finding an equivalent word for it in Eng-
I1sh, for "culture" very nearly covers it. However in this essay educators. The influence of life is not recognized. Thus
what is ~ranslated by "education" more nearly ~orresponds to the science called pedagogy looks upon the matter, for
"bringing up," while ~hat is translated by "culture" frequently it assumes the right to know what is necessary for the
corresponds to the English connotations of "education " as which it
is translated elsewhere in these essays. ' formation of the best man, and it considers it possible
108 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES EDUCATION AND CULTURE 109

to remove every extra-educational influence from its phenomena to which pedagogy cannot help paying atten-
charge; even thus they proceed in the practice of edu- tion; the subject of pedagogy ought to ?e ~d can ,be
cation. only culture. Culture, in its widest meamng, m our opm-
On the basis of such a view, education and culture are ion forms the sum total of all those influences which
naturally confused, for it is assumed that if there were de~elop a man, give him a wider world conception, and
not education, there would not be culture. Of late, when furnish him with new information. Children's games,
people have begun dimly to conceive the necessity of a suffering, punishments of parents, books, :work, co.mpul-
freedom of culture, the best pedagogues have come to sory and free instruction, the arts, the SCIences, life,-
the conclusion that instruction is the best means of edu- everything gives culture.
cation, but that the instruction is to be compulsory, Culture in general is to be understood as the conse-
obligatory, and thus have begun to confuse all three quence of all those influences which life exerts on man
conceptions of education, culture, and instruction. (in the sense of the culture of a man we s~y " a cul~,:red
According to the conceptions of the theoretical peda- man "), or, as the influence itself of all VItal condItIons
gogue, education is the action of one man upon another, upon man (in the sense of the culture of a. German, a
and includes three acts: (1) the moral or forcible influ- Russian peasant, a gentleman, we ~a!, ";hIS man has
ence of the educator, - mode of life, punishment; (2) received a good or a bad culture [trammg], and so for~h).
teaching and instruction, and (3) the direction of vital It is only with the last that we have to deal. EducatIOn
influences upon the person under education. The mistake is the action of one man upon another for the purpose of
and confusion of ideas, in our opinion, arises from the making the person under education acquire certain moral
fact that pedagogy takes for its subject education, and habits (we say, "They have educated him [brought him
not culture, and does not perceive the impossibility for up] a hypocrite, a robber, or a good man." The .Spartans
the educator of foreseeing, weighing, and defining all the educated brave men, the French educate one-sIded and
influences of life. Every pedagogue admits that life self-satisfied men). Instruction is the tran.smission .of one
introduces its influence before school and after school, man's information to another (one may mstruct m the
and, in spite of all efforts to remove it, even into school. game of chess, in histo~y, ~ the shoe:naker's art). Teach-
This influence is so strong that the whole influence of the ing a shade of instructIOn, IS the actIOn of one man upon
school education is for the greater part annihilated; but an;ther for the purpose of making the pu~il acquire cer-
the pedagogue sees in this only an insufficient develop- tain physical habits (one teaches ho~ to smg, do ~arpen­
ment of the science and art of pedagogy, and insists upon try, dance, row, declaim). InstructIOn and teaching are
regarding as his problem the education of men according the means of culture, when they are free, and means ?f
to a certain pattern, and not their culture, that is, the education when the teaching is forced upon the pupIl,
study of the paths on which men become cultured, and and whed the instruction is exclusive, that is, when only
the cooperation to this liberal culture. I admit that those subjects are taught which the educator regards as
Unterricht, teaching, instruction, is part of Erziehnng, necessary. The truth presents itself clearly and instinc-
education, but culture includes both. tively to everybody. However muc~ ~e may tr! t? weld
Education is not the subject of pedagogy, but one of the what is disconnected, and to subdIVIde what IS msepa-
110 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES EDUCATION AND CULTURE 111
rabIe, and to subordinate thought to the existing order of bunwn thought, and, therefore, it cannot be put at the
things, - truth is apparent. base of intelligent human activity, - of science.
Education is a compulsory, forcible action of one per. Education is the tendency of one man to make another
son upon another for the purpose of forminu a man such just like himself. (The tendency of a poor man to
as will appear to us to be good; but cultu~e is the free take the wealth away from the rich man, the feeling of
relation of people, having for its basis the need of one envy in an old man at the sight of fresh and vigorous
man to acquire knowledge, and of the other to impart that youth, - the feeling of envy, raised to a principle and
which he has acquired. Instruction, Unterricht, js a theory.) I am convinced that the educator undertakes
means of both culture and education. The difference with such zeal the education of the child, because at the
b.etween .education ~nd culture lies only in the compul- base of this tendency lies his envy of the child's purity,
SIOn, WhICh e~uca~IOn deems itself in the right to and his desire to make him like himself, that is, to spoil
exert. EducatIOn IS culture under restraint. Culture is him.
free. I know a usurious innkeeper, who has been making
Educ~tion, ~rench education, German Erziehm,ng, are money by all kinds of rascalities, and who, in response to
conceptIOns which are current in Europe; but culture is a my persuasion and flattery to have him send his fine
concept which exists only in Russia and partly in Ger- twelve-year-old boy to my school at Yasnaya Polyana,
many, where there is an almost exact correspondence in makes his red mug bloom out into a self-satisfied smile
th~ .word Bildung. But in France and in England and constantly makes one and the same reply: "That is
this Idea and the word do not exist at all. Civilization so, your Serenity, but it is more important for me first to
is enlightenme~t, instruc~ion is a European conception, saturate him with my own spirit." And so he takes him
untranslatable rnto RussIan, which denotes a wealth of about with him and boasts of the fact that his son has
scholastic scientific information, or the transmission of learned to cheat the peasants who sell his father wheat.
such information, but is not culture, which includes the Who does not know the fathers, educated as yunkers
scientific knowledge, and the arts, and the physical devel- and in military schools, who regard as good only that
opment. culture which is saturated with the spirit in which the
I spoke in my first article on the right of compulsion fathers were educated? Do not professors in the univer-
in matters of education, and have endeavoured to prove sities and monks in the seminaries saturate their students
th~t, firstly, compulsion is impossible; secondly, that it with their own spirit in just such a way 1
brm?s no results or only sad results; thirdly, that com- I do not want to prove that which I have already
p~lsIOn. can have no other basis but arbitrary will. (A proved and which is very easy to prove, - that education
CIrCaSSlan teaches to steal, a Mohammedan to kill the as a premeditated formation of men according to certain
infidels.) Education as a subject of science does not ex- patterns is sterile, 1Lnlawful, and impossible. Here I will
is~. Educatio~ i~ the tenden7 toward moral despotism confine myself to just one question. There are no rights
raIsed to a prmcIple. EducatIOn is, I shall not sayan of education. I do not acknowledge such, nor have they
expression of. the bad side of human nature, but a phe- been acknowledged nor will they ever be by the young
nomenon whICh proves the undeveloped condition of generation under education, which always and everywhere
112 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES EDUCATION AND CULTURE 113
is .set against co~pu.lsion in education. How are you It is so easy to come to this simple conclusion that if in
go'tng to prove tkM ngkt? I know nothing and assume the history of human knowledge there have b~en no abso-
nothing, but you acknowledge and assume a new and for lute truths, but mistakes have constantly gIven .way to
us non-existing right for one man to make of others just other mistakes, there is no reason for com:r:elh~g the
such men as he pleases. Prove this right by any other younger generation to acquire information whICh IS sure
argument ~han by the fact that the abuse of power has to prove faulty.
always masted. Not you are the plaintiffs but we _ I have been told: "If it has always been that way,
while you are the defendants. " then what are you worrying about 1 It cannot be other-
. I have several t.imes been answered orally and in print wise." I do not see that. If people have always killed
~n reply to the Ideas expressed in Ydsnaya Polydna, each other it does not follow that it ought always to be
Just as one soothes an unruly child. I was told: "Of that way, ~nd that it is necessary to raise murder to a
?ourse, to ~ducate in the .sa~e manner as they educated principle, especially when the causes. ~f. these mu~d:rs
ill ~he ~~dHeval monast~nes IS bad, but the gynmasia, the have been discovered, and the posslblhty of aVOldmg
ulllversitles, are something quite different." Others told them has been pointed out.
me: " No doubt it is so, but taking into consideration, and The main thing is, why do you, who acknowledge. th~
so forth, such and such conditions, we must come to the universal human right to educate, condemn bad.educatIOn.
conclusion that it could not be otherwise." A father condemns it, when he sends his son to the gym-
~uch a mode of retorting seems to me to betray not nasium; religion condemns it, loo~g at ~he universities;
senousness, but weakness of mind. The question is put the government, society condemn It. EIther you grant
as follows: Has one man the right to educate another? everybody the right, or you grant it to no~ody. I see no
I~ will not do to answer, "No, but - " One must say middle. Science must decide the questIOn whether we
dIrectly, "Yes," or "No." If "yes," then a Jewish syna- have the right to educate, or no~. Why n~t tell the
go?Ue, a sexton's school, have just as much legal right to truth 1 The university does not like the clencal ed~ca­
e:X1st as all our universities. If" no," then your univer- tion, saying that there is nothing worse .than the seml~a­
~lty, as an educational institution, is just as illegal if it is ries' the clericals do not like the univerSIty culture, saymg
Imperfect, and all acknowledge it to be so. I see no middle that'there is nothing worse than the universities, and that
way, not merely theoretically, but even in practice. I am they are only schools of pride and. ath~i~m; parents con-
equally provoked at the gynmasium with its Latin and denm the universities, and the Ulllversities condem.n th.e
at a professor of the university with his radicalism and military schools; the government condenms the UlllverSl-
materialism. Neither the gynmasiast nor the student ties, and vice versa. .
have any freedom of choice. From my own observations Who is right and who wrong 1 Healthy thought III the
even, the results o~ all thes~ kinds of education are equally living, not the dead, people cannot, in view of ~hese ques-
freaky to me. Is It not ObVIOUS that the courses of instruc- tions, busy itself with making pictures for obJec.t study;
tion in our higher institutions of learning will in the it must perforce get an answer to these questlOns. It
twenty-first century appear as strange and useless to our makes no difference whether this thought will be called
descendants, as the medireval schools appear to us now? pedagogy or not. There are two answers: either we must
114 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES EDUCATION AND CULTURE 115
acknowledge the right to be vested in those to whom we are themselves, or, at least, such as they should like to
stm:d ,nearer, or whom we love most, or fear, even as the be. This tendency is so natural that one cannot be pro-
maJonty do (I am ,a priest, and so I consider the seminary voked at it. So long as the right of each individual to
be.t~er than anyth~g else; I am a soldier, so I prefer the free development has not yet entered into the conscious-
mllitar:y sc~?ol; If I am a student, I recognize only ness of all the parents, nothing else can be expected.
the u.rllversltIes: thus we. all d?, only that we strengthen Besides, the parents will, more than anybody else, be
?ur bIas by more or less mgemous arguments, not notic- dependent on what will become of the~r son?; co~se­
mg that .all our opponents do the same); or the right to quently their tendency to educate them m theIr fashIOn
educate IS not to be vested in anybody. I chose this latter may be called natural, if not just.
way, and I have tried to prove why. The second cause which produces the phenomenon of
I. s,ay that the u.niversities, not only the Russian uni- education is religion. As long as a man - Mohamme-
verslt16?, but those m the whole of Europe, since they are dan, Jew, or Christian - believes firmly that a man who
~ot entIrely free, have no other basis than that of arbitra- does not recognize his teaching cannot be saved, and for
rmess, and are as monstrous as the monastic schools. I ever loses his soul, he cannot help wishing, even though
b.eg my future critics not to shade down my deductions: by force, to convert and educate every child in ~is tenet,s.
~Ither I am talking nonsense, or else the whole pedaaoay I repeat: religion is the only lawful and senSIble basIS
IS at fault, - there is no middle way. Thus so lonoa ~s of education.
no proof will be given of the right to educate'I shall "not The third and most essential cause of education is con-
recognize it. Still, though I do not recognize'the right to tained in the need which the government has of educating
educate, I cannot help recognizing the phenomenon itself such people as it can employ for certain r~rposes. On
the fact of the education, and I must explain it. ' the basis of this need are founded the mlhtary schools,
~ence c~mes e~ucation and that strange view of our the schools of law, engineering, and others. If there
soc~ety, that mexphcable contradiction in consequence of were no servants of the government, there would be no
whICh we say that this mother is bad, she has no right government; if there were no government, there wO,":ld
to educate her daughter, let us take her away from her be no state. Consequently, this cause, too, finds Its
mo~her.' this institution is bad, let us destroy it, this insti- unquestionable justification.
tutIOn IS good, let us support it? By dint of what does The fourth cause, finally, lies in the need of society, of
education exist?
that society which with us is represented by the gentr:y,
If such an abnormal condition as the use of force in the officialdom, and partly by the merchant class. ThIS
cultu~e - education - has existed for ages, the causes society needs helpers, abettors, and accomplices.
of thIS phenomenon must be rooted in human nature. I It is remarkable, - I beg the reader for clearness' sake
see these causes: .<I) in, the ~amily, (2) in religion, (3) in to pay special attention to the followin~ circumstance,-
~he state, and ~4) m SOCIety (m the narrower sense, which it is remarkable that in science and literature we con-
m our country mcludes the official circles and the gentry). tinually meet with attacks made upon the compUlsion ?f
The first caus~ is due to the fact that the parents, who- domestic education (they say the parents corrupt theIr
ever they be, WIsh to make their children such as they children, - whereas it seems so natural for the parents to
116 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES EDUCATION AND CULTURE 117
wi~h. to make ~heir .children like themselves), and upon are concerned only about bringing up the children under
relIgIOUS educatIOn (It seems it was but a year ago that their charge in such a way as not to resemble their
all Europe ~o~ned for a Jew boy who had been brought parents. Some educators naively declare themselves to
up by a ChrIstIan, whereas there is nothing more lawful be, some, without declaring it, consider themselves to be,
than the desire to give the boy, who has fallen into my samples of what their pupils ought to be, and their
~ands, ,the mean.s of eternal salvation in the one religion pupils' parents they regard as samples of that rudeness,
m ,:hich I belIeve), and attacks upon the education of ignorance, and vice which they are not to be.
offiClals and officers; but how is a government, which is The lady teacher, a freaky creature, contorted by life,
necessary for all of us, not to educate its servants for its who places the whole perfection of human nature in the
Own sak~ and for ?urs? Yet one does not hear any art of bowing, putting on a collar, and in speaking French,
attacks dIrected agamst the education of society P" will inform you confidentially that she is a martyr to her
leO'ed so . t 'th . . rIVI-
, '" Cle y, WI Its university, is always right, and yet duties; that all her educational efforts are lost in vain on
It educates the students in conceptions contrary to those account of the impossibility of completely removing the
of the. masses, and has no other justification than pride. children from the influence of their parents; that her
Why I~ that so ~ I think it is so, because we do not hear charges, who had already begun to forget Russian and to
the VOlc? of him who attacks us; we do not hear it, speak poor French, who had begun to forget their friend-
because It does not speak in print and down from the ships with the cooks and their associations with the
pro~essor's chair. . But it is the mighty voice of the people, kitchen, and their running about barefoot, and who, thank
whlCh one must listen to carefully in order to hear it God, had learned all about Alexander the Great and
~ake any public institution of our time and of' our about Guadeloupe, upon meeting their home folk,- alas!
sO~Iety, - from the popular school and the home for poor - forget all that and acquire anew their trivial habits.
chIldren t~ the. ~emale .boarding-school, to the gymnasia This teacher will, without being embarrassed by the
and the u:~llversItleS,- :n all of these institutions you will presence of her pupils, speak in derision of their mothers
find one mcomprehensIble phenomenon which does not or in general of all women who belong to their circle,
startle anybody. The parents, beginning with the peas- considering it her special merit, by means of ironical
ants and burghers,. and ending with the merchants and remarks upon the former circle of the pupils, to change
~he gentr!, complam that their children are educated in their view and ideas.
Ideas foreIgn to their circle. The merchants and gentle- I do not mention those artificial material surroundings
folk of the ~ld strle s~y: "We do not want universities which must entirely change the whole view of the pupils.
and gym~asla ";~lCh WIll make atheists and freethinkers At home all the comforts of life, the water, the cakes,
of our chIldren. The peasants and merchants do not good food, the well-prepared dinner, the cleanliness and
want any schools, homes, or boarding-schools because they comfort of the house, - all that depended on the labours
do .not 'Yant their children to become" white-hands" and and cares of the mother and of the whole family. The
SCrIbes, mstead of plough men. more labour and care, the more comforts; the less labour
All this time all the educ~tors, without exception, from and care, the less comfort. It is a simple thing, but,
the popular schools to the higher institutions of learning, I dare think, it is more instructive than French and
118 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES EDUCATION AND CULTURE 119
Alexan~er the Great. In the public education this con- nd the universities. The universities? Yes, the univer-
stant VItal reward for labour is removed to such an :ities. 1 will take the liberty o~ analy~ing. also this
extent that, no matter whether the pupil will think of it temple of wisdom. From my pomt o~ VIew It has not
or not, her dinner will be neither better nor worse her advanced one step beyond the boardmg-school;. more
pi1low-s~ps will be neither cleaner nor more soiled: the than that, in it lies the root of evil, - the despotIsm of
floors wIll be waxed neither better nor worse' she has society, against which no hand has yet been raised.
not even her own little cell, her corner, which'she may Just as the boarding-school has decided that there is
fix up as she pleases, or not; nor has she a chance to nO salvation without the instrument called a piano, and
~ake something for herself out of ribbons and odd without the French language, even so one wiseacre, or a
pIeces. company of such wiseacres (1 do not car~ if by this com-
"Well, who would strike a prostrate person," nine- pany will be understood the representatIves of European
tent~s of my readers will say, " so what sense is there in science, from which we supposedly have borrowed the or-
talking about the boarding-schools?" and so forth. No ganization of our universities,. ~ in any' case this .compa?y
they are not p~ostrate, they ~re up and about, leaning of wiseacres will be very inSIgnificant m companson WIth
safely on the rIght of educatIOn. The boarding-schools that mass of students for whom the university is organ-
ar~ no ~~y more monstrous than the gymnasia and the ized in the future), have established a university for t~e
UlllversltIeS. At the base of all of them lies one and the study of positively all sciences in their highest, th~Ir
same principle, which is, the right, delegated to one man, very highest development, and, you must not forget It,
or. to a small group of men, to make of other people any- have established such institutions in Moscow, St. Peters-
thmg they please. The boarding-schools are not pros- burg, Kazan, Kiev, Dorpat, Kharkov, and to-morrow will
trate, - thousands of them exist, and will exist, because establish some more in Saratov and in Nikolaev ; wherever
they have the same right to furnish culture as the edu- they please, they will establish an institution for the study
?at~onal gymnasia and universities. The only difference of all the sciences in their highest development. 1 doubt
IS, If any, that we do not for some reason recognize the if these wiseacres have thought out the organization of
far.nily's right to educate as they please, - we tear the such an institution.
child away from her corrupt mother and place her in The boarding-school teacher has an easier task: she has
a home, where a corrupt lady teacher will straighten a model- herself. But here the models are too varied
her out. and too complex. But let us suppose that. su~h an organ-
We do not recognize the right of a reliO'ion to educate' ization is thought out; let us suppose, whICh IS less prob-
we exclaim against the seminaries and m~nastic schools ~ able, that we possess people for these .ins~itutions. I:et
w,e do. not re?ognize the state's right to educate; we ar~ us look at the activity of such an instItutIOn and at ItS
dIssatIsfied WIth the military schools, with the schools of results. 1 have already spoken of the impossibility of
law, ~nd so for~h; .but. we ~ack t~le courage to deny the proving the programm.e of any institut.ion of learning,
legality of the InstItutIOns m whICh society, that is, not much less of a univerSIty, as of one whICh prepares not
the masses, but the higher society, claim the right to for any other institution, but directly for life. 1 will o~ly
educate as they please, - the boarding-schools for girls, repeat - in which all unbiassed people must necessanly

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120 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES EDUCATION AND CULTURE 121
agree with me - that there is no possibility of proving sible Slavic words, which lasts, as is well known, three
the necessity of subdividing the department of study. or four years. The information taken away from s~ch
Both the boarding-school teacher and the university instruction proves inapplicable to life; the moral. habIts,
regard it as the first condition of admitting people to the taken away from there, consist in disrespect for his elders
participation in the culture that they be detached from and teachers, sometimes in the theft of books, and so
the circle to which they originally belonged. The univer- forth, and, above all, in idleness and indolence.
sity, as a general rule, admits only students who have It seems to me that it is superfluous to prove that a
passed a seven years' apprenticeship at a gymnasium, and school in which it takes three years to learn that which
who have lived in large cities. A small proportion of could be acquired in three months is a school of idleness
special students pass the same gymnasium course with and indolence. A child who is compelled to sit motion-
the aid of private teachers, instead of the gymnasium. less at his book for the period of six hours, studying the
Before entering the gymnasium, a pupil has to pass whole day that which he ought to learn in half an hour,
through a course of instruction at a county and popular is artificially trained in the most complete and most
school. baneful idleness.
I will try, by leaving aside all learned references to Upon the children's returning from such a school, nine-
history and all ingenious comparisons with the state of tenths of the parents, especially the mothers, find them
affairs in European countries, to speak simply of what is partially spoilt, physically enfeebled, and alienated; but
taking place under our eyes in Russia. the necessity of making successful men of the world of
I hope that all will agree with me that the purpose of them urges the parents to send thelIl: ?r:, to the c?unty
Our educational institutions consists chiefly in the dissem- school. In this institution the acqUIsItIOn of habIts of
ination of culture among all classes, and not in the con- idleness, deceit, hypocrisy, and the physical deterioration
servation of culture in some one class which has taken continue with greater vigour. In the county school one
exclusive possession of it, that is, that we are not so sometimes sees healthy faces, in the gymnasium rarely,
much concerned about the culture of the son of some in the university hardly ever. In the cou~ty school t~e
nabob or dignitary (these will find their culture in a subjects of instruction are even less applIcable to lIfe
European, if not in a Russian, institution), as that we than in the first. Here begin Alexander the Great and
should give culture to the son of an innkeeper, of a mer- Guadeloupe, and what purports to be an expl~nation. of
chant of the third guild, of a burgher, of a priest, of a the phenomena of Nature, which ~ive the p~pil n?thmg
former manorial servant, and so forth. I leave out the but false pride and contempt for hIS parents, III WhICh he
peasant, for that would be an entirely unrealizable dream. is supported by the example of his teachers. Who does
In short, the aim of the university is the dissemination not know those pupils who have an utter contempt for
of culture among the greatest possible number of men. the whole mass of uneducated people on the ground that
Let us take, for example, the son of a small town they have heard from the teacher that the earth is round,
merchant or a small yeoman. At first the boy is sent to and that the air consists of hydrogen and oxygen!
school to learn the rudiments. This instruction, as is After the county school, that foolish mother, whom
well known, consists in the memorizing of incomprehen- the writers of novels have so pleasantly ridiculed, worries
122 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES EDUCATION AND CULTURE 123
st~l more about her physically and morally changed calmly, at the circle from which he has emanated, and
child. Ther~ follows the course in the gymnasium, with in which he will have to live; he looks at it with
the same artIfi~es of ex~minations and compulsion, which contempt, loathing, and supercilious compassion. Thus
evolve hypocrIsy, deceIt, and idleness, and the son of he looks at the people of his circle and at his relatives,
a merchant or of a petty yeoman, who does not know and even thus he looks at the activity which ought to be
where ~o find a workman or clerk, studies by rote French his according to his social standing. Only three careers
or Latm grammar, the history of Luther and in a lan- exclusively present themselves to him surrounded by a
guage not familiarly his own, makes vam' end~avours to golden aureole: the learned, the literary, and the official
write a composition on the advantages of a representative Among the subjects of instruction there is not one
mode of government. In addition to all this totally which is applicable to life, and they are taught in pre-
inapplicable wisdom, he learns to make debts, to cheat, cisely the same manner in which the psalter and Obo-
to extort money from his parents, to commit debauches d6vski's geography are studied. I exclude only the
and so forth, acquiring sciences which will receive thei~ experimental subjects, such as chemistry, physiology,
fin~l development in the university. Here, in the gym- anatomy, and even astronomy, where the students are
naSIUm, we see the final alienation from home. compelled to work; all the other subjects, such as
Enlightened teachers endeavour to raise him above his philosophy, history, law, philology, are learned by rote,
natural surroundings, and for this purpose have him read with the only purpose in view that of being able to
Byelinski, Macaulay, Lewes, and so forth, not because answer questions at the examinations, whatever the
he may ~ave an exclusive bent for something in particu- examinations be, for promotion or final, - it makes no
lar, but m ?rder to develop him, as they call it. And difference which.
the gymnasIast, o.n the basis of dim conceptions and of I see the haughty contempt of the professors as they
wo:d~ corr~spo~ding to them, - progress, liberalism, ma- read these lines. They will not even honour me with
terIalIsm,. ~IstorlCa~ evolution, etc., -looks with contempt an expression of their anger, and will not descend from
and hostilIty at hIS past. The aim of the instructors is the height of their grandeur in order to prove to a writer
attained, ~ut. t?e parents, especially the mother, with still of stories that he does not understand anything in this
greater ll1lSglVlllgS and sadness look at their emaciated important and mysterious business. I know that, but
sel£-confiden~ a~d sel~-satisfied Vanya, speaking a strang~ that does not by any means stop me from pointing out
language, thI?ki~g w~th a strange mind, smoking cigar- the deductions of reason and of observation.
ettes, and drlllklllg wrne. "The deed is done, and there I cannot with the professors recognize the mystery
~re others li~e him," think his parents; "no doubt that of culture, invisibly performed on the students, independ-
IS the way It ought to be," and Vanya is sent to the ently from the form and the contents of the lectures of
university. The parents dare not tell themselves that the professors. I recognize nothing of the kind, just
they were mistaken. as I do not recognize the mysterious, unexplained cultural
In the university, as was said before, you will rarely influence of the classical education, which they no longer
see a he~lthy, fresh face, and you will not see one who deem it necessary to discuss. No matter how many
looks WIth respect, or even without respect, if only universally recognized wiseacres and respectable people

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124 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES EDUCATION AND CULTURE 125
~ay affirm that for the development of a man nothing a frightened or a merry look at the examination, or I
IS more useful than the study of Latin grammar, and must share the professor's opinions, or I must regularly
Greek and Latin verses in the original, when it is possible attend his evenings at home (these are not my supposi-
to read them in translation, I will not believe it, just tions, but the opinions of the students, which one may
as I cannot believe that it is good for a man's develop- hear at any university). While listening to the pro-
ment to stand three hours on one foot. That has to be fessor's lecture, I may differ from his view, I may, on
proved by something more than experience. the basis of my readings in regard to this subject, find
By experience everything imaginable may be proved. that the professor's lectures are bad, - I still must listen
The reader of the psalter proves by experience that the to them or, at least, memorize them.
best method for teaching reading is to make one study In the universities there exists a dogma which is not
the psalter; the shoemaker says that the best way to promulgated by the professors: it is the dogma of the
learn his art is to make the boys for two years fetch professor's papal infallibility. Moreover, the culture is
water, chop ~ood, and so forth. In this manner you may imparted to the student by the professor precisely as
prove anythmg you please. I say all this so that the is done with all priests, secretly, in the cell, and with
defenders of the university may not tell me of the his- a demand for reverential respect from the uninitiated and
torical meaning, of the mysterious cultural influence, of from the students. As soon as a professor is appointed,
the common bond of the governmental educational insti- he begins to lecture, and though he be naturally dull,
tutions! tha~ .they may not adduce to me as an example and duller during the performance of his duties, though he
the Ulllversitles of Oxford and Heidelberg, but that they may have fallen entirely behind science, though he have
may allow me to discuss the matter according to good an unworthy character, - he continues to read as long as
common sense, and that they themselves may do so. he lives, and the students have no means of expressing
All I know is that when I enter the university at the their satisfaction or discontent. Moreover, that which
age of from. sixteen to eighteen years, the circle of my the professor lectures upon remains a secret to all but the
knowledge IS already defined for me, as it was in the students. It may be this is due to my ignorance, but
dep.artn:ent which I entered, and it is defined quite I do not know of any manuals composed from the lectures
arbltranly. I come to anyone of the lectures prescribed of a professor. If there have existed such courses, the
for me by the department, and I am supposed not only proportion of them will be about one in the hundred.
to he~r ~ll the professor is lecturing about, but even to What is that? A professor lectures on a science in
commIt It to memory, if not word for word, at least sen- a higher cultural institution, -let us say the history
te:lCe for s~ntence. If I do not learn it all, the professor of Russian law, or civil law, - consequently he knows
WIll not .gIve me the necessary diploma at the final or this science in its highest development, consequently he
at the ble~mial examinations. I do not speak of the has been able to combine all the different views held in
abuses whICh are repeated a hundred times. In order respect to this science, or to select one of them, the most
to receive this diploma, I must have certain habits which modern, and to prove why it is so; why, then, does he
the professor approves of: I must either always be sitting deprive us, and all of Europe, of the fruits of his wisdom,
on the first bench and take down notes, or I must have and why does he impart them only to the students who
126 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES
EDUCATION AND CULTURE 127
attend his lectures? Does he not know that there are
which they for thirty years in succession have been
good publishers who pay good sums for good books, that
teaching our children and brothers. But as. matters now
there e~ists a literary .criticism, which appreciates literary
are the reading of lectures is only an amusmg ceremony
productIOns, and that It would be far more convenient for
which has no meaning, particularly amusing on account
the studen~s to rea~ his book at home, lying on the bed,
of the solemnity with which it is performed. .
than to wrIte out hIS lectures? If the science is changed
I am not on the lookout for means to mend the Ulll-
and made fuller each year, then there may appear each
versities; I do not say that, by giv~ng the students .the
year new supplementary articles. Literature and society
would be grateful to him. Why do not the professors privilege of retor~ing ~t t~e lectu~es, It. would be poss~ble
print their courses? to invest the ulllverslty IllstructIOn WIth some meanmg.
So far as I know the professors and students, I think that
I should like to ascribe this to an indifference to liter-
in such a case the students would act like schoolboys
ary success, but, to my misfortune, I see that these same
and would be given to liberal commonplaces, while t~e
high p~iests of science do not refuse to write a light politi.
professors would not be able coolly to carryon the dIS-
?al artICle, one that often does not touch upon their sub.
cussion without having recourse to force, and matters
~ect. I. a~ afraid that the mystery of our university would ~nly be worse. But from that, I think, it does
lllstructlOn IS due to the fact that ninety out of everyone
not at all follow that the students must by all means be
hundred courses would not, if they were printed, stand
silent and that the professors have the right to say what
our undeveloped literary criticism. Why is it absolutely
they please; from this only follows that the whol.e struc-
necessary to lecture? Why can't the students be given
ture of the university is placed on a false foun~atIOn. .
a good book, their Own or somebody else's, one or two,
or ten good books? I can understand a university, correspondmg to ItS
name and its fundamental idea, - as a collectio~ of .~en
The condition of university instruction, that the pro-
for the purpose of their mutual cul~ur~. Su~h ulllversltIeS,
fessor must lecture and that his lectures must be abso-
unknown to us, spring up and eXIst m va~ous corners of
lut.ely ~omethin? of. his own, belongs to the dogmas of Russia' in the universities themselves, III the student
ulllverslty practIce, m which I do not believe and which
circles, 'people come together, read, discuss, until at l~st
it is impossible to prove. "The oral trans~ission im-
the rule establishes itself when to meet and how to dIS-
presses the minds better, and so forth" I shall be told'
cuss. That is a real university. But our unive~sities? in
all that is not true. I know myself' and many others:
who are not an exception but form the common rule, and spite of all the empty p!att!e a.bout th~ seeming l~beralIs~
of their structure, are IllstltutIOns whICh ~Y then orgalll-
who understand nothing when told orally, but who com-
zation in no way differ from female boardlllg-sc~ools and
prehend well only when they quietly read a book at
military academies. As the military schools tral~ offi?e.rs,
home: T?e oral transmission would only then have a
as the schools of law train officials, so the UlllversltIeS
meamng If the students had a right to oppose, and the
train officials and men of university culture. (This is, as
lecture were ~ conversation, and not a lesson. Only then
all know, a special rank, a calling, almost a caste.). .
we, the publIc, would have no right to demand of the
The late university occurrences find an explanatIOn III
professors that they should publish those manuals from
the simplest manner possible: the students were per-
128 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES EDUCA.TION AND CULTURE 129
mitted to let the collars of their shirts protrude and to true, the time has passed when children are beaten for
wear their uniforms unbuttoned, and they were n~ longer their studies and when things are learned by rote,-
to be punished for non-attendance at lectures, whereupon that is all very true; but you must admit that it is some-
the whole structure came very near to its fall. To mend times impossible to get along without the rod, and that
matters, there is this means: incarcerate them again for the children must be compelled to memorize. You are
non-a~tendance at lectures, and enforce again the wearing right, but why go to extremes?" and so forth, and so forth.
of umforms. It would be better still, following the ex- You would think that these people reflect charmingly,
ampl~ set by the English institutions, to punish them for but it is even they who have become the enemies of
unsatIsfactory progress and for misbehaviour and above truth and freedom. They seem to be agreeing with you
all, to limit the number of students to the nU~ber ~f men in order, having taken possession of your thought, to
required. This would be consistent, and, under such an change and cut and lop it according to their fashion.
arrangement, the universities will give us just the men it They do not admit at all that freedom is necessary; they
gave us before. only say so because they are afraid not to bow before the
The universities, as establishments for the education idol of our age. They only, like officials, praise the gov-
o~ members of society, in the sense of the higher official ernor to his face, as long as he has the power in his
cIrcles, are reasonable; but the moment men wanted to hands. How many thousand times I prefer my friend
make of them institutions for the culture of the whole the priest, who says directly that there is no reason for
Russian society, they proved worthless. I positively can- reflection as long as people are liable to die unfortunate,
not under~tand on what ground uniforms and discipline without knowing the divine law, and that, therefore, all
~re reco~Ized. ~s necessary in the military schools, while means must be employed in order to teach the child the
m. the umv~rsIt~es, where the instruction is just the same, divine law, - to save him. He says that compulsion is
wIth exammatIOns, compulsion, and programmes and necessary, that teaching is teaching, and not playing.
without the student's right to retort and keep away' from With him I can debate, but with the gentlemen who
lectu~es, -:- why in the universities they speak of freedom serve both despotism and liberty, never.
and Imagme that they can get along without the means It is these very gentlemen who breed that peculiar
employed at the military schools. Let not the example condition of the universities under which we now live,
of the German universities confuse us ! We cannot take and in which one needs that special art of diplomacy,
an example from the German universities: with them when, according to Figaro, it is not known who is cheat-
every custom, every law is sacred, and with us happily ing and who is cheated. The students deceive their
or unhappily, it is the other way. ' parents and instructors; the instructors deceive the par-
. The ~hole trouble, both in the matters of university ents, the students, and the government, and so forth, in
InstructIOn and of culture in general, is caused mainly all possible combinations and permutations. We are
by people who do not reflect, but who submit to the ideas told that it must be so; we are told: "You, the uniniti-
of the age, and who thus imagine that it is possible to ated, don't stick your nose into our business, for here a
serve two masters at once. Those are the same men who special art and special information are needed, - this is a
reply to my thoughts expressed before as follows: "It is historical evolution." And yet the affair seems so simple.
130 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES EDUCATION AND CULTURE 131
Some want to teach and others want to learn. Let them sities were founded in order to train these. Now higher
teach as much as they can, and let them learn as much society needs liberals of a certain pattern, and the univer-
as they will. sities train these. The only blunder is that the masses
I remember, during the very heat of Kostomarov's do not need these liberals at all.
university project, I defended the project in the presence It is generally said that the defects of the universities
of a professor. With what inimitable, profound serious- are due to the defects in the lower institutions. I affirm
ness, almost in a whisper, impressively and confidentially the opposite: the defects of the popular, espe.ciall~ the
the :rrofessor. said to me: ". Do you know what that proj~ county, schools, are mainly due to the false eXIgenCIes of
ect IS? . It IS not. the proJect of a new university, it is the universities.
the proJect of domg away with universities" and he Let us now take a glance at the practice in the univer-
looked with an expression of terror at me. "What of it ? sities. Out of fifty students who compose the audience,
That would be a good thing," I said, "because the uni- ten men in the first two rows of seats have note-books
versities are bad." The professor would not discuss any and are takin Cf down notes; of these ten, six keep notes
further with me, although he had not been able to prove in order to find favour with the professor, from a feeling
to me that universities were good, just as nobody else is of subserviency worked out by the lower school a~d by
able to prove it. the gymnasium; the other four take notes. from a SIllcere
All men are human, even professors. Not one labourer desire to write down the whole course, whIch they aban-
wil~ say that we must destroy the factory where he earns don at the fourth lecture, until only one-fifteenth or one-
a pIece of bread, and he will say so not from conviction twentieth of the whole number continue to write down
but unconsciously. Those gentlemen who are concerned the lectures.
about a greater freedom of the universities resemble a It is very difficult not to miss a lecture. The student
man who, having brought up some young nightingales consults the manual, and it naturally occurs to him that
and concluding that they need freedom, lets them out of it is useless to write out the lectures when the same
the cage and gives them freedom at the end of cords result may be obtained from a manual or from the notes
attached to their feet, and then wonders why the nightin- of somebody else. In mathematics, and for all that in
gales are not doing any better on the cord but only break any other subject, as every teacher must know, .not one
their legs and die. ' student is able all the time to follow the deductIons and
Noone has ever thought of establishing universities conclusions of the teacher, however precise, clear, and
based on the needs of the people. That was impossible be- interesting the teacher may try to be. Very frequently
ca~se t~e. needs of the people have remained unknown. The there happens a moment of dulness or absent-mindedness
umversltles were founded to answer certain needs, partly with the student: he ought to ask a question, why, for what
of the. gov~r~ment and partly of higher society, and for purpose, what preceded it; the connection is lost, but the
the umversltle~ was ~sta?lis?ed all that preparatory lad- professor goes on. The chief care of .the students (I am
der of educatIOnal mstltutIOns which has nothing in now speaking only of the very best) l~ to get notes or a
common with the needs of the people. The government manual, from which it would be poSSIble to prepare for
needed officials, doctors, jurists, teachers, and the univer- the examinations.
132 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES EDUCATION A.J."W CULTURE 133

The majority go to lectures either because they hay the dissemination of the rudiments among the masses, the
nothing else to do, or because they have not yet grown! laying of some prank in common on ~ professor o~ on
tired of them, or to please the professor, or, in rare cases. fhe inspector, which is called den:andlll~ explanatlOns,
because it is the right thing to do, when one professor i~': tl e union of the two circles, the arIstocratIc and the ple-
a hundred becomes popular and it is a kind of mental: b 1ian and so forth. All that is sometimes ridiculous, but
dandyism with the students to attend his lectures. From' o~ten' dear, touching, and poetical, such as idle youth
the point of view of the students, the lectures nearly frequently i s . . .
always are an empty formality, necessary only for the The thing is, that 1ll these occupatIOns lose themselves
sake of the examinations. The majority of students do young men, sons of petty landowners or of merchants of
not study their subjects during the whole time they are the third guild, whom the parents have sent away to
given, but instead busy themselves with other subjects,' make helpers of them, one, to make his ~mall ~state pro-
the programme of which is determined by the circle with, ductive the other to help him carryon hIS busmess more
which the students fall in. The lectures are looked upon regularly and m~re profitably. In these circles t~e fol-
in the same way in which soldiers look upon military lowinO' opinions prevail about the professors: one IS very
exercises, while an examination is to them a parade, a stupid, though a worker; another ~as ~allen beh~nd in his
dull necessity. science though an able man; a thud IS not qmte honest
The programme which circles have laid down of late is and allows only those to pass who fulfil certain demands
not varied; it generally consists of the following: of the of his' a fourth is the laughing-stock of the human race,
reading and re-reading of old articles by Byelinski and of who, f~r thirty years in s~ccession, h~s been reading his
new ones by Chernyshevski, Antonovich, Plsarev, and so notes which are written 1ll an abommable language,-
forth; then, of the reading of new books which are and happy is the university which, to fifty professors,
enjoying great popularity in Europe, without any connec- has at least one who is respected and beloved by the
tion or any relation to the subjects which they study, students.
such as Lewes, Buckle, and so on. But their chief occu- Formerly when there were annual examinations, there
pation is the reading of prohibited books and the copying took place ~ach year, not exactly a study of the subj.ect,
of these, such as Feuerbach, Moleschott, Buchner, and but at least a cramming from notes before the examllla-
especially Gertsen and Ogarev. Books are copied, not tions. Now such cramming takes place twice: in passing
according to their worth, but in proportion to their degree from the second to the third year, and at the final exam-
of prohibition. I have seen in students' rooms heaps of ination. The lot which was then cast four times during
copied books, incomparably more voluminous than would university life is now cast twice.
be the whole four years' course of instruction, and among As 10nO' as there exist examinations under the present
these copy-books fat books of the most abominable of procedure: whether pass examinations or .finals, there
Pushkin's poems and of the most insipid and most colour- must necessarily exist the senseless crammlllg, and th.e
less of Rylyeev's poems. Other occupations are meetings lottery and the personal likes and dislikes, and the arbl-
at which are discussed the most varied and most impor- trarine~s of the professor, and the cheating of .the ~t~dents.
tant subjects, such as the independence of Little Russia, I do not know what the founders of the umversltl6S felt
134 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES EDUCATION AND CULTURE 135
about the examinations, but as common sense tells me . that the cases adduced form the rule, and not the excep-
and as I have experienced it more than once, and a~ tion, and that it cannot be otherwise. If there is anybody
many, many people have agreed with me, - examinations who doubts it, we will mention millions of cases. The~e
cannot serve as a measure of knowledge, but only as a will be found protesters against the Ministry of Pubhc
field for rank arbitrariness on the side of the professors, Instruction who will sign their names, as there ~ave been
and of rank deception on the side of the students. protesters against the Ministry of Inter~al AffaIrs .and of
I had to pass examinations three times in my life: the Justice. What happened in 1848, and m 1862, WIll also
first year I was not promoted from the first course to the happen in 1872, as long as the organization remains the
second by the professor of Russian history, who had shortly same. The abolishment of the uniforms and of annual
before .that had a quarrel with my family, although I had examinations does not further this freedom one hair's
not mISsed one lecture and knew Russian history; also breadth; these are only new patches on an old garment,
for number one 1 in German, given me by the same pro- which only tear the old cloth. No man putteth new
fessor, although I knew German incomparably better than wine into old bottles.
all the students of our course. In the following year I I flatter myself with the hope that even the defenders
received five in Russian history, because, having had a of the uni, 3rsity will say: "That is so, or partly true.
dispute with a fellow student as to who had a better But you forget that there are students who ~oll~w the
memo~y, we had learned one question each by heart, and lectures with love and who do not need exammatIOns at
I receIved at the examination the very question I had all, and, what is most important, you forget the cultural
memorized, which, as I well remember, was the biography influence of the universities."
of Mazeppa. That was in the year 1845. In 1848 I No, I forget neither the one nor the other: about the
went to my candidate's examination in the St. Petersburg first, the independently working students,.I WIll. say th~t
University, knowing literally nothing, and having prepared for them there is no need of universities WIth theIr orgalll-
myself but one week before the examinations. I did not zation, - they need only applia~ces, ~ library, - not
sleep for nights, and received candidate's marks in civil lectures to listen to , but conversatIOns WIth men .who .can
.
and criminal law, having prepared each subject not longer guide them. But even for that minori~y the ulll."er~Itles
than a week. In this year 1862, I know students who will not furnish information correspondlllg to theIr cucle,
have graduated by preparing their subjects just one week if they do not wish to becom~ lit~era~en~s or J?rofessors;
before the examinations. I know also of cases, for this the main thing is that even thIS mlllonty IS subject to the
year, where seniors have falsified tickets; I know of one influence which is called cultural, but which I call the
professor who gave a student three instead of five because corruptin cr influence of the universities.
the student allowed himself to smile. The professor The se~ond retort about the cultural influence of the
remarked to him: "We may smile, but you must not," universities belongs to the number of those which are
and put down three. based on faith and first must be proved. Who has proved,
I hope that nobody will regard the adduced cases as and how has it been proved, that the universities have
exceptions. Anyone who knows the universities knows that cultural influeuce, and whence springs that mysterious
lOne is the lowest, and five the highest mark. cultural influence 1 There is no communion with the
136 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES EDUCATION AND CULTURE 137
professors, - there is not that confidence and love which society only intensify his defects, without guides, without
spring from it; there is, in the majority of cases, nothing . an aim, having pushed off from the old and having not yet
but fear and suspicion. The students will learn nothing landed at the new. Such, with rare exceptions, is the
new from the professors which they could not as well position of a student. From this results that which
find out from books. The cultural influence, then, lies in alone can result: officials, fit only for the government; or
the communion of the young men occupied with the same professional officials, or literary officials, fit for society'j or
subjects, I suppose. Doubtless so; but they are for the people aimlessly torn away from their former surroundings,
m.ost part occupied, not with science, as you presume, but with a spoiled youth, and finding no place for themselves
Wlt~ cram~ng for examinations, cheating the professors, in life, so-called people with university culture, - advanced,
a~tmg the liberals, and all such things as will take posses- that is, irritable, sickly liberals.
SIOn of young men who are torn away from their surround- The university is our first and our chief educational
in/?s! their family, and who are artificially connected by the institution. It is the first to arrogate to itself the right
spmt of fellowship, raised to a principle and carried to a of education, and it is the first, so far as the results, which
point of self-contentment, of self-sufficiency. it obtains, indicate, to prove the illegality and impossibility
I am not speaking of the exceptions, of the students of education. Only from the social point of view is it
living with their families, for they are less subject to the possible to justify the fruits of the university. The uni-
cultural, that is, the corrupting influence of students' life; versity trains not such men as humanity needs, but such
nor do I speak of those rare exceptions, where men have as corrupt society needs.
since childhood been devoted to science, who, being con- The course is ended. I presuppose my imaginary
~tantly at work, are also only partially subjected to that alumnus as one of the best in every respect. He comes
mfluence. Indeed, people are being trained for life, for back to his home: all are strangers to him, - his father,
work; every work demands not only familiarity with it, his mother, his relatives. He shares neither their faith,
~ut also order, re~larity, and, above all, the ability to nor their desires, and he prays not to their God, but to
lIve and get along WIth men. See how the son of a peasant other idols. His parents are deceived, and the son fre-
~earns to 1;>ecome a farmer, how the sexton's son, reading quently wishes to unite with them into one family, but he
lD the chOIr, learns to be a sexton, how the son of a Kirgiz no longer can do that. What I say is not an empty phrase,
c~ttle-keeper becomes a herder: he enters very early into not a fancy. I know very many students who, after return-
dIrect relations with life, with Nature, and with men; he ing to their families, were at odds with their families in
le~rns early, while working, to be productive, and he learns, nearly all their convictions, about marriage, about honour,
bemg secure on the material side of life, that is, secure as about commerce. But the deed is done, and the parents
regards a piece of bread, his wearing apparel, his lodging. console themselves with the thought that such is now the
Now lo~k at a s~udent, who is torn away from home, from age; that the present education is such that their son will
t~e famIly, cast mto a strange city, full of temptations for make a career for himself somewhere else, if not in his
hIS J:0uth, without means of support (because the parents former surroundings; that he will find his livelihood and
pro~ld~ only the ~:lecessary means, while all go out to pass means to help them; and that he will be happy in his
theIr tIme well), ill a circle of companions who by their own way.
138 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES EDUCATION AND CULTURE 139
Unfortunately, in nine cases out of ten, the parents are: after a year's existence, a debt of one hundred roubles?
again mistaken. Having graduated, their son does not Why do the masses pay a popular school-teacher eight,
know where to lay down his head. A strange thing it is ,. nbC, ten roubles a month, whether he be a sexton, or a
The information which he has acquired is of no use to student? Why does a merchant employ as a clerk, take
anybody, - no one gives anything for it. Their only·· as a son-in-law into his house, not a student, but a peasant
application is in literature and in pedagogy, that is, in lad?
the science dealing with the education of just such useless Because, I shall be told, society does not yet know
men as he is. hoW to appreciate education; because a student teacher
Now, this is strange: culture is so rare in Russia, so it will not cheat workmen and enslave them by advance
ought to be expensive and highly esteemed. In reality, payments; because a student merchant will not give
the very opposite takes place. We need machinists, for wrong measures and weights; because the fruits of cul-
we have few of them, and we send to all of Europe for ture are not so palpable as the fruits of routine and
machinists and pay them good wages; why, then, do people ignorance.
with a university education say (and there are but few This may be so, I shall reply, only experience has
cultured people among us) that they are needed, whereas taught me the opposite. A student does not know how
we not only do not appreciate them, but they even can to manage an affair, neither honestly, nor dishonestly, or
find no place for themselves? Why does a man who has if he does know how, he manages it in conformity with
finished his apprenticeship with a carpenter, stone-mason, his nature, with that general structure of his moral habits,
or stucco-worker, get at once from fifteen to seventeen which life, independently of school, has evolved in him.
roubles, if he is a workman, and twenty-five roubles a I know an equal number of honest students and of other
month, if he is a master mechanic, a boss, while a student people, and vice versa. But let us even suppose that the
is glad if he gets ten (I except literature and officialdom, university training develops the feeling of justice in man,
but speak only of what a student can get in a practical and that, in consequence of this, uneducated people prefer
activity)? Why do landed proprietors, who have land uneducated men to students and value them higher than
left that must be made productive, pay from three hundred students. Let us suppose that that is so. Why, then,
to five hundred roubles to peasant farmers, when they will can we, so-called cultured people and men of means, the
not pay even two hundred roubles to agricultural students gentry, the litterateurs, the professors, make no other use
and natural science graduates? And why do peasant, and of the students than in government service? I leave out
not student bosses control thousands of workmen at the the government service on the ground that the remunera-
railroads? Why is it that if a student gets a place with tion in that service cannot be taken as a measure of
a good salary, he gets it not for what knowledge he has deserts or of knowledge.
acquired in the university, but for what he has learned Everybody knows that a student, an ex-officer, a landed
later? Why do law students become officers and mathe- proprietor who has squandered his estate, a foreigner, and
maticians and natural science students officials? Why so forth, travels to the capital, the moment he for some
does a ploughman, after living a year in sufficiency, bring reason must earn a livelihood, and, according to his con-
home from fifty to sixty roubles, while a student leaves nections and the influence brought to bear, receives a
140 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES EDUCATION AND CULTURE 141
place in the administration, or, if he does not receive it is, to repeating that eternal circle of cu~ture and to creat-
he regards himself as insulted. It is for that reason that' ing just such useless people for actual hfe.
I do not speak of the remuneration in the service; but I But I have not foreseen one retort, or rather one source
ask why does that same professor, who has imparted that of retorts, which naturally will arise with the majority, of
culture to the students, give fifteen roubles a month to my readers: Why does this same highest cultu:-e, wh,lCh
his janitor, or twenty roubles to a carpenter, while to the turns out to be so fruitful in Europe, become so rnapphca-
student who comes to him he says that he is very sorry, ble with us? The European societies are more cultured
that he cannot give him a place, that all he can do is to than ours, why, then, cannot Russian society travel along
try for him among the officials, or he offers him a ten.' the same path which the European societies have trav-
rouble place as copyist or proof-reader of the work which ersed?
he happens to be publishing; that is, he offers him a place This retort would be insuperable, if it were proved,
in which there is to be applied the knowledge which he first, that the path over which the European nat~ons have
has taken away from the county school, - the ability to travelled, is the best; secondly, that all humamt.y tra:rel
write? There are no places where the knowledge of over the same path; and thirdly, that culture IS berng
Roman law, Greek literature, and integral calculus may' grafted upon our people. The whole East has been
be applied, and there can be n o n e . , educated by entirely different paths than the E,:ropean
Thus, in the majority of cases, the son returning from humanity. If it were proved that a young ammal, a
the university to his father does not justify the hopes, wolf or dog, had been brought up on meat and had in this
of the parents, and, in order that he may not become a manner received its full development, should I have the
burden to the family, he is obliged to accept a place in riaht to conclude that, in order to bring up a young horse
which all the knowledge he needs is the ability to write, 0; a rabbit, I must feed it on meat, in which way alone
and in which he enters into competition with all the I can procure its full development? Could I finally con-
Russians who know the ;rudiments. The only advantage clude from these opposite experiments that, in order to
he has is his rank, which does him good only in service, bring up a bear cub, I must feed it on meat or oats?
where connections and other conditions are more effect- Experience would show me that a bear needs both. Even
ive; another advantage is his liberalism, which is not thouah I may think that it is more natural for meat to
applicable to anything. It seems to me that the percent- formt>flesh, and though my previous experiments confirm
age of men who occupy places with good remuneration my supposition, I cannot contin,;e giving ~he ~olt mea~ to
outside the government service is exceedingly small. cat, if he throws it up every time, and if hIS orgamsm
Trustworthy statistical data about the activity of graduates will not assimilate the food.
would be an important material for the science of culture, The same takes place with the European culture, bo~h
and, I am convinced, would mathematically prove the in form and contents when it is transferred to our SOlI.
truth which I am trying to elucidate from a priori reason- The organism of the Russian people does not as~imila,te
ing and from data at hand, - the truth that people with it; and yet, there must be some other food whlCh WIll
a university education are of little use, and that they Support its organism, for it lives. This food does .not
direct their chief activity to literature and pedagogy; that seem food for us, just as grass is no food for a carmvo-
142 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES EDUCATION AND CULTURE 143
rous ani~al; i:1 the meantime the historico-physiological. lement is present, by no means serves us as a model.
process .1S takmg place, and that food, unacknowledged; We deny the plan of the higher institutions of learning
~hough It b~ by ~lS, is assimilated by the people, and the as much as that of the lower, and we see in it the begin-
Immen~e ammal IS getting stro~ger and growing up. ning of all evil)
Ma~mg a res~me of all saId above, we arrive at the' In order to answer the questions put to us, we will
followmg concluslOns: only transpose them: (1) What is meant by non-interfer-
(1) Culture ~nd education are two distinct conceptions. ence of the school in education? (2) Is such a non-
\2) ~ulture IS free, and, therefore, legal and just; edu- . interference possible? (3) What must the school be, if it
catlOn IS compulsory, and, therefore, illegal and unjust· it is not to interfere in education?
cannot be ju.stified by reason, and, consequently, can~ot To avoid misunderstandings, I must first explain what
form the subJect of pedagogy. . I mean by the word " school," which I used in the same
(3) E~ucation,. as a. phenomenon, has its origin: (a) in sense in my first article. By the word" school" I under-
the. famIly, (b) m faIth, (c) in the government, (d) in stand not the house in which the instruction is given, not
SOCIety. the teachers, not the pupils, not a certain tendency of
(4) Th~ domestic, religious, and governmental bases instruction, but, in the general sense, the conscious activity
of ed~catlOn are natural and find their justification in of hiln who gives culture upon those who receive it, that is,
~ecesslty; but t~e social education has no other founda- one part of culture, in whatever way this activity may
tlOn than the pr~de of human reason, and thus bears the find its expression: the teaching of the regulations to a
most baneful frUlts, such as the universities and university recruit is a school; public lectures are a school; a course
culture. in a Mohammedan institution of learning is a school; the
Now, having in part explained our view on education collections of a museum and free access to them for those
and culture, and having defined the limits of both we who wish to see them are a school.
rna! r~ply to the questions put by Mr. Glyebov in'the I reply to the first question. The non-interference of
perlOdlCal Education (No.5, of 1862). - the first questions the school in matters of culture means the non-interference
that naturally must arise during a serious reflection on the of the school in the culture [formation] of beliefs, the
matter of culture. convictions, and the character of him who receives that
(1) ~at shall a school be if it is not to take part in culture. This non-interference is obtained by granting
the b~ls'tness of education .2 the person under culture the full freedom to avail himself
(2) What is meant by non-interference of the school in of the teaching which answers his need, which he wants,
matters of ed~lCation .? and to avail himself of it to the extent to which he needs
An~ (3) Is .it possible to separate education from in- and wants it, and to avoid the teaching which he does not
struct't~n, especwlly from primary instruction, when the need and which he does not want.
ed,,:catwnal ~lement is brought to bear on the youthful Public lectures, museums are the best examples of
m'tnds even 'tn the higher schools? schools without interference in education. Universities
. (We ?av~ a~ready pointed out that the form of the are examples of schools with interference in matters of
hIgher lllstltutlOns of learning, where the educational education. In these institutions the students are confined
144 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES EDUCATION AND CULTURE 145

to certain limits by a definite course, a programme, a code that if we are not going to understand the word" school ..
of selected studies, by the exigencies of the examinations, in the narrowest sense, but will accept it with the
and by the grant of rights, based chiefly on these exami- above-mentioned definition, we shall find for the lower
nations, or, more correctly, by the deprivation of rights in stages of knowledge and for the lower ages. many
case of non-compliance with certain prescribed conditions. influences of liberal culture without interference ill edu-
(A senior taking his examinations threatened with one of cation, corresponding to the higher ~n.s~itutions and to
the most terrible punishments, - with the loss of his ten the public lectures. Such is the acqUISItIOn of the art of
or twelve years of labour in the gymnasium and in the reading from a friend or a brother; such are ~opular
university, and with the loss of all the advantages in games of children, of the cultural value o~ whICh we
view of which he bore privations for the period of twelve intend writing a special article; such are pubhc spectacles,
years.) panoramas, and so forth; such are pictures and books;
In these institutions everything is so arranged that the such are fairy-tales and songs; such are work and, last,
student, being threatened with punishments, is obliged in the experiments of the school at Yasnaya Polyana.
receiving his culture to adopt that educational element The answer to the first question gives a partial answer
and to assimilate those beliefs, those convictions, and that to the second: is such a non-interference possible 1 We
character, which the founders of the institution want. cannot prove this possibility theoretically. The ~ne
The compulsory educational element, which consists in thing which confirms such a possibility is the obse~vatIOn
the exclusive choice of one circle of sciences and in the which proves that people entirely uneducated, that IS, who
threat of punishment, is as strong and as patent to the are subject only to the free cultural influences, the men
serious observer, .,s in that other institution with corporal of the people are fresher, more vigorous, more powerful,
punishment, which superficial observers oppose to the more independent, juster, humaner, and, above al~, more
universities. useful than men no matter how educated. But It may
Public lectures, whose number is on the continuous be that even this statement need be proved to many.
increase in Europe and in America, on the contrary, not I shall have to say a great deal about these proofs at a
only do not confine one to a certain circle of knowledge, later time. Here I will adduce one fact. Why does the
not only do not demand attention under threat of punish- race of educated people not perfect itself zoologically 1 A
ment, but expect from the students certain sacrifices, by race of thoroughbred animals keeps improving; the race
which they prove, in contradistinction to the first, the of educated people grows worse and weaker. Take at
complete freedom of choice and of the basis on which haphazard one hundred children of several ~ducated gen-
they are reared. That is what is meant by interference erations and one hundred uneducated chIldren of the
and non-interference of school in education. people, and compare them in anything. ~ou please: .in
If I am told that such non-interference, which is strength, in agility, in mind, in the abilIty to acqUIre
possible for the higher institutions and for grown-up knowledge, even in morality, - and in all respects you
people, is not possible for the lower schools and for are startled by the vast superiority on th~ side o~ ~he
minors, because we have no example for it in the shape of children of uneducated generations, and thIS sUperIOrIty
public lectures for children, and so forth, I will answer will be the greater, the lower the age, and vice versa. It
146 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES EDUCATION AND CULTURE 147
is ~erri?le to say ~his, on account of the conclusions to subjects as they know best. Of course, my former expe-
whI~h. ~t leads us, but it is true. A final proof of the rience will guide me in the selection of these lessons, that
possIbIlIty of non-interference in the lower schools for is, we shall not try to offer subjects such as nobody wants
people, t? w~om personal experience and an inner fe~ling to listen to, - in a Russian village we will not teach
tell nothIng In favour of such an opinion, can be obtained Spanish, or astrology, or geography, just as a merchant
?nly by means of a conscientious study of all those free will not open shops of surgical instruments or of crino-
mfluences by mea~s of ~hich the masses get their culture, lines in this village.
by .an all-roun~ dISCUSSIOn of the question, and by a long We may foresee a demand for what we offer; but our
senes of experIments and reports upon it. final judge will be only experience, and we do not think
. What, then, must the school be if it is not to interfere we have the right to open a single shop, in which we are
In matter~ of ed~c~tion? ~ school is, as said above, to sell tar with this condition, that to every ten pounds
the conscIOus. act~Vlty of him who gives culture upon of tar every purchaser must buy a pound of ginger or of
those who receIve It. How is he to act in order not to pomatum. We do not trouble ourselves about the use to
transgress the limits of culture, that is, of freedom? which our wares will be put by the purchasers, believing
.1 ~eply:. the sch?ol must have one aim, - the trans- that they know what they want, and that we have enough
mISSIOn of In.formatIOn, of knowledge, without attempting to do to discover their needs and to provide for them.
to pass over Into the moral territory of convictions beliefs It is quite possible that there will turn up one teacher
and character; its aim is to be nothing but scie~ce and of zoology, one teacher of mediffival history, one of religion,
not the results of its influence upon human person~lity. and one of the art of printing. If these teachers will
The school ~lUSt not tlf to foresee the consequences pro- know how to make their lessons interesting, these lessons
duced by SCIence, but, In transmitting it must leave full will be useful, in spite of their seeming incompatibility
freedom fo: its application. The school 'must not regard and accidentalness. I do not believe in the possibility of
anyone SCIence, D:0r a wh~le code of sciences, as necessary, a theoretically established, harmonious code of sciences,
but .must transllilt that J?formation .which it possesses, but that every science, being the subject of free instruc-
leaVIng the students the fIght to acqUIre it or not. tion, harmonizes with all the others into one code of
The structure and the programme of the school must knowledge for each man.
b? ~ased not. on theoretical speculations, not on the con- I shall be told that in 'such an accidentalness of pro-
Vl?tIOn held m regard to the necessity of such and such gramme there may enter useless, even injurious, sciences
SCIences, but on the mere possibilities, that is, the knowl- into the course, and that many sciences could not be
edge of the teachers. given because the students would not be sufficiently
I will explain it by an example. prepared for them.
I want to estab~ish ~n institution of learning. I form To this I will reply that, in the first place, there are no
~o programme whICh IS based on my theoretical concep- injurious and no useless sciences for anybody, and that
tIOns, and on the basis of this programme look about for we have, as an assurance of that, the common sense and
teachers, but I p:op~se to al~ people who feel that they the needs of the students, who, the instruction being free,
are called to furnIsh mformatIOn to lecture or teach such will not admit useless and injurious sciences, if there
148 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES EDUCATION AND CULTURE 149
were such; that, in the second place, prepared pupils are this prevision of the educational purpose encourages the
wanted only for a poor teacher, but that for a good teacher. The thing is that the educational element of
te~cher it is. easier to begin algebra or analytical geometry science shall not be imparted by compulsion. I cannot
WIth a pupil who does not know arithmetic than with a carefully enough direct the reader's attention to this
pupil who knows it poorly, and that it is easier to lecture circumstance.
on medireval history to students who have not studied The educational element, let us say in mathematics or
anci~nt h~story. I do not believe that a professor, who in in history, is only then imparted to the students when the
a ulllverslty lectures on differential and integral calculus teacher is passionately fond of his subject and when he
or on the history of the Russian civil law, and who can~ knows it well; only then his love is communicated to
not teach arithmetic, or Russian history in a primary the students and has an educational influence upon them.
school, - I do not believe that he can be a good professor. In the contrary case, that is, when it has been decided
I see no use and no merit in good instruction in one somewhere that such and such a subject has an educa-
part of a subject, and even no possibility of giving it. tional value, and one is instructed to teach, and the
Above all, I am convinced that the supply will always others to listen to it, the teaching accomplishes the very
cO!Tespond to ~he demand, and that at each stage of opposite results, that is, it not only does not educate
SClence there will be found a sufficient number of both scientifically, but also makes the science loathsome.
students and teachers. It is said that science has in itself an educational
But how, I shall be told, can a person who teaches cul- element (erziehliges Element); that is true and not true,
ture help wishing to produce a certain educational influ- and in this very statement lies the fundamental error of
ence by ~ea~s of his instru~tion? This tendency is most the existing paradoxical view on education. ~cience is
natural; It IS a natural eXIgency in the transmission of science and has nothing in itself. The educatlOnal ele-
knowledge from him who offers culture to him who ment lies in the teaching of the sciences, in the teacher's
~eceives it. This tendency only imparts strength to the love for his science, and in the love with which it is
l~structor to occupy himself with his subject, - it gives imparted, - in the teacher's relation to his students.. If
h~m that. d~gree ~f enthusiasm which is necessary for you wish to educate the student by science, love your SCMnce
him. It IS ImpoSSIble to deny this tendency, and it has and know it, and the students will love both you and the
never occurred to me to deny it; its existence so much science, and you will edtwate them; but if you yourself do
more cogently proves to me the necessity of freedom in not love it the science will have no educational influence, no
the matter of instruction. matter ho'w tnuch you may compel them to learn it. Here
. ~ man who loves a~d teac?es history cannot be pro- again there is the one measure, the one salvation, the
hIbIted from endeavourmg to Impart to his students that same freedom for the students to listen or not to listen to
historical conception which he himself possesses which the teacher, to imbibe or not to imbibe his educational
he regards as useful and absolutely necessary for ~ man's influence, that is, for them to decide whether he knows
:levelopment; a t~acher cannot be prohibited from impart- and loves his science.
mg that method m the study of mathematics or natural Well, what, then, will the school be with the non-
science which he considers the best; on the contrary, interference in education?
150 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES EDUCATION AND CULTURE 151

An all-sided and most varied conscious activity directed I doubt whether the thought, which I have expressed,
by one man ?n another, for the purpose of transmitting perhaps, indistinctly, awkwardly, inconclusively, will be-
kno~ledge, ~thout compelling the student by direct force come the common possession in another hundred years;
or dIplomatlCally to avail himself of that which we want it is not likely that within a hundred years will die
him to avail himself of. The school will, perhaps, not be those ready-made institutions, schools, gymnasia, uni-
a school as we understand it, - with benches, black- versities, and that within that time will grow up freely
boards, a teacher's or p:ofessor's platform, - it may be a formed institutions, having for their basis the freedom of
panorama, a theatre, a library, a museum a conversation' the learning generation.
the code of the .sciences, the program~e, will probably
everywhere be d~fferent. (I know only my experiment:
the. school at Yasnaya Polyana, with its subdivision of
subjects, which I have described, in the course of half a
yea~ complete~y changed, partly at the request of the
pupIls and theIr parents, partly on account of the insuffi-
cient information held by the teachers, and assumed other
forms.)
" What are we to do then? Shall there, really, be no
county schools, no gymnasia, no chairs of the history of
Roman law? What will become of humanity?" I hear. ,
There certainly shall be none, if the pupils do not need
them, and you are not able to make them good.
"But children do not always know what they need,
children are mistaken," and so forth, I hear. '
I will not enter into this discussion. This discussion
would lead us to the question: Is man's nature right .
before the tribunal of man? and so forth. I do not know '
that it is, and do not take that stand; all I say is that if
we ca:n know ~hat ~o teach, you must not keep me from
teachlllg RUSSIan children by force French, medireval gen-
ealogy, and the art of stealing. I can prove everything
as you do.
"So there will be no gymnasia and no Latin? Then,
what am I going to do?" I again hear.
Don't be afraid! There will be Latin and rhetoric and
they. ~ill ~xist another hundred years, simply becaus~ the
medlCllle IS bought, so we must drink it (as a patient said).
PROGRESS AND EDUCATION 153
forth an expression of universal sympathy from the peda-
gogical and from the lay public.
This cause lies in the incompleteness of our view as
expressed (and so we shall try and make it more complete
now), and, on the side of Mr. Markov and the public in
PROGRESS AND THE DEFI- general, in the incorrect and limited comprehension of our
propositions, which we shall try to make clearer. It
NITION OF EDUCATION is evident that our disagreement is due to a different
A Reply to Mr. MAar k OV, R ussian Messenger, comprehension and, consequently, definition of education
itself. Mr. Markov says: "We do not agree with the
1862, No. S Ydsnaya Polydna definition of education." But Mr.
Markov does not overthrow our definition, he merely
makes a definition of his own.
The main question is whose definition of education is
TH~ chief points of Mr. Markov's disagreement with correct, ours, or Mr. Markov's. We said: "Education
my VIew of education are formulated in the f 11 . in its widest sense, including the bringing up, is, in our
manner: 0 owmg opinion, that activity of man which has for its base the
f "~1 ) We recog~ize the right of one generation to inter- need of equality and the invariable law of educational
ere ill the educatIOn of another (2) We . h progress," and we confess that the words to which Mr.
. ht f h h' . recogmze t e Markov asks the reader to pay special attention need an
ng 0 t e Igher classes to interfere ill' the p 1 d
t" (3) W opu ar e u- explanation for the majority of people and for Mr. Markov.
~a IO~.. e do not agree with the Ydsnaya Pol dna
efimtIOn of education. (4) We think that the scKools But, before giving this explanation, we deem it necessary
~::~~ be exhempted from the historical conditions and to digress a little in order to show why it is that Mr.
a ey oug t not to be. (5) We think that the 'mod- Markov and the public in general did not wish to under-
ern schools more nearly stand this definition and paid no attention whatever to it.
than th ose of the MIddle. correspond to th e mo dern needs Since the day of Hegel and the famous aphorism,
d t" " " . A.ges. (6) W e ConSI"der our
e uca IO~ not illJurIOus, but useful. (7) We think that "What is historical is reasonable," there has reigned in
~h~ f,:l~ h?erty of education, as Count Tolstoy understands the literary and oral debates, especially in our country,
It, IS illJunous and impossible. (8) Finally, we think that a very singular mental hOCUS-pocus called the historical
the met~o~s of the school at Yasnaya Pol ana contradict view. You say, for example, that man has a right to be
t~e conVICtIOns of the editor of Ydsnaya lolydna" (R free and to be judged only on the basis of the laws which
s~an Messenger, ~862, No.5, p. 186.) . us- he himself regards as just, but the historical view replies
Before answenng each of these points we shall e d that history evolves a certain historical moment, which
o~r to fi;dhthe fundamental cause of di~agreement ~n e:;; conditions a certain historical legislation and the people's
VIewan t at held by Mr. Markov, which latter has called historical relation to it. You say that you believe in God,
152 and the historical view replies that history has evolved
PROGRESS AND EDUCATION 155
154 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES
In his opinion it is useless to look for a criterion of
~ertain. religious conceptions and the relations of human.' pedag?gy. It ~s ,enough to k~ow that we are living under
Ity to l~, You say t~at t~e Iliad is the greatest epical histoncal conditIOns, and all IS well.
!?rOductlOn, and the historICal view replies that the Iliad Mr. Markov has perfectly assimilated the historical
IS only th~ eXI;1ress~on of a nation's historical consciousness' view to himself; he, like the majority of thinking Rus-
at a certalll hIstorICal moment. ; sians at the present time, possesses the art of applying the
.On this foundatio~ the historical view does not contend concept of the historical to every phenomenon of life; he
WIth rou whether hberty is necessary for man, whether ' knoWS how to say many learned and ingenious things in
~here IS a G?d or not, whether the iliad is good or bad' the historical sense, and for all occasions is full master
It do~s nothlllg to.o?tain that liberty for you, after which . of the historical pun.
yo~ ave been stnvmg, to persuade or dissuade you of the In our first article we said that education has for its
ex:stence of God, or of the beauties of the Iliad, - it onl base the need of equality and the invariable law of educa-
POllltS out to you that place which your inner need tI!e tional progress. Although expressed without any further
~ov~ of truth or beauty: occupies in history; it only rec- proofs, this proposition explained the cause of the phe-
~'lllzes, not through dIrect consciousness but th
. I t" . , r o u gh nomenon. It was possible for one not to agree with it
hlStonca ra lOclllatlOns. and ask for proofs; but it is only the historical view
Say th~t yo?, lov~ something and believe in somethin which feels no need of discovering the causes of such
and the 1 hIstorICal
d" VIew tells you ' It Love and bel'16ve, angd' a phenomenon as is education.
y?ur .ove a~ f~lth WIll find a place for themselves in our Mr. Markov says: "It is desirable that the reader
histoncal. VIew. Ages will pass, and we shall find the dwell with especial attention upon these words. To me
place ~hICh we shall occupy in history; but you must they seem nothing but a fruitless piece of casuistry
k??w III advanc~ that that which you love is not uncon- which only bedims the meaning of things well known
dItIOnally beautIful, and that that which you beli .. to all. What do we want with the need of equality,
n t . d't' 11 eve m IS instinct 1 What do we want more especially with that
o f uncon 1 IOna y true; but amuse yourselves children
- li~r y.our love and faith will find a place and a prope: fa tum, that unknown law of motion, which prohibits
app cahon for themselves. you from one thing, and orders you to do something else 1
Add the word. historical to any conception you lease Who has recognized it or proved it 1 If we were to deny,
and
ad that' conceptIOn. at. once loses its vital ' actu a1 meanmg
p . ' as Count Tolstoy does, the educational influence of the
n rec81.ve~ an artIfiCIal and barren meaning in some kind grown-up generation on the younger generation, in what
of an artl~Clally formed historical world conception. would we look for that wonderful law 1 A mother
Mr. Marko'.' says: It The general aim is the result of loves her child, wants to satisfy his wants, and con-
t~e w?~ef of hfe, - the final deduction from the activity sciously, without the least mystical necessity, feels the
o vane orces. It can be seen only at the end and for need of adapting herself to his incipient reason, to speak
~he.p~~s~ntthther.e is no need of it. Consequently pedagogy the simplest language to him. She does not at all strive
IS ~g m .at It has no final end i it is right in that it after equality with her child, which would be in the
s~rlv:es after ItS temporal and local ends wh' h highest degree nnnatural, but, on the contrary, intention-
sIgnificant in life" . (R.M . , N o. 5, p. 153.)
, 1 C are most

..
156 PEDAGOGICAL ARTIOLES PROGRESS AND EDUOATION 157
ally tries to transmit to him the whole supply of her that I tried to prove, with this difference, that not all
knowledge. In this natural. transmission of the mental humanity is ailing, but that part of it which is subjected
acquisitions of one generation to the next lies the progress to the activity of the education which Mr. Markov
of education, which needs no other special laws. Every defends.
age casts its handful upon the common heap, and the But here Mr. Markov's historical view appears in all
longer we live, the higher rises this heap, and the higher its splendour.
we rise with it. This is known to the point of triteness, " Ydsnaya Polydna is disturbed by the circumstance
and I see no justification in the attempts to shake such a that at different times people teach different things and
logically and historically manifest truth." in a different manner. Scholasticism taught one thing,
Here we have the best sample of the historical view. Luther another, Rousseau in his own way, Pestalozzi
You are looking for an explanation of the most significant again in his way. It sees in this the impossibility ~f
phenomenon of life; you surmise that you have found a establishina a criterion of pedagogy, and on that basIs
general law which serves as the foundation of the phe- denies ped~gogy. It seems to me that Ydsnaya Polydna
nomenon; you imagine you have found the ideal toward has pointed out the necessary criteri?n, .by a~ducing the
which humanity is tending, and the criterion of his above-mentioned examples. The cntenon IS that one
activity, - and you are told that there is a heap which must teach in conformity with the demands of the time.
grows with every age, and that that is known to the It is simple and in absolute harmony with history and
point of triteness. Is it right that it should grow? Why with logic. Luther could be the teacher of a :whole cen-
does it grow? To these questions we receive no answer; tury because he himself was the cr~atu:e. of hIS age, a~d
on the contrary, they wonder why you bother about the thought its thoughts, and acted to ItS likm~. Ot~erwIse
solution of such questions. his enormous influence would have been ImpossIble or
In another passage Mr. Markov, paraphrasing our supernatural; if he did not res~mble hi~ conte~poraries,
words, says: "Each generation hinders the new in its he would have disappeared fruItlessly, like an mcompr~­
development: the further we go, the greater the resist- hensible, useless phenomenon, - a stranger among hIS
a~ce, the w?rse it gets. What a strange progress! If, people, whose language even he did not understand.
wIthout relymg on history, we were obliged to believe the "The same is true of Rousseau and of anybody else.
Ydsnaya Polydna theory, we should, probably, have to come Rousseau formulated in his theories the overboiling hatred
to believe that the world has been dreadfully ailina from of his aae against formalism and artificiality, its thirst for
millennial resistances, and that its death is no~ not simple, heartfelt relations. It was an inevitable reaction
beyond the mountains, but behind its shoulders." (ibid. against the Versailles mode of life; if Rousseau alone had
p. 152.) felt it, there would not have appeared the age of Roman-
"A fine progress!" No, a very bad one, - that is ticism there would not have appeared the masses to
exactly what I have been talking about. I do not hold regen~rate humanity, the declaration of rights, the Karl
to the religion of progress: outside of faith, nothing Moors, and all such things. To rebuke Luther and ROl~S­
proves the necessity of progress. "Is it possible the seau for having unloaded their theories on men, whIle
world has been ailing all the time?" It is precisely this arming themselves against the historical fetters, would
158 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES
PROGRESS AND EDUCATION 159
be the same as rebuking a whole age for the illegality
But we are asking for something different. V!e are
of its mood. You cannot unload theories on a whole
age. endeavouring to find that common mental l~w whICh has
guided man's activity in education, and which, t~e:efo~e,
" But one will hardly get rid of his theories. I cannot could be a criterion for the correct human actlvlt~ m
understand what Count TolstOy would have of peda-
education, whereas the historical view to all our questlOns
gogy. He is all the time troubled about the final
answers only by saying that Rousseau and ~uther were
end, about the imperturbable criterion. There are none,
the products of their time. Weare ~ear?hmg for the
says he, and so none are needed. Why not consider
eternal principle which found its expresslOn m t~em j and
the life of each individual, say, his own life? He,
we are told about the form in which it. found .1tS expres-
of course, does not know the final end of his existence,
sion, and they classify them and determme then orders..
nor the common philosophical criterion for the activity Weare told that the criterion is that one must teach ~n
of all the periods of his life. And yet he lives and acts;
conformity with the demands of the time, an~ we are t?ld
and he lives and acts only because in his childhood he that that is very simple. I understand teachmg accordmg
had one pnrpose and one criterion, and others in youth, to the dogmas of the Christian or of the Mohammedan
and now others again, and so on. He, no doubt, was a
religion, but teaching a~cording. to the demands of. the
lively boy, - we know what criterion boys have, - and time is something of whICh I fall to comprehend a smgle
a religious youth, and a poet with liberal tendencies, word. What are these demands? Who will determine
and a practical man of the world j every such a natural
them? Where will they be expressed.1 I~ may be. ~ery
mood made him look differently at the world, expect amusing to discuss up and down the histOrIcal condltlOns
something different, and be guided by something else. which compelled Rousseau to express hi~self in the 'pa~­
In this constant change of view lies the wealth of
ticular form in which he did express hi~~elf, ~ut It. IS
human evolution, his philosophic and his every-dayexperi- impossible to discover those historical condltlOns m whICh
ence. Where Count Tolstoy sees a reproach to humanity
a future Rousseau will express himse~f. I ~an und~r­
and pedagogy and a self-contradiction, I see necessity,
stand why Rousseau should have wflt~e~ With. mallce
naturalness, and even advantage." (Ibid., pp. 159-160.) against the artificiality of life j but I posltlvely fall to see
How much said, you would think! How clever, how
why Rousseau appeared~ and w~y he discovered th~ great
instructive, what a calm historical view of everything! truths. I have no busllless WIth Rousseau and hIS s~r­
You yourself stand on some imaginary height, and
roundings j I am interested only in the thoughts whIC~
below you act Rousseau, and Schiller, and Luther, and
he expressed, and I can verify and comp~ehend ~s
the French Revolution. From your historical height
thoughts only by thinking, and not by reflectmg on hIS
you approve or disapprove their historical acts and clas-
sify them according to historical patterns. More than place in history. . ,
It was my problem to express and determme the CrI-
that. Each human personality is crawling about some- terion in pedagogy, whereas the historical view, not
where there, subject to the immutable historical laws,
following me on that path, replies to me that Rousseau
which we know j but there is no final end, and there can and Luther were in their place (as though they c~uld be
be none, - there is only the historical view!
in somebody else's place), and that there are dIfferent
160 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES PROGRESS AND EDUCATION 161

sch~ols (as though we did not know that), and that each more simply, to existing convictions; that this thought
c~rne~ a ke:nel to that mysterious historical heap. The is even useless because they have discovered a general
hIstorIcal VIew can breed many pleasant conversations law by which humanity advances without the participa-
wh~n there is nothing else to do, and can explain that tion of the thought which is contrary to reigning convic-
whICh .everybo~y kno~s; but i~ is not able to say a word tions. This supposed law of humanity is called progress.
on whICh to bUIld realIty. If It does utter something, it The whole reason of our disagreement with Mr. Markov,
says a commonplace such as that one must teach accord- and of his complete contempt for our proofs, which he
ing to the demands of the time. does not take the trouble to answer, lies in the fact that
Tell us, what are these demands in Syzrlln, in Geneva, Mr. Markov believes in progress, and I have no such
along the Syr-Darya? Where can we find the expression faith.
of these demands and of the demand of the time - of What is this conception of progress and the faith based
what time? When it comes to talking about what is upon it?
historical, I will say that the historical moment is only The fundamental idea of progress and its expression
in the present. One assumes the demands of the year will be like this: "Humanity is continually changing in
1825 for the demands of the present; another knows form; it lives through the past, retaining the labours
what the demands will be in .August, 1892; a third begun by that past and its recollections." In the meta-
regards the demands of t~e Middle .Ages as our present phorical sense we call this change of human relations
demands. I repeat th~t If the phrase to teach according "motion," and the past change we call "back," and the
to the, demands of the ,ttme, n?t one word of which has any future change we call" forward." In general, in a meta-
meanmg for us, IS wrItten WIth due reflection we ask you phorical sense we say that humanity moves forward.
point those demands out to us; we say fra;kly, with all Though not clearly expressed, this statement is, in a
our heart, that we should like to know those demands metaphorical sense, quite correct. But back of this un-
for we do not know them. ' doubted statement, those who believe in progress and the
We could adduce many more samples of Mr. Markov's historical evolution make another unproved assertion
historical view with references to the Trivium and the that humanity in former days enjoyed less well-being,
Quadrivium of Cassiodorus, .of Thomas .Aquinas, of and the farther we go back the less, and the farther for-
Shakespeare, of Hamlet, and WIth other similar interest- ward the more. From this the conclusion is drawn that
ing and pleasant discussions. But all these passages give for a fruitful activity it is necessary to act only in con-
no better answer to our questions, and so we shall confine formity with historical conditions; and that by the law
ourselves to the elucidation of the causes which make of progress, every historical action will lead to an increase
the histo~ical view invalid for the solution of philosophi- of the general well-being, that is, that all will be well,
cal questIOns. while all attempts to arrest or even oppose the movement
The cause lies in this: people with the historical view of history are fruitless.
have com~ to the conclusion that abstract thought, which The process of progress has taken place in all human-
they abUSIvely call metaphysics, is fruitless the moment ity from time immemorial, says the historian who believes
it is contrary to historical conditions, that is, to speak in progress, and he proves this assertion by comparing,
162 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES PROGRESS AND EDUCATION 163
let us say, the England of the year 1685 with the Eng~ of progress as to any other idea or to any imaginable his-
land of our time. Even if it were possible to prove, by torical fancy. . '
comparing Russia, France, and Italy of our time with I will say even more: I see no neceSSIty of. findlD~
ancient Rome, Greece, Carthage, and so forth, that the common laws for history, independently of the Imposs~­
prosperity of the modern nations is greater than that of bility of finding them. The common eternal law IS
antiquity, I am still struck by one incomprehensible
phenomenon: they deduce a general law for all humanity
from the comparison of one small part of European
:r ritten in the soul of each man. The law of progress,
perfectibility, is written in the soul of each man, and
.s transferred to history only through error. As l?ng as
humanity in the present and the past. Progress is a ~t remains personal, this law is ~ruitful. and accesslbl~ to
common law of humanity, they say, except for Asia, 11' when it is transferred to hIstory, It becomes an. Id~e,
Africa, America, and Australia, except for one thousand :m~ty prattle, leading to the jus~ification o~ every mSlp-
millions of people. idity and to fatalism. Progress m general lD all human-
We have noticed the law of progress in the dukedom ity is an unproved fact, an~ .does not exist for, all the
of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, with its three thousand in- Eastern nations; therefore, It IS as unf~un?ed to say that
habitants. We know China, with its two hundred mil- progress is the law of humanity as It IS ~o say that
lions of inhabitants, which overthrows our whole theory all people are blond except the dark-compleXIOned ones.
of progress, and we do not for a moment doubt that prog- But we may not yet have defined progress as most
ress is the common law of all humanity, and that we, the understand it. We try to give it a m?st general, and
believers in that progress, are right, and those who do reasonable definition. Maybe progress IS a law dl~cov­
not believe in it are wrong, and so we go with cannon ered only by the European nations, but one that. IS so
and guns to impress the idea of progress upon the Chinese. good that the whole of huma?ityought to be ~ubJected
Common sense, however, tells me that if the greater part to it. In this sense progress IS a path over .whICh. a cer-
of humanity, the whole so-called East, does not confirm tain part of human~ty is travel~ng,. and whICh t.hlS part
the law of progress, but, on the contrary, overthrows it, of humanity recogmzes as leadmg It to well-bem~... In
that law does not exist for all humanity, but only as an this sense Buckle understands the progress of the CIvilIza-
article of faith for a certain part of it. tion of the European nations, including in this .general
I, like all people who are free from the superstition of conception of progress the social and ~he eco~onuc prog-
progress, observe only that humanity lives, that the mem- ress, the progress of the sci~nces, ~he mdustnal a~d .the
ories of the past as much increase as they disappear; fine arts, and especially the. lDventIOn of powder, prmtmg,
the labours of the past frequently serve as a basis for the and roads of communicatIOn. . .,
labours of the present, and just as frequently as an im- Such a definition of progress is luci~ and rntelhglble;
pediment; that the well-being of people now increases in but there involuntarily arises the questlOD:' first, who has
one place, in one stratum, and in one sense, and noW decided that this progress leads to well-bemg.? In order
diminishes; that, no matter how desirable it would be, I to believe that it does, I need that not ~xce~tlOnal -reople,
cannot find any common law in the life of humanity; who belong to an exceptional class, - hlstonans, thmkers,
and that it is as easy to subordinate history to the idea and journalists, - should recognize it as so, but that the
164 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES PROGRESS AND EDUCATION 165

whole mass of, the people, subject to the action of progress, themselves that it is necessary to prohibit the working
should recogrnze that progress leads it to well-being We people from procreating children in order to be able to
on t~e c~ntrary, constantly see a phenomenon whi~h con~ feed the existing population?
tradlCts It. Thus, in reply to the two questions which I have p~t,
The. second question consists in this: What shall be I say that, first, it is possible only then to recogmze
recogmzed as we!l-b~ing? Is it the improvement of a progress which leads to well-being whe~ the wh?le
m~an,s of co~mumcatIOn, the dissemination of the art of ' nation, subjected to the action of progress, wIll recogmze
prmtmg, the Illumination of the streets by means of gas this action as good and useful, whereas now we constantly
t~e .increase of homes for the poor, and so forth? or th~ see the opposite in nine-tenths of the population, in the
vugm weal~h of Nature, the woods, the game, the fish, so-called common, labouring people j and, secondly, when
stron~ physlCal . dev~lopment, purity of morals, and so it shall be proved that progress leads to the improvement
for~h. ,Huma~Ity l:ves at the same time by so many of all the sides of human life, or that all the consequences
v~rIed sIdes of ItS eXIstence that it is impossible for any of its influence taken together by their good and useful
glV~n man to define the degree of well-being for any given qualities overbalance its bad and injurious,resul~s.
perIod. The people, that is, the mass of the natIOn, nme-tenths
One man sees only the progress of art· another the of all people, are always inimical toward progress and
progress of virtue j a third, the progress of :naterial ~om­ constantly bot only do not recognize its nsefulness, but
fort j a fourth, the progress of physical force' the fifth positively and consciously recognize its harmfulness for
th~ progress of the social order; the sixth, the ~rogress of them.
S?IenCe j a se~enth, the progress of love, equality, and We cannot believe the deductions of the historians,
lIberty; th~ eIghth, ,the progresf' of illumination by gas, such as Macaulay (the one whom Mr, Markov adduces
a~d of sewlllg-machmes, A man who will look at all to prove the power of the Englis~ education), w?o pre-
sIdes of humanity's life without bias will always find that sume that they have weighed all sIdes of huma~ life, and
the progress o~ the one side is purchased at the expense who, on the basis of this weighing, have deCIded that
of a retrogressIOn on the other side of human life. progress has done more good th~n evil, because t~ese
~ave ~ot the most conscientious political actors, who deductions are not based on anythmg. These deductIOns
believed m the progress of ~quality and liberty, convinced manifestly prove to every conscientious and unbiassed
themselves each day that m ancient Greece and Rome judge, in spite of the opposite aim of the writer, that
th,ere .was ~ore liberty ,than in the England of to-day progress has done more evil than good to the people, that
w~th I~S Chmese and IndIan wars; than in modern France is, to the majority, not to mention the State. ,
WIth ,ItS ~wo, Bonapartes j than in the very newest I ask the serious reader to read the whole thIrd chapter
AmerIca WIth ItS sanguinary war for the rights of slavery? of the first part of Macaulay'S history. The deductions
Have not the most conscientious men, believing in the are made boldly and with decision, but it is positively
pr~g~ess of art, convinced themselves that there are no unintelligible to a sound-minded man who is not dulled
PhIdIases, no Raphaels, no Homers in our day? Have by the faith in progress, which they are based upon. The
not the most rabid economic progressists convinced important facts are only these:
166 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES PROGRESS AND EDUCATION 167

(1) The population has increased, and that to such ean humanity, who are subject to the process of the
extent that Malthus's theory becomes a necessity. (2~ Progress, consciously hate pro~ess a~d use all the. means
There was no army, and now it has become immense· Pt their command to resist It, whIle we recoglll ze the
the same is true of the fleet. (3) The number of petty; a rogress of civilization as an unquestioned good. Ho~­
agriculturists has diminished. (4) The cities have drawn ~ver incomprehensible this phe.nomenon may .app~ar, It
to them the greater part of the population. (5) The·. will become quite clear to us If we look at It WIthout
land has been stripped of forests. (6) Wages have be-; prejudice. . .
come half as large again, but the prices have increased on· Only one small part of society beheves III progress,
everything and the comforts of life have become fewer. reaches it and tries to prove its benefit. The other,
(7) The taxes for the poor have been increased tenfold; rhe greate; part of society, resists progress and does not
there are more newspapers; the illumination of the believe in its benefit. From this I conclude that for a
streets is better; wives and children are beaten less, and small part of society progress is a ?enefit; but for ~he
English ladies have begun to write without orthograph- . 'ty I't l'S an evil . I conclude thIS
maJor! " from the reflectIOn
h
ical mistakes. that all men consciously or unconscIOusly str~ve after .t e
I ask the reader to read this third chapter with the good, and evade the evil. Having made thIS deductIOn,
most conscientious attention, and to remember the simple I shall verify it by reference to facts... ?
facts that the army once increased can never be dimin- Who are that small part who beheve III progress,
ished; that the century-old forests, once destroyed, can They are the so-called cultured society, the leis~re.classes,
never be restored; that a population, corrupted by com- to use Buckle's expression. Who are the maJorIty who
forts, can never return to its primitive simplicity and do not believe in progress 1 They are the. so-called people,
moderation. I ask the reader who has no faith in prog- the busy classes. The interests of sOClety and of the
ress, or who for the time being has given up this faith, to masses are always opposed to each other. The more
read everything which has been written in proof of the good advantaaeous to one set, the more disadvantageous to the
b
of progress, and to ask himself, with entire disregard of his other.
faith, whether there are any proofs that progress has done My supposition is confirmed in the matter of progress,
people more good than evil It is impossible to prove and I conclude that progress is the, ~ore advantageous
this to an unbiassed man; but for the biassed man any for society the more disadvantage?us It IS for the masses.
paradox is possible, even the paradox of progress, clothed This ratiocination, in addition, gives me a compl~te ex-
in historical facts. planation of that strange phenomenon why, despIte ~he
What a strange and incomprehensible phenomenon! fact that progress is not a common law of humalll~y,
There is no common law of humanity's progress, as the despite the fact that progress does not lead to an ,lll-
immovable Eastern nations prove to us. It is impossible creased well-being of the whole European humamty,
to prove that the European nations are constantly moving despite the fact that nine-tenths of the, masses ~re op-
in the direction of the improvement of their well-being, posed to it, progress is lauded all the time and IS ever
and nobody has ever proved it; and, finally, the most more disseminated. .' .
remarkable thing is that nine-tenths of that very Euro- Those who believe in progress are Slllcere III theu
168 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES PROGRESS AND EDUCATION 169
belief, because that faith is advantageous to them and that, therefore, the price must be advanced upon it, or the
they rreach their faith .with passion and fury. 1: invo~;. thought that "I, a Russian landed proprietress, living in
untarily r~call. the Chmese war, in which three grea~ Florence, have now, thank God, stronger nerves, and
:rowers. qUlte smcerely introduced the belief in progress' embrace my beloved husband and ask him to send me
mto China by means of powder and cannon-balls forty thousand francs in the quickest possible time."
But am I not mistaken? Let us see in what may be Without making any exact statistics of telegrams, one
the advantage of progress for society, and its disadvantage may be firmly convinced that all the telegrams belong
f?r the mas~es. Speaking here of facts, I feel the neces- only to the kind, samples of which I have given here.
SI~y of l~avmg Europe in peace and speaking of Russia,', A peasant of Yasnaya Polyana, of the Government of
wIth whICh I. am familiar. Who with us is a believer Tula, or any other Russian peasant (it must not be for-
who an unbeliever? The believers in progress are: th~ gotten that these peasants form the great mass of the
educated gentry~ the educated merchant and official people about whose well-being progress is concerned), has
class~s, - the leIsure classes, according to Buckle's ex- never sent or received, and for a long time to come will
preSSIOn. The unbelievers of progress and its enemies never send or receive, a single telegram. All the tele-
are: the master mechanics, the factory workmen the grams which fly over his head cannot add one note to his
p~asants, the agriculturists, and the trades-people ' men well-being, because everything he needs he gets from his
directl:f occupied with physical labour, - the busy ciasses. own field and from his forest, and he is equally indifferent
Reflectmg upon this distinction, we find that the more a to the cheapness or dearness of sugar or cotton, and to the
man works the mo~e conservative he is, and the less he dethronement of King Otho, and to the speeches made by
works t~e more he IS a progressist. There are no greater Palmerston and by Napoleon III., and to the sentiment
prog.ressIst~ than contractors, writers, the gentry, students, of the lady writing from Florence. All these thoughts,
offiCIals wIthout places, and manufacturers. There is which with the rapidity of lightning cross the universe,
no greater opponent to progress than the agricultural do not increase the productiveness of his field, do not
peasant. weaken the vigilance in the forests of the landed pro-
." Man takes possession of the forces of Nature; thought, prietor and of the Crown, do not add any strength in his
wI~h the speed of thought, flies from one end of the work either to him or to his family, do not give him one
~lllvers~ to another. Time is vanquished." All that additional labourer. All these great thoughts can only
IS beautIful and touching, but let us see for whom that is impair. his well-being, instead of fortifying or improving
adva~tageous. We have in mind the progress of the it, and can be interesting to him only in a negative sense.
electnc ~ele~raphs. It is apparent that the advantage For the orthodox in progress the telegraphic wires
and applIcatIOn of the telegraph is only for the higher, have brought enormous advantages. I am not disputing
so-called cultured class. The masses, nine-tenths of the the advantages; I only try to prove that I must not
people, hear only the buzzing of the wires and are impor- think and persuade others that that which is advan-
tuned by the severe laws not to injure the telegraphs. taO'eous to me is the greatest good for the whole world.
Over the wires fli~s the thought that the demand on This must be proved, or, at least, we must wait for all
such and such an artIcle of commerce has increased and people to recognize as good that which is advantageous
170 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES PROGRESS AND EDUCATION 171
to us. We do not see that at all in the so-called enslave- gossips, polemics, presents, premiums, societies for the
ment of space and time. We see, on the contrary, that encouragement of reading, distribution of books, and
the advocates of progress in this respect judge precisely schools for the increase of the number of those who can
as did the old landed proprietors, who assured everybody read. No labour is so well paid as literature. No inter-
that for the peasants, for the state, and for humanity at est is so great as on the literary capital. The numb.er of
large there was nothing more advantageous than serfdom literary workers grows with eve~y day. ~he pettm~ss
and manorial labour ; the only difference is that the faith and insignificance of literature mcreases m proportIOn
of the landed proprietors is old and unmasked, while the with the increase of its organs.
faith of the progressists is still fresh and in full force. " But if the number of books and periodicals increases,
The art of printing is another favourite and trite theme if literature pays so well, it must be necessa.ry," naive
of the progressists. Its dissemination, and the dissemina- people will tell me. "Consequently the farmmg out of
tion of the rudiments which comes with it, has always the monopolies is necessary, if they pay so well," I will
been regarded as an undoubted good for the whole nation. reply. . .
Why is that so ? The art of printing, reading, and that The success of literature would appear as satIsfymg a
which is called culture, are the deep-rooted superstitions want of the people, only if the. ~hole nation ~ere. in
of the religion of progress, and so I will ask the reader sympathy with it; but that condItIOn. does not eXIst, Just
in this matter most frankly to renounce all such faith as it did not exist when the monopolies were farmed out.
and to ask himself: Why is it so, and why is that culture, Literature, just like the monopolies, is only an artful
which we, the minority, regard as a benefit, and as we, exploitation, advantageous only for those who take part
consequently, do the art of printing and of reading, which in it, and disadvantageous for the masses.
latter we wish to disseminate so, - why are that art of There is the Oontemporary, and the Oontemporary
printing, that reading, and that culture a benefit to the Word and the Oontemporary Ohronicle, and the Russian
majority, - to the masses? Word, the Rt~ssian Messenger, a~d the Time, and Our
We have said before, in several articles of ours, why Time, and the Eagle, and the Little Star, the G~rland,
that culture, which we possess, by its essence cannot be and the Reader, the Popular Reading, and Read~ng for
a good for the masses. We shall now speak exclusively the People; and there are certain words in ~ert:ain com-
of the art of printing. binations and permutations, as titles of penodlCals and
It is evident to me that the distribution of periodic- newspapers, and all these periodicals believe ~rmly that
als and books, the uninterrupted and immense progress they represent certain thoughts and tendenCIes. And
of the art of printing, have been very advantageous to there are the works of Pushkin, of Gogol, of Turgenev, of
writers, editors, publishers, proof-readers, and compositors. Derzhavin. And all these periodicals and works, in spite
Immense sums have in this manner passed by indirect of their long existence, are unknown and unnecessary to
ways from the people into the hands of these men. The the people and are of no advantage to it.
art of printing is so advantageous for these people that !
I have already spoken of the efforts w~ich have made
all kinds of means are thought out in order to increase to inoculate the masses with our SOCIal lIterature. I
the number of readers: poetry, stories, scandals, obloquy, became convinced, as anyone else would, that in order
172 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES PROGRESS AND EDUCATION 173
that a Russian from the masses should take a liking to works in the direction of their well-being by softening
Pushkin's "Borls Godun6v," or Solov8v's history, this the manners of society; that, for example, the solution
man must cease being what he is, that is, an independent of the serf question is only the product of the progress of
man, who satisfies all his human wants. Our literature the art of printing.
has taken no hold on the masses - I hope that those To this I will reply that the softening of the manners
who know the people and the literature will not doubt it. of society has to be proved and that I personally do not
What benefit do the masses derive from literature? see it and that I do not consider it necessary to take
The people have as yet no cheap Bibles and saints' alma- it on faith. I do not find, for example, that the relations
nacs. Other books, which fall into their hands, to their of the manufacturer to the workman are any humaner
thinking, betray only the stupidity and insignificance of than were the relations of the landed proprietor to the
their authors; their money and work are wasted, and the serf. But that is my personal view, which cannot serve
advantage from printing to the masses - see how much as a proof. The chief objection that I have against such
time has passed - is nil. The masses have not learned an argument is that, even taking as an example the
from books to plough, to make kvas, to weave bast shoes, emancipation from serfdom, I do not see that the art of
to build huts, to sing songs, or even to pray. Every con- printing has cooperated in its progressive solution. If
scientious judge, who is not enthralled by his faith in the government had not said its decisive word in the
progress, will admit that there have been no advantages matter, the press would certainly have decided it quite
to the masses from printing. But the disadvantages are differently. We saw that the greater part of the organs
many. of the press would have demanded emancipation without
Mr. Dal, a conscientious observer, has published his land, and would have adduced proofs which would have
observations on the influence exerted by the knowledge appeared just as reasonable, ingenious, and sarcastic.
of the rudiments on the masses. He proclaimed that the The progress of the art of printing, like the progress
rudiments corrupt the masses. Incontinent accusations of the electric telegraphs, is the monopoly of a certain
and curses were heaped on the observer by all the be- class of society, advantageous only for the people of that
lievers in progress; it was decided that the knowledge class, who by the word" progress" understand their per-
of reading was injurious when it was an exception, and sonal advantage, which thus is always contrary to the
that this danger would disappear when it became the advantage of the masses.
general rule. This may be an ingenious supposition, but It gives me pleasure to read the periodicals when I
it is only a supposition. The fact remains, and it has have nothing else to do, and I am even interested in
been confirmed by my own observations, and will be con- Otho, the King of Greece. It gives me pleasure to write
firmed by all people who have direct relations with the or edit an article, and to get money and fame from it.
masses, such as merchants, burghers, captains of rural It gives me pleasure to receive a despatch about my
police, priests, and peasants themselves. sister's health and to know for certain what price I may
But I shall probably be told by those who accept my expect for my wheat. In all these cases there is nothing
deductions as just, that the progress of the art of printing, prejudicial in the pleasures which I experience, and in
without bringing any direct advantage to the people, still the desires which I have that the conveniences giving
174 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES PROGRESS AND EDUCATION 175
rise to these pleasures may be increased' but it will be extent unacquainted with the condition of our people, and
quite incorrect to suppose that my pl~asures coincide do not want to know it, that we repeat such a senseless
with the increase of the well-being of humanity at large. and false proposition, so far as we are concerned? Is it
It would be as incorrect to suppose this, as to suppose not evident to every Russian that the earnings are to a
with the. monopoli~t or landed proprietor that, by getting common Russian an accident, a luxury, upon which
a great Illcome wIthout labour, he makes all humanity nothing can be based?
happy by encouraging art and giving many people work The whole nation, every Russian without exception,
to do to supply his luxuries. I beg the reader to observe will doubtless call rich a peasant of the steppe with his
that Homer, Socrates, Aristotle, the German fairy-tales old ricks of grain on his threshing-floor, who never in
and songs, and, finally, the Russian epos, did not need the his life has seen such a thing as wages, just as he will
art of printing in order to be eternal. certainly regard as poor a suburban Moscow peasant, who
Steam, the railways, and the much lauded steamboats, always commands high wages. Not only is it impossible
locomotives, and engines in general, - we shall not speak in Russia to determine the wealth by the amount of the
of what may be in the future, of the results that arise wages, but one may boldly assert that for Russia the ap-
from. these i~,:entions according to the contradictory pearance of wages is a sign of the decline of wealth and
theones of polItIcal economy, but will examine only those well-being. This rule we, Russians, who know our people,
advantages which steam has brought to the masses. can verify throughout Russia, and therefore, without dis-
I see a Tlila peasant, a good friend of mine, who is in cussing the wealth of the nations and the wealth of the
no need of rapid transit from Tlila to Moscow to the whole of Europe, we may and must say that for Russia,
R~ine,.to Paris, and "?ack again. The possibility of such that is, for the great majority of the Russian people, the
mIgrat~ons does ;'lot III the least increase his well-being. scale of wages not only does not serve as a measure of
He satIsfies all hIS wants from his own labour and beain- their well-being, but that the very appearance of wages
ning wi~h h~s food and ending with his wea:ing ;pp:rel, indicates the decline of the national wealth.
everythmg IS produced by him alone: money is not It is obvious that we must look for different first prin-
wealth.to ?i~. This is so true that when he has money, ciples than those which exist in the rest of Europe; in
he bun~s It III the. ground ~nd finds no need of making the meantime European political economy wants to pre-
use of It. Thus, If the raIlways make the objects of scribe its laws for us. For the great majority of the
manufactures and commerce more accessible to him Russian people money constitutes no wealth, and the
he remains quite indifferent to this greater accessibility: cheapening of articles of manufacture does not increase
He . needs no tricot, no velvets" no watches no French their well-being. For this reason, the railways bring no
WIlles, no sardines. Everythin a which he needs and advantages to the great mass of the population. (I beg
which to his thinking forms we~lth and increase well-
0/ the reader to observe that I am speaking of the advan-
being, is acquired by his labour on his land. tages according to the conception of the masses them-
Macaulay says that the best measure of the well-being selves, and not of those advantages which the progress
of. the lab<:uring :people is the amount of wages they re- of civilization wants to enforce upon them.)
Celve. Is It pOSSIble that we, Russians, are to such an According to the ideas of the Russian people, the
176 PEDAGOGICAL ,ARTICLES PROGRESS AND EDUCATION 177

increase of their well-being consists in the increase of question which naturall~ arises: "Is there any need o~
the powers of the soil, in the increase of the amount trustin a this counteractIOn of the masses? You say,
of live stock, i~ th~ increase of the quantity of grain and, we sh~ll be told, "that those who are dissatisfied wit?
consequently, m Its cheapening (I beg you to observe the railways are the agricultural peasants, who pa~s theIr
~h~t no peasant ever complains of the cheapness of grain j lives on the hanging beds, in a smoky hut, or behmd t~e
It IS only the European political economists who console plough j who mend their own bast shoes and weave theIr
him with the idea that the price of grain will be hiaher own shirts' who have never read a book; who once
so that he will be able to purchase manufactured arti~les, every two ~eeks take off their vermin-ridden shirts; who
- in which he is not interested), in the increase of work- tell the time by the sun and by cockcr?ws, an~ who h~ve
ing powers (a peasant never complains that there are too nO other needs than slave labour, sleepmg, eatmg, and m-
many people in his village), in the increase of forest land toxication. They are not men, but beasts," th~ progress-
and pastures, in the absence of city temptations. ists will say and think, "and theref~re ~e. thmk we are
Which of these benefits do the railways offer the riO'ht not to pay any attention to theIr opmIOn, and to do
peasant? They increase the temptations j they destroy fo~ them what we have found to be good for us."
th~ forests j they take away labourers j they raise the Such an opinion, though it be not expressed.' is always
pnce of bread. Maybe I am mistaken when I speak of at the basis of the reflections of the progresslSts j but I
the causes which lead the spirit of the people always presume that these people, who are cal~ed savages, and
to assume a hostile attitude toward the introduction of whole generations of these savages, are Just such people
railways j I may have omitted some causes, but the un- and just the same kind of humanity as your Palmer-
do??ted fact ~f the permanent resistance of the popular stons, Othoi3, and Bonapartes. I presume that genera-
spmt to the mtroduction of railways exists in its full tions of workmen have in them the same human charac-
force. The masses get accustomed to them only in the teristics, and especially the characteristic of finding a
measure in which they succumb to the temptations of better place, - as a fish looks for a greater depth, - as
the r~l~ays and themselves become participants in the your generations of lords, barons, professors, bankers, and
explOItatIOn. The real people, that is, all those who work so forth.
an~ live direc~ly by the fruits of their work, - the pre- In this idea I am confirmed by my personal, no d~ubt
emmently agncultural masses, nine-tenths of the nation insignificant, conviction, which is, that in the genera~IOns
without . ~h~m no progress could be thought of, ar~ of workmen there lies more force and a greater conscIOUS-
always mumcal to them. Thus, those who believe in ness of truth and croodness than in generations of barons,
progres~, a small part of society, say that the railways bankers, and prof~ssors j I am, above all, confin~ed in
are an lDcrease of the people's well-being, while the great this idea by the simple observation that a peasant Just as
majority of society says that it is a decrease. sarcastically and cleverly condemns the master and mak~s
We could easily verify and explain such a resistance fun of him because he does not know what a plough IS,
to progress on the side of the people in every aspect of or a drag, ~r buckwheat, or grits j and when to sow oats,
progress, but we shall confine ourselves to the above when buckwheat j how to tell one track from another;
mentioned examples, and shall attempt to reply to the how to find out whether a cow is with calf, or not j and
178 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES PROGRESS AND EDUCATION 179
because the master passes all his life in idleness, and so: civilization in a very entertaining manner; but this whole
forth, :- just as the master condemns the peasant because interest is lost for me and, it seems to me, for all Rus-
he Illlspronounces words, and because on a holiday he sians, who have no foundation whatever to suppose that
drinks like a fish, and because he does not know how to we, Russians, must of necessity be subject to the same
indicate a road. law of the progress of civilization to which the European
I am also struck by the observation that two men nations are subject, and that the progress of civilization is
quarrelling, quite sincerely call each other fools and rascals' a good. It is necessary first to prove both to us Rus-
I. am still more struck by this observation in the con~ sians.
fhcts of Eastern nations with Europeans. Hindoos re- We personally, for example, regard the progress of civi-
gard the English as barbarians and scoundrels and thus lization as one of the greatest violent evils, to which a
the English look upon the Hindoos; the Jap~nese look certain part of humanity is subject, nor do we regard
thus upon the Europeans, and the Europeans upon the this progress as inevitable. The author, who so strongly
Japanese; even the most progressive nation, the French, contends against propositions which are based on no
regards the Germans as dullards, while the Germans think proof, himself does ~ot prove to us why th~ ~~101~ interest
that the French are brainless. in history for him lIes ill the progress of CIVIlIzatIOn. For
From all these observations I come to the conclusion us this interest lies in the progress of the common well-
that. if the progressists look upon the masses as having being. The progress of well-being, according to our con-
no rIght to consider their well-being, and the masses look viction, not only does not spring from the progress of
upon the progressists as occupied with their own selfish civilization, but for the most part is opposed to it. If
ends, it is impossibl~ fr?m these contradictory views to there are people who think differently, this statement
conclu~e as to the Justlce of the one side or the other. must be proved. We have found these proofs neither in
For thIS reason I am constrained to side with the masses the direct observations of the phenomena of life, nor in
on the ground that, first, the masses are more numerou; the pages of historians, philosophers, and publicists. We
than society, and because it must be assumed that a see, on the contrary, that these people, and Mr. Markov
greater measure of truth is on the side of the masses and with them, in their arguments against us, without any
secondly. and chiefly, ~ecause the masses could well get foundation recognize as proved the question of the iden-
alo~g Wlthou~ the socIety of the progressists, and could tity of the well-being and the civilization.
satlsfyall theIr .huma~ wants, such as working, enjoying We have made a very long digression, which may
themse~ves, lovmg, t~mking, and producing works of art appear to be irrelevant, only to say that we do not believe
(the Iliad, the RUSSIan songs), whereas the progressists in progress as increasing well-being; that we have no
could not exist without the masses. grounds whatever for believing in it; and that we have
We lately read the history of the civilization of been looking in our first article for a different measure of
England by: B~ckle.. This book had a great success in what is good and bad than the recognition of progress as
~urope .(whICh IS qUIte natural) and an immense success good and that which is not progress as bad. Having
~ the literary: and learned circles of Russia, - and that is elucidated this chief hidden point of our disagreement
illcomprehensIble to me. Buckle analyzes the laws of with Mr. Markov, we presume, with the majority of the
180 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES PROGRESS AND EDUCATION 181

so-called cultivated society, that the answers to the points (4) The author of the article in the Russian Messenger
of the article in the Russian Messenger will become thinks that our modern schools more nearly correspond
easy and simple for us. to the demands of the time than the medireval ones.
(1) The article in the Russian Messenger recognizes We are sorry that we have given Mr. Markov an occasion
the right of one generation to interfere in the education to prove this to us, and we gladly confess that, in proving
of another, on the ground that it is natural and that each the opposite, we fell into the common habit of subordi-
generation casts its handful on the heap of progress. We nating historical facts to a preconceived idea. Mr. Markov
do not recognize this right because, not regarding progress has done the same, probably more successfully and more
as an unconditional good, we seek other foundations for eloquently than we. We do not wish to discuss this,
such a right, and we assume that we have found them. sincerely confessing our error. It is so easy to talk a
If it were proved that our suppositions are erroneous, we great deal in this field, without convincing anybody!
still should not be able to recognize the belief in progress (5) The author of the article in the Russian Messenger
as well founded any more than the belief in Mohammed regards our education as not injurious, but as useful,
or in the Dalai-Lama. because our education trains men for progress, in which
(2) The article in the Russian lIfessenger recognizes they believe. But we do not believe in progress and
the right of the upper classes to interfere in the popular therefore continue to regard our education as injurious.
education. We think we have shown sufficiently in the (6) The author of the article in the Russian Messenger
previous pages why interference in the education of the thinks that full liberty of education is injurious and
masses by those who believe in progress is unjust, but impossible. It is injurious, because we need men of
advantageous for the upper classes, and why their injustice progress, and not merely men, and impossible, because we
seems to them a right, just as serfdom seemed to be a have ready-made programmes for the education of men of
right. progress, but we have no programmes for the education
(3) The author of the article in the Rv,ssian Messen- of mere men.
ger thinks that the schools cannot and must not be (7) The author thinks that the structure of the school
exempted from historical conditions. We think that at Yasnaya Polyana contradicts the editor's convictions.
these words make no sense, because, first, it is impossible, We admit that, as a personal matter, the more so, since
either in fact or in thought, to exempt anything from the author himself knows how strong the influence of
historical conditions; secondly, because, if the discovery historical conditions is, and, therefore, ought to know that
of the laws upon which the school has been built and the school at Yasnaya Polyana is subject to the action of
ought to be built is, in Mr. Markov's opinion, an exemp- two forces, to what the author calls an extreme conviction
tion from historical conditions, we assume that our and to historical conditions, that is, to the education of
thought, which has discovered certain laws, also acts the teachers, the means, and so forth; besides, the school
within historical conditions, and that it is necessary to could gain but a very small degree of freedom and, conse-
condemn or approve the thought itself by means of reason, quently, of advantage over other schools. What would
in order to make it clear, and not to answer by the truth have happened if these convictions had not been extreme,
that we are living under historical conditions. as the author thinks they are? The author says that
182 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES PROGRESS AND EDUCATION 183
the suc?ess of the school depends on love. But love is meaning of such a question and answers: In order to get
not aCCidental. Love can exist only with freedom. In heat. Why the heat? I ask. And here he answers, or
all the schools founded on the convictions of the school tries to answer, and he seeks and knows that the more
at Yasnaya Polyana the same phenomenon has been general such an answer will be, the richer it will be
repeated: the teacher fell in love with his school; and I in deductions.
am sure that the same teacher, with all the idealization Now we ask: Why does one teach another? It seems
possible, could not fall in love with a school where the to me there can be no question which lies nearer to
childre~ sit on benches, walk by the ringing of bells, and a pedagogue than this. And we answer it, maybe irregu-
are whipped on Saturdays. larly, without proofs, but the question and the answer are
And (8) finally, the author does not agree with the categorical Mr. Markov (I do not attack Mr. Markov,
Yasnaya Polyana definition of education. It is here that _ everyone who believes in progress will make the
we shall have to make our meaning clearer. It seems to same reply) not only does not answer our question, he is
me that it would have been juster on the side of the not even able to see it. For him this question does not
a~thor, if he, without entering into any further discus- exist: it is nothing but a trite commonplace, to which, as
SIOn, had taken the trouble to overthrow our definition to somethin a funny, he directs the reader's especial atten-
But he did not do that; he did not even look at it: tion. And 0 yet, in this question and answer lies the
called it trite, and gave his own definition: progress, ~ essence of everything I have said, written, and thought
and, therefore, to teach in accordance with the demands about pedagogy.
of the ~ime. Everything which we wrote about progress Mr. Markov and the public who agree with Mr.
was wntten. for the purpose of eliciting people's retorts. Markov are intelligent, cultivated men, accustomed to
Instead of I~, they do not dispute with us, but only reasoning; whence comes that sudden dulness of com-
say: .What IS the use of instinct, of the necessity of prehension? Progress. The word" progress" is said,-
equa~Ity, and all that baggage of words, when there is a and nonsense becomes clear, and what is clear looks like
growlllg heap? nonsense. I do not recognize the benefit of progress so
~ut we. do not believe in progress, and so cannot be long as it is not proved to me, and, therefore, as I observe
satIsfied WIth the heap. Even if we did believe, we should the phenomenon of education, I need a definition of edu-
say : Very well, the aim is to teach in accordance with cation, and I again repeat and explain what I have said:
the ~emands of the time, to add to the heap; we should Education is the activity of man which has for its base
admIt that the mother tmches the child with the inten- the need of equality and the invariable law of ed1wational
tion of transmitting her knowledge to hi~, as Mr. Markov progress. .
says. But why? I should ask and I should have a As said before, to the study of the laws of educatIOn
right to get an answer. A man breathes. Why? I ask. we apply not the metaphysical method, but the method
And I receive a reply, not that he breathes because he of deductions from observations. We observe the phe-
breathes, but in order to get the necessary supply of nomena of education in its most general sense, including
oxygen and to cast off the useless gases. And again I the bringing up.
ask: Why the oxygen? And a physiologist sees the In every phenomenon of education we see two factors,
184 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES PROGRESS AND EDUCATION 185
the educator and the one who is being educated. the new teacher, and the activity of education lasts only
order to study the phenomena of education, as we so long as the pupil has not reached the level of the
understand it, and to find its definition and criterion, book, or of the author of the book. Again the acti,,!ty
we necessarily must study both activities and find the of education comes to a close immediately upon havmg
cause which unites the two activities into one phe- reached a point of equality in knowledge.
nomenon, called education. It seems useless to prove this truth, which may be
Let us first examine the activity of the person under verified in all imaginable cases of education. From these
education, and its causes. The activity of the person observations and considerations we conclude that the
who is being educated, whatever, wherever, and in what- activity of education, considered only. from the .side of
ever way he may learn (even if he reads books by him- him who is being educated, has for Its foundatIOn the
self), consists in assimilating the manner, the form, or the tendency of the pupil to become equal in kno~ledge with
contents of the idea of the man, or men, whom he regards his educator. This truth is proved by the sImple obser-
as knowing more than he knows. The moment he vation that the moment the equality has been reached,
reaches the level of his educators, the moment he no the activity immediately and inevitably. comes to. an end,
longer considers the educators higher in knowledge than and by this other, more simple observatIOn, that rn every
he is, the activity of education, on the side of the per- education may be observed this greater. or l~sser approach
son under education, involuntarily stops, and no conditions to equality. A good or a bad educatIOn IS. always and
whatever can make him continue it. A man cannot learn everywhere, in the whole hu~an race~ determrned only by
from another, if the man who learns knows as much as the rapidity with which thIS equalIty between teacher
the man who teaches. A teacher of arithmetic, who does and pupil takes place: the slower, the worse; the faster,
not know algebra, involuntarily stops his teaching of the better. .
arithmetic the moment the pupil has made the knowledge This truth is so simple and self-evident that there IS ~o
of arithmetic completely his own. need of proving it. But it behoves us to prove why thIS
It would seem useless to prove that, as soon as the simple truth never occurs to anybody, is not expre~se~
knowledge of the teacher and the pupil is equalized, by anybody, or meets with enraged resistance when It IS
the activity of teaching, of education in the larger sense, expressed. . '
inevitably stops between the pupil and the teacher, and The following are the causes: OutsIde of the chIef
there begins a new activity, which consists in the foundation of every education, which springs from the
teacher's opening to the pupil a new perspective of very essence of the activity of education, - the tende?cy
knowledge, familiar to him, but unknown to the pupil, in toward an equalization of know~edge, - there have ansen
this or that branch of science, and the education continues other causes in civil society, WhICh urge on toward educa-
until the pupil's knowledge is equalized with that of the tioIl- These causes seem so persistent that the pe~a­
teacher; or having reached the teacher's level in his gogues keep only these in view, losing sigh~ ~f the ch~ef
knowledge of arithmetic, the pupil gives up his teacher foundation. Considering now only the actIvIty of ~Im
and takes up a book, from which he learns algebra. In who is being educated, we shall discover ~any seem:ng
this case, the book, or the author of the book, appears as foundations of education, besides the essentIal one WhICh
186 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES PROGRESS AND EDUCATION 187

we have enunciated. The impossibility of admitting these egotism, and material advantages as the aim, I see, on the
foundations can easily be proved. contrary, that however obedient the learner may become,
These false, but active, .foundations ~re the following: however he may surpass all the others in worth, no mat-
The first and most operatIve, - the child learns in order ter what material advantages and civil rights he may
not to be punished; the second, - the child learns in have obtained, his aim is not reached, and the possibility
?rder to be rewarded; the third, - the child learns of the activity of education does not stop. I see, in
III . order to be better than the rest; the fourth, - the reality, that the aim of education, by admitting such false
child, or young man, learns, in order to obtain an advan- bases, is never attained, that is, that the equality of
tageous position in life. knowledge is not acquired, but there is obtained, inde-
. These foundations, acknowledged by all, may be clas- pendently of education, a habit of obedience, an irri-
sIfie~ under three heads: (1) Learning on the basis of table egotism, and material advantages. The adoption of
obed~ence; (2) lea~ning on t~e basis of egotism; and (3) these false foundations of education explains to me all
learnmg on the baSIS of matenal advantages and ambition. the errors of pedagogy and the incompatibility of the
Indeed, on the basis of these three divisions the various results of education with the demands, inherent in man,
pedagogical sch~ols have been built up: the Protestant made upon it, to which these errors lead.
schools, on obedIence; the Catholic schools of the Jesuits Let us now analyze the activity of the educator. Just
on the basi.s of rivalry. and egotism; our Russian schools: as in the first case, we shall find, by observing this phe-
on t?~ basIS of matenal advantages, civil privileges, and nomenon in civil society, many various causes of this
ambItIon. activity. These causes may be brought under the follow-
T~e groundlessness of these incentive causes is appar- ing heads: the first and foremost, - the desire of making
ent, III the first place, in actual life on account of the people useful to us (landed proprietors who had their
universal dissatisfaction with the edu'cational institutions manorial servants instructed in music; the government
based on t?ese foundations; in the second place, for the which trains officers, officials, and engineers for itself) ;
reason, .WhICh ~ have expressed ten times, and will keep the second, - also obedience and material advantages,
expressmg until I get an answer to it that under such which cause a student of the university, for a certain
condit~ons (obedience, egotism, and material advantages) remuneration, to teach children according to a given pro-
the~e IS no common criterion of pedagogy, and the theo- gramme; the third, - egotism, which urges a man on to
10gI~n and the natural scientist at once regard their schools teach in order to display his knowledge; and the fourth,
as Impeccable, a~d all the. other schools as positively - the desire to make others participants in one's interests,
h~rmful; fi~al1y, III the thIrd place, because, taking obe- to transmit one's convictions to them, and, for that reason,
dIence, eg~tI.sm, and the material advantages for the basis to impart one's knowledge to them.
of the actIVIty of the learner, the definition of education It seems to me that every activity of the educator
becomes impossible. comes under one of these four heads, from the activity of
By admitting that the equality of knowledge is the aim the mother, who teaches her child to speak, and the tutor,
o~ the lea~e~'s ~ctivity, I see that upon reaching this who, for a set remuneration, teaches the French language,
aIm the actIVIty Itself stops; but by assuming obedience, to the professor and author.
188 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES PROGRESS AND EDUCATION ]89
By applying the same measure to these subdivisions Indeed, by applying this definition to reality, I see that
that we have applied to the bases of the learner's activity all the other causes are only external, vital phenomena,
we shall find: ' which cloud the fundamental aim of every educator. The
Firstly, that the activity which has for its aim the direct aim of a teacher of arithmetic consists only in ~av­
tr~ining of useful people, such as the former landed pro- ing his pupil assimilate all the laws of mat~ematIcal
pnetors and the government trained, does not come to an thinking which he himself possesses. The aIm of a
end when the aim is reached, - consequently, it is not its teacher of French, the aim of a teacher of chemistry and
final end. The.government and the landed proprietors philosophy~ are one an~ t?e same; and the moment that
could proceed stIll farther in their activity of education. aim is attallled, the actIVIty comes to an end.
Very frequently the attainment of the aim of usefulness Only that instruction has everywhere and in all ages
has no~hing in common with education, so that I cannot been regarded as good, in which the pupil becomes com-
recogmze usefulness as the measure of the activity of the pletely equal to the teacher, - and the more so, the
educator. better and the less the worse. Precisely the same phe-
Secondly, if we are to assume as the basis of the activ- nome~on may be observed in literature, in this mediate
ity o~ a teacher of a gymnasium, or of a tutor, obedience means of education. We regard only those books as good,
to hun who has entrusted him with the education and in which the author, or educator, transmits all his knowl-
the mate~ial advantage~ accruing to him from this activity, edge to the reader or the learner. .
- I ~galll see th~t WIth the acquisition of the greatest Thus, by considering the phenomena of educatIOn as .a
quantIty of matenal advantages the education does not mutual activity of educator and learner, we see that thIS
stop. On t~e contrary, I see that the acquisition of activity in either case has for its basis on~ and the same
greater matenal advantages, as a reward for the education thing,- the tendency of man toward equahzed knowledge.
is frequently independent of the degree of the educatiod In the definition which we made before, we expressed
furnished. precisely this, except that we did. not make it clear that
Thirdly, if we are to admit that egotism and the desire by equality we meant the equality of know~edge. 'lye
to display one's knowledge serve as the aim of education added however: "The tendency toward equahty and the
then I again see that the attainment of the hiO'hest
b prais~ invari~ble law of educational progress." Mr. Markov
for one's lectures or book does not stop the activity of understood neither the one nor the other, and was very
edu:ation, for the praise bestowed upon the educator may much startled to find there the invariable law of educa-
be llldependent of the amount of education acquired by tional progress. .
the student; I see, on the contrary, that the praise may The law of educational progress means only that mas-
be squandered by people who are not acquiring education. much as education is the tendency of people toward an
. Fourthly, at l~st, by examining this last aim of educa- equality of knowledge, this equality cannot be obtained
tIOn, I see that If the activity of the educator is directed on a lower stage of knowledge, but may be obtai~ed only
toward equalizing the knowledO'e of the learner with his on a higher stage, for the simple reason that a chIld may
own, this activity comes to an bend the moment this aim find out what I know, while I cannot forget what I know;
has been attained. and also, because I may be acquainted with the mode of
190 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES

thought of past generations, while past generations cann


know my mode of thought. This I call the invariabl'
law of educational progress.
Thus I answer to all of Mr. Markov's points as follows :"
First, that it is not right to prove anything by the fact'
that everything is growing better, - it is necessary first
to prove whether really everything is growing better, or, ARE THE PEASANT CHIL-
not; secondly, that education is only that activity of man
which has for its base man's need of equality and thai
DREN TO LEARN TO WRITE
invariable law of educational p r o g r e s s . '
I have only tried to lead Mr. Markov out of the wasta
FROM US?
of useless historical considerations and to explain to him Or, Are We to Learn from the Peasant
that which he did not understand.
Children?

IN the fourth number of Yasnaya Polyana, in the


department of children's compositions, there was printed
by the editor's mistake "A Story of How a Boy Was
Friahtened in Tula." This story was not composed by
a b~y, but by the teacher from a boy's dream as related
to him. Some of the readers, who follow the numbers
of Yasnaya Polyana, have expressed their doubts as
regards the authorship of this story. I hasten to beg the
readers' indulgence for this oversight, and to remark that
in such matters a falsification is impossible. This story
was recognized, not because it was better, but because
it was worse, infinitely worse, than all children's composi-
tions. All the other stories belong to the children them-
selves. Two of them, "He Feeds with the Spoon, and
Pricks the Eye with the Handle," and "A Soldier's Life,"
were composed in the following manner.
The chief art of the teacher, in the study of language,
and the chief exercise with the aim in view of guiding
children to write compositions consist in giving them
191
192 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES now PEASANT CHILDREN WRITE 193
the~es, and not so much in furnishing them as in pre- the good he has done him, and you will get that ' he feeds
sentrng. ~ large choice, in pointing out the extent of the with the spoon, and pricks the eye with the handle.' "
composItIOn, and in indicating the initial steps. Many "But how are you going to write it up?" said Fedka
clever and talented pupils wrote nonsense· they wrote: and all the rest who had pricked up their ears. They re-
"It began to burn, they began to drag out'thinD'S and I treated, having convinced themselves that this matter was
went in~o the str~et," and nothing came of it, ~lthough above their strength, and betook themselves to the work
the subject was nch, and that which was described left which they had begun.
a deep impression on the child. They did not understand "Write it yourself," one of them said to me.
abov~ all, ~~y they should write, and what good ther~ Everybody was busy with his work j I took a pen and
was rn wntmg. They did not understand the art of inkstand, and began to write.
expressing life by means of words, nor the charm of this " Well," said I," who will write it best 1 I am with
art. you."
As I have already mentioned in the second number I I began the story, printed in the fourth number of the
tri~d many different methods of giving them themes 'to Ydsnaya Polydna, and wrote down the first page. Every
wr~te.. I gav~ them, according to their inclinations, exact, unbiassed man, who has the artistic sense and feels with
artlstl?, touchrng, funny, epic themes, - all to no purpose. the people, will, upon reading this first page, written by
Here IS ho~ I unexpectedly hit upon the present method. me, and the following pages of the story, written by the
The readmg of the collection of Snegirev's proverbs has pupils themselves, separate this page from the rest, as he
lo~g formed one of my favourite occupations, _ nay, will take a fly out of the milk: it is so false, so artificial,
enjoyments. To every proverb I imagine individuals and written in such a bad language. I must remark that
from among the people and their conflicts in the sense of in the original form it was even more monstrous, since
the proverb. Among the number of unrealizable dreams much has been corrected, thanks to the indications of the
I always imagine a series of pictures, or stories, writted pupils.
to fit t~e pro:erbs. On~e, last winter, I forgot everything F6dka kept looking up from his copy-book to me, and,
after dlllner III the readmg of Snegirev's book, and even upon meeting my eyes, smiled, winked, and repeated:
returned to the school with the book. It was the lesson "Write, write, or I'll give it to you!" He was evidently
in the Russian language. amused to see a grown person write a theme.
" Well, write something on a proverb!" I said. Having finished his theme worse and faster than usual,
The best pupils, Fedka, Semka, and others pricked up he climbed on the back of my chair and began to read
their ears. ' over my shoulders. I could not proceed j others came up
" What do you mean by 'on a proverb'? What is it ? to us, and I read to them what I had written.
Tell us !" the questions ran. They did not like it, and nobody praised it. I felt
I happened to open to the proverb: "He feeds with ashamed, and, to soothe my literary ambition, I began to
the spoon, and pricks the eye with the handle." tell them the plan of what was to follow. In the propor-
" Now, i~agine," I said, "that a peasant has taken a tion as I advanced in my story, I became enthusiastic,
beggar to h18 house, and then begins to rebuke him for corrected myself, and they kept helping me out. One
194 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES HOW PEASANT CHILDREN WRITE 195
would say that the old man should be a magician; another " Is he good, but stubborn?" I asked.
would remark: " No, that won't do, - he will be just a "Yes" said Fedka, "he will not obey the old woman,"
soldier; the best thing will be if he steals from him; no FroU: the time that the old man was brought into the
that won't go with the proverb," and so forth. ' hut, the work became animated. . They . e~identl~ f?r
All were exceedingly interested. It was evidently a the first time felt the charm of clothlllg artIstIC details III
new and exciting sensation for them to be present at the words. Semka distinguished himself more than the rest
process of creation, and to take part in it. Their judg- in this respect: the correctest details were poured forth
ments were all, for the most part, of the same kind, and . one after the other. The only reproach that could be
they were just, both as to the very structure of the story made to him was that these details sketched only minutes
and as to the details and characterizations of the persons. of the present, without connection with the general feel-
Nearly all of them took part in the composition; but, ing of the story. I hardly could write as fast a~ they
from the start, there distinguished themselves positive told me the incidents, and only asked them to walt and
~emka, by his clearly defined artistic quality of descrip- not forget what they had told me.
tIOn, and Fedka, by the correctness of his poetical con- Semka seemed to see and describe that which was
ceptions, and especially by the glow and rapidity of his before his eyes: the stiff, frozen bast shoes, and the ~irt
imagination. oozing from them, as they melted out, and the toast mto
Their demands had so little of the accidental in them which they were changed when the old woman threw
and were so definite, that more than once I debated with them into the oven.
them, only to give way to them. I was strongly pos- Fedka, on the contrary, saw only such details as evoked
sessed by the demands of a regular structure and of an in him the particular feeling with which he. l~oked u~on
exact correspondence of the idea of the proverb to the a certain person. Fedka saw the snow dnftmg behllld
story; while they, on the contrary, were only concerned the peasant's leg-rags, and the feeling of compassion with
about the demands of artistic truth. I, for example, which the peasant said: "Lord, how it snows!" (Fedka's
wanted that the peasant, who had taken the old man to face even showed how the peasant said it, and he swung
his house, should himself repent of his good deed,- his hands and shook his head.) He saw the overcoat, a
while they regarded this as impossible and created a cross mass of rags and patches, and the torn shirt, behind which
old woman. could be seen the haggard body of the old man, wet from
I said: "The peasant was at first sorry for the old the thawing snow. He created the old woman, who
man, and later he hated to give away the bread." growled as, at the command of her husband, she took off
Fedka replied that that would be improbable: "He did his bast shoes, and the pitiful groan of the old man as he
not obey the old woman from the start and would not muttered through his teeth: "Softly, motherkin, I have
submit later." sores here,"
"What kind of a man is he, according to you?" I Semka needed mainly objective pictures: bast shoes, an
asked. overcoat, an old man, a woman, almost without any con-
"He is like Uncle Timo£ey," said Fedka, smiling. nection between them; but Fedka had to evoke the feel-
"He has a scanty beard, goes to church, and he has bees." ing of pity with which he himself was permeated. He
196 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES HOW PEASANT CHILDREN WRITE 197
ran ahead of the story, telling how he would feed the old and habitual and, at the same time, good-natured voice,
man, how he would fall down at night, and how he would leaning his head on his hand, that the boys rolled in
later teach a boy in the field to read, so that I was obliged laughter.
to ask him not to be in such a hurry and not to forget what The chief quality in every art, the feeling of measure,
he had said. His eyes sparkled to the point of tears; was developed in him to an extraordinary degree. He
his swarthy, thin little hands were cramped convulsively; writhed at the suggestion of any superfluous feature, made
he was angry with me, and kept urging me on: "Have by some one of the boys.
you written it, have you written it?" he kept asking me. He directed the structure of the story so despotically,
He treated all the rest despotically; he wanted to talk and with such right to this despotism, that the boys soon
all the time, not as a story is told, but as it is written, went home, and only he and Semka, who would not give
that is, artistically to clothe in words the sensuous pic- in to him, though working in another direction, were left.
tures. Thus, for example, he would not allow words to We worked from seven to eleven o'clock; they felt neither
be transposed; if he once said, "I have sores on my feet:' hunger nor fatigue, and even got angry at me when I
he would not permit me to say, "On my feet I have stopped writing; they undertook to relieve me in writing,
sores." His soul, now softened and irritated by the senti-; but they soon gave that up as matters would not go well.
ment of pity, that is, of love, clothed every image in an lt was then for the first time that Fedka asked my
artistic form, and denied everything that did not corre- name. We laughed because he did not know.
spond to the idea of eternal beauty and harmony. " I know," he said, " how to call you; but how do they
The moment Semka was carried away by the expression call you in the manor ? We have such names as Fokany-
of disproportionable details about the lambs in the dour- chev, Zyabrev, Ermilin."
bench, and so forth, Fedka grew angry and said, "What I told him.
a lot of bosh!" I only needed to suggest what the peas- " Are we going to print it 1" he asked.
ant was doing, while his wife went to the gossip, when in " Yes."
Fedka's imagination there would immediately arise a pic- "Then we shall have to print: Work by Makarov,
ture with lambs, bleating in the door-bench, with the Morozov, and Tolstoy."
sighs of the old man and the delirium of the boy Sere- He was agitated for a long time and could not fall
zhka; I only needed to suggest an artificial and false asleep, and I cannot express that feeling of agitation, joy,
picture, when he immediately would angrily remark that fear, and almost regret, which I experienced during ~hat
that was not necessary. evening. I felt that with that day a new world of enJoy-
For example, I suggested the description of the peasant's ment and suffering was opened up to him, - the world of
looks, to which he agreed; but to my proposition to art; I thought that I had received an insight in what no
describe what the peasant was thinking while his wife one has a right to see, - the germination of the mys-
had run over to the gossip, there immediately rose before terious flower of poetry.
him the very form of the thought: "If you got in the I felt both dread and joy, like the seeker after the
way of Sav6ska the corpse, he would pull all your locks treasure who suddenly sees the flower of the fern, - I
out! " He said this in such a fatigued and calmly serious felt joy, because suddenly and quite unexpectedly there
198 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES HOW PEASANT CHILDREN WRITE 199
was revealed to me that stone of the philosophers, which The gossip in a woman's fur coat involuntarily presents
I had vainly been trying to find for two years, - the art himself to us as a sickly, narrow-chested peasant, just
of teaching the expression of thoughts; and dread, because such as he apparently ought to be. The woman's fur
this art called for new demands, a whole world of desires, coat, carelessly thrown on the bench and the first to fall
which stood in no relation to the surroundings of the into his hands, in addition, presents to us a winter even-
pupils, as I thought in the first moment. There was no ing scene in the life of the peasant. The fur coat leads
mistaking. It was not an accident, but a conscious you to imagine the late evening, during which the peasant
creation. is sitting without his wraps near a torch, and the women,
I beg the reader to read the first chapter of the story coming in and out to fetch water and attend to the cattle,
and to notice that wealth of features of true creative and all that external disorder of the peasant life, where
talent scattered through it; for example, the feature when not a person has his clearly defined clothes, and no one
the woman in anger complains about her husband to the thing a definite place. With this one sentence," He put
gossip, and yet weeps, although the author has an apparent on a woman's fur coat," the whole character of the
dislike for her, when the gossip reminds her of the ruin surroundings, in which the action takes place, is clearly
of her house. For the author, who writes by reasoning outlined, and this phrase is not used by accident, but
out and from memory, the cross woman represents only consciously. .
the opposite of the peasant, - she had to invite the gossip I remember vividly how in his imagination arose the
for no other reason than the desire to annoy her husband; words used by the peasant when he found the paper
but with Fedka the artistic feeling extends also to the which he could not read.
woman, and she, too, weeps, fears, and suffers, - she is " Now, if my Serezhka knew how to read, he would
not guilty, to his manner of thinking. Then the accessory have come running to me, and would have grabbed the
feature when the gossip puts on a woman's fur coat. I paper out of my hands, and would have read it all, and
remember how struck I was by this and how I asked: would have told me who the old man is."
" Why a woman's fur coat?" None of us had led Fedka One almost can see the relation of the peasant to the
up to the idea that the gossip had put on a fur coat. book which he is holding in his sunburnt hands; the
He said: "It is more like it ! " kind man with his patriarchal and pious inclinations rises
When I asked him whether it would do to say that he before you in his whole stature. You feel that the author
put on a man's fur coat, he said: has taken a deep liking to him and, therefore, has fully
" No, a woman's fur coat is better." comprehended him, so that soon after he lets him make
Indeed, this feature is extraordinary. At first it does a digression about there being such times nowadays that,
not occur to one why it should be a woman's fur coat, before one knows it, one's soul is perished.
and yet one feels that it is excellent and cannot be other- The idea about the dream was suggested by me, but it
wise. was Fedka's idea to let the goat have sores on its legs,
Every artistic word, whether it belongs to Gothe or to and this conception gave him much pleasure. The re-
Fedka, differs from the inartistic in that it evokes an flection of the peasant, while his back is itching, and the
endless mass of thoughts, images, and explanations. picture of the nocturnal quiet, - all that is far from being
200 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES HOW PEASANT CHILDREN WRITE 201
accidental, and in all these features one feels so strongly ~tage of life, making him renounce the old and fully
the conscious power of the artist! devote himself to the new. Even on the following day
I also remember how, when the peasant was to fall I could not make myself believe that which I had experi-
asleep, I proposed to make him reflect on the future of enced the day before. It seemed so strange to me that
his son and on the future relations of his son with the a peasant boy, with the bare knowledge of reading, should
old man, and to let the old man teach Serezhka reading, suddenly manifest a conscious artistic power, such as
and so forth. Guthe, in all his immeasurable height of development, had
. Fedka f.rowned and said: "Yes, yes, that is good," but been unable to equal. It seemed so strange and offensive
It was ObVIOUS that he did not like that suggestion and to me that I, the author of "Childhood," who had had
twice he forgot it. ' certain success and had earned recognition for artistic
His feeling of measure was stronger in him than in talent from a cultivated Russian public, - that I, in the
any of the authors I am acquainted with, - the feeling matter of art, not only should be unable to teach anything
?f measure, which but few artists acquire at the cost of to eleven-year-old Semka or Fedka or to help them, but
lI~mense labour and study, lived in its primitive force in that I only with difficulty and in a happy moment of
hIS uncorrupted childish soul. excitement should be able to follow and understand them.
I gave up the lesson, because I was too much agitated. All that seemed so strange to me that I could not believe
"What is the matter with you? You are so pale,- that which had happened the day before.
are you ill?". my ~ompan~on asked me. Indeed, only The next day we took up the continuation of the story.
two or three tImes m my life have I experienced such a When I asked Fedka whether he had thought out the
strong sensation as on that evening, and for a long time continuation, he only swayed his hands and said: "I
I was unable to render an account to myself of what I know, I know! Who will write?"
was experiencing. I dimly felt that I had criminally We went to work, and again the children displayed
looked through a glass hive at the work of the bees, con- the same feeling of artistic truth, measure, and enthu-
cealed from the gaze of mortal man; it seemed to me siasm.
that I had. debauched the p~re, primitive soul of a peasant In the middle of the lesson I was obliged to leave
boy. ~ dImly felt somethmg like repentance for an act them.
of saCrIlege. I thought of the children, whom idle and They continued to write without me and finished two
debauched old men allow to contort themselves and pages just as well done, just as well felt, and just as
represent lascivious pictures in order to fan their wearied, correctly, as the first. The only thing about these pages
worn-out imaginations, and, at the same time, I was was that they were paler in details, that these details
happy, as must be happy the man who beholds that were not aptly disposed, and that there were two or three
which no one beheld before. repetitions. All that apparently was due to the fact that
For a long time I was unable to render an account to the mechanism of writing hampered them.
myself of the impression which it had produced on me, The same took place on the third day. During these
though I felt that this impression was one of those which lessons other boys frequently joined us, and, as they knew
at a mature age educate a man and lead him to a new the tenor and the contents of the story, they often helped us
202 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES HOW PEASANT CHILDREN WRITE 203
out by adding their correct features. Semka now k~pt The period of the flaps came to an end, but with it
up with us, and now stayed away. Fedka alone earned perished our manuscript. Never had any loss been so
the story from beginning to end and passed upon all the hard to bear as the loss of these three sheets of writing.
proposed changes. I was in despair, 1 wanted to give it all up and begin a
There could no longer be any doubt or thought that new story, but 1 could not forget the loss, and so invol-
this success was a matter of accident: we had apparently untarily every minute kept nagging at the teacher and at
struck the method which was more natural and a greater the makers of the flaps.
incentive than everything tried before. But it was all (I must remark here, upon this occasion, that just by
so unusual that 1 did not believe that which took place means of the external disorder and full freedom of the
before our eyes. It looked as though a special incident pupils, which Mr. Markov takes so charmingly to task in
were necessary in order to destroy all my doubts. the Russian Messenger, and Mr. Glyebov in No.4 of the
1 had to leave for a few days, and the story remained periodical Education, I, without the least trouble, threats,
unfinished. The manuscript, three large sheets, closely . or cunning, learned all the details of the complicated
covered with writing, was left in the room of the teacher, story of the transformation of the manuscript into flaps,
to whom 1 had shown it. and of its consignment to the flames.)
Even before my departure, while 1 was busy compos- Semka and Fedka. saw that 1 was aggrieved, not under-
ing, a newly entered pupil had shown our boys the art of standing by what, and they sympathized with me. Fedka
making paper flaps, and, as is generally the case, the finally timidly proposed to me to begin another such a
whole school entered upon a period of flaps, which had story.
supplanted a period of snow-balls, as these again had sup- "By yourselves?" I asked. " I shall not help you
planted a period of whittling sticks. The period of the now."
flaps lasted during my absence. "Semka and 1 will stay here overnight," said Fedka.
Semka and Fedka, who were among the singers, used And so they did. At nine o'clock, when the lessons
to come to the teacher's room for singing exercises, and . were over, they came to the house, locked themselves up
they remained there whole evenings, and even nights. in my cabinet, which afforded me much pleasure, laughed
Between the singing and during the singing, the flaps, of awhile, and grew quiet. Until midnight 1 could hear them,
course, did their business, and all kinds of paper, which ~very time 1 came up to the door, talking with each other
fell into their hands, was transformed into flaps. III low tones and scratching their pens. Once only they
The teacher went to get his supper, having forgotten debated about what came first and what later, and they
to mention that the papers on the table were important, came to me to settle the dispute, whether he looked
and so the work of Makarov, Morozov, and Tolstoy was for the wallet before the woman went to the gossip, or
changed into flaps. On the following day, before the, after. 1 told them that it made no difference which.
lessons, the clacking of the flaps so very much annoyed . At midnight 1 knocked and asked to be let in. Fedka
the pupils that they themselves instituted a persecution In a new white fur coat, with! black trimming, was sitting
against the flaps: they were confiscated with shouts and. d~ep in the armchair, with one leg over the other, leaning
screams, and solemnly stuck into the fire of the oven. hiS shaggy little head on his hand, and fumbling the
204 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES HOW PEASANT CHILDREN WRITE 205

scissors in the other hand. His large black eyes, gleam- and a few new, artistic beauties were added. Again there
ing with an unnatural, but serious sparkle, like that of a was the same feeling of beauty, truth, and measure.
grown person, were looking somewhere into the distance; Later on one sheet of the lost manuscript was found. In
his irregular lips, compressed as though for a whistle, the printed story I combined both variants from memory,
apparently held back the word which he, having coined and from the sheet which was recovered.
it in his imagination, was about to express. The writing of this story took place early in spring,
Semka, standing at the large writing-table, with a large before the end of our scholastic year. For various rea-
white patch of sheepskin over his back (the tailors had sons I was unable to make new experiments. On given
but lately been in the village), with ungirt belt, and dishev- proverbs only one story was written by two v~ry mediocre
elled hair, was writing crooked lines, constantly sticking and spoilt children, being the sons of manonal servants.
his pen into the inkstand. " He who is fond of a holiday gets drunk before daybreak,"
I tossed Semka's hair, and his fat face with protruding was printed in the third number. The same phenomena
cheekbones and matted hair, as he, with surprised and were repeated with these boys and with this story as had
sleepy eyes, looked in fright at me, was so funny, that I been observed with Semka and Fedka and the first story,
burst out into a laugh, but the children did not laugh only with a difference in the degree of talent and in the
with me. enthusiasm and the cooperation on my part.
Without changing the expression of his face, Fedka In the summer we have never had school and never
touched Semka's sleeve and told him to go on. " Thou will have. We shall devote a separate article to the
must wait," he said, "we shall be through soon." (Fedka cause why teaching is impossible in the summer in our
says" thou" to me whenever he is carried away by some- school.
thing and agitated.) He continued to dictate. One part of the summer Fedk~ and som~ oth~r boys
I took away their copy-book, and five minutes later, lived with me. Having had a SWIm, and bemg tll'ed of
when they, seating themselves near a small safe, were playing, they took it into their heads to work. I pro-
getting away with potatoes and kvas, and, looking at the posed to them to write a composition, and so told them
silver spoons, which they thought so funny, laughing several themes. I told them a very entertaining story
their sonorous, childish laugh, without any cause what- about the theft of some money, the story of a murder, the
ever, - the old woman, hearing them up-stairs, also burst story of a marvellous conversion of a Milker to Orthodoxy,
out laughing, without knowing why. and I also proposed to them to write in the form o~ an
"Don't tip so!" said Semka. "Sit straight, or you autobiography the history of a boy whose poor and dISSO-
will eat on one side only." lute father is sent to the army, and to whom the father
They took off their fur coats, and, spreading them under later returns a reformed, good man.
the writing-table, lay down on them to sleep, all the time I said: "I should write it like this. I remember that
rolling out their healthy, charming, childish, peasant when I was a child I had a father, a mother, and some
laugh. other relatives, and who they were. Then I should write
I read over what they had written. It was a new that I remember how my father was all the time out on
variant of the same thing. A few things were left out, sprees, while my mother wept, and he beat her; then,
206 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES HOW PEASANT CHILDREN WRITE 207

~ow he was sent to the army; how she wept; how OUf
The fault is all my own, for I could not keep, during the
writing of this chapter, from suggesting to him and telling
hfe grew harder; o ' and he dlod no..~.
how father returned
hiro how I should have written. If there is a certain trite-
seem. t 0 ~ec0!Smze me, but asked me whether Matrena __
that IS, hIS wl~e - was alive; and how all were happy, and' ness in the introduction, when describing persons and
we began to hve well." dwellings, I am exclusively to blame for it. If I had left
That w:a~ all whic~ I said in the beginning. Fedka took hiro alone, I am sure he would have described the same
a great hkmg to thIS theme. He immediately took the" in action, imperceptibly, much more artistically, without
pen a~d paper, a.nd began to write. During his writing, I, the accepted and really impossible manner of logically
only hmted to hIm about the sister and about the mother's' distributed descriptions, which consists in first describing
~eath. The rest he wrote himself and did not even show the dramatis personm, even their biographies, then the
It to me, except the first chapter, until it was all done.' locality and the surroundings, and then only the action
When he showed me the first chapter, and I began to itself.
r~ad, I felt that he was greatly agitated and that, holding Strange to say, all these descriptions, sometimes on
hIS br~ath, he kept looking now at the manuscript and dozens of pages, acquaint the reader much less with the
w:a~chmg m! reading, and now at my face, wishing to persons than a carelessly dropped artistic feature during
divme upon It a~ .expression of approbation or disapproval. an action which has already begun among persons totally
.When I t?ld mm th.at it was very good, he flamed up, unfamiliar to the reader. Even thus in this first chapter,
wIthout saymg anythmg to me, with agitated, though the one phrase of Gordyey's, "That is all I need," when
slow! steps walked with the copy-book up to the table, he, renouncing everything, acquiesces in his fate to become
p.ut It down, and slowly walked out into the yard. Out- a soldier, and only asks the Commune not to abandon his
SIde he was madly wanton with the boys during the day, son, - this phrase acquaints the reader much better with
and, ~henever our eyes met, looked at me with a grateful the person than the description of his attire, his figure, and
and kmdly glance. The next day he forgot entirely about his habit of frequenting the tavern, several times repeated
what he had written. and urged upon him by me. The same effect is produced
I only wrote out the title, divided the story into chap- by the words of the old woman, who always scolded her
ters, and here and there corrected the mistakes, which son, when, during her grief, she enviously remarks to her
were ~ue t.o care!essness. This story, in its primitive daughter-in-law: "Stop, Matrena! What is to be done?
form, IS bemg pnnted in a book under the title of "A . Evidently God has willed it so ! You are young yet,-
Soldier's Life." . maybe God will grant you to see him again. But see
I d.o .no.t speak of the first chapter, although there are how old I am - I am ill- before you know it, I shall be
some mU~lltable beauties even there, and although heedless dead !"
~o~dyey IS there represented exceedingly true to life and In the second chapter there may still be noted my
VIVldl:r, - Gordyey, who seems to be ashamed to con- influence of triteness and tampering, but here again the
fess his ~epentance, and who regards it as proper to beg profoundly artistic features in the description of pictures
the meetmg of the Commune only about his son' still and of the boy's death redeem the whole matter. I sug-
this chapter is incomparably weaker than all the foll~wing: gested to him that the boy had thin legs, I also suggested
208 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES HOW PEASANT CHILDREN WRITE 209
the sentimental details about Uncle Ne£edya, who digs the the images. And you see those images, and all that night
little grave; but the lamentation of the mother, expressed' without sleep, until daybreak, as though you yourself were
in one clause, "0 Lord, when will this slavery end!" living through it, as that boy lived through it, gazing at it
presents to the reader the whole essence of the situation; from underneath the caftan; that night arises before you
and thereupon that night, when the elder brother is with all its details and remains in your imagination.
wakened by his mother's tears, and her answer to the In the third chapter there is less of my influence. The
grandmother's inquiry what the matter was, with the whole personality of the nurse belongs to bim. Even in
simple words, "My son bas died," and the grandmother, the first chapter, he characterized the relations of ~he
getting up and making a fire and washing the little body, nurse with the family in one sentence: "She was working
- all that is strictly his own; all this is so compressed, so for her own dowry, to get ready for marriage."
simple, so strong, - not one word may be omitted, not one This one feature paints the girl as she is: she cannot
word changed, nor added. There are in all five lines, and take part, and she really does not take part, in. tbe joys
in these five lines there is painted for the reader the whole and sorrows of her family. She bas her lawful mterests,
picture of that sad night, - a picture reflected in the her only aim, decreed by Providence, - her future mar-
imagination of a boy six or seven years old. riage, her future family.
"At midnight the mother for some reason began to An author of our kind, especially one who wants to
weep. Grandmother arose and said: ' What is the matter 1 instruct the people by preseuting to them models of
Christ be with you!' The mother said: 'My son has morality worthy of imitation, wou~d certainly have t.reated
died.' Grandmother made a fire, washed the boy, put a the nurse with reference to the mterest she took lD tbe
shirt on him, girded him, and placed him beneath the common want and sorrow of the family. He would have
images. When day broke - " made her a disgraceful example of indifference, or a model
You see the boy himself, awakened by the familiar of love and self-sacrifice, and there would have been an
tears of his mother, half-sleepy, under a caftan somewhere idea, but not a living person, the nurse. Only a man who
on the hanging bed, with frightened and sparkling eyes has profoundly studied and learned life could understand
watching the proceedings in the hut; you see the haggard that for the nurse the question of the family's bereave-
soldier's widow, who but the day before had said, "How ment and of the father's military service, was lawfully a
soon will this slavery come to an end?" repentant and secou'dary question, for she has her marriage ahead.
crushed by the thought of the end of this slavery, to such This very thing, in the simplicity of his ~eart, sees the
an extent that she only says, "My son has died," and artist, though but a child. If we had descnbed the nurse
knows not what to do, and calls for the grandmother to as a most sympathetic, self-sacrificing girl, we should not
help her; and you see the old woman, worn out by the be able at all to present her to our imagination, and we
sufferings of life, bent down, emaciated, with bony limbs, should not love her, as we love her now. Now there
as she calmly takes hold of tbe work with ber hands that stands before me the dear, living form of the fat-cheeke.d,
are accustomed to labour; she lights a torch, brings the ruddy-faced girl, running in the evening to ta~e part ill
water, and washes the boy; she places everything in the round dance in shoes and red cotton kerchIef bought
the right place, and sets the boy, washed and girt, under with the money'earned by her, loving her family, though
210 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES HOW PEASANT CHILDREN WRITE 211

distressed by that poverty and gloom which nd which he noted down, because to him and to each of
a contrast to her own mood. as it pictures the whole character of these ceremonies.
I feel that she is a good girl, if for no other reaso ~en they said that it was bitter, the nurse took Kon-
than because her mother never complained about her n drashka by his ears, and they began to kiss each other.
was a&,grieved by her. On the contrary, I feel th~J Then the death of the grandmother, her thought of her
she, wIth the cares about her attire, with the snatch son before her death, and the peculiar character of the
of tunable songs, with the village gossips, brought fro:; mother's grief, - all that is so firm and so compressed,
the summer fiel~ work o~ from the wintry street, was the and all that is strictly his own.
only .representatlve ?f mIrth, youth, and hope during the:, I told him most about the father's return when I gave
sad tIme of the soldier wom~n's loneliness. He says with, hiro the plot of the story. I liked that scene, and I told
good re~son that t~e only JOy there was, was when the; it to him with trite sentimentality. He, too, liked the
nurse-gIrl was. marned. It is, therefore, with good reason scene, and he asked me: "Don't tell me anything! I
t~at he descnbes th.e ~ed~ng-feast at such length and know it all myself, I do," and sat down to write, after
WIth so much love; It IS WIth good reason that he makes which he finished the story at one sitting.
the mothe.r saf, after the wedding," Now we are com•. It will be very interesting for me to know the opinion
pletely rumed. It i~ evident that, by giving up the of other judges, but I consider it my duty frankly to
nurse, they lost that JOy and merriment which she had express my opinion. I have not come across anything
brought with her into the house. like these pages in Russian literature. In the whole
All that description of ~he wedding is uncommonly meeting there is not one reference to its having been
good. There are so:ne detaIls there which simply staager touching; all that there is told is how it happened, and
you, and, re:nembermg that it is an eleven-year-old bboy only so much of what took place is told as is necessary
who wrote. It, yo~ ask yourself, "Is it possible it is not for the reader to understand the situation of all the
mere~t ~cCldent ? Back of this compressed and strong persons.
descnptIOn you ju~t see .the eleven-year-old boy, not taller The soldier said only three sentences in his house. At
than the table, WIth hIS bright and intelligent eyes to first he braced himself and said, " Good morning!" 'When
whom ~obody pays any attention, but who remembers he began to forget the part he was to play, he said, "Is
and notICes everything. that all there is of your family?" And everything was
When, for examp!e, he wanted some bread, he did not said in the words, " Where is my mother?"
say that he asked hIS mother for it, but that he bent his What simple and natural words they all are, and not
mother down. !his is. not said by accident, but because one person is forgotten! The boy was happy, and even
h~ remembers hIS relatIOn to his mother at that stage of wept; but he was a child, and so he, in spite of his
hIS &,rowth, ~d because he remembers how timid that father's tears, kept examining his wallet and pockets.
~elatI~n was m the presence of others, and how familiar Nor is the nurse forgotten. You almost see that ruddy
III theIr absence. There is one other thing out of a mass woman, who, in shoes and fine attire, timidly enters the
of o~servations which he could have made during the room, and, without saying anything, kisses her father.
weddmg ceremony which seemed to have impressed him, You almost see the embarrassed and happy father, who
212 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES HOW PEASANT CHILDREN WRITE 213
kisses all in succession, without knowing whom, and that this detail was immoral, and that the conception of the
who, upon learning that the young woman is his daugh. Crown as a milch-cow ought to be eradicated, and not
ter, calls her up once more and now kisses her, not as any strengthened in the masses. But to me this feature, leav-
young woman, but as a daughter, whom he had once left ing alone its artistic truth, is particularly pleasing. The
behind, without taking any thought of her. Crown's money always remains somewhere,- why, then,
The father is reformed. How many false and inept is it not to remain in the hands of some homeless soldier
phrases we should have used upon that occasion 1 But Gordyey? .
Fedka simply told how the nurse brought some liquor, We frequently meet with diametrically opposite con-
and he did not drink it. You just seem to see the woman, ceptions of honesty in the masses and in the upper classes.
who, taking out of her pouch the last twenty-three kopeks, The demands of the masses are peculiarly serious and
?reathing heavily, in a whisper orders the young woman severe in respect to honesty in the nearest relations, for
III the vestibule to bring some liquor, and deposits the example, in relation to the family, the village, the Com-
copper money in her open hand. mune. In relation to outsiders, - the public, the govern-
You see the young woman, who, raising her apron with ment, especially the foreigner, the treasury, - the applica-
her hand, with the bottle underneath it, thumpincr with tion of the common rules of honesty presents itself but
her shoes and swinging her elbows, runs down to the dimly. A peasant who will never tell a lie to his brother,
tavern. You see her enter the room with flushed face who will endure all kinds of privations for his family, who
taking the bottle out from underneath the apron, and yod will not take a superfluous or unearned kopek from his fel-
see her mother place it on the table with an expression of low villager or neighbour, - the same peasant will strip
self-contentment and joy, and how she feels both annoyed a foreigner or townsman like a linden switch, and will at
and happy because her husband has stopped drinking. every word tell a man of the gentry or an official a lie; if
And you see that if he has given up drinking at such an he be a soldier, he will without the slightest compunction
occasion, he certainly has reformed. You feel that the stab a captive Frenchman, and, if Crown money falls into
members of the family have become different people. his hands, he will not regard it a crime before his family
"My father said a prayer and sat down at the table. to take advantage of it.
I sat down by his side; the nurse sat down on the door- In the upper classes, on the contrary, the very opposite
bench, and mother stood at the table, and looked at him takes place. A man of our kind will much sooner de-
and said: 'See how much younger you look 1 You hav~ ceive a wife, a brother, a merchant, with whom he has
no beard now! ' Alllaughed." had dealings for dozens of years, his servants, his peasants,
. Only when all the others left, the real family conversa- his neighbour, - and this same man abroad is all the
tIOn began. Only then it was revealed that the soldier time consumed by fear lest he should cheat somebody,
had grown rich. He had become enriched in the simplest and begs all the time to have pointed out to him anyone
and most natural manner, as nearly all people in the he may be owing money to. This ~ame gentlem~n of our
world grow rich, that is, money which did not belong to class will stint his company and regIment, to obtam money
him, the Crown's money, by a lucky accident came into for his champagne and gloves, and will bubble up with
his hands. Some of the readers of the story remarked civilities before a captive Frenchman. The same man
214 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES HOW PEASANT CHILDREN WRITE 215

regards it as the greatest crime to make use of the Crown's In the very scene when the money is mentioned there
money, when he is penniless, - he only regards it so, for is a tiny detail, one word, which seems to strike me anew,
generally he will not stand his ground when the oppor- every time I read it. It illumines the whole picture,
tunity offers itself, but will commit that which he him- paints all the persons and their relations, and only one
self regards as a piece of rascality. word, and an incorrectly, syntactically incorrectly, used
r am not saying which is better, - r am only telling word at that, - the word "hastened." A teacher of syn-
what is, as it appears to me. r will, however, remark tax must say that it is irregular. Hastened demands
that honesty is not a conviction and that the expression some modification, - hastened to do what? the teacher
"honest convictions" is nonsense. Honesty is a moral ought to ask. And here it is simply said: "Mother took
habit; in order to acq~ire i~, it is impossible to go by any the money and hastened and carried it away to bury it,"
other part than to begIn wIth the nearest relations. The and it is charming. I wish I myself had: used: such a
expression "~lOnest convictions" is, in my opinion, abso- word, and I wish that teachers, who teach language, might
lutely meamngless: there are honest habits but not say or write such a sentence.
honest convictions. ' "When we had eaten, the nurse kissed father again
The. words" honest convictions" are an empty phrase; and went home. Then father began to rummage through
for thIS reason those reputed honest convictions, which his wallet, and mother and I just looked on. Mother
refer to the most remote vital conditions, to the Crown's saw a little book there, so she says: 'Oh, you have
mo~ey, to the government, to Europe, to humanity, and
learned to read? ' Says father: 'I have.'
whICh are not based on habits of honesty and not educated " Then father took out a kerchief tied in a larO'e knot
on the nearest vital relations, - for this reason those and gave it to mother. b
honest convictions, or, more correctly, those empty phrases " Says mother: 'What is this?'
of honesty, prove inadequate in relation to life. " Says father: 'Money.'
r return to the story. The mention of the money "Mother was happy and hastened and carried it away
taken f~om the C.rown, whi~~ in the first moment may to bury it. Then mother came back, and says she:
appear Immoral, In our oprnlOn, on the contrary, is a " 'Where did you get it ?'
charming, touching characteristic. How often a littera- "Says father: 'I was an under-officer and had Crown
teur of our ~lass, wishing, in the simplicity of his soul, to money: I gave it to the soldiers, and what was left in
r~present hIS hero as an ideal of honesty, shows us all the my hands, I kept.'
duty and corrupt interior of his imagination! Here, on " My mother was so happy and ran around like a mad
the c?ntrary: the author ~ust make his hero happy: for person. The day had passed, and the evening came.
happrness, h?s return to hIS family would suffice, but he They lighted a fire. My father took the book and began to
had to abolish the poverty which had been weiO'hing so read. I sat down near him and listened, and mother held
heavily on the family for so many years; whereb was he the torch. Father read the book for a long time. Then we
to g~t the wealth from? From the impersonal Crown. lay down to sleep. I lay down on the back bench with
To gIve wealth, one has to get it first, - and it could not father, and mother lay down at our feet, and they talked for
have been got in a more lawful and clever manner. a long time, almost until midnight. Then we fell asleep."
216 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES HOW PEASANT CHILDREN WRITE 217
Here again we have a scarcely perceptible detail, which "Says mother: 'I have, - it is notched j maybe it
does not startle us in the least, but which leaves a deep won't cut.'
impression, - the detail of their going to bed: the father " My father took the axe firmly with both his hands,
lay down with his son, the mother lay at their feet, and walked over to the block, put it up standing, swung the
they did not get tired talking for a long time. How axe with all his might, and split the block; he chopped
tightly, I think, the son must have hugged to his father's up some wood and brought it to the house. ~other
breast, and what a joy and happiness it was for him, fall- made a fire in the oven, and it burned, and soon It grew
ing asleep and waking again, to hear the two voices, one daylight."
of which he had not heard for so long a time. But the artist is not satisfied with that. He wants to
One would think all is ended: the father has returned, show us another side of their lives, the poetry of the
and there is no more poverty. But Fedka was not satis- happy family life, and so he paints the following picture
fied with that (his imaginary people apparently made a for us:
deep impression upon his imagination); he had to form a "When it was all daylight, my father said: 'Matrena!'
picture of their changed life, to present to himself vividly "My mother came up, and says she: 'Well, what? '
that now the woman was no longer alone, a saddened "Says father: 'I am thinking of bu~ing a ~ow, ~ve
soldier's wife with small babies, but that there was a sheep, two little horses, and a hut, - thIS one IS fallmg
strong man in the house, who would take off the wearied to pieces, - well, that will take about one hundred and
shoulders of his wife all the burden of the crushing sorrow fifty roubles.'
and want, and would independently, firmly, and merrily "Mother thought awhile, then says she: 'Well, we
begin a new life. shall spend all the money.'
For this purpose he paints us only one scene: the pow- " Says father: ' We will begin to work.'
erful soldier with a notched axe chops some wood and " Says mother: 'All right, we will buy it all, but where
brings it into the house. You see the keen-eyed boy, shall we get the timber?'
used to the groans of his feeble mother and grandmother, " Says father: 'Hasn't Kiryukha any? '
with wonderment, respect, and pride admiring the bared " Says mother: 'That's where the trouble is: the Fok-
muscular arms of his father, the energetic swinging of the anychevs have taken it away.'
axe, coinciding with the pectoral sigh of masculine labour. "Father thought awhile, and says he: 'Well, we shall
and the block, which, like a piece of kindling-wood, is get it from Bnlntsev.'
split under the notched axe. You look at it, and your "Says mother: 'I doubt whether he has any.'
mind is eased about the future life of the soldier's wife. "Says father: 'Why should he not have? He has a
Now she will not be lost, the dear one, I think. forest.'
" In the morning mother got up, walked over to father, " Says mother: 'I am afraid he will ask too much,-
and says she: 'Gordyey, get up! I need some wood to he is such a beast.'
make a fire in the oven.' "Says father: 'I will take some brandy. to him, and
"Father got up, dressed himself, put on his cap, and maybe we shall come to some understandmg; and you
says he: 'Have you an axe?' bake an egg in the ashes for dinner.'
218 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES HOW PEASANT CHILDREN WRITE 219
"M?ther got the dinner ready, - she borrowed from comedy, which they all play, and all know that it is
her fnends. Then father took the brandy and went t a comedy, which they play from excess of happiness.
~rantsev's, and we stayed at home, waiting for a lon~ " Don't beat Fedka! Don't beat Fedka !" says the father,
tIme. I felt lonely without father. I began to ask raising his hand against her. And the mother, who is
mother to let me go there where father was. used to unfeigned tears, pretends to be crying, with a
" Says mother: 'You will lose y<mr way.' smile of happiness at the father and the son, and the boy,
"I began to cry and wanted to go, but mother slapped who climbed on his father's knees, was proud and happy,
me, and I sat down on the oven and cried more than not knowing why, - proud and happy, no doubt, because
before. Then I saw father coming into the room. Says noW they were all happy.
he: 'Why are you crying?' " Then father sat down at the table, and put me by his
"Says mother: 'Fedka wanted to run after you and I side, and shouted: 'Mother, give Fedka and me some-
gave him a beating.' ' thing to eat, - we are hungry! ' "
"Fat?er walked over to me, and says he: 'What are " Weare hungry," and he placed him by his side.
you crymg about?' What love and happy pride of love breathes in these
" I began to complain of mother. Father went up to words! There is nothing more charming and heartfelt
mother and began to beat her, in jest, saying: 'Don't in the whole charming story than this last chapter.
beat Fedka! Don't beat Fedka! ' But what do we mean to say by all that? What im-
"Mother pretended to be crying. I sat down on port does this story, written, probably, by an exceptional
father's knees and was happy. Then father sat down at boy, have pedagogically? We shall be told: "You, the
t~e table, and put me by his side, and shouted: 'Mother, teacher, may unconsciously, to yourself, have helped in
give Fedka and me something to eat, - we are hungry!' the composition of these stories, and it would be too
"And mother gave us some beef, and we began to eat. difficult to find the limits of lthat which belongs to you,
When we were through dinner, says mother: ' What about and of that which is original."
the timber? • We shall be told: "We shall admit that the story is
" Says father: 'Fifty roubles in silver.' good, but that is only one kind of literature."
" Says mother: 'That is not bad.' We shall be told: "Fedka and the other bOYS, whose
" Says father: 'I must say, it is fine timber.' " compositions you have printed, are happy exceptions."
It see;ns so si~ple: so little is said, and you see the We shall be told: "You are yourself a writer, and,
persrect~ve of t?61r whole domestic life. You see that the without knowing it, you have been helping the pupils
boy is still a child, who will cry and a minute later will be along paths which cannot be prescribed as a rule to other
happy j you see that the boy is not able to appreciate his teachers who are not authors themselves."
mother's love, and that he has exchanged her for the virile We shall be told: "From all that it is impossible to
father who ~as chopping the block j you see that the mother deduce a common rule or theory. It is partially an inter-
knows that. it must be so, and she is not jealous j you see esting phenomenon, and nothing else."
that splend~d Gordyey, whose heart is brimful of happiness. I shall try to give my deductions in such a manner as
You notice that they ate beef, and that is a charming to serve as answers to all the retorts imagined by me.
220 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES HOW PEASANT CHILDREN WRITE 221
The feelings of truth, beauty, and goodness are inde- in our way by the Creator, in the attainment of the
pendent of the degree of development. Beauty, truth highest ideal of harmony. In this necessary law of
and goodness are conceptions which express only th~ forward motion lies the meaning of that fruit of that
harmony of r.ela.tions in the sense of truth, beauty, and tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which our first
~oodness. LIe IS only a non-correspondence of relations ancestor tasted.
ill the sense of truth; there is no absolute truth. I am A healthy child is born into the world, completely
not lying when I say that the tables whirl about under satisfying all the demands of unconditional harmony in
the touch of my fingers, if I believe it to be so even relation to truth, beauty, and goodness, which we bear
though it is an untruth; but I am lying when I sa~ that within us; he is near to inanimate beings, - to the plant,
I have no m~ney when, according to my ideas, I have to the animal, to Nature, which always represents to us
money. No Immense nose is monstrous, but it is mon. that truth, beauty, and goodness, which we are seeking
~trous o~ a small face. Monstrosity is only a disharmony and wishing for. In all the ages and with all men, the
m relatIOn to beauty. To give away my dinner to a child has been represented as a model of innocence, sin-
~e~dicant, or t? ea~ it up myself has nothing of badness lessness, goodness, truth, and beauty. "Man is born
ill It; b~t to gr~Te It. away,. or eat it up myself, while my perfect" is a great word enunciated by Rousseau, and
mother IS starvillg IS a dIsharmony of relations in the this word will remain firm and true, like a rock. At
sense of goodness. birth man represents the prototype of harmony, truth,
In bring~g up, educating, developing, or in any way beauty, and goodness. But every hour in life, every
you ple~se mfluencing the child, we ought to have and minute of time increases the extent, the quantity, and
unconscIOusly do have one aim in view, - to attain the the duration of those relations which during his birth
greatest harmony p~ssible. in the sense of truth, beauty, were in full harmony, and every step and every hour
a,nd goodness. If tIme dId not run, if the child did not threaten the impairment of that harmony, and every
live wi~h eve~ side of himself, we should be able quietly successive step and every successive hour threaten a new
to attaIn thIS harmony by supplementing there where impairment and gives no hope of the restitution of the
there seems to be a lack, and by reducing where there impaired harmony.
see~s to ?e a super~uity. But the child lives; every side For the most part educators forget that the child's age
of .hIS eXIstence s~nves after development, trying to out- is the prototype of harmony, and they assume the develop-
strIP every other SIde, and, for the most part, we mistake ment of the child, which goes on independently according
the progress of these sides of his beina for the aim and to immutable laws, as the aim. The development is
cooperate in this development only, <>instead of aiding erroneously taken for the aim because to the educators
the harmony of the development. In this lies the happens that which takes place with poor sculptors.
eternal mistake of all pedagogical theories. Instead of trying to arrest a local exaggerated develop-
We see our ideal before us, whereas it is behind us. ment or the general development, instead of waiting for
The necessary ~e~elopment. of man is far from being a new incident to destroy the irregUlarity which has
a mean.s ?f attaI~lll.g that Ideal of harmony which we arisen, just as a poor sculptor, instead of eradicating that
bear wlthm us; It IS, on the contrary, a hindrance, put which is superfluous, keeps pasting on more and more,-
222 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES 223
HOW PEASANT CHILDREN WRITE

even thus educators seem to be concerned only about the like of which cannot be found in Russian literatu~e.
not interrupting the process of development, and if they
Therefore, it is my conviction that we ca~lllot t~achlachil-
ever think of the harmony, they try to attain it by ap- . genera, 1 and peasant children III
proaching an unknown prototype in the future, by depart- dren m . partIcuh th
r, to
write and compose. All that we can do IS to teac em
ing from the prototype in the present and in the past.
No matter how irregular the development of a child how to go about writing. ..
If what I did in order to obtalll. thIS result ~ay be
may be, there are always left in him the primitive
features of harmony. By moderating, at least by not 11
ca e d method
,
this method consisted III the followmg:
. t' tb
(1) Give a great variety of themes, not mven mg em
pushing, the development, we may hope to get a certain
approach to regularity and harmony. But we are so sure specially for the. childr~n, but propose SUC? as appear
of ourselves, we are so visionarily devoted to the false most serious and mterestmg to the teacher ~~mself.
ideal of manhood perfection, we are so impatient with (2) Give the children children's COmp?SltIOns to read,
and give them only children's compOSItIOns as models,
irregularities which are near to us and so firmly believe
in our ability to correct them, we are so little able to for children's compositions are always mor.e. correct, more
comprehend and value the primitive beauty of a child, artistic, and more moral than the compOSItIOns of grown
that we, as fast as we can, magnify and paste up the people. . b b
irregularities that strike our vision, - we correct, we (3) (Most important.) When lookmg t ~oug a
educate the child. Now one side has to be equalized pupil's composition, never make any remarks to him abo~t
with the other, now the other has to be equalized with the cleanliness of the copy-book, nor about penmanship,
the first. The child is developed more and more, and all nor orthography, nor, above all, about the structure of the
the time departs more and more from the former shat- sentences and about logic. .. . .
tered prototype, and the attainment of the imaginary (4) Since the difficulty of compOSItIOn ~o~s not?e m
prototype of the perfection of manhood becomes ever more the volume nor the contents, nor the artIstIC quahty of
impossible. Our ideal is behind us, not before us. Edu- the theme, the sequence of the themes is not to be based
cation spoils, it does not correct men. The more a child on volume, nor on the contents, nor on the l.anguage, b~t
is spoiled, the less he ought to be educated, the more in the mechanism of the work, which ~onslsts, fi:st, m
liberty he needs. selecting one out of a large number of Ideas. and Images
It is impossible and absurd to teach and educate a presented; secondly, in choosing wor~s f?r It and ~loth­
child, for the simple reason that the child stands nearer ing it in words; thirdly, in remembe~rng It and fi~dmg a
than I do, than any grown-up man does, to that ideal of place for it; fourthly, in not repeatm.g. nor leavmg out
harmony, truth, beauty, and goodness, to which I, in my anything, and in the ability of co~brnmg ~bat. foll~ws
pride, wish to raise him. The consciousness of this ideal with that which precedes, all the tIme keepmg m mlI~d
is more powerful in him than in me. All he needs of me what is already written down; fifthly, and finally,. m
is the material, in order to fill out harmoniously and thinking and writing at th~ same time, without ~avrn.g
on all sides. The moment I gave him full liberty one of these acts interfere WIth the other. To obtarn thIS
and stopped teaching him, he wrote a poetical production, end, I did as follows: A few of those sides of t?e labour
I at first took upon myself, by degrees transferrmg them
224 PEDAGOGICAL ARTICLES

to their care. At first I chose from the ideas and images


that presented themselves to them such as I considered
best, and retained them, and pointed out the place, and
consulted what had already been written, keeping them
from repetitions, and myself wrote, leaving to them only
the clothing of the images and ideas in words; then I
allowed them to make their own choice, and later to con-
sult that which had been written down, until, at last, as
in the case of "A Soldier's Life," they took the whole
matter into their own hands.

...
THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA
...
POLYANA
For the Months of November and December,
1862
~

THE SCHOOL ,AT YASNAYA


POLYANA
For the Months of November and December,
1862


GENERAL SKETCH OF THE CHARACTER OF THE SCHOOL

WE have no beginners. The lowest class reads, writes,


solves problems in the first three arithmetical operations,
and reads sacred history, so that the subjects are divided
in the programme in the following manner:
(1) Mechanical and graded reading, (2) writing, (3)
penmanship, (4) grammar, (5) sacred history, (6) Rus-
sian history, (7) drawing, (8) mechanical drawing, (9)
singing, (10) mathematics, (11) talks on the natural
sciences, (12) religion.
Before saying anything about the instruction, I must
give a short sketch of what the Yasnaya Polyana school
is and of what stage of its growth it is in.
Like all living beings, the school not only becomes
modified with every year, day, and hour, but also is sub-
ject to temporary crises, hardships, ailments, and evil
moods. The Yasnaya Polyana school passed through
such a crisis during this last summer. There were many
causes for it: in the first place, as is always the case, all
our best pupils left us, and we met them only occasion-
227
228 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 229
ally at work in the field, or in the pastures; secondly, in the mist, in the rain, or in the oblique rays of the au-
new teachers had come to the school, and new influences tumnal sun, dark figures, by twos, by threes, or singly, on
began to be brought to bear upon it; thirdly, every day the mounds (the village is separated fro~ the schoo~ by a
of ~he summer brought new visiting teachers, who were ravine). The herding feeling has long dlsappear~~ ill the
takrng advantage of the summer vacation. Nothing is pupils. A pupil no lo~ger has the need of waltrng an~
more ~e~rimental to the regular progress of the school shouting: "0 boys, let s to school J She has begun.
t~an VISItors. In one way or another the teacher adapts He knows by this time that" school" is neuter, and he
hImself to the visitors.
knows a few other things, and, strange to say, for that
W ~ ha,:e four teachers. Two old ones, who have been very reason has no longer any need of a crowd. When
teachrng m the school for two years, and have become the time comes to go, he goes. It seems to me t~Iat the
accustomed to the pupils, their work, the freedom and the personalities are becoming more independent, theIr char-
external disorder of the school. The two new teachers _ acters more sharply defined, with every day. I ha,:e
both themselves fresh from school- are lovers of exter- never noticed the pupils playing o~ their way, unless ~t
nal precision, programmes, bells, and so forth, and have be a very young child, or a new pupIl, who h~d begun ?IS
not yet adapted themselves to the school so well as the instruction in some other school. The chIldren brmg
first. What for the first seems reasonable necessary un- nothing with them, - neither books, nor copy-books. No
aV?idable, like the features of a beloved though hor'nely lessons are given for home.
chIld, that ha~ grown up under one's eyes, to the new Not only do they carry nothin? in t~16ir hands, but
teachers sometIme appears as a corriO'ible fault.
they have nothing to carry even rn theIr heads; They
The scho~l is held in a two-story ~tone building. Two are not obliged to remember any lesson, - nothing that
rooms are gIVen up to the school, one is a physical cabi- they were doing the day before. They are n~t ve~ed
net, and two are occupied by the teachers. Under the by the thought of the impending lesson. They brrng WIt?
roof of th.e porch ha~gs a bell, with a rope attached to the them nothing but their impressionabl.e nat.ures and the~
claJ?per; m the ve~tlb.ule down-stairs stand parallel and convictions that to-day it will be as Jolly ~ school as ~t
?~nzo,ntal bars, whIle m the vestibule up-stairs there is a was yesterday. They do not think of theu classes untIl
Jorner s bench. The staircase and the floor of the vesti- they have begun. .
bule are covered with snow or mud; here also hanO's the Noone is ever rebuked for tardmess, and they never
programme. b
are tardy, except some of the older ones whose fathers
The order of instruction is as follows: At about eiO'ht now and then keep them back to do some work. In such
o'clock, the teacher living in the school, a lover of exter- cases they come running to school at full speed, and all
nal order and the administrator of the school, sends one out of breath.
of ~he boys who nearly always stay overnight with him So long as the teacher has not arrived, they gather
to rmg the bell.
near the porch, pushing each other off the steps, .01'
rn the village, people rise with the fires. From the skating on the frozen crust of the smooth road, while
school the fires have long been observed in the windows, some go to the schoolrooms. If it is cold, they read.
and half an hour after the ringing of the bell there appear, write, or play, waiting for the teacher.
230 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 231

The girls do not mingle with the boys. When the books, keep swinging their legs fr?m unallayed exc~te­
boys have anything to do with the girls, they never went. The martial spirit takes flIght, and the readlllg
address anyone in particular, but always all collectively: spirit reigns in the room. .
" 0 girls, why don't you skate?" or, "I guess the girls With the same enthusias~ with which ~e.was pullmg
are frozen," or, "Now, girls, all of you against me!" Mitka's hair, he is now readmg the Koltsov~an b~ok (~o
There is only one girl, from the manor, with enormous, they call Koltsov's works with us), almost clenchI.ng hIS
all-around ability, about ten years of age, who is begin- teeth, his eyes aflame, and seeing nothing about. h1IIl but
ning to stand out from the herd of girls. This girl alone his book. It will take as much effort to t~ar hIm away
the boys treat as their equal, as a boy, except for a deli- from the book as it took before to get hIm away from
cate shade of politeness, condescension, and reserve. fighting. h b h
Let us suppose, for example, that according to the They sit down wherever they please: on.t e enC es,
programme there is in the first, the lowest, class, mechan- the tables the window-sill, the floor, and m the arm-
ical reading, in the second, graded reading, in the third, chair. The girls always sit d~wn near each other.
mathematics. Friends, of the same village, espeCIally t~e younger ones
The teacher comes to the room, where on the floor lie (they have greater comradeship), always SIt t?gether. The
screaming children, shouting, "The heap is not large moment one such has decided to sit down m. t~e corner,
enough!" or, "You are choking me, boys t" or, "That all his friends, pushing one another ~nd dIvmg un~er
will do! Don't pull my hair!" and so forth. the benches, make for the same place, SIt down ~ear him,
"Peter Mikluiylovich!" a voice at the bottom of the and, looking about them, express as much. happ~ness and
heap calls out to the teacher as he enters, "tell them to contentment in their faces as though theIr haVIng taken
stop! " up those seats would make them happy for the rest of
" Good morning, Peter Mikhaylovich! " shout the their lives. The large armchair, which somehow found
others, continuing their game. its way into the room, forms the object of envy .for t?e
The teacher takes the books and gives them to those more independent individuals, - for the manonal gI~l
who have gone with him up to the bookcase; those who are and for others. The moment one of them mak~s ~p hIS
lying on top of the heap, without getting up, also ask for mind to sit down in the chair, another guesses hIS mten-
books. The heap becomes smaller by degrees. The tions from his looks, and there enSues a strugg~e. O~e
moment the majority have books, the rest run to the boy pushes out another, and the victor spreads hImself m
bookcase and cry: "Me too, me too. Give me yester- it with his head way below the back, and goes on read-
day's book; and me the Koltsovian book," and so forth. i~g like the rest, all absorbed in his ,:ork.. .,
If there are two left who, excited from the struggle, still I have never noticed anyone whIspe.rmg, ~r fmchmg
keep rolling on the floor, those who have the books cry his neighbour, or giggling, or snorting mto ~IS nand, or
out to them: complaininO' against another. When a pupIl who has
" Don't bother us ! We can't hear a word! Stop now! " been studying with a sexton or in a cou~ty school come,s
The excited boys submit and, out of breath, take hold to us with such a complaint, we say to hIm: "Why don t
of their books, and only at first, while sitting at their you pinch back?"
"ii

232 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 233
The two lower classes meet in one room, while the stop them, or, if you can do that, if you carry them away
~dvanced class goes to the next. The teacher comes, and, into another direction, this small sea begins to billow less
In the lowest class, all surround him at the board or on and less until it finally grows calm. In the majority of
the benches, or sit or lie on the table about the teacher cases there is no need to say anything. The drawing
or one of the reading boys. If it is a writina lesson they class, everybody's favourite class, is at noon when, after
seat. themsel:,"es in a more orderly way, b~t they' keep three hours' work, the children are beginning to be
gettIng up, In order to look at the copy-books of the hungry, and the benches and tables have to be taken
others, and to show theirs to the teacher. from one room to another, and there is a terrible hubbub;
According to the programme, there are to be four lessons and yet, in spite of it, the moment the teacher is ready,
before no~n, but there sometimes are only three or two, the pupils are, too, and if one of them should keep them
and sometImes there are entirely different subjects. The back from starting, he gets his punishment meted out to
teacher may begin with arithmetic and pass over to him by the children themselves.
g~ometry, or he may ~tart on sacred history, and end up I must explain myself. In presenting a description of
WIt~ grammar. At tImes the teacher and pupils are so the Yasnaya Polyana school, I do not mean to offer a
carned away, that, instead of one hour, the class lasts model of what is needed and is good for a school, but
three hours. Sometimes the pupils themselves cry: simply to furnish an actual description of the school. I
"M?re, more!" and scold those who are tired of the presume that such descriptions may have their use. If
subject. "If you are tired, go to the babies," they will I shall succeed in the following numbers in presenting a
call out contemptuously. clear account of the evolution of the school, it will become
All the pupils meet together for the class of religion intelligible to the -reader what it is that has led to the
which is the only regular class we have because th~ formation of the present character of the school, why I
teacher lives two versts away and comes' only twice a regard such an order as good, and why it would be abso-
week; they also meet together for the drawina class. lutely impossible for me to change it, even if I wanted.
Before these classes there is animation, fighting, shouting, The school has evolved freely from the principles intro-
and the most pronounced external disorder: some drag duced into it by teacher and pupils. In spite of the
the benches from one room into another' some fiaht. preponderating in~uence of the teacher, the pupil ~as
some of the children of the manorial serva~ts run h~m~ always had the l'lght not to come to school, or, havlllg
for some bread, which they roast in the stove' one is come not to listen to the teacher. The teacher has had
taking something away from a boy; another is doinO' the right not to admit a pupil, and has had the possibility
some gymnastics, and, just as in the disorder of the morn~ of bringing to bear all the force of his influence on the
ing, it is much ~asier to allow them to quiet themselves majority of pupils, on the society, always composed of
and resu~e thClr natural order than forcibly to settle the school children.
them. WIth the present spirit of the school it would be The farther the pupils proceed, the more the instruction
physically impossible to stop them. The louder the branches out and the more necessary does order become.
teacher calls, - this has actually happened, _ the louder For this reason, in the normal non-compulsory develop-
they shout: his loud voice only excites them. If you ment of the school, the more the pupils become educated,
234 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 235
the fitter they become for order, and the more strongly gathered in My name, there will I be with t~em ! Whe~
they themselves feel the need of order, and the greater they submit only to natural laws, such as anse from theIr
is the teacher's influence in this respect. In the Yasnaya natures, they do not feel provoked and do not murmur;
Polyana school this rule has always been observed, from but when they submit to your predetermined interference,
the day of its foundation. At first it was impossible to they do not believe in the legality of your bells, pro-
subdivide into classes, or subjects, or recess, or lessons; arammes, and regulations.
everything naturally blended into one, and all the attempts b How often have I seen children fighting, when the
at separation remained futile. Now we have pupils in teacher would rush up to take them apart, which would
the first class, who themselves demand that the programme only make the separated enemies look awry at each other,
be adhered to, who are dissatisfied when they are disturbed and would not keep them, even in the presence of a stern
in their lessons, and who constantly drive out the little teacher, from rushing later against each other in order to
children who run in to them. inflict a more painful kick! How often do I see every
In my opinion, this external disorder is useful and not day some Kiryushka, with set ~e~th, fly a~ Tar.as~a, pull
to be replaced by anything else, however strange and his hair, knock him down, and, if It costs hIm hIS hfe, try
inconvenient it may seem for the teacher. I shall often to maim his enemy, - and not a minute passes before
have occasion to speak of the advantages of this system, Taraska laughs underneath Kiryushka, - it is so much
and now I will say only this much about the reputed easier personally to square up accounts; in less than five
inconveniences: First, this disorder, or free order, is minutes both become friends and sit down near each other.
terrible to us only because we are accustomed to some- The other day, between classes, two boys g?t in~o a
thing quite different, in which we have been educated. hand-to-hand fight in the corner; one of them IS a
Secondly, in this case, as in many similar cases, force is remarkable mathematician, about nine years of age, of the
used only through haste and through insufficient respect second class; the other, a close-cropped manorial servant's
for human nature. We think that the disorder is growing son, an intelligent, but revengeful, tiny, black-eyed .b?y,
greater and greater, and that there are no limits to it,- nicknamed Pussy. Pussy had grabbed the mathematICIan
we think that there is no other means of stopping it but by his hair and jammed his head against the wall; the
by the use of force, - whereas we only need to wait a mathematician in vain tried to get hold of Pussy's cropped
little, and the disorder (or animation) calms down natu- bristles. Pussy's black little eyes were triumphant.
rally by itself, growing into a much better and more The mathematician with difficulty restrained his tears and
permanent order than what we have created. kept saying: "Well, well! W~at ? What? :' He was
School children, small men though they be, have the evidently badly off, though he tned to brace hImself.
same needs as we, and they reason in the same manner; they This lasted quite awhile, and I was in a quandary
all want to learn, coming to school for this only, and so what to do. "They are fighting, they are fighting!" cried
they will naturally arrive at the conclusion that they must the boys, crowding in the corner. The little boys laughed,
submit to certain conditions in order to acquire knowledge. while the bia ones, without taking them apart, exchanged
They are more than merely men, they are a company serious look~, which, together with the silence, ~id not
of men, united by one idea. And where three are escape Pussy. He saw that he was doing somethrng bad,
236 TIlE SCIlOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 237
and began to smile criminally and to let go of the mathe- ness and kiss each other, children!" That is worst of all,
matician's hair by degrees. on account of the lie and the flimsiness of that kiss, and
The mathematician got away from Pussy, pushed him because the feeling which was being allayed only flames
so that he fell with the back of his head against the wall, out anew.
and walked away satisfied. Pussy burst out weeping, Leave them alone, if you are not a father, or mother,
made for his enemy, and struck him with all his might, and simply sorry for your child, and, therefore, always
though not painfully, on his fur coat. The mathematician right when you pull away by the hair the one that has
wanted to pay him back, but just then several disapprov- given your son a beating, -leave them alone and see
ing voices were heard. how simply and naturally the whole matter will settle
"I declare, he is fighting a little fellow!" cried the itself, and at the same time in what a complicated and
spectators. "Run, Pussy! " varied manner, like all unconscious vital relations.
This was the end of the matter, and it was as though it It may be that teachers who have had no experience
had never happened, except, I suppose, that the dim con- in such disorder, or free order, will think that without the
sciousness of both fighting is not a pleasant matter, because teacher's interference such a disorder may have physically
it causes both pain. injurious results, and so forth. In the Yasnaya Folyan'"
It seems to me I observed here the sentiment of justice, school there have been only two cases of injuries since
which guides a crowd. How ofteu such matters are last spring. One boy was pushed (lawn the porch amI he
settled no one knows on the basis of what law, and yet skinned his leg to the bone (the wound healed up in two
satisfactorily to both sides. How arbitrary and unjust in weeks), and they scorched another boy's cheek with burned
comparison with it are all educational methods employed rubber, from which he had a mark lefL for about two weeks.
in such cases! It happens not oftener than once a week that somebouy
"You are both guilty, get down on your knees!" says cries, and then not from pain, but from anger or shame.
the educator, and the educator is wrong, because only one With the exception of these two cases, we cannot recall
of them is guilty, and that guilty one is now triumphant, any bruises or bumps for the whole summer among thirty
as he is kneeling and ruminating his unspent rage, while to forty pupils left entirely to themselves.
the innocent boy is doubly punished. I am convinced that the school ought not to interfere
Or, "You are guilty of having done this or that, and in that part of the education which belongs to the family;
you will be punished," says the educator, and the pun- that the school has no right and ought not to reward and
ished boy hates his enemy so much the more, because punish; that the best police anu administration of a school
the despotic power, the legality of which he does not consist in giving full liberty to the pupils to study and
acknowledge, is on his enemy's side. settle their disputes as they know best. I am convinced
Or, " Forgive him, as God orders you to, and be better of it, and yet, in spite of it, the old habits of the euuca-
than he," says the educator. You tell him to be better than tional schools are so strong in us that we frequently
he, and he only wants to be stronger, and does not, and depart from that rule in the Yflsnaya Polyulla school.
cannot, understand anything better. Last semester, namely in November, there happened two
Or, " Both of you are wrong: ask each other's forgive- such cases of punishment.
238 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 239
During the class in drawing, the newly arrived teacher rial boy from a distant village. He had influen~ed a
notice~ a boy who kept shouting, without paying any peasant boy who came with him from th~ sa~e VIllage,
attentlO~ to the teacher, and madly striking his neigh- and both together had hidden the stolen obJects m a sma~l
b?urs 'y.lthout any cause. Finding it impossible to assuage chest. This discovery produced a strange eff~ct on hIS
him wIth words, the teacher led him out from his seat schoolmates: something like relief, and even JOY, and at
and took his slate away from him; that was his pun- the same time contempt and compassion for the thief.
ishment. During the rest of the lesson the boy was We proposed to them to mete out a punishment
bathed in tears. It was the very boy whom I had not to the thief: some demanded that he be flogged, but
received at the opening of the Yasnaya Polyana school, as that they themselves should do the flogging; others
I regarded him as a hopeless idiot. The main character- said that a label with the inscription "thief" ought to
istics of the boy are dulness and meekness. His com- be sewn on his coat. This punishment, to our shame be
r~~es nev.er let him play with them, laugh at him, and it said had been used by us before, and the very boy
ndicule hI~, and in surp~se s~y of him: "What a funny who the year before had worn SUc? a la~el, with ~he
boy Petka IS! If you stnke hIm, - even the little fellows inscription" liar," was the most perSIstent III demandmg
strike him, - he just picks himself up and goes away." that label for the thief. We agreed on the label, and
" He has not any heart at all," a boy said to me about while a girl was sewing it on, all the pupils, with mali-
him. cious joy, looked at the punished b?ys, and m~de fun of
If such a boy was wrought up to such an extent that them. They demanded that the pUDlshment be Illcreased :
the teacher punished him, the punished boy was certainly "Take them through the village! Let them keep on the
not the one who was at fault. labels until the holidays," said they. .
Another case. In the summer, while the building was The punished boys wept. T~Ie peasant chIld, who had
being repaired, a Leyden jar had disappeared from the been influenced by the manonal boy, a tal~nted story-
physical cabinet; later, when there were no longer any teller and joker, a white-skinned, plum~ httl~ fell?w,
carpenters or calciminers in the house, there disappeared was crying his heart away at the top of hIS bOyIsh vOl.ce.
on various occasions pencils and books. We asked the The other the chief criminal, a hump-nosed boy, WIth
boys: the best pupils, those who had been with us the fine featu;es and an intelligent face, was pale; his lips
longest, our old friends, blushed, and looked so timid that quivered; his eyes looked wildly .and angr~ly at the tri-
any prosecuting magistrate would have taken their embar- umphant boys, and now and then hIS face ~wltched ~lDnatu­
rassment for the surest proof of their guilt. But I knew rally as though getting ready to cry: HIS ca~, WIt? torn
them, and could answer for them as for myself. I under- visor was poised on the back of hIS head, hIS harr was
stood that the mere thought of a suspicion offended them dish~vel1ed and his clothes soiled with chalk.
deeply and painfully: a boy whom I will call Fedor, All that struck me and everybody else forcibly, as
a talented and tender nature, was all pale, and he trem- though we saw it all for the firs.t time. Th.e hostile
?led and wept. They promised to tell me if they found attention of all was directed upon lum. And thIS he was
It out; but they refused to make a search. painfully conscious of. When he, wit~out l?o~ing ar?und
A few days later the thief was found: he was a mano- and with bent head, and with a pecuhar cnmmal galt, as
THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA
241
240 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA
What nonsense! The boy has stolen a book. By.:\
I .th~ught, walked home,. an~ the children, running after' hole complicated road of feelings, thoughts, faulty ratlo-
hIm m a crowd, teased hIm m a peculiarly unnatural and
str~r:gely cruel manner, as though an evil spirit were'
:nati~ns, he was led to take a book be10ngin~ to somebody
1se which he for some reason locked up m a chest?-
?Uldmg them against their will, something told me that e d'I paste on him a piece of paper with the word " thIef,"
It was not good. But the matter stood as it was and the
~hich means something entirely different! What for 1
To punish him by sh~ming. him, I shall be told. T.o
t?ief went with the label for a whole day. F:om that
tIme on I thought he was studying with less zeal and he
punish him by shammg hIm 1 What for 1 What. IS
no longer took part in the games and conversatio~s of the shame 1 How do we know that shame destroys the ~-
boys outside the school. lination toward thieving 1 Maybe it only encourages It.
Onc~ I came ~o the classroom, when all the pupils with
Maybe that which was expressed in his face was not at
a certam terror mformed me that the boy had again stolen. all shame. Indeed, I know for sure that it was not shame,
He ha~ taken away twenty kopeks in copper from the but something quite different, which might have slept for
teacher s roo~, and he had been caught hiding the money ever in his soul, and which it was not good to ~voke.
under the staIrcase. We again attached the label to him Maybe there, in the world, which is called real, m the
- and th.e ol~ m?nstrous scene was repeated. I bega~ world of the Palmerstons, Cayenne,- in the world wh~re
to admolllsh hIm, Just as all educators admonish; a grown
not that is reasonable which is reasonable, but that:v hlch
?p b~y, a good talker, who was present, began to admon- is real, -let people, who themselves have been pUlllshe~,
Ish hIm, too, repeating the words which he no doubt had invent rights and duties to punish. Our world ?f chIl-
heard from his father, an innkeeper. ' ,
dren _ of simple, independent men - mus~ remam p~re
"You steal ~nc~, an~ you steal a second time," he spoke, from self-deception and the criminal faith :n the 1egali~y
solemnly declalmmg hIS words, "and it becomes a habit, of punishment, free from that self-~eceptlOn and belIef
and leads to no good." that the feeling of revenge becomes Just the moment you
I be?an to feel vexed. I was almost enraged against
the. th18f. I looked at the face of the punished boy, call it punishment. . . .
We will proceed with the descnptlon of the daily.order
whICh now was even paler, more suffering, and more cruel of instruction. At about two o'clock the hungry chI!dren
~h.an before; I for some reason thought of prisoners in
run home. In spite of their hunger, they lag behmd a
~aII, and I suddenly felt so ashamed and felt such loath-
few minutes to find out their grades. The grades at ~he
mg for myself that I tore off the stupid label, told him to present time amuse them very much, though they gIve
go wherever he ple~sed, and suddenly convinced myself,
not through reasonmg, but with my whole being that I them no privileges.
"I have five plus, and Olgushka has caught a whopper
had no right to torm~nt the unfortunate boy, a~d that
I could ~ot make of hnn what I and the innkeeper's son of a cipher! - And I got four!" they cry. .
The grades serve to. them as a. measure of theIr work,
would lIke to make of him. I convinced myself that and dissatisfaction wIth grades IS expressed only .when
there ~ere secrets of the soul, hidden from us, upon which they are not just. There is trouble whe~ a pupIl has
only lIfe can act, and not moral precepts and punish- tried hard, and the teacher by oversight gIves him less
ments.
THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA
243
242 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA
d wing some figures with his nail on somebody's back.
than h,e deserve~. He will not give the teacher any l~iS not often ~hat one will ~ook b.ack at y~u. ~hen a
~nd wIll weep bI~ter tears, if he cannot get him to chang eW story is belllg told, all lIsten ill dead SIlence, when
It. Bad marks, if they are deserved, remain without pro. ~here is a repetition, ambitious voices, are heard now and
test. However, marks are left with us from the old orde then, being unable to keep from h~l pmg the, teacher out.
and are beginning to fall into disuse. Still, if there is an old story WhICh they lIke, they ask
At t~18 first ,lesson afte~ the dinner recess, the pupils' the teacher to repeat it in his own words, and then they
gather Just as m the m~rll1ng, and wait for the teacher in:
do not allow anyone to interrupt him.
the ~ame ,manner. It IS generally a lesson in sacred or " What is the matter with you 1 Can't you hold in?
Ru~sIan history, for which all the classes meet together.
Keep quiet 1" they will call out to a forward boy. .,
ThIS lesson. generally.begins at close of day. The teacher It pains them to hear the character and the a~tIstlC
stands or SItS down m the middle of the room and th
crowd gathers around him in amphitheatrical ~rder
benches, on tables, on window-sills.
0:
'
quality of the teacher's story interrupted. O~ late It has
been the story of Christ's life. They every tIme asked to
have it all told to them. If the whole story is not told
AI~ the evening lessons, especially the first, have a to them, they themselves supply: their f~vourite ending,
pecu!Iar c?aracter of calm, dreaminess, and poetry, differ- _ the history of Peter's denymg Chnst, and of the
mg ill thIS from the morning classes. You come" to the
~c~ool at fall o~ day: no lights are seen in the windows;
Saviour's passion. . .
You would think all are dead: there IS no stIr, - can
It IS almost qmet, and only tracks of snow on the stair- they be asleep 1 You walk up to the~ in the semi-dar~­
case, freshly carried in, a, weak dn: and rustling beyond ness and look into the face of some lIttle fellow, - he IS
the. door, and some urchm clattermg on the staircase, by sitting, his eyes staring at the teac~er, frown~ng from
taklllg two steps at a time and holding OIl to the balus- close attention and for the tenth tIme brushmg away
trade, prove that the pupils are at school. the arm of his ~ompanion, which is pressing down on .his
Walk .into the room! It is almost dark behind the shoulder. You tickle his neck, - he does not even smIle;
frozen wllldows; the best pupils are jammed toward the he only bends his head, as though to d~ive away a ~y,
t~acher by the rest of the children, and, turning up their and again abandons himself to the mysteno us and :poetIcal
lIttle ,heads, are looking straight into the teacher's mouth. story how the veil of the church was rent and It grew
The illdependent manorial girl is always sitting with a dark' upon earth,-and he has a mingled sensation of
~areworn face on the high table, and, it seems, is swallow-
mg every word; the .poorer pupils, the small fry, sit dread and joy. .' '.
Now the teacher is through WIth hIS story, and all nse
farther away.: th~y lIsten attentively, even austerely; from their seats, and, crowding around their teacher, try
they ~ehave Just lIke the big boys, but, in spite of their to outcry each other in their attempt to tell what they
attentIOn, we know that they will not tell a thing even have retained. There is a terrible hubbub, - the teacher
though they may remember some. ' barely can follow them all. Those who are forbidden t.o
Some press down on other people's shoulders, and tell anything, the teacher being sure that they know It
o~hers st~nd up on the table. Occasionally one pushes all, are not satisfied: they approach the other teacher;
hIS way mto the crowd, where he busies himself with
THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 245
244 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA

and if he is not there, they importune a companion, a " And studies? There is to be singing yet!" . .
stranger, even the keeper of the fires, or walk from corner " The boys say they are going home," says one, shppmg
t? corner by twos ~nd by threes, begging everybody to away with his cap.
hsten to them. It IS rare for one to tell at a time. They " Who says so?"
the~selves divide up in groups, those of equal strength " The boys are gone! "
keeI?mg together, and begin to tell, encouraging and cor- "How is that?" asks the perplexed teacher who has
rectmg each other, and waiting for their turns. " Come, prepared his lesson. " Stay! " . .
let u~ take it together," says one to another, but the one But another boy runs into the room, wIth an eXClted
who IS addressed ~nows that he can't keep up with him, and perplexed face. ,,'
and so ~e sends hIm to a:r:other. As soon as they have "What are you staying here for? he angrIly attacks
had theIr say and have qUleted down, lights are brought the one held back, who, in indecision, pushes the cotton
and a different mood comes over the boys. ' battina back into his cap. "The boys are way down
In the evenings in general, and at the next lessons in there, ~ I guess as far as the smithy."
particular, the hubbub is not so great, and the docility " Have they gone? "
and the co~fidence in the teacher are greater. The pupils "They have." . .
s~em to ev~c~ an abho~re~ce for mathematics and analy-
And both run away, callmg from behmd the door:
SIS, .and a lIkmg for smgmg, reading, and especially for " Good-bye, I van I vanovich !"
storIes. Who are the boys that decided to go h~me, and how
"What's the use in having mathematics all the time did they decide it? God knows. You WIll neve~ find
and writing? Better tell us something, about the earth: out who decided it. They did not take counsel, dId not
or even history, and we will listen," say all. conspire, but simply, some boys wanted to go hom~, "The
At ab?ut eight o'clock the eyes begin to get heavy; boys are going!" - and their feet rattle down-sta:rs, and
they begm. to yawn; the candles burn more dimly, - they one rolls down the steps in catlike form, and, leapmg and
are not tnmmed so often; the elder children hold them- tumbling in the snow, running a race with each other
selv~s up, but the younger, the poorer students, fall asleep,
along the narrow path, the children bolt f~r home.
lealllng on the table, under the pleasant sounds of the Such occurrences take place once or tWIce a week. It
teacher's voice. is aggravating and disagreeable for the teacher, - who
will not admit that? But whJ will not admit, at the
At times, when the classes are uninteresting, and there
same time, that, on account of one such an occurrence,
have been many of them (we often have seven long hours
the five six and even seven lessons a day for each class,
a day), and the children are tired, or before the holidays,
when the ovens at home are prepared for a hot bath, two which ~re, ;f their own accord and with pleasu.re, ~ttende~
by the pupils, receive a so much greater sIglllfic~nce .
or three boys .will suddenly rush into the room during the
Only by the recurrence of such cases. could .one gam the
s~cond or third afternoon class-hour, and will hurriedly
pICk out their caps. certainty that the instruction, though m~uffiClent and one-
" What's up?" sided, was not entirely bad an~ not ~etnme:r:tal.
If the question were put lIke this: WhICh would be
" Going home."
246 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 247
bet~er, that not one such OCcurrence should take place Not all are admitted to the class in experiments, only
durmg the whole year, or that this should happen for the oldest and best, and the more intelligent ones of the
more than half the lessons, - we should choose the latter. second class. This class has assumed, with us, a vesper-
At least, ,I was always glad to see these things happen tine, most fantastic character, precisely fitting the mood
sever~ tImes a month in the Yasnaya Polyana school produced by ~he read~~ of fairy-tales.. H~re the f~iry­
In spIte of the frequently r~peated state~ents to the boys like element IS matenahzed, - everythmg IS persolllfied
that they may leave any tIme they Wlsh the influence by them: the pith-ball which is repelled by the sealing-
of the teacher is so strong that, of late, I h~ve been afraid wax, the deflecting magnetic needle, the iron filings
th,at th~ disciplin,e of the classes, programmes, and grades scurrying over the sheet of paper underneath whic~ ~he
mIght, ImperceptIbly to them, so restrict their liberty that magnet is guided, present themselves to them as hvmg
they would submit to the cunning of the nets of order set objects. The most intelligent bOYS, who understand the
by us and that they would lose the possibility of choice cause of these phenomena, become excited and talk to the
and protest. Their continued willingness to come to needle, the ball, the filings: "Come now! Hold on!
sc~ool, in spite of the liberty granted them, does not, I Where are you going? Stop there! Ho there! Let her
th~nk, by any means prove the especial qualities of the go !" and so forth.
Yasnaya Polyana school, - I believe that the same would Generally the classes end at between eight to nine
be repea~d in the majority of schools, and that the desire o'clock, if the carpentry work does not keep the b?ys
to ~tudy ~s so strong in children that, in order to satisfy longer, and then the whole mass of them run shoutmg
theIr ~eslre, ~hey will submit to many hard conditions into the yard, from where they begin to scatter in groups
and Wlll f?rglve many defects. The possibility of such in all the directions of the village, calling to each other
escap.ades IS useful and necessary only as a means of from a distance. Sometimes they scheme to coast down-
securmg the teacher against the most detrimental and hill into the village on a large sleigh standing outside the
coarsest errors and abuses. gate, by tying up the shafts: they crawl in and disappear
In, the even~ng we have singing, graded reading, talks, with screaming in the snow-d.ust, leaving, here and there
phySIcal ~xperIme~ts, and, writing of compositions. Of along the road, black spots of children tun~bled out.
these, theIr faVOUrIte subJects are reading and experi- Outside the school, in the open air, there establIsh them-
ments. During the reading the older children lie down selves, despite all the liberty granted there, new relations
on the large table in star-shaped form _ their heads between pupils and teachers, of greater liberty, gr~ater
together, their feet radiating out, and on~ reads, and aU simplicity, and greater confidence, - those very relat~ons,
tell the contents to each other. The younger children which, to us, appear as the ideal of what the school IS to
locate themselves with their books by twos and if th strive after.
boo~ is intelligible ~o them, they read it a~ we do, b; The other day we read G6gol's "The Elf-king" with
gettmg close to the hght and making themselves comfort- the first class. The last scenes powerfully affected them
abl~, and ap~arently they derive pleasure from it. Some, and excited their imagination: some tried to look like
trym~ to ulllte t~o kinds of enjoyment, seat themselves witches and kept mentioning the last night.
OppoSIte the burlllng stove, and warm themselves and read. It was not cold outside, - a moonless winter night
248 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 249

with clouds in the sky. We stopped at the cross-road; too terrible, - but even near the forest it was getting
the older, third-year pupils stopped near me, asking me to darker: we could hardly see the path, and the fires of
accompany them farther; the younger ones looked awhile the village were hidden from view.
at me and then coasted down-hill. The younger ones had Semka stopped and began to listen.
begun to study with a new teacher and there is no longer " Stop, boys! What is that 1" he suddenly said.. .
that confidence between them and me, as between the We grew silent, but we could hear nothmg; stIll It
older boys and me. added terror to our fear.
" Come, let us go to the preserve" (a small forest within " Well, what should we do, if one should jump out and
two hundred steps of the house), said one of them. make straiO'ht for us 1" F8dka asked.
Fed~a, a small boy of ten, of a tender, impressionable, We beg:n to talk about robbers in the Caucasus. They
p?etlCal, and dashing nature, was the most persistent in recalled a story of the Caucasus I had told them long
hIS demands. Danger seems to form his chief condition ag o, and I told them aerain
b
about abreks, .about Cossacks,
f
for enjoyment. In the summer it always made me shud- about Khadzhi-Muflit. Semka was struttmg ahead 0 us,
der to see him, with two other boys, swim out into the stepping broadly in his big boots, and evenly swaying his
very middle of the pond, which was something like three strong back. Pranka tried to walk by my SIde, but
hundred and fifty feet wide, and now and then disappear Fedka pushed him off the path, and Pranka, who appar-
in the hot reflections of the summer sun, and then swim ently always submitted to such .treatment o~ account of
over the depth, while turning on his back, spurting up the his poverty, rushed up to my ~Ide. only durmg th~ most
water, and calling out in a thin voice to his companions interesting passages, though smkmg knee-deep m the
on the shore, that they might see what a dashing fellow snow.
he was. Everybody who knows anything about peasant ch~ldre~
He knew that there were wolves in the forest now, and has noticed that they are not accustomed to any kmd or
so he wanted to go to the preserve. All chimed in, caresses, _ tender words, kisses, being touched with a
and so we went, four of us, into the wood. Another boy, hand, and so forth, - and that they cannot bear these
I shall call him Semka, a physically and morally sound caresses. I have observed ladies in peasant schools, who,
lad of about twelve, nicknamed Vavilo, walked ahead and wishing to show their favours to a boy, .say, ~'Come, my
kept exchanging calls with somebody in his ringinO' voice. darling, I will kiss you!" and actually kISS hIm, whereat
Pranka, a sickly, meek, and uncommonly talent~d boy, the boy so kissed is embarrassed and feels offended and
the son of ~ poor. family, - sickly, I think, mainly on wonders why that was done to him. A boy of five years
account of msuffiClent food, - was walking by my side. of age stands above these caresses, - he is a lad. It was
Fe.dka ~as .walking between me and Semka, talking all for this reason that I was startled when F8dka, who was
the tlme m hIS extremely soft voice, telling us how he had walking by my side, in the most terrible part of the story
herded ~orses here ~n the summer, or saying that he was suddenly touched me at first lightly with his sleeve and
not afraId of anythmg, or asking, "Suppose one should then clasped two of my fingers with his whole hand,
jump out!" and insisting on my answering him. We and did not let them out of his grasp.
did not go into the forest itself, - that would have been The moment I grew silent, :F8dka demanded that I
250 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 251
should proceed, and he did that in such an imploring and lay with her throat cut," said Fedka. "I should have run
agitated voice that I could not refuse his request. away myself!" and he moved up his hand on my t~o fingers.
" Don't get in my way I" he once angrily called out to We stopped in the grove, beyond the .threshrng-fl.o~rs,
Pronka, who had run ahead; he was carried away to the at the very end of the village. Semka pIcked up a stIck
point of cruelty, - he had such a mingled feeling of from the snow and began to strike the frozen trunk of a
terror and joy, as he was holding on to my finger, and no linden-tree. The hoarfrost fell from the branches upon
one should dare to interrupt his pleasure. his cap, and the lonely sound of his beating was borne
" More, more! That's fine I" through the forest.
We passed the forest and were approaching the village "Lev NikoIaevich," Fedka said (I thought he wanted
from the other end. to say something again about the countess), " why do peo-
"Let us go there again," all cried, when the lights ple learn singing? I often wonder why they really do ?"
became visible. " Let us take another walk I " God knows what made him jump from the terrors of
We walked in silence, now and then sinking in the the murder to this question; but. by everyth.ing, - ?y the
loose, untrodden path; the white darkness seemed to be sound of his voice, by the serIousness WIth WhICh he
s~~ying before our eyes; the clouds hung low, as though requested an answer, by the silence which the other t:w o
pilrng upon us, - there was no end to that whiteness over preserved, - I could feel a vi~d and lawf~ connectIOn
which we alone crunched through the snow; the wind of this question and the precedrn~ con~ersatIOn. ~hat­
rustled through the bare tops of the aspens, but we were ever the connection may have consIsted m, whether rn my
protected from the wind behind the forest. explaining the possibility of crime from ignorance (I ~ad
I finished my story by telling them that, the abrek told them so), or in his verifying himself, by tran~fe~g
being surrounded, he began to sing songs, and then threw himself into the soul of the murderer and recalling hIS
himself on his dagger. All were silent. favourite occupation (he has a charming voice and im-
"Why did he sing a song when he was surrounded?" mense talent for music), or whether the .connect~on. con-
asked Semka. sisted in his feeling that now was the tlme for mtlmate
"Didn't you hear? He was getting ready to die!" conversation and that now in his soul had arisen all the
Fedka replied, sorrowfully. questions d~manding a solution, - the question did not
"I think he sang a prayer," added Pronka. surprise any of us. . . ."
All agreed. Fedka suddenly stopped. " What is drawing for? And why IS It ~ood to :wrIte 1
" How was it when they cut the throat of your aunt? " I said, positively not knowing how to explarn to hIm what
he asked, - he had not had enough terrors. " Tell us ! art was for.
Tell us I" , "What is drawing for 1" he repeated, thoughtfullr
I told them once more that terrible story of the mur- What he was asking me was what art was for, and I dId
der. of Countess Tolstoy, and they stood silently about me, not dare and did not know how to explain to him.
gazrng at my face. "What is drawing for?" said Semka. "You draw
" The fellow got caught!" said Semka. everything, and then you know how to make things from
" It did frighten him to walk through the night, while she the drawing."
252 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA
THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 253
" No, that is mechanical drawing," said Fedka, "but
why do you draw figures 1" Semka did not say much, but it was evident that he
Semka's healthy nature was not at a loss: did not think there was much use in a linden when it
" What is a stick for 1 What is a linden for 1" he said was rotten.
still striking the linden. ' It feels strange to me to repeat what ~e spok~ on that
"Yes, what is the linden for 1" I asked. evening, but I remember we said everythmg, ~ thInk, that
" To make rafters with," replied Semka. there was to be said on utility and on plastIC and moral
" What is it for in summer, when it has not yet been beauty. , .
cut down 1" We went to the village. Fedka stIll clung to my hand,
"For nothing." - this time, I thought, from gratitude. We were all so
"Really," Fedka kept stubbornly at it "why does a near to each other on that night, as we had not been for
linden grow 1" , a long time. Pronka walked by our side over the broad
And we began to speak of there not being only a use- village street. .,. " r"
fulness of things, but also a beauty, and that art was " I declare, there is lIght stIll I? Mazanov shouse., he
beauty, and we understood each other, and Fedka Com- said. " As I was going this mornmg to school, Gavryukha
prehended well why a linden grew and what singing was was coming from the tavern," he added, "drunk, oh, so
for. drunk! The horse was all in a lather, and h~ kept warm-
Pronka agreed with us, but he had mostly in mind ina him up - I always feel sorry for such thIngs. Really
moral beauty, - goodness. I do ! What does he strike him for?" . .
. Semka und~rstood it rightly with his big brain, but he " The other day father gave his horse the rems, comIng
dId not recoglllze beauty without usefulness. He doubted from Tula " said Semka, "and the horse took him into a
as people of great intelligence doubt, feeling that art is ~ snowdrift, ,but he was drunk and asI eep."
force, but feeling in their souls no need of that force' he "Gavryukha kept switching him over the eyes - and
wanted, like t~em, to reach out for that art by mean~ of I felt so sorry for him," Pronka repeated once m.ore.
reason, and tned to start that fire in himself. "What did he strike him for 1 He got down and Just
." Let us sing' He who' to-morrow, _ I remember my switched him."
VOIce." Semka suddenly stopped. .
. ~e ~as a correct ear, but no t:::ste, no artistic quality
" They are asleep," he said, looking through the wmd.ows
m smgmg. of his black, crooked hut. " Won't you walk a lIttle
. Fed~a ~omprehended completely that the linden was more 1"
mce WIth Its leafage and that it was nice to look at it in " No."
summer, - and nothing else was needed. "Goo-ood-bye, Lev Nikolaevich," he suddenly shouted,
Pron~a understoo~ that it was a pity to cut it down, and as thouah tearing himself away from us, darted for
~ecause .It,. to?, had lIfe: "When we drink the sap of the his house raised the latch and disappeared.
linden, It IS Just the same as though we were drinking "So y~u will take us home 1 First one, and then
blood." another 1" asked Fedka.
We walked ahead. In Pronka's house there was a
254 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 255
light. We looked through the window: his mother, a societies, who are ready to give and who do give one-
tall, handsome, but em.ac~ated woman, with black eye- hundredth part of their possessions to the poor, who have
brows and. eyes, wa~ sIttmg at the table and cleaning established schools, and who, reading this, will say, "It is
po~atoe~; ill the mIddle of the roo~ hung a cradle; not good!" and will shake their heads. . .
Pronka s other brother, the mathematIcian of the second "Why develop them forcibly? Why gIve them sen~I­
class, was standing at the table and eating potatoes with ments and conceptions which will make them hostIle
salt. It was a tiny, dirty, black house. to their surroundings? Why take them out of their
"What is the matter with you?" the mother cried to existence 1" they will say.
Pr6nka. " Where have you been?"
Pr6nka smiled a meek, sickly smile looking at the
Of course, it is even worse with those who regard .
themselves as leaders, and who will say: "A fine state It
window. His mother guessed that he w~s not alone and will be, where all want to be thinkers and artists, and
immediately assumed an insincere, feigned expressio~. where nobody will be working!" .
There was now Fedka left.
These say without ambiguity that they do not lIke to
" T?e ~ailors are a~ our h~use, so there is a light there," work, and that, therefore, there have to be people who are
he saId ill the mollified VOIce of that evening. " Good- not merely unfit for any other activity, but simply slaves,
bye, Lev Nikolaevich!" he added, softly and tenderly who must work for others.
and began to knock the closed door with the ring. ' Is it good, is it bad, is it necessary to take them out of
."Let ~e in!" his thin voice rang out through the their surroundings, and so forth 1 Who knows 1 And
wmter stillness of the village.
who can take them out of their surroundings 1 That is
Quite a time passed before he was admitted. I looked not done by a mere mechanical contrivance. Is it good
through the window: it was a large room; on the oven or bad to add sugar to flour, or pepper to beer?
and on the benches feet could be seen' his father was Fedka is not vexed by his tattered caftan, but moral
playing cards with the tailors, - a few c~pper coins were questions and doubts torment him, and you want to give
l:r~g on the table. A woman, the boy's stepmother, was him three roubles, a catechism, and a tract about the use-
sIttmg ~ear the torch-holder, eagerly looking at the money. fulness of labour, and about meekness which you your-
One . taIlo~, an arrant knave, still a young peasant, was selves cannot bear. He does not need three roubles: he
holdmg his cards on the table, bending them like bark will find and take them when he needs them, and he will
and triumphantly looking at his partner. Fedka's father' learn to work without your aid, just as he has learned
the collar o~ his shirt being all unbuttoned, scowling fro~ to breathe; he needs that to which life has brought you,
mental stram and annoyance, was fumbling his cards in your own life and that of ten generations not crushed by
indecision, ~aving his heavy,Peasant hand over them. work. You have had leisure to seek, think, suffer, - so
"Let me ill I"
give him that which you have gained by su~erin~,­
The woman got up and went to open the door. that is what he wants; but you, like an EgyptIan prIest,
" Good-bye!" Fedka repeated. "Let us walk often veil yourselves from him in ~ mysterious .mantle and
that way I"
bury in the ground the talent gIven you by hIstory. Fe~r
I see honest, good, liberal men, members of charitable not: nothing human is injurious to man. Are you ill
256 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 257

d~ubt 1 Ab~ndon yourselves to your feelings, and they For the grown people, who come to school singly, the
w~ll not ~eceIve you. Have faith in his nature, and you order of the school is very inconvenient: on account of
WIll .convmce you.rs.elves that he will take only as much their age and their feeling of dignity they cannot take
as hIstory has enJomed you to give to him, as much as part in the animation of the school, nor can they free
has been worked in you by means of suffering. themselves from their contempt for the youngsters, and
The school is free, and the first pupils to enter were so they remain entirely alone. The animation of the
those fro~ the village of Yasnaya Polyana. Many of school is only an obstacle to them. They ;senerally c?me
these pupIls have left the school because their parents did to finish the instruction begun before, havrng some lIttle
not regard the instruction as good; many, having learned knowledge, and with the conviction that instruction con-
to read and write, stopped coming and hired themselves sists in making them learn the book, of which they have
out at the railroad, - the chief occupation at our village. heard before, or in which they have had experience. ~
~t first they brought the children from the near-by poorer order to come to the school, they had to overcome theIr
VIllages, but because of the inconvenience of the distance own fear and embarrassment and to endure a domestic
or of boarding them out (in our village the cheapest board storm and the ridicule of their companions. "Look at
is two roubles in silver a month), they were soon taken the stallion that is going to study!" Besides, they con-
out of school. From the distant villages the well-to-do stantly feel that every day lost at school is a day lost at
peasants, pleased to hear that the school was free and labour, which forms their only capital, and so all the time
that, as it was rumoured among the people, they tauO'ht that they are at school they are in an irr~table sta~e
well at the Yasnaya Polyana school, began to send their of hurry and zeal, which more than anythrng else IS
childr~n, but this winter, when schools were opened in detrimental to study.
~he villag.es, they took them out again and put them During the time which I am describing now we had
mto the VIllage pay schools. There were then left in the three such grown people, one of whom is studying even
Yasnaya Polyana school the children of the Yasnaya now. A grown pupil acts as at a fire: no .sooner has he
Polyana peasants, who attend school in the winter, but in finished writing than he grabs a book WIth one hand,
the summer, from April to the middle of October work while he puts down the pen held in the other, ~nd begins
~ the fields, and the children of innkeepers, clerks, sol- to read standing; take the book away from hIm, and he
d.wrs, manorial servants, dramshop-keepers, sextons, and takes hold of the slate; take that away from him, and
nch peasants, who are brought there from a distance of he is completely at a loss.
thirty and even fifty versts. There was one labourer this fall, who studied with us
There. are in al~ about fort~ pupils, but rarely more and at the same time made the fires in the school. He
than thIrty at a tIm.e. The gIrlS form ten or only six learned to read and write in two weeks, but that was not
per cent. of the whole, being from three to five in number. learning, but a disease, something like a protracted spree.
Boys from the age of seven to thirteen are the normal Passing with an armful of wood through the classroom,
age with us. In addition to these we have every year he would stop, with the wood still in his arms, and, bend-
three or four grown people who come to us for a month ing over a boy's head, would spell s, k, a --:- ska,. and then
and sometimes the whole winter, and then leave us. ' go to his place. If he did not succeed rn dorng so, he
258 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 259

looked with envy, almost with malice at the children' the full science, so that they may know division" (divi-
w:hen he was at liberty, we could not'do anything with sion is the highest conception they have of scholastic
hIm: ~e ga~ed steadfastly at his book, repeating b, a - wisdom); other fathers assume that science is very profit-
ba' r, .~ :- rt, and so forth, and while in this state he lost able; but the most send their children to school uncon-
all abIlIty to understand anything else. sciously, submitting to the spirit of the time.
Whe~ the grow:n ~en had to sing or draw, or to listen Out of these boys, who form the majority, the most
to a history reCItatIOn, or to look at experiments, it encouraging to us are those who were just sent to school
became apparent that they submitted to cruel necessity and who have become so fond of study that their parents
and, like hungry people who are torn away from then: now submit to the desire of the children, and themselves
foo~, they waited only for the moment when they could feel unconsciously that something good is being done to
agam bury themselves in their spelling-books. Remaining their children and have not the heart to take the children
true to the rule, I have not compelled boys to study the out of school.
~ ~ C when they do not want to do so, and so I do not One father told me that he once used up a whole
mSIst on a grown person's learning mechanics or drawing candle, holding it over his boy's book, and praised both
when he wants the ABC. Everybody takes what h~ his son and the book. It was the Gospel.
wants. "My father," another pupil told me, "now and then
. In g.eneral, the grown persons, who started their listens to a fairy-tale, and laughs, and goes away; and if
mstructIOn ~lsewhere" have not yet found a place for it is something divine, he sits and listens until midnight,
~hemsel:ves m the Yasnaya Polyana school, and their holding the candle for me."
mstructIOn proceeds poorly: there is something unnatural I called with the new teacher at the house of a pupil,
and morbid in their relation to the school. The Sunday and, in order to show him off, had the boy solve an
~chools which I have seen present the same phenomenon algebraic equation for the teacher. The mother was busy
1ll regard to grown persons, and so any information in at the oven, and we forgot all about her; while listening
respect to a successful free education of grown-up people to her son, as he briskly and earnestly transformed the
would be a very precious acquisition for us. equation, saying, " 2ab - c - d, divided by 3," and so forth,
The view of the masses as regards our school has much she all the time kept her face covered with her hand, with
c~a.nged from the beginning of its existence. Of the former difficulty restraining herself, and finally burst ont into
vIew,we shall have to speak in the history of the Yasnaya laughter and was unable to explain to us what it was she
P~lyana schoo!; but now the people say that in the was laughing about.
Yasna!a Polyana school "they teach everything and all Another father, a soldier, once came after his son; he
the SCIences, and there are some awfully smart teachers found him in the drawing class, and when he saw his
there, - they say they can make thunder and liahtning I son's art, he began to say "you" instead of "thou" to
And the boys comprehend well, - they have begun t~ him and did not have the heart to give him the water
read and write." chestnuts which he had brought him as a present.
,Some of them - the rich innkeepers _ send their The common opinion is, I think, as follows: They
chIldren to school out of vanity, " to promote them into teach everything there (just as to gentlemen's children),
260 TilE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCilOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 261
many useless things, but they also teach them to read themselves aloof, but later got used to the rest and forgot
and write in a short time, - and so it is all right to send their tea and the cleaning of their teeth with tobacco,
the children there. and began to study well. Their father, dressed in a
There are also ill-wishing rumours current among Orimean sheepskin fur coat, all unbuttoned, entered the
people, but they now have little weight. Two fine boys school and found them standing in a crowd of dirty bast
lately left school for the alleged reason that we did not shoe boys, who, leaning with their hands on the head-gear
teach ~riting at school. Another, a soldier, wanted to of the girls, were listening to what the teacher was say-
sen~ hIS boy, but, upon examining one of our pupils and ing; the father was offended and took his girls out of the
findlllg that he read the psalter with hesitation he decided school, though he did not confess the cause of his dissatis-
that our instruction was bad, and that only the fame of faction.
the school was good. Finally, there are some children who leave school be-
A few of the Yasnaya Polyana peasants have not cause their parents, who have sent their children to school
stopp~d fe.aring lest the. old rumours should prove true; in order to gain somebody's favour by it, take them out
they Imagllle that there IS some ulterior purpose in teach- again, when the need of gaining somebody's favour has
in? the. children and that at an unforeseen hour somebody passed.
WIll shp a cart under their boys and haul them off to And thus, there are twelve subjects, three classes, forty
Moscow. pupils in all, four teachers, and from five to seven recita-
. The dissatisfaction with the absence of corporal pun- tions a day. The teachers keep diaries of their occupa-
Is.hment and order at school has now almost entirely tions, which they communicate to each other on Sundays,
dIsappeared. I have often had occasion to observe the and in conformity with which they arrange their plans
perplexity of a father, when, coming to the school for his for the following week. These plans are not carried out
boy, he saw the pupils running about, making a hubbub, each week, but are modified in conformity with the needs
and tussling with each other. He is convinced that of the pupils.
naughtiness is detrimental, and yet he believes that we MECHANICAL READING
teach well, and he is at a loss to combine the two.
Gymnastics now and then cause them to reassert their Reading forms part of language instruction. The prob-
conviction that it somehow is hard on the stomach and lem of language instruction consists, in our opinion, in
that" it does not go through." Soon after fasting, ~r in guiding people to understand the contents of books writ-
the fall, when the vegetables get ripe, gymnastics do the ten in the literary language. The knowledge of the liter-
most .harm, and the old women cover up the pots and ary language is necessary because the good books are all
explalll that the cause of it all is the naughtiness and the in that language.
twisting. At first, soon after the foundation of the school, there
For s~me,. though only a small number, even the spirit was no subdivision of reading into mechanical and graded,
of e.C]uahty m the school serves as a subject of dissatis- for the pupils read only that which they could under-
factlO~. ~n November we had two girls, the daughters stand, - their own compositions, words and sentences
of a nch mnkeeper, in cloaks and caps, vYho at first kept written on the blackboard with chalk, and then Khudya-
262 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 263
kav's and. Afanasev's fairy-tales. I then supposed that visitors. (Our pupils read much worse than those who
for the chIldren to learn to read, they had to like reading had studied the same length of time with a sexton.) The
and .in order to like reading it was necessary that th~ Dew teacher proposed to introduce reading aloud from the
readrng matt~r be intelligible and interesting. That same books, and we agreed to it. Having once become
seemed so ratIOnal and clear, and yet the idea was false. possessed of the false idea that the pupils must by all
In the first place, in order to pass from the reading on means read fluently during this very year, we put down
the walls t~ the read~ng in books, it became necessary to on the programme mechanical and graded reading, and we
devote specIal attentIOn to mechanical reading with each made them read about two hours a day out of the same
pupil according to any book whatsoever. As long as the books, and that was very convenient for us.
num?e.r of pupils was inc~nsiderable and subjects were not But this one departure from the rule of the pupils' free-
subdIVIded, that was pOSSIble, and I could, without much dom led to lies and to one blunder after another. We
labour, transfer the children from reading on the wall to bought some booklets, - the fairy-tales by Pushkin and
reading ~n a bo.ok; but with the arrival of new pupils that by ErshOv, - we placed the boys on benches, and one had
became ImpOSSIble. The younger pupils were not able to to read aloud while the others followed his reading. To
read a fairy-tale and understand it: the labour of putting find out whether they were really following, the teacher
together the words and at the same time of understanding asked now one, now another, a question.
their meaning was too much for them. At first we thought that everything was well You
Another inconvenience was that the graded reading come to the school, - all sit in orderly fashion on
came to an end with the fairy-tales, and whatever benches; one reads, the rest follow. The one who reads
book we took, - whether" The Popular Reading,"" The says: "Marcy, my Queen Fish!" and the others, or the
Soldier's Reading," Pushkin, GOgol, Karamzln, - it turned teacher, correct him: "Mercy, my Queen Fish!" Ivanov
?ut tha~ the older .pupils experienced the same difficulty hunts for the place and goes on reading. All are busy;
III readll~g Pushkrn as the younger ones experienced in you may hear the teacher; every word is correctly pro-
the readmg of the fables: they could not combine the nounced, and they read quite fluently.
labour of reading and comprehending what they read, You would think all is well; but examine it closely,-
though they understood a little when we read to them. the one who is reading is reading the same thing for the
We first thought that the difficulty was in the imper- thirtieth or fortieth time. (A printed sheet will not last
fect mechanism of the pupils' reading, and we invented longer than a week, and it is terribly expensive to buy
mechanical reading, reading for the process of reading,- new books all the time, while there are only two compre-
t~e teac~er read alternately with the pupils, - but matters hensible books for peasant children, - the fairy-tales by
dId not Improve, and the same perplexity arose in reading Khudyakav and by AfallltSev. Besides, a book which has
"Robinson Crusoe." once been read by a class and is known by heart by some
In the summer, during the transitional stage of our is not only familiar to all the pupils, but even the home
scho~ls, we hoped to be able to vanquish this difficulty in people are tired of it.) The reader becomes timid, listen-
the SImplest and most approved manner possible. Why ing to his lonely voice amid the silence of the room; all
not confess it, - we succumbed to false shame before our his effort is directed toward observing all the punctua-
264 THE SCHOOL AT YARNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 265
tion .mark.s and the accents, and he acquires the habit of labours, this reading of itself fell into disuse: the pupils
readmg wIthout understanding the meaning, for he is bur- grew tired, and began to play and became slack in their
dened with other demands. The hearers do the same and work. Above all, the reading with stories, which was
hoping always to strike the right place when the~ ar~ to verify the success of the mechanical reading, proved
a~ked, evenly guide their fingers along the lines and are that there was no such progress, that in five weeks we
dIstracted by other things. The meaning of what is read had not advanced one step in reading, while many had
involuntarily lodges in their heads at times, or it does not fallen behind. The best mathematician of the first class,
stay there at all, being a secondary consideration. H--, who mentally extracted square roots, had for-
The c~ief harm lies in that eternal battle of cunning gotten how to read to such an extent that we had to
and of trIcks between the pupils and the teacher, which is read with him by syllables.
developed with such an order, and which had not existed We abandoned the reading from the booklets, and
in. our school heretofore; whereas the only advantage of racked our brains to discover a means of mechanical
t~lS. method of reading, consisting in the correct pronun- reading. The simple idea that the time had not yet
CIatIon of words, had no meaning whatsoever for our pupils. come for good mechanical reading, that there was no
Our pupils had been learning to read the sentences written urgent need for it at the present time, and that the pupils
and pronounced by them on the board, and all knew that themselves would find the best method, when that need
you write kogo and pronounce it kavo; but I consider it should arise, burst upon us only within a short time.
useless to teach stops and changes of voice from the During that search the following processes established
punctuation marks, because every five-year-old boy makes themselves of their own accord:
correct use of the punctuation marks in his voice, if he During the reading lessons, now divided in name only
understands what he is saying. Therefore it is easier to into graded and mechanical, the worst readers come in
teach him to understand that which he speaks from the twos and take some book (sometimes fairy-tales, or the
b?ok (w~ich he must attain sooner or later) than to teach Gospel, and at times a song collection or a number of
hIm to smg, as though from music, the punctuation marks. the Pop1tlar Readin,q) and read by twos for the process
And yet, how convenient that is for the teacher! of reading only, and when that book is an intelligible fairy-
The teacher always invol1tntarily strives after selecting tale, they read it with comprehension, after which they
that method of instruction which is 'rIwst convenient jor demand of the teacher that he should ask them ques-
himself· The more convenient the method is for the teacher, tions, although the class is called mechanical. At times
the more it is inconvenient for the p1lpils. Only that man- the pupilS, generally the poorest, take the same book
ner of instruction is correct with which the pupils are several times in succession, open it at the same page, read
satisfied. one and the same tale, and memorize it, not only without
These three laws of instruction were most palpably the teacher's order, but even in spite of his explicit pro-
reflected by the mechanical reading in the school at hibition; sometimes these poor pupils come to the teacher,
Yasnaya Polyana. or to an older boy, and ask him to read with them. Those
Thanks to the vitality of the spirit of the school, espe- who can read better, pupils of the second class, are not so
cially when the old pupils returned to it from their field fond of reading in company, less often read for the process
266 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 267
of reading, and if they memorize anything, it is some for him, and, strange to say, they have made use of all
poem, but not a prose tale. the methods I am acquainted with: (1) Reading with
With the oldest boys the same phenomenon is re- the teacher, (2) reading for the process of reading,
peated, with this one difference which has struck me (3) reading with memorizing, (4) reading in general,
during the last month. In their class of graded reading and (5) reading with the comprehension of what is
they get some one book, which they read in tum, and being read.
then all together tell its contents. They were joined this The first, in use by the mothers of the whole world, is
fall by a very talented boy, Ch--, who had studied for not a scholastic, but a domestic method. It consists
two years with a sexton and who therefore is ahead of in the pupil's coming and asking to read with the teacher,
them all in reading, - he reads as well as we do, and whereupon the teacher reads, guiding his every syllable
so the pupils understand the graded reading, at least and the combination of syllables, - the very first rational
a little of it, only when Ch-- reads, and yet each of and immutable method, which the pupil is the first to
them wants to read himself. But the moment a bad demand, and upon which the teacher involuntarily hits.
reade~ begins to read, all express their dissatisfaction,- In spite of all means which are supposed to mechanize
especIally when the story is interesting, - they laugh instruction and presumably facilitate the work of the
and are angry, and the poor reader is ashamed, and there teacher with a large number of pupils, this method will
begin endless disputes. Last month one of these declared always remain the best and the only one for teaching
that, cost what it might, he would read as well as C h - people to read, and to read fluently.
within a week; others made the same declaration, and The second method of teaching to read, also a favourite
suddenly mechanical reading became the favourite subject. one, through which every one has passed who has learned
. would sit an hour or an hour and a half at a time,
They to read fluently, consists in giving the pupil a book and
WIthout tearing themselves away from the book, which leaving it entirely to him to spell and understand as well
they did not understand; they began to take their books as he can. The pupil, who has learned to read by syllables
home, and really made in three weeks such progress as so fluently that he does not feel the need of asking the
could hardly have been expected. sexton to read with him, but depends upon himself,
There happened to them the direct opposite of what always acquires that passion for the process of reading
generally takes place with those who learn the rudiments. which is so ridiculed in G6gol's "Petrushka," and on
G:enerally a man learns to read, but there is nothing for account of that passion advances. God knows in what
lum to read or understand; here it turned out that the manner that kind of reading assumes any definite shape
pupils convinced themselves that there was something in his mind, but he thus gets used to the forms of the
to read and understand, but that they did not read well letters, to the process of syllable combinations, to the pro-
enough, and so they tried to become more proficient nunciation of words, and even to understanding what he
in reading. reads, and I have had occasion to convince myself by
We have now abandoned mechanical reading entirely, actual experience that our insistence that the pupil should
?ud ma~ters are carried on as described above; each pupil understand what he reads only retards the result. There
IS permItted to use whatever method is most convenient are many autodidacts who have learned to read well in
THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 269
268 TIlE SCIIOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA

this way, although the defects of this system must lllethod, - say with reading out of one book, - the in-
apparent to everybody. struction becomes easy and convenient for. the teach.er,
. The thi1'd method of teaching reading consists in learn. and has the aspect of seriousness and regulanty; but WIth
rng b.y heart pra~CI's, poems, in geneml anything printed, our order it seems not only difficult, but to many appears
and III pronouncmg that which has so been memorized even impossible. How, they say, is one to guess what is
looking at the book all the time. ' needed for each pupil, and how is one to decide whether the
The .(m01'th n~ethod co~sists in that which has proved demand of each is justified? How can one help being lost
so d,etnmental rn the Yasnaya Polyana school, - in the in this heterogeneous crowd which is subject to no rule?
readmg . from a few books only. It arose unpremedi- , To this I will reply that we cannot get rid of our old
tatedly III our school. At first we did not have enough view of the school as a disciplined company of soldiers,
books, and two pupils had to read together; later, they commanded to-day by one lieutenant, and to-morrow by
themselves became fond of this, and when the order is another. For the teacher who has adapted himself to the
given to rea~, pupils of precisely the same ability pair liberty of the school, each pupil represents, a separate
off, or sometlmes assemble three at a time, around one character, putting forth separate demands, WhICh only the
book, and one reads, while the others watch and correct freedom of choice can satisfy.
If it had not been for the freedom and for the external
him. You will o~ly disturb them if you rearrange them,
for they are qmte sure who their matches are and disorder, which seems so strange and impossible to some,
we not only should never have struck these five methods
Tanlska will certainly ask for Dllnka. '
of reading, but should never have been able to employ
" You come here to read, and you go to your partner! "
and apportion them according to the exigenc.ies of the
Some of them do not like such collective reading,
because they do not need it. The advantaO'e of such pupils, and therefore should never have. atta~ned tl~ose
readi~g . in com~on lies in the greater precision of pro- brilliant results which we have of late attamed m readmg.
How often have we had occasion to observe the per-
mmClatlO? and m. the greater freedom of comprehension
plexity of the visitors to our school, 'Yho in ~wo hOl:rs'
left to hun who IS not reading, but watching; but the
time wanted to study the method of mstructlOn, whIch
whole advantage, thus produced, becomes harmful the
we do not have, and in the course of the same two hours
moment this method, or, for that, any other method, is
told us all about their own method! How frequently
extended to the whole school.
we listened to the advice of these same visitors to intro-
In fine, ~mot~er favourite method of ours, the fifth, is
duce the very method which, unknown to them, w~s
the g.rad~d readmg, that is, the reading of books with ever
being used in their presence in the school, only that It
growrng mterest and comprehension.
All .these me~hods, as mentioned above, quite naturally was not generalized as a despotic rule!
came mto use m our school, and in one month we made
considerable progress. GRADED READING
The business of the teacher is to afford a choice of all
Although, as we said, the mechanical and graded read-
k?own ~nd un~nown methods that may make the matter
ings in reality blended into one,- these two subjects are
of learnrng eaSIer for the pupil. It is true, with a certain
270 THE SCHOOL AT y.ASNAYA POLy.ANA
THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 271
still subdivided for us according to their aims. It see
~o us that the aim of the first is the art of fluently for oW to help the matter. To justify myself and c~ear my
b CIe . nce I began to give them to read all kmds of
mg wo~ds out of certain signs, while the aim of th cons ,
o ular imitations, such as "UncIe Naum ' " an 'd" Aun t
second IS the knowledge of the literary language.;
For the study of t~e literary langua~e we, .naturallYl;
~~:Hya" though I knew in advance that they would not
tho.ught. of a ~eans WhICh seemed exceedingly sImple, bu~ li:e the:n, - and my supposition cam~ tr~e. These books
whIch, In realIty,. was most difficult. It seemed to Ull; were the most tiresome for the pupIlS, if they were ex-
ected to tell their contents. . .
P After" Robinson Crusoe" I tried Pu~hkin, namely, ~IS
that after the pupIls had learned to read sentences written
on the board by pupils themselves, we ought to give them.
Khudy~k6v's and Afallllsev's ~airy-tales, then something, "The Gravedigger'" but without my aid they were stIll
more difficuI~ and more. complIc~ted as regards language, ',' less able to tell it than" Robinson Crusoe," and "T~e
then somethlllg more dIfficult stIll, and so on, up to the; Gravedigger" seemed much duller to them. T?e author.s
language of Karamzill, Pushkin, and the Code of Laws' apostrophes to the reader, hi.s f~ivolou~ r.elatIOn to Ins
but this supposition, like the majority of our, and i~ persons, his jocular characterIZatIOn.s, hIs. lllcomJ?leteness
general of any, suppositions, was not realized. of detail, - all that is so in~om~atible WIth th~Ir needs,
:I!'rom .t~e language which they themselves employed in that I definitely gave up Pushklll, whose st~nes I had
theIr wrItlllg on the boards, I succeeded in transferring. assumed to be most regularly constructed, SImple, and,
them to the language of the fairy-tales, but in order to therefore, intelligible to the masses. ."
take them from the language of the fairy-tales to a higher I then tried G6gol's "The Night Before Ch~Istmas.
level~ we did not fin~ that transitional "something" in' With my reading, it at first pleased them, espeCIally the
o~r lIterature. We tned " Robinson Crusoe," _ the thing grown pupils, but the moment I left them alo.ne, they
dId not work: some of the boys wept from vexation, could not comprehend anything and felt en~Ul. Even
because they could not understand and tell it· I began with my reading they did not a~k to have It re~e~ted.
to ~ell i.t to them ~n. ~y Own words, and thei began to The wealth of colours, the fantastlCalness and capncIOus-
believe m the pOSSIbIlity of grasping that wisdom, made ness of the structure are contrary to their needs.
out the meaning of it, and in a month finished" Robinson Then again I tried to read Gnyedich's translation of the
Crusoe," but with tedium and, in the end almost in Iliad to them, and the reading produced only a .stran~e
disgust. ' perplexity in them; they supposed that it was wrItten ~n
The labour was too great for them. They got at things French and did not understand a thing so long as I dId
?Jo.stly through memory, and they remembered parts of not tell the contents to them in my own wor~s, but eve~
It, If they told them each evening Soon after the readincr. then the plot of the poem made no impressIOn on theIr
but not one of them could make the whole his ow~: minds. Skeptic Semka, a sound, lo~ical nature, ~as
They: remembered, unfortunately, only certain incompre- struck by the picture of Phrebus, WIth the clankmg
henSIble words, and began to use them without rhyme or arrows at his back, flying down from Olyu:pus, but he
reason, as is generally.the case with half-educated people. apparently did not know where to l~dge the Image.
I saw that somethmg was wrong, but did not know " But why did he not smash to. pieces as he flew down
from the mountain? " he kept aslnng me.
272 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 273
" According to their idea he was a god," I answered him. Some of these are simply poor compositions, wri~ten in
" A god? But were there not many of them? Then a bad literary language and finding no readers WIth the
he was not the real God. It is no joke to fly down from ublic at large, and so dedicate~ to the J.llasses; others,
such a mountain: he must have been smashed all to Pestill written not in RUSSIan, but III some newly
pieces," he tried to prove to me, swaying his arms. wors ,
. vented language which is supposed t 0 b e th e peo pIe's
I tried George Sand's" Gribouille," "Popular Reading," ~~nguage, something like the language .in Kry16v'~ fables;
and "Soldier's Reading," - all in vain. We try every- thers aO'ain are remodellings of for81gn books llltended
thing we can find and everything they send to us, but we ~or the ;eople, but not popular. The on~y books t?at are
now try everything almost without any hope. com rehensible to the people and accordlllg to th81r taste
I am sitting at school and break the seal of a package are ~ot such as are written for the people, but. such as
containing a book purporting to be popular, fresh from the have their origin in the people, namely, faIry.-tales,
post-office. proverbs, collections of songs, legends, of verses, of nddles,
" Uncle, let me read it, me!" cry several children, d f late the collection made by Vodov6zov, and so on.
stretching out their hands, " so I can understand it." an O~e who has not had the experience could hardly
I open the book and read: believe with what ever new pleasure al~ similar books, ~ot
"The life of the great Saint Alexis presents to us an excepting any, are read, - even the saymgs .of the RUSSIan
example of the flaming faith of piety, untiring activity, people, the byHnas, and the song-books, Snegl~ev's l?roverbs,
and warm love of his country, for which this holy man the chronicles, and all the monuments of anCl~nt literature
did such important service;" or, "Three hundred years without exception. I have observed that chIldren have a
have passed since Bohemia became dependent on Ger- [ITeater liking for the reading of such b.ooks than grown
many;" or, "The village of Karacharovo, spreading out b ersons have; they read them several tIm~s ove~, memo-
at the foot of a mountain, lies in one of the most fertile ~ize them, joyfully take them home, and III th81r ga~es
Governments of Russia;" or, " Broadly lay and stretched and talks give each other names taken fro~ the anClent
the road, the path;" or a popular exposition of some byHnas and songs. Grown-up persons, mther because
natural sCience on one sheet, half of which is filled with they are not so natural, or because they have grown to
the author's address to the peasant and his taking him make a show of their knowledge of the book l~nguage, or
into his confidence.
because they unconsciously feel the necessIty. of the
If I give such a book to one of the boys, - his eyes knowledge of the book language, are less ad~lCted. to
grow dim, and he begins to yawn.
the reading of such books, and prefer those. III ~~lCh
" No, I can't understand it, Lev NikoIaevich," he will the words, images, and thoughts are half-unmtellIgIble
say, returning the book.
It is a mystery to us for whom and by whom these to them. . kind l"k d
And yet, no matter how ?ooks of thIS are I e
popular books are written. Out of all the books of this by the pupils, the aim, whlCh we probably erroneous~y
kind, read by us, nothing was left but" The Grandfather," put to ourselves, is not attained by them: there st~l
by the story-teller Zolot6v, which had a great success both remains the same abyss between these books and t e
in the school and at home.
literary language. So far we have found no means of
274 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 275
c.oming o~t of this false circle, although we are all the the essence of the case, but in our prepossession with
tIme makmg new experiments and new suppositions the thought that the aim of language instruction is to
trying to discover our error. We beba all those who have' raise the pupils to the level of the knowledge of the
t.his matter ~t heart to communicate to us their proposi- literary language and, above all, in the rapid acquisition
~IOns, experIments, and solutions of the question. The of that knowledge. It is very likely that the graded
msolu~le question for us consists in the following: For the reading, the subject of our dreams, will appear of itself,
educatIOn of the people the possibility and the desire to and that the knowledge of the literary language will of
rea.d go~d books are peremptory, but the good books are its own accord come to each pupil, just as we constantly
WrItten m a language which the masses do not comprehend. see in the case of people who, without understanding, read
In ord~r to learn to understand, one must read a great indiscriminately the psalter, novels, judicial documents,
deal; III order to read with pleasure, one must compre- and in that way acquire the knowledge of the literary
hend. Where is here the error, and how can we escape language.
this situation? Supposing this to be so, it is incomprehensible to us
Maybe there is a transitional literature which we do why all the books published are so bad and not to the
not recognize for lack of knowledge; maybe the study of people's taste, and we wonder what the schools m"?-st do
the books current among the people, and the people's view while waiting for that time to come; for there IS one
of these books, will reveal to us those paths by which proposition which we cannot admit, and that is, that,
t~e men of the people obtain the comprehension of the having convinced ourselves in our mind that the knowl-
literary language. edge of the literary language is useful, we should allow
We devote a special department in the periodical to the ourselves by forced explanations, memorizing, and repeti-
study of this question, and we ask all who understand tions to teach the masses the literary language against
the importance of this matter to send us their articles their will, as one teaches French. We must confess that
upon this subject. we have more than once tried to do so within the last two
Maybe the cause of it lies in our aloofness from the months, when we invariably ran up against an insuper-
masses, in. the forced education of the upper classes, and able loathing in the pupils, proving the falseness of the
matters will be mended only by time, which creates not a measures accepted by us. During these experiments I
chrestomathy, but a whole transitional literature, composed convinced myself that explanations of the meaning of
?f all. books now appearing and organically arranging words and of speech in general are quite impossible even
Itself mto a course of graded reading. Maybe, too, the for a talented teacher, not to mention even such favourite
masses do not understand and do not wish to understand explanations, employed by incapable teachers, as that
our literary language because there is nothing for them to "assembly is a certain small synedrion," and so forth.
understand, because our whole literature is not good for When explaining anyone word, for example, the word
them, and they are themselves evolving a literature for "impression," you either substitute another unintelligible
themselves. word in place of the one in question, or you give a whole
Finally, the last proposition, which seems to us the series of words, the connection of which is as unintelligible
most likely, is that the seeming defect does not lie in as the word itself.
,I
I
I
I
276 THE SCnOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA
THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 277

Nearly ahyays it is not the word which is unintelligible, cious, so that it would have been an absolutely impossible
but the pupIl lacks. the very conception expressed by the matter to ascertain what number of flour and suet dump-
word. The world IS nearly always ready when the idea . lings each of them got away with in the course of a
is present. Besides, the relation of the word to the idea ' supper, and therefore the voluntary co~trib~tions of the
and the formation of new ideas are such a complicated well-to-do proprietors could not be suffiCIent.
~ysterious, and tender process of the soul that every. Teacher. Well, what have you read? (Nearly all the
mterference appears as a rude, clumsy force which retards children are very well developed.) .
the process of the development. Best pupil. In the bUrsa the people were all b~g eaters,
It is easy enough to say that the pupil must under- poor, and at supper got away with a lot of dumplmgs.
stand, but cannot everybody see what a number of Teacher. What else?
different things may be understood while reading one and Pupil (a rogue, and having a g.ood 'in~mory, says any-
the same book? Though missing two or three words in thing that occurs to him). An ImpossIble matter, the
th~ senten?e, the pupil may grasp a fine shade of thought, voluntary contributions. .
or ItS relatIOn to what precedes. You, the teacher, insist Teacher (angrily). You must thmk. It is not that.
on one side of the comprehension, but the pupil does not What is an impossible matter?
a~ all need that which you want to explain to him. At Silence.
tImes he may understand you, without being able to prove Teacher. Read it once more.
to yo,u that h~ ha.s .comprehen~ed, all the while dimly They read it. Another boy, with a good memory,
guessm~ and ImbIbmg somethmg quite different, and
added a few more words which he happened to recall:
somethmg very useful and important for him. You exact "The seminary, the feeding of the well-to-do proprietors
could not be sufficient." Not one had understood any-
~ explanation. from h~m, and as he is to explain to you
m w:ord~ what ImpreSSIOn the words have made upon him, thing. They began to talk the merest nonsense. The
he l~ silent, 01' begins to speak nonsense, or lies and teacher became insistent.
deceIves; he tries to discover that which you want of Teacher. What is an impossible matter?
He wanted them to say: "It was impossible to ascer-
~im and to adapt himself to your wishes, and so he
mvents an unexisting difficulty and labours over it· but tain."
the .general. impression produced by the book, the po~tical A pupil. The bUrsa is an impossible thing.
feeling, whICh has helped. him to divine the meaning is Another pupil. Very poor impossible.
intimidated, and beats a retreat. ' They read it once more. They hunted for the word
. We read G6gol's "The Elf-king," repeating each period which the teacher needed, as for a needle, and they struck
m our own words. Everything went well to the third every word but the word "ascertain," and they became
page, where the following period is to be found: "All utterly discouraged. I - that same teacher I am speak-
ing of _ did not give in and had them take the whole
those learned people, both of the seminary and of the
, bUrsa,' who fostered a certain traditional hatred acrainst period to pieces, but now they understood much less than
each other, were exceedingly poor as regards their ~eans when the first pupil told me the contents. After ~ll
of subsistence and, at the same time, uncommonly vora- there was not much to understand: The carelessly con-
278 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 279
nected and drawn out period gave nothing to the reader j tend, like the rude hand of a man, which, wishing to help
its essence was simple enough: the poor and voracious the flower to open, crushes everything all around and
people got away with dumplings, - that and nothing violently opens the flower by its petals.
more the author had intended to convey. I made all the
fuss about the form, which was faulty, and by endeavour_ WRITING, GRAMMAR, AND PENMANSHIP
ing to get at it, I only spoiled the whole class for the rest
of the afternoon, and had crushed and ruined a mass of Writing was taught in the following n:anner: The
budding flowers of a many-sided comprehension. pupils were taught simultan~ously to recogmze and ~raw
Upon another occasion I in the same sinful and mon- the letters to spell and WrIte the words, and to under-
strous manner wasted my time on explaining the meaning stand what they had read, and to write it down. T~ey
of the word "instrument," and with the same disastrous stood at the wall, marking off spaces for themselves WIth
result. On that same day, in the class of drawing, pupil chalk on the board j one of them dictated whatever
Ch-- protested against his teacher, who demanded that occurred to him, and the others wrote. If there were
the drawing-books should have" Romashka's drawings" many of them, they were divided into several groups.
written upon them. He said that they had themselves Then the others, in succession, dictatad, and all read each
drawn in the books, and that Romashka had only invented other's writing.
the figure and that, therefore, they ought to write "Ro- They wrote printed letters, and at first cor~ected the
mashka's composition," and not "Romashka's drawing." mistakes of the incorrectly formed syllables ana the sepa-
In what way the distinction of these ideas had found its ration of the words then the mistakes 0 - a, and then
way into his head - just as now and then, though rarely, ye - e,1 awl so fOl:th. This class formed itself quite
participles and introductory clauses appear in their com- naturally. Every pupil who ha~ learned .t? make the
positions - will remain a mystery to me, into which it letters is possessed by the paSSIOn of vmtmg, and, at
will be best not to penetrate. first, the doors, the outer walls of the schoolho~se
The pupil must be given an opportunity to acquire new and of the huts, where the pupils live, arc covered WIth
ideas and words from the general context. When he letters and words, and it affords them the greatest pleas-
hears or reads an unintelligible word in an intelligible ure to be able to write out whole sentences, such as
sentence, and then meets it in another sentence, he dimly " MaITutka has had a fight with Olgushka to-day."
begins to grasp a new idea, and he finally will come to In order to oraanize this class, the teacher had only to
feel the need of using the word by accident j once used, show the childr~n how to carryon the affair by them-
the word and the idea become his property. .And there selves, just as a grown-up person teaches children any
are a thousand other ways. But consciously to give the kind of a game. Indeed, this class has b~en conduc~ed
pupil new ideas and forms of a word is, in my opinion, without change for two years, and every tIme as merrIly
as impossible and fruitless as to teach a child to walk by and as interestingly as a good game. Here we have re~d­
the law of equilibrium.
ing, and pronunciation, and writing, and grammar. ~It~l
Every such attempt does not advance the pupil, but such writing we obtain in a natural manner the most dIffi·
only removes him from the aim toward which he is to 1 The chief difficulties of Russian orthography.
280 TIlE SCIIOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCIIOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 281
cult thing for the initial study of language, - the faith in We not only do not insist on writing in sc.ript, but if
the stability of the form of the word, not only the printed there were anything which we shoul.d pe~r:llt ~uI'sel~es
word, but also the oral, - one's Own word. I think that to prohibit the pupilS, it would be t!Ie~r w~Itmg III scnpt,
every teacher who has taught language, in addition to which ruins their handwriting and IS IllegIble. They get
the use of Vost6kov's grammar, has come across this diffi- d to script in a natural manner: aile learns one or two
culty. ~:t~ers from an older boy; others learn from them, and
Suppose you want to direct the pupil's attention to frequently write like this: ~mcle; and before a week has
some word, say "me." You catch his sentence: "Mild- passed, they all write in script. .
shka pushed me down the porch," he said. With penmanship there happened thIS ~ummer .the
"Whom did he push down?" you say, asking him to same that had happened with the mechamcal readlllg.
repeat the sentence, and hoping to get" me." The pupils wrote very wretchedly, ~nd the new teacher
" Us," he replies. introduced writing from copy (agam a ~omforta?le and
"Nc how did you say it?" you ask him. easy method for the teacher). The pupIls l?st rnterest,
" We fell down the porch on account of Miklshka," or and we were compelled to abandon penmanshIp and .,,:ere
"When he pushed us, Praskutka flew down, and I after to discover a means for improving the handwntrng.
her," he replies. unable
The . fi'
oldest class found that means by itself. H avmg msh ed
Try to find the accusative singular and its ending in the writing of sacred history, the pupils began to ask to be
that. But he does not see any difference in the words allowed to take their copy-books home. These ,copy-boo.ks
which he employed. And if you take a book or if you were soiled, torn, and horribly scribbled over. The preCIse
repeat his words, he will be analyzing, not the living word, mathematician R - - asked for some "craps of p~p~r, and
but something quite different. When he dictates, every began to rewrite his history. They all took a hkmg for
word of his is caught on the wing by the other pupils and that. "Let me have paper! Let m.e have the COp!-
is written down. book!" and there was started the fashIOn ~f penma~shlp
" What did you say? How?" and he will not be per- which has continued np to the present III the higher
mitted to change a single letter. Then there are the class.
endless debates about one having written so and another They took theircopy~books, placed before them ~he
so, and soon the dictating pupil begins to reflect about model alphabet, copied each letter, and contended WIth
what he is to say, and he begins to nnderstand that there each other. In two weeks they made great progress.
are two things in speech, - form and contents. He says Nearly all of us were as child~en ma~e t~ eat bread
a certain sentence, thinking only of its meaning, and it with our other food, though we dId not lIke It, and yet
escapes his lips like one word. They begin to question now we do not eat otherwise than with bread.. Nearly
him, " How? What?" and he, repeating it several times all of us were compelled to hold the pen WIth out-
to himself, becomes sure of the form and of the compo- stretched fingers, but we held it with bent fingers because
nent parts, and fixes them by means of words. they were short, - and now we stretch our fingers. The
Thus they write in the third, that is, the lowest, question then is: Why did th~y tOl'lnen~ us so. when
class, some writing in script, and others in printed letters. what is necessary comes later qUIte naturaLy 1 WIll not
282 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 283
the desire and the necessity of knowledge of anythin a else and he writes robota, molina (instead of rabota, malina) j
come in the same way? 0 you tell him that two predicates are separated. bJ:' a com~a,
In the second class compositions are written on slates and he writes I want, to say, and so forth. It IS ImpossIble
from oral stories taken from sacred history, and these are to demand of him that he should each time give himself
lat~r copied ?n paper. In t~e lowest, the third class, they an account of what in each sentence is a modifier, and
wrIte anythIng they can think of. In addition to that, what a predicate. And if he does render himself an
the youngest in the evening write single sentences, com- account, he, during the process of the search, loses all
posed by all together. One writes and the others whisper feeling which he needs in order ~o write correct~y the res~,
among themselves, noticing his mistakes, and wait only not to mention the fact that durIng the syntactIc analysIs
for the end, when they may catch him on a wrong ye the teacher is constantly compelled to use cunning before
instead of an e, or in an incorrectly placed preposition his pupils and to deceive them, which they are well aware
and sometimes, in order to make some blunders thern~ of. For example: we came across the sentence," There
selves. It affords them great pleasure to write correctly were no mountains upon earth." 1 One said that the
and to correct the mistakes of others. The older ones subject was" earth," another said t~at the s~bject was
get hold of any letter they can find, exercise themselves " mountains," while we declared that It was an Impersonal
in the correction of mistakes, and use their utmost sentence. We saw that the pupils acquiesced only out of
endeavour to write well; but they cannot endure gram- politeness, but that they ~new ~ll weI.I that our an~wer
mar and the analysis of the language, and, in spite of our was more stupid than theIrs, whICh we Inwardly admItted
former bias for analysis, admit it only in very small pro- to be so.
portions, and fall asleep or evade the classes. Havina convinced ourselves of the inconvenience of
We have made all kinds of experiments in the instruc- syntactic~l analysis, we tried the etymological analysis,-
tion of grammar, and we must confess that not one of parts of speech, declensions, and conjugations, an~ we also
them has attained its end, - to make this instruction propounded to each other riddles about the datIve, .about
interesting. In the second and the first classes the new the infinitive and about adverbs, and that resulted In the
teacher made this summer an attempt at explaining the same tedium: the same abuse of the influence gained by
parts of the sentence, and a few of the children at first us and the same inapplicability. In the upper class they
took interest in them as in charades and riddles. After al~ays write correctly ye in the dative and prepositional
l~ssons they frequently hit upon the idea of proposing cases, but when they correct that mistake in the younger
rIddles to each other, and they amused themselves in pro- pupils, they are never able to give any reason w~y they
pounding each other such questions as "Where is the do so, and they must be reminded of. th~ cases, In order
predicate?" on a par with" What sits on the bed hanging to remember the rule: " Ye in the datIve. The youngest,
down its feet? " Of applications to correct writing there who have not yet heard anything about th~ parts of
were none, and if there were, they were more faulty than speech, frequently call out sebye ye, not knOWIng them-
correct.
1 The difficulty in the Russian sentence is that the subject is put in
Just the same happens with the letter 0, when used for a. the genitive case after a negative copula, hence the sentence becomes
You tell a pupil that it is pronounced a but written 0 , - impersonal.
284 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 285

selves w~y they do so, and apparently happy to have and, I suppose, will soon entirely disappear of t?eir own
guessed rIght. accord. In addition to these, we use the folloWlllg as an
I tried of late an exercise of my own invention with exercise in language, although it is not at all of a gram-
the second class; it was one I, like all inventors was matical character:
carried away with, and it appeared unusually conv~nient (1) We propose to form periods out ~f certain .giv~n
a?d ra~ional to me until I convinced myself of its incon- words: Nikoldy, wood, learn, and they wrIte, "If Nlkolay
sIstenCIes through practice. Without naming the parts of had not been chopping wood, he would have come to
t~e. sentence, I made them :write any~hing, frequently learn," or, " Nikolay is a good wood chopper, - we must
gIVlllg them the the.me, that IS, the subJect, and making learn from him," and so forth.
then,t through ques.tIOns expa.nd the sentence, by adding (2) We compose verses on a given measure, which
modifiers, new predicates, subJects, and modifying clauses. exercise amuses particularly the oldest pupils. The verses
"The wolves are running." When? Where? How? turn out something like this:
What wO.lves are running? Who else is running? They
are runmng: and what else ~re they doing? I thought At the window sits a man
In a torn coat;
that by gettlllg used to questIOns demanding this or that In the street a peasant leads
part, they would acquire the distinction of the parts of the By a rope a goat.
sentence an~ of the ~arts of speech. So they did, but
they grew tIred of thIS, and they inwardly asked them- (3) An exercise which is very successful in the lowest
selves what it was for, so that I myself was compelled to class: a certain word is given, at first a noun, then an
as~ mysel~ the same questi?n ,:ithout finding any answer adjective, an adverb, a preposition. One of the pupils
t? It. N 6lth~r .man nor chIld hkes, without a struggle, to goes outside, and of those who remain ea~h must form a
gIVe ,:p the hVlllg wor~ to be mechanically dismembered sentence, in which the word is to be contallled. The one
a?d ~Isfigure?. There IS a certain feeling of self-preserva- who went out must guess it.
tIOn III t?e hVlllg word. If it is to develop, it tends to All these exercises - the writing of sentences from
develop llldependently and only in conformity with all given words, the versification, and ~he guessing. of words
vital conditions. The moment you want to catch that _ have one common aim: to conVlllce the pupIl that the
~ord, to tighten it in the ~ise, to plane it off, and to give word is one having its own immutable laws, changes,
It such .adornm~nts as thIS wor~ ought to get, according endinO's, and correlations between these endings, - a
to your Idea~, th~s word and the lIve thought and meaning convi~tion which is late in entering their minds, and
connected wIth It becomes compressed and conceals itself which is needed before grammar. All these exercises
and in your hands is left nothing but the shell, on which give them pleasure; all the gramn:at~cal exer~ises. breed
you may expend all your cunning without harming or tedium. The strangest and most sIgmficant tlung IS that
helping that word which you wanted to form. grammar is dull, although there is nothing easier.
. The syntac~ical and grammatical analyses, the exercises The moment you do not teach grammar from a book,
III the expanSIOn of the sentences, have been carried on in beO'inning with definitions, a six-year-old child in half an
the second class until now, but they proceed indolently ho~r begins to decline, conjugate, distinguish genders,
286 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA
THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 287
numbers, t~nses, subjects, and predicates, and you feel that
~e knows It all as well as you do. (In our locality, there nastics but with this difference, that every proposit~on i.n
geometry, every mathematical definiti?n, .brings ~Ith .It
~s no neuter gender: .gun, hay, b.utter, window, everything
further endless deductions and applicatIOns; whlle. ~
IS she, and grammar IS of no avail here. The oldest pupils
grammar, even if we should agree with th~se who see mIt
have kno~n grammar for three years, and yet they make
an application of logic to language~ th~re IS a very narrow
blunders ~ gender, and t~ey avoid them only to the extent
limit to these deductions and apphcatIOns. The mome~t
of correctIOns made and m so far as reading helps them.)
a pupil in one way or other masters a language, all apph-
Why ~o I teach them all that, when it appears that they
know It as well as I do? Whether I ask him what the cations from grammar tear away and drop off as some-
thing dead and lifeless.
genitive plural feminine gender of "great" is, or where
th: .predicate, and where the modifiers are, or what the We personally are not yet .able completel:y to renounce
OrIgm of such and such a word is, - he is in doubt only the tradition that grammar, m the sense o!. the la~s of
ab?ut .the nomenclature, otherwise he will always use an languaae is necessary for the regular exposltIOn of Ideas;
it eve~'seems to us that the pupils have a need of
adjectIve correctly in any case and number you please.
Consequently he knows declension. He will never use a grammar and that in them unconsciously lie the laws
se.nte~ce without a predicate, and he does not mix it up of gram~ar; but we are convinced tha~ the gram~ar, such
':Ith Its complement. He naturally feels the radical rela- as we know it, is not at all the one whICh th.e pupils need,
tIOn of words, and he is more conscious than you of the and that in this habit of teaching grammar hes some great
laws by which words are formed, because no one more historical misunderstanding. The child learns tha~ ~e
is to be written in the word sebye (self), not because It IS
fr~quently invents new words than children. Why, then, in the dative however frequently he may have been told
t~I~ nomen?lature, and the demand of philosophical defi- so, and not ~erely because he blindly imit.ates that which
llltIOns, WhICh are above his strength?
he has seen written down a number of tlmes, - he gen-
T?e only explanation for the necessity of grammar,
eralizes these examples, only not in the form of the da-
outsId~ o~ the d.em~nd made at examinations, may be tive, but in some other manner.
found m Its apph~atIOn to the regular exposition of ideas.
We have a pupil from another school, wh? k.now~ gram-
In my own experI:n?e I have not found this application,
and I do not find It m the examples of the lives of people mar excellently and who is not able to dIstmgulsh the
who ~o not kno~ grammar and yet write correctly, and of
third person from the infinitive reflexive, and another
candIda~es of phIlology, who write incorrectly, and I hardly pupil, Fedka, who has no conception of the infiniti:e, and
find .a hmt of t~e fact that the knOWledge of grammar is who, nevertheless, makes no mistake, for h~ explams the
apphed to anythmg whatever by the pupils of the Yasnaya difficulty to himself and to others by addmg the word
~olyana school It seems to me that grammar goes by " will." 1
Itself as a useless mental gymnastic exercise and that the In the Yasnaya Polyana school we regard all known
language,.- the ability to write, read, and understand, methods for the study of language as legitimate, as in the
goes by Itself. Geometry and mathematics in general br
1 The third person present and the infinit!ve differ only a soft
also appear at first as nothing more than mental gym- sign. Of necessity, a passage had to be omitted here, as bemg one
comprehensible only to a Russian student.
288 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 289
cas~ of the study of the rudiments, and we employ them and all were as happy as if a present had been given to
to Just ~uch an. extent as they are cheerfully accepted by them. That which forms the favourite description of the
the pU~)lls and In accordance with our knowledge j at the schools - the so-called simple objects, - pigs, pots, a
same tIme we consider none of these methods exceptional table - turned out to be incomparably more difficult than
a.nd w~ continually try to find new methods. We are a~ whole stories taken from their memories. The same mis-
li~tle In accord with Mr. Perevlyesski's method, which take was repeated here as in all the other subjects of
dId ?ot stand a tW? days' experiment at the Yasnaya instruction, - to the teacher the simplest and most general
Polyana school, as wIth the very prevalent opinion that appears as the easiest, whereas for a pupil only the
the only method to learn language is throuO'h writing complicated and living appears easy.
althou~h writing forms at the Yasnaya PolyOana schooi All the text-books of the natural sciences begin with
the chIef method of language instruction. We seek and general laws, the text-books of language with definitions,
we hope to find. history with the division into periods, and even geometry
COMPOSITIONS with the definition of the concept of space and the mathe-
matical point. Nearly every teacher, being guided by the
. In the first and second class the choice of compositions same manner of thinking, gives as a first composition
IS left to ~h~ students themselves. A favourite subject the definition of a table or bench, without taking the
f~r composItIOns for the first and the second class is the trouble to consider that in order to define a table or
history of the Old Testament, which they write two months bench one has to stand on a high level of a philosophicol-
after the teacher has told it to them. The first class dialectic development, and that the same pupil who weeps
latel! began to write the New Testament, but not ap- over the composition on a bench will excellently describe
proxImately as ~ell as the Old j they even made more the feeling of love or anger, the meeting of Joseph with
orthographlCal mIStakes, - they did not understand it so his brothers, or a fight with his companion. The subjects
well.
of the compositions were naturally chosen from among
In the first class we tried compositions on given themes descriptions of incidents, relations to persons, and the
The first .th:mes th~t most naturally occurred to us wer~ repetition of stories told.
the deSCrIptIOns of SImple objects, such as grain, the house, The writing of compositions is a favourite occupation.
the wood, and so forth; but, to our great surprise these The moment the oldest pupils get hold of a pencil and
~ema?ds upon our pupils almost made them wee~, and, paper outside of school, they do not write "Dear Sir," but
I~ ~pIte of the a~d .afforded them by the teacher, who Some fairy-tale of their own composition. At first I was
~I,:ded the. deSCrIptlO~ of the grain into a description of vexed by the clumsiness and disproportionateness of the
ItS orowth, ItS change mto bread, its use, _ they emphati- structure of the compositions j I thought I had properly
ca~y refused to write upon ~uch themes, or, if they did inspired them with what was necessary, but they mis-
WrIte, .they m~de the most Incomprehensible and sense- understood me, and everything went badly: they did not
less ~stakes In orthography, in the lanO'uage and in the seem to recognize any other necessity than that of writing
meamng. <>
without mistakes. But now the time has come in the
We tried to give them the description of certain events, natural course of events, and frequently we hear an ex-
290 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 291
pression of dissatisfaction when the composition is unnec- that I took and went about Tula. I went and went and
essarily drawn out, or when there are frequent repetitions 1 see a woman selling white-bread. 1 began to take my
and jumps from one subject to another. It is hard to money out of my pocket, when I took it out I began to
define wherein their demands consist, but these demands buy white-breads, I bought them and went away. And .1
are lawful. " ~t. is clumsy! " some of them cry, listening saw also a man walking on a tower and looking where It
to the composItIOn of a companion; some of them will is burning. I am through with Tula."
~o~ read their own after they have found that the compo- "Composition of how I have been studying:
SItIOn of a comrade, as read to them, is good; some tear "When I was eight years old, I was sent to the cattle-
their copy-books out of the hands of the teacher dis- yard at Grumy. There I studied well. And then I felt
satisfied to hear .it sound differently from what' they lonely, 1 began to weep. And the old woman took a
wanted, and read It themselves. The individual charac- stick and began to beat me. And I cried worse than
ters are begi.m:ing to express themselves so definitely that ever. And a few days later 1 went home and told every-
we hav~ .expenmented on making the pupils guess whose thing. And they took me away from there and gave me
composItIOn.
we have been readin0'
a and the first class they to Dunka's mother. I studied well there and they never
guess WIthout a mistake. beat me there, and 1 learned the whole ABC there.
E:cigencie.s of. space make us delay the description of Then they sent me to F6ka Demidovich. He beat me
the mstructIOn m language and in other subjects, and the dreadfully. Once 1 run away from him, and he told
extracts from t~e diaries of the teachers; here we shall them to catch me. When they catched me they took
only quote speCImens from the writings of two students me to him. He took me, stretched me out on a bench
of the first class without change of orthography and punc- and took into his hands a bundle of rawds and began to
tuation marks, as given by them. strike me. And I cried with all my might, and when he
C0J.llJ?osition by. B - - (an exceedingly poor pupil, but had beat me he made me read. And he himself listens
an ongmal ~~d lIvely boy) about Tula and about study. and says: 'What? You son of a b - , just see how
The composItIOn about study was quite successful with badly you read! Ah, what a swine! ' " , ..
the boys. B - - is eleven years old' this is his third Now here are two specimens of Fedka s composItIOns:
winter at the Yasnaya Polyana school, but he has studied one on the presented theme; the other, chosen by him-
before. self, on his travel to Tula. (Fedka is studying the third
" About Tula: winter. He is ten years old.) .
" On the following Sunday I again went to Tula. When " About grain:
we arrived, Vladimir Aleksandrovich says to us and Vaska ., Grain grows from the ground. At first it is gree~
Zhdanov go to the Sunday school. We went, and went, grain. When it grows up a little, th~re sprout ~rom. It
and went, and barely found it, we come and we see that ears and the women reap it. There IS also gram lIke
all the teachers set. And there I saw the teacher the grass, that the cattle eat very well."
one that taught us botany. So I say good morning That was the end of it. He felt that it was not good,
gentlemen! They say good morning. Then I ascended and was aggrieved. About Tula he wrote the following
into the class, stood near the table, and I felt so lonely, without corrections.

$'
292 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 293

" About Tula: I was in Tula, and how father and I were in church, and
" When I was small I was five years old; then I heard prayed to God. Then I fell asleep and I see in my dream
the people went to some kind of Tula and I myself did as though father was again going to Tula. I immediately
not know what kind of a Tula it was. So I asked father. awoke, and I sawall were asleep, I took and went to
Dad! to what kind of Tula do you travel, oh it must be sleep."
fine 1 F~ther saJ:s: it is. So I say, Dad! take me with SACRED HISTORY
you, I wIll see Tula, Father says well all right let the Sun-
~ay come I will take you. I was happy beg~n to run and From the foundation of the school even up to the
JU1?P over the bench. After those days came Sunday. present time the instruction in sacred and Russian history
I . JUs~ got up in the morning and father was already has been carried on in this manner: The children gather
hlt.chmg the horses in the yard, I began to dress myself about the teacher, and the teacher, being only guided by
qUICkly. The moment I was dressed and went out into the Bible, and for Russian history by Pog6din's "Norman
the yard, father had already hitched the horses. I sat Period," and Vodovozov's collection, tells the story, and
down in the sleigh and I started. We travelled, and then asks questions, and all begin to speak at the same
travelled, and made fourteen versts. I saw a tall church time. When there are too many voices speaking at the
and I cried: father! see what a tall church. Father same time, the teacher stops them, making them speak
says: th~re is a smaller church but more butiful, I began, one at a time; the moment one hesitates, he asks others.
to ask hIm, father let us go there, I will pray to God. When the teacher notices that some have not understood
Father went. . When we came, they suddenly rang the anything, he makes one of the best pupils repea~ it for the
bell, I was frIghtened and asked father what it was benefit of those who have not understood. ThIS was not
whether ,they were beating drums. Father says: no mas~ premeditated, but grew up naturally, and it has been
is beginning. Then we went to church to pray t~ God. found equally successful with five and with thirty pupils
When we were through praying, we went to the market. if the teacher follows all, does not allow them to cry and
And so I walk, and walk and stumble all the time I kept repeat what has once been said, and does not permit the
looking around me. So we came to the market' I saw shouts to become maddening, but regulates that stream of
they were selling white-breads and wanted to take with- merry animation and rivalry to the extent to which he
o~t money. And father says to me, do not take, or they needs it.
WIll take your cap away. I say why will they take it, In the summer, during the frequent visits and changes
a?d father says, do not take without money, I say well of teachers, this order was changed, and the teaching of
gIve me ten kopeks, I will buy me a small white-bread. history was much less successful. The .general noise ,~as
Father gave me, I bought three white-breads and ate them incomprehensible to the new teacher; It seemed to 111m
up and I say: Father, what fine white-breads. When that those who were telling the story through the noise
we bought everything, we went to the horses and gave would not be able to tell it singly; it seemed to him that
tl:em to drink, gave them hay, when they had eaten, we they holloaed only to make a noise, and, above all, he ~elt
hItched up the horses and went home, went into the hut uncomfortably warm in the mass of those closely pressmg
and undressed myself and began to tell everybody how on his back and to the very mouths of the boys. (In
294 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLVANA 295

order to comprehend better, the children have to be close it was found that the repetition of words learned by heart
to ~he man ,,:ho is speaking, to see every change of his was not knowledge, and the pupils were m~de to repe.at in
facIal expressIOns, every motion of his. I have observed their own words' but the method of callmg out smgly
more than once that those passages are best understood and the demand ~f answering at the teacher's request was
where the speaker makes a correct gesture or a correct not chanaed. They left out of consideration that one may
intonation.) expect at any time and under all conditions that the pupil
. The new teacher introduced the sitting on benches and will repeat the words of the psalter or of a fable, but that,
smgle answers. The one called out was silent and em- in order to be able to catch the contents of speech and to
barrass~d, and the teacher, looking aside, with a sweet render it in his own words, the pupil must be in a certain
expressIOn of submission to fate, or with a meek smile favourable mood for it.
sai~, " Well, and ~hen ? Well, very well!" and so forth: Not only in the lower schools and in the gymn~sia,.but
- m that teacher s manner which we all know so well. even in the universities, I do not understand exammatlOns
Mo~eover, I have convinced myself in practice that according to given questions otherwise than under. a
there IS nothing more injurious to the development of the system of memorizing word for word, or sentence for
?hil.d than ~hat kind of single questioning and the author- sentence. In my day (I left the university in the year
ItatIVe rel~tIon of. teacher to pupils, arising from it, and for 1845), I studied before the examinations, .not word for
me th~re IS nothmg more provoking than such a spectacle. word, but sentence for sentence, and I reCeIved five only
A bIg man torments a little fellow, having no right to from those professors whose notes I had learne~ by he~rt.
do so. The teacher knows that the pupil is tormented as The visitors, who were so detrimental to the mstructIOn
he stands blushing and perspiring before him; he him~elf in the Yasnaya Polyana school, in one way were very us~­
feels uncomfortable and tired, but he has a rule by which ful to me. They completely convinced me that the reCI-
a pupil may be taught to speak alone. tation of lessons and the examinations were a remnant
Why one should be taught to speak singly, nobody of the superstitions of the mediffival scho.o~, and. that ,,:ith
knows. Perhaps in order to make the child read a fable the present order of things they were POSltIV~ly ImpossIble
in the presence of his or her Excellency. I shall prob- and only injurious. Frequently I was carned away by a
ably be told that without it it is impossible to determine childish vanity, wishing in an hour's time to S~lOw to a.n
the degree of his knowledge. To which I shall answer honoured visitor the knowledge of the pupIls, and It
that it is indeed impossible for an outsider to determine turned out either that the visitor convinced himself that
the knowledge of a pupil in an hour, while the teacher the pupils knew that which they did not know. (I enter-
always feels the measure of that knowledge without the tained him by some hOCUS-pocus) or t?at the vlSltor sup-
pupil's answer and without examinations. It seems to me posed that they did not know that whICh they knew very
that the method of this single asking is the reminiscence well. Such a tangle of misunderstandings took place be-
o~ an ol.d superstition. Anciently the teacher, who made tween me and the visitor - a clever, talented man and
hIS pupIl learn b~ heart everything, could not, in any a specialist in his business - during a perfect freedom of
other w~y, d~termme the knowledge of his pupil except relations! What, then, must take place during the in-
by makmg hIm repeat everything word for word. Then spections of directors, and so forth, - even if we leave
296 TilE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 297
out o.f considerati?n tha~ disturbance in the progress of llleans of words the impression which they have received.
teac:ung and the mdefimteness of ideas produced in the In the summer neither the new teacher nor 1 understood
pupIls by such examinations? that; we saw in that only a verification of their knowl-
At the present time 1 am convinced of this: to make edge, and so we found it more convenient to verify it
resume of ~ll.the pupil's knowledge is as impossible for th: singly. 1 did not then as yet reflect on the reason for its
teacher as It IS for an outsider, just as it is impossible to being tedious and bad, but my faith in the rule of the
make a resume ~f my own knowledge and yours in pupils' freedom saved me. The majority began to feel
respect to any SCIence whatsoever. If a forty-year-old dull i three of the boldest boys always answered alone;
man were to be taken to an examination in geography it three of the most timid were constantly silent and wept
w~uld. be as stupid and strange as when a ten-year-~ld and received zeros.
chIld IS led to the examination. Both of them have to During the summer I neglected the classes of sacred
ans:ver by rote? and in an hour of time it is impossible history, and the teacher, a lover of order, had full liberty
to find out theu actual knowledge. In order to find out to seat the pupils on the benches, to torment them singly,
t~e knowledge of either, it is necessary to live for months and to murmur about the stubbornness of the children.
wIth them. 1 several times advised him to allow the children in the
Where examinations are introduced (by examination history class to leave the benches, but my advice was
1 understand. every deman~ for an answer to a question), taken by the teacher as a sweet and pardonable originality
ther~ only.a!-,Ises a new subject, demanding special labour (just as 1 know in advance that my advice will be
specI~1 a~llhty: that subject is called "preparation fo; regarded as such by the majority of readers), and the
exan:mat~ons or lessons." A pupil in the gynmasium former order prevailed so long as the old teacher did not
studIes hlSto~y, math~matics, and, the main subject, the return, and it was only in the diary of that teacher that
art of ans.wermg questIOns at the examinations. 1 do not such entries were made: "1 cannot get anything out of
regard t~lS art as a useful subject of instruction. I, the Savin; Grishin did not tell a thing; Petka's stubbornness
teacher, Judge .of the degree of my pupils' knowledge as is a surprise to me, - he has not spoken a word; Savin is
correctly as .1 Judge of the degree of my own knowledge, even worse than before," and so forth.
although neIther. the pupils nor 1 myself recite any les- Savin is a ruddy, chubby boy, with gleaming eyes and
sons. If an outSIder wants to judge of the degree of that long lashes, the son of an innkeeper or a merchant, in a
knowledge, let him live awhile with us and let him study tanned fur coat, in small boots that fit him well, as
the res.ults of our knowledge and their applications to life. they are not his father's, and in a red cotton shirt and
There IS no other means, and all attempts at examination trousers. The sympathetic and handsome personality of
are only a deception, a lie, and an obstacle to instruction that boy struck me more especially because in the class
~n matters of instruction there is but one independent of arithmetic he was the first, on account of the force of
Judge, .the teache.r, and only the pupils can control him. his imagination and merry animation. He also reads and
Durmg .the hIstory lessons the pupils answer all at writes not at all badly. But the moment he is asked a
once, not m order that anyone might verify their knowl- question he presses his pretty curly head sidewise, tears
edge, but because they feel the need of strengthening by appear on his long lashes, and he looks as though he
298 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 299
wanted to hide somewhere from everybody, and it is evi- relation to the duration of a lesson, and so on. This
dent that he is suffering beyond endurance. If he is spirit of the school is something that is rapidly comm uni.
made to learn by heart, he will recite a piece, but he is cated from pupil to pupil, and even to the teacher, some-
n?t able, or has not ~he ~ourage, to express anything in thing that is palpably expressed in the sound of the voice,
hIS own words. It IS eIther some fear inspired by his in the eyes, the movements, the tension of the rivalry,-
former teacher (he had studied before with a teacher of something very tangible, necessary, and extremely pre-
the clerical profession), or lack of confidence in himself cious, and therefore something that ought to be the aim of
or his aWkwar~ position among boys who, in his opinion; every teacher. Just as the saliva in the mouth is neces-
st~nd below hI.m, or aristocratism or annoyance that in sary for the digestion, but is disagreeable and superfluous
thIS alone he IS behind the rest and because he once without food, even so this spirit of strained animation,
showed himself in a bad light, or his little soul was though tedious and disagreeable outside the class, is a
offended by some careless word escaped from the teacher necessary condition for the assimilation of mental food.
or all th~se causes acting together, - God knows which: It is impossible to invent and artificially to pr~pare this
:- but ~IS b~shfulness, though not a good feature in itself, mood, nor is it necessary to do so because It always
IS ce~taill.ly ill.se~arably connected with everything that is makes its appearance of its own accord.
best ill hIs childIsh soul. It is possible to knock all that In the beginning of the school I made mistakes. The
out with a physical .0: mor~l stick, but the danger is that moment a boy began to comprehend badly and unwill-
all the precIOUS qualitles, WIthout which the teacher would ingly, when the so habitual dulness of ~he ,~chool came
find it .hard to lead him on, might be knocked out at the over him, I used to say, "Jump awhile! The boy
same tIme.
beaan to jump j others, and he with them, laughed j and
T.he new teacher listened to my advice, dismissed the after the jumping the pupil was a different boy. But,
pupIls from the benches, permitted them to crawl where~ after having repeated this jumping several times, it turned
ever they pleased, even on his back, and that same day all out that when I told the boy to jump he was overcome
began .to recite incomparably better, so that the entry was by a greater tedium, and h~ bega~ to weep. He saw that
made lU the teacher's diary, "Stubborn Savin said a few he was not in the mood ill WhICh he ought to be, and
words."
yet he was not able to control his o~ soul, an,d did not
There is in the school something indefinite, which wish to allow anybody else to control It. A child and a
almost does not submit to the guidance of the teacher man are receptive only when in an excited state, ~~ere­
and that. is the spirit of the school. This spirit is subject fore it is a great blunder to look upon the happy spmt of
to certaill laws and to the negative influence of the a school as upon an enemy, an obstacle, though we are
teacher, that is, the teacher must avoid certain things in often inclined to regard it as such.
?rder not to break up that spirit. The spirit of the school But when the animation in a large class is so strong
I~, for example, always in inverse relation to the compul- that it interferes with a teacher in his attempt to guide
~lOn and order of the school, in inverse relation to the the class, then one feels tempted to cry out against the
~nter~ere~ce of the. teacher in the pupils' manner of think- children and to subdue that spirit. If that animation
lUg, ill dIrect relatIOn to the number of pupils, in inverse has the lesson for an object, then nothing better is to be
300 TilE SCrrOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE sCrrOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 301
de~ired. But if ~he ~nimation has passed over to another themselves, and whether they have. grasped the whole
obJect, the fault IS WIth the teacher who did not manage meaning. If there are too man~ ~~pIls, they ought to ?e
tha~ animation properly. The problem of a teacher, divided into a number of dIVISIons, and the pupIls
~hlCh. nearly every o.n~ carries out unconsciously, con- ought to tell the respective story to each other by
SIStS ill constantly gIVlllg food to this animation and divisions. .
giving it the reins. You ask one pupil, and another There is no need of fearing because a newly arnved
wants to answer: he knows it, - he is hending over to pupil does not open his mouth for. a month.. All that is
you and gazin~ at you with both his eyes; he is scarcely necessary is to watch whether he IS busy WIth .the stor!
able to keep ~IS words back; he eagerly follows the story- or with something else. Generally a newly arnved ;ImpIl
t~ller and wIl~ not forgive him a single mistake; ask grasps only the material side o~ th~ matter~ and IS all
hIm, and he wIll tell you impassionately, and that which rapt in observing how the pupIls SIt and he, how the
h~ will tell you will for ever impress itself upon his teacher's lips are moving, how they all cry out at once;
n: llld. But keep him in this tension, without allowing if he is a' quiet boy, he will sit down just ~s the oth~rs
hIm to talk for half an hour, and he will pass his time in do ; if he is bold, he will cry like the rest, w~thout gettlllg
pinching his neighbour. the meaning of what is said, and only ~epeatlllg ~he words
Another example: Walk out of a class of the county of his neighbour. The teacher and hIS compamons stop
scho.ol, or from a German school, where it has been quiet, him and he understands that something else is meant.
leavlllg the order that they are to proceed with their A little time will pass, and he will begin to tell a story.
work, and half an hour later listen at the door' the class It is difficult to find out how and when the flower of com-
is animated, but the subject of the animation i~ different prehension will open up in him. .
it is the so-called mischievousness. We have often mad~ Lately I had occasion to watch such an opemng of the
th.is experiment in our classes. Leaving the class in the bud of comprehension in a very timid gir~ who had ~ept
Imddle, when the shouting was at the loudest, we would silent for a month. Mr. U - was telling somethlllg,
return to the door to listen, and we would find that the and I was an outside spectator and made my observations.
boys continued to tell their stories, correcting and verifying When all began to tell the story, I no~iced that Mar-
~ach other, a~d frequently they would entirely quiet down, flitka climbed down from the bench WIth the gesture
lllstead of belllg naughty without us. with which story-tellers change the position of hearer to
Just as with .the order of seating the pupils on the that of narrator, and came nearer. When all b.egan to
be~ches and asklllg them questions singly, even so with shout, I looked at her: she barely moved her lIps, and
thIS order there are simple rules which one must know her eyes were full of thought and anim~tion. Upon mee.t-
and without which the first experiment may be a failure. ing my glance, she lowered hers. A mlllut~ later I ag~lll
O~e must watch the criers who repeat the last words looked around, and she was again whisperlllg something
~ald, only to increase the noise. It is necessary to see to to herself. I asked her to tell the story, and she was
It that the charm of the noise should not become their completely lost. Two days later she told a whole story
mai~ purpose and problem. It is necessary to test some beautifully.
pupIls, as to whether they are able to tell everything by The best proof that the pupils of our school remember
THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA
303
302 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA

what is told them is found in the stories which they She gave him to drink, and says she: 'Maybe thy camels
themselves. write down from memory, given here with want to drink.' .' . ,
the correctIOn of the orthographical mistakes only. " Says Eliezer: 'All nght, gIVe them to drmk.
"She gave the camels to drink, then Eliezer gav.e her. a
Extract from the note-book of ten-year-old M--:
" God. commanded Abraham to bring his son Isaac as necklace, and says he: 'May I not stay overmght III
an offerlllg. Abraham took two servants with him your house?'
Isaac carried the wood and the fire, and Abraham carried " Says she: 'Thou mayest:
"When they came to the house, her relatives were eat-
the knife. When they came to Mount Hor Abraham
left his two servants there and himself went 'with Isaac ing supper, and they put Eliezer down t? eat supper..
"Says Eliezer: 'I will not eat untIl I have saId a
uP. the mountain. Says Isaac: 'Father, we have every-
thmg, where, then, is the victim? ' word:
"Says Abraham: 'God has commanded me to sacrifice " Eliezer told it to them.
thee.' "Said they: 'We are willing, how is she?'
" They asked her, _ she was willing. Then he: father
" So Abraham made a fire and put his son down. and mother blessed Rebecca, Eliezer sat down WIth her,
"Says, Isaac: 'Father, bind me, or else I will jump up and they rode away, and Isaac was walking over. the
and kill thee.'
field Rebecca saw Isaac and she covered herself WIth a
"Abraham took and tied him. He just swung his tow~l. Isaac went up to her, took her hand, and led her
arm, and an angel flew down from the heavens and held
back his arm and said: 'Abraham, do not place thine to his house, and they were married."
From the note-book of the boy 1 - F - , about
hand on thy young son, God sees thy faith.'
"Then the angel says to him: 'Go into the bush a Jacob: h h
" Rebecca had been sterile for nineteen years, t en s e
wether is caught there, bring him in place of thy s~n: bore twins,-Esau and Jacob. Esau was a hunter, a~d
Jacob helped his mother. One day Esau went t~ kIll
and Abraham brought a sacrifice to God.
"Then came the time for Abraham to marry off his
beasts and he killed none and came home angry, and
son. They had a servant Eliezer. Abraham called up Jacob was eatinO"b a mess of pottage. Esau came and says
the servant and says he: 'Swear to me that thou wilt not ,

take a bride from our town, but that thou wilt go where he' 'Let me have of that mess.
;, Says Jacob: 'Give me thy birthright.'
I send thee.'
" Abraham sent him to Nahor in the land of Mesopo- " Says Esau: 'Take it:
tamia. Eliezer took the camels and went away. When '" Swear.'
"Esau swore. Then Jacob gave Esau of the mess of
he c~me to a. well he began to speak: 'Lord, give me such
a bnde, as WIll come first, and will give to drink to me and pottage. d kill
"When Isaac grew blind, he said: 'Esau, go an
also to my camels, - she shall be the bride of my master
Isaac.' me some venison!' J b
" Esau went, Rebecca heard it, and says she to acO :
"Elieze~ had barely said these words, when a maiden
came. Ehezer began to ask her to give him to drink. , Go and kill two goslings.'
304 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 305
(( Jacob went and killed two goslings and brought them " She replied: 'Laban's.'
to h~s mother. She roasted them and wrapped Jacob in " , I am thy cousin.'
a skm, and Jacob brought the food to his father, and says "They kissed each other and went home. . Uncle
he: 'I have brought thee thy favourite dish.' Laban received him, and says he: 'Jacob, stay wIth me,
(( Says Isaac: 'Come up nearer to me.' I will pay thee.' .,
"Jacob came n.earer. !saa~ began to touch his body, "Says Jacob: 'I will not live wIth thee for pay, but
and says he: ,It IS Jacob s VOlce and Esau's body.' ive me thy younger daughter Rachel.' . .
"Then he blessed Jacob. Jacob just came out of the g "Says Laban: 'Live seven years wIth me, then WIll
door, and Esal;l came in t~rough the door, and says he: I give thee my younger daughter Rachel, for ;ve have no
, Here, father, IS thy favounte dish.' right to give a younger daughter awa~ sOOI~er.
" Says Isaac: 'Esau was here before.' "Jacob lived for seven years Wlth his uncle, then
'" No, father, Jacob has deceived thee,' and he himself Laban gave him Rachel."
w:ent through the door, and wept, and says he : ' Let father From the note-book of eight-year-old T-- F--,
dIe, and then I will get even with thee.' about Joseph:
. ".Rebecca says to Jacob: 'Go and ask thy father's bene- "Jacob had twelve sons. He loved Joseph best of all,
dlCtlOn and then go to thine uncle Laban.' and had made for him a many-coloured d~ess. Then
"Isaac blessed Jacob, and he went to his uncle Laban Joseph saw two dreams, and he told them to hlS brothers:
Here night overtook him. He stayed overnight in th~ , It was as though we were reaping rye in the ~eld an~ we
field; he found a rock, put it under his head, and fell reaped twelve sheaves. My sheaf was standing straIght,
asleep. Suddenly he saw something in his dream, as and the eleven sheaves were bowing before my sheaf.'
though a ladder were standing from earth to heaven and " Say the brothers: 'Is it really so that we shall bow
the angels were going up and down it and on the top the to thee l'
Lord himself was standing, and says he : " And he had another dream: 'It was as though there
'" Jacob, the land on which thou liest I give to thee were eleven stars in heaven, and the sun and moon were
and to thy descendants.' bowing to my star.'
"Jacob arose, and says he: 'How terrible it is here " Say father and mother: 'Is it possible we shall bow
evidently this is God's house, I will come back from there' before thee 1•
and will build a church here.' Then he lighted a lamp, and "His brothers went a long distance away to herd
he went on,-he saw shepherds herding some cattle. Jacob cattle then the father sent Joseph to take some food to
began to ask of them where his uncle Laban was living. his brothers. His brothers saw him, and say the!:
"The shepherds said: 'There is his daughter she is 'There comes our reader of dreams. Let us put hIm
driving the sheep to water.' ' down in a bottomless well.'
"Jacob went up to her, she could not push away the "Reuben was thinking to himself: 'The moment they
stone from the well. Jacob pushed the stone away and turn away, I will pull him out.' And there mercha~ts
he watered the sheep, and says he: 'Whose dauahter art came by. Says Reuben: 'Let us sell him to the EgyptIan
thou l' b
merchants.'
........_--------------------------~

306 TilE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 307

"They sold Joseph, and the merchants sold him to "The king sent his carriage for him. When he was
Potiphar the courtier. Potiphar loved him, and his wife brought, the king began to say: 'I drealllt that I st?od
lo:ed him. Potiphar was absent somewhere, and his on the bank of a river and there came out seven fat krne,
wIfe says to Joseph: and seven lean ones', the lean ones threw thelllselves
, on
'" Joseph, let us kill my husband, and I will marry the fat ones and ate them up and did not get fat.
thee.' "And he had another vision: 'I drealllt that there
"Says Joseph: 'If thou sayest that a second time I were growing seven full ears on one stalk, and seven
will tell thy husband.' ' empty ones; the elllpty ones threw thelllselve~ on the
"She took him by his garment and cried out loud. full ones, ate them up, and did not grow full.
The servants heard her and came rushing in. Then " Joseph said: 'This llleans that there will be seven
Potiphar arrived. His wife told him that Joseph had fruitful years and seven hungry ye~rs.' .
intended to kill him, and then to marry her. Potiphar "The king gave Joseph a gold cham over h~s shoul~er
ordered him to be put in jail. As Joseph was a good and the ring from his right hand, and told hllll to bUlld
man, he deserved well there, and he was made to look granaries."
aftC1: t.he prison. Once upon a time Joseph went through
the JaIl and saw two men sitting in sorrow. Joseph went All that has been said refers to the teaching of sacred
up to them, and says he: and Russian and natural history, of geography, part~y of
" 'Why are ye so saddened 1' physics, chemistry, zoology, in general. of all subJects
"Say they: ' We have had two dreams in one night, except singing, lllathelllatics,. and ~rawrng. Abou~ the
and there is nobody to explain them to us.' instruction in sacred history III partIcular at that tIme I
" Says Joseph: 'What is it 1' lllUSt say as follows: .
"The cupbearer began to tell him: 'I dreamt that I First, why the Old Testament is chosen before any,thmg
had picked three berries, squeezed the juice, and given it else. Not only was the knowledge of sacred hIstory
to the king.' delllanded by the pupils and thei~ pare~ts, but I a~so
"Says Joseph: 'Thou wilt be in thy place in three discovered that of all oral informatIOn, whlCh I had tned
days.' in the period of three years, nothing so.fitted the COlll-
"Then the steward began to tell: 'I dreamt that I prehension of the boys' lllinds as the BIble. The. sallle
carried twelve loaves in a basket, and the bird flew about thing was repeated in all th~ other sC,ho~ls whlCh, I
and picked at the bread.' had had occasion to examine m the begrnlllng. I tned
" J osep? said: 'Thou wilt be hanged in three days, the New Testalllent, Russian history, and geograph~; I
and the bud.s will fly about and will pick thy body.' tried the favourite subject of our day, - the explanatl~ns
" And so It happened. Once Pharaoh had two visions of the phenolllena of Nature, - but all that was easily
in one night and he called together all his wise men, and forgotten and was not readily listened to. On the other
they could not explain his dreams to him. The cup- hand the Old Testalllent was relllelllbered and gladly
bearer remembered and said: l'epe;ted, with enthusiaslll, both at schoo~ and at home,
" , I have a certain mall in mind.' and it left such an illlpression upon the chIldren that, two
308 TilE SCIlOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCIlOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 309

months a.fter it had been told to them, they wrote down ous! I can't understand what kind of an education
sacred hIstory from memory in their note-books, with would be possible if it were not for that book. And yet
but few omissions. it seems if we learn these stories only in childhood and then
It seems to me that the book of the childhood of the partly forget them, - what good are they to us? An~
race will always be the best book of the childhood of would it not be the same if we did not know them at all ?
~ac~ man. It seems to me impossible to put another book This seems so only so long as you do not teach others,
In Its place. It seems to me injurious to change and when you have a chance to watch all the elements of
shorten the Bible, as is done in Sonntag's text-books, your own development in othe~ children. ~t seems that
and so. forth. Everything, every word in it, is true, as it is possible to teach the chIldren to wnte and read,
revelatIOn and as art. Read about the creation of the to give them a conception of history, geography, and the
world in the Bible and in the short Sacred History, and phenomena of Nature, without the Bible and before the
t~e transformation of the Bible in the Sacred History Bible j and yet that is not done any:vhere, - everywhere
~ll appear quite unintelligible to you; from the Sacred
the child first learns the Bible, stones and extracts from
HI~tor! you c~nnot learn otherwise than by memorizing,
it The first relation of the teacher to the pupil is based
~hile In ~h~ BIble there is presented to the child a majes-
upon that book. Such a universal phenomenon is not
tIC .a~d liv:ng picture, which he will never forget. The accidental My absolutely free relation to the pupils in
omIssIOns. ill t.he Sacred History are quite unintelligible the beginning of the Yasnaya Polyana school helped me
and only ImpaIr the character and beauty of Holy Scrip- to find an explanation for this phenomenon. ., .
ture. Why, for example, do all the sacred histories omit A child, or man, entering school (I make no dlstmctIOn
that when there was nothing, the Spirit of God was between one of ten, thirty, or seventy years of age),
bo.rne ov~r the abyss, that God, having created, surveyed briners with him his familiar and favourite view of things,
HIS creatIOn and saw that all was well, and that then it as t:ken away by him from life. In order that a man of
was morning and evening of such and such a day? Why any age whatsoever should begin to learn, it is necessary
do th.ey leave out t~Iat God breathed the soul through the that he should like learning. In order that he should
nostnls, that, havillg taken out a rib from Adam, he like learning, he must recognize the falseness. and insuffi-
filled up the place with flesh, and so forth? Let uncor- ciency of his view of. things ~nd he ~u~t divme the n.ew
rupted children read the Bible, and then you will under- world conception, WhICh the InstructIOn IS to open t~ hun.
stand to w~at extent that is necessary and true. It may Not one man or child would be able to learn, If the
be ~hat spOIled young ladies must not get the Bible into future of his learning presented itself to him only as an
theIr hands, but when I read to peasant children, I did art of reading, writing, and counting; no~ Ol~e teacher
not leave out a single word. And nobody giggled behind would be able to teach, if he did not have ~ hIS power a
somebody's back, and all listened with trepidation and higher world conception than what the PUPI~S have. In
natural awe. The story of Lot and his daughters, the order that the pupil may entirely .surrend~r hImself to the
story of Judas, provoke horror, not laughter. teacher, there must be lifted for him one SIde of the shroud
How .co~prehensible and clear, particularly for a child, which has been concealiner from him all the charm of that
everythmg IS, and, at the same time, how stern and seri- world of thought, knowledge, and poetry, to which in-
310 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 311
struction was to i~t~oduce him. Only by being under thought in such a compressed poetical form as is to be
the spell of that brilhant world ahead of him is the pupil found in the Bible. ~ll the que~tions from the pheD:0J:I.l~na
able to work over himself in the manner in which we of Nature are explamed by thIS book; all the. pnmltIVe
want him to. relations of men with each other,. of the fa!mly, of the
W~at means ha,:e we, then, to lift that edge of the state, of religion, are for the firs~ tll?e con~cIOusly .recog-
curtam for the pupIl? As I have said, I thought, just nized in this book. The generahzatIOns of I~eas, WIsdom,
as many think, that, being myself in that world to which . a childishly simple form, for the first tIme spell the
I am to introduce the pupils, I could easily do so, and I I~pil's mind. The lyricism of Da~id's psalms acts not
taught the rudiments, I explained the phenomena of pnly upon the minds of grown pupIls, but everybody for
Na~ure, I tol~ them, as it says in the ABO's, that the ~he first time learns from this ?~ok the whole charm
frUlts of learmng are sweet, but the pupils did not believe of the epos in its inimitable simphCIty and strength. .
me and kept aloof. I tried to read the Bible to them Who has not wept over the story of Joseph and hIS
and I completely took possession of them. The edge of meeting with his brothers? Who has not narrated
the curtain was lifted, and they surrendered themselves with a sinking heart the story ~f Samson bound an.d
to. me unconditionally. They fell in love with the book, deprived of his hair, as he, taking v.engeance on his
WIth the study, and with me. All I had now to do was enemies himself perishes under the rums of the. fallen
to guide them on. palace, ~nd a hundred other impressio~s, .on ? WhICh we
After the Old Testament I told them the New and have been brought up as on our mothers mIlk. .
they loved studying and me more and more. Then i told Let those who deny the educational value of the .Blble,
them universal, Russian, and natural history, when we who say that the Bible has ou~lived its .usefulness, mvent
were through with the Bible; they listened to everything such a book, such stories, WhICh expla~ the p~enomena
believed everything, begged to go on and on, and eve; of Nature, or the phenomena f~om umversal. hlstor~, or
new perspectives of thought, knowledge, and poetry were from their imagination, which WIll be as readil! recelved
opened up to them. as the Biblical accounts, and then we shall admIt that the
It may be this was an accident. It may be that in Bible has outlived its usefulness. .
some other school the same results were obtained by Pedagogy serves as a verification of ver:y many VItal
be~innin~ in an entirely different manner. Maybe. But phenomena, and of social and abstract q~estIOns.
thIS aCCIdentalness was repeated too invariably in all Materialism will then only have the ng~t .to announce
schools and in all families, and the explanation of this itself a victor when the Bible of matenahsm sha~ be
phenomenon is too apparent to me to permit of any written, and the children are educated by that BIble.
assumption that it is accidental. Owen's attempt cannot be regarded as a pro?f of such a
There is .no book like the Bible to open up a new world possibility, just as the growth of a lemon-tree m .a Moscow
to the pupIl and to make him without knowledae love hothouse is not a proof that trees can grow WIthout the
knowl?dge. I speak e~en of those who do not look upon open sky and the sun. .
t~18 BIble as a revelatIOn. At least, there is no produc- I repeat my convicti~n, which,. perhaps, IS .deduced
tIOn that I know of, which unites all the sides of human from a one-sided expenence. WIthout the BIble the
THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 313
312 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA

of these injurious books, fou~.d th~ir w~y among the


dev.elopJl.lent of. a child or a man is unthinkable in our masses, and frequently the pupIls b~mg wIth them from
SOCIety, Just as It was unthinkable in Greek society with-
home peculiar legends of the creatIOn of the :world, of
out .Homer. . The Bible is the only book for the first Adam and of Joseph the Beautiful. These pupIls do not
readmg. of chIldren. The Bible, both as to its contents
and to ItS form, ought to serve as a model of all manuals
experi~nee that which t~e fresh. pu~ils feel when the,Y
listen to the Bible and wIth trepIdatIOn catch each WOld
and readers for children. An idiomatic translation of the
and think that now, at last, all the wisdom of the world
Bible would be the best popular book. The appearance
of su~h a translation in our time would be an epoch in will be revealed to them. .
I have always taught sacre~ hista.ry. f~om the BIble,
the hIstory of the Russian nation.
and I regard any other instructIOn as mJunons..
Now as to .the .ins~ruction in .sacred history. All the The New Testament is similarly told accordmg to the
short sacr~d histones m the RussIan language I consider a Gospel and is later written down in note-books. The
double cnJl.le:. against its holiness, and against poetry. New Testament is not comprehended so well, and there-
All these nfaCImentos, having in view the facility of
the stu.dy of. sacred history, only make it more difficult. fore demands more frequent repetitions.
Here are a few specimens from the stories of the New
The BIble IS read as a pleasure, at home, leaning the
head on. the arm.; the abbreviated stories are learned by Testament.
From the copy-book of the boy I - M - , about
hea~t WIth the aId .of a pointer. N at only are these short
st~r~es dull and mcomprehensible, they also spoil the the Lord's supper: . .,
" Once upon a time Jesus Christ sent HIS dISCIples to
abIlity to understand the poetry of the Bible. I have
the city of Jerusalem and said to th.em: 'If you c~me
?bser.ved more than. once that bad, unintelligible language acroSS a man with water, follow hIm and ask hun:
l1~palrS th~ rec~p.tlveness of the inner meaning of the
Master show ns a room where we can prepare the pass-
BIble.. UnmtelligIble words, however, such as occur in over. 'He will show you, and you prepare it there.'
the BIble, are remem?ered together with the incidents; "They went and saw w~at He had to!d th~m, and they
they a~est the attentIOn o~ the pUJ?ils by their novelty, prepared it. In the evenmg Jesus HImself we~t there
and, as It were, serve as gUlde-posts m their stories. with His disciples. During the supper Jesus Chnst took
Very frequently a pupil speaks only in order to make off His garment and girded Himself with a towel. Then
use of a p~etty 'p~ll'ase ~or ~h.ich he has taken a liking, and he took the laver and filled it with water and went to
then the SImpliCIty of Imblbmg the contents only is gone. each disciple and washed his feet. When H.e went up
I have also observed that pupils from other schools always
to Peter and wanted to wash his feet, Peter saId:
feel much less or not at all the charm of the Biblical
" , Lord! Thou wilt never wash my feet.' .
stories, which is destroyed by the necessity of memorizing " And Jesus Christ said to him: 'If I am not gomg to
and by the rude methods of the teacher connected with wash thy feet, thou wilt not be with Me in the Kingdom
it. The~e pupils ha~e even spoiled the younger pupils
and thClr brothers, m the manner of whose narration of Heaven.' ,
"Then Peter was friahtened and says he: 'Lord. Not
there were reflected certain trite methods of the abbrevi- only my feet, but even ~y head and my whole body.'
ated sacred histories. Such trite stories have, by meanS
314 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 315
"And Jesus said to him: 'Only the pure one has to "And Judas said to the high priest: 'Whom I shall
get his feet washed.' kiss, that one take.'
" Then Jesus Christ dressed Himself and sat down at "Then the disciples went after Jesus and they saw a
the table, took the bread, blessed it and broke it and crowd of people. Judas went up to Jesus and wanted to
began to give it to His disciples, and He said: 'Take it kiss Him. So Jesus says:
and eat it, - it is My body.' " , Art thou betraying Me by a kiss?' and to the people
"They took it and ate it. Then Jesus took a bowl of He says: 'Whom are ye seeking?'
,,:"ine, blessed it, a~d began to carry it around to the dis- "They said to Him: ' Jesus of Nazareth.'
CIples, and He saId: 'Take it and drink it, - it is My " Jesus said: 'I am He.'
blood of the New Testament.' "With that word all fell."
"They took it and drank it. Then Jesus Christ said.
, One of you will betray Me.' . HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHY
" And the disciples began to say: 'Lord, is it 11'
" And says Jesus Christ: 'No.' Having finished the Old Testament, I naturally thought
" Then Judas says: 'Lord, is it I!' of teaching history and geography, both b~cause these
" And Jesus Christ said half-aloud: 'Yes.' subjects are taught in all children's schools, Just as I had
"After that Jesus Christ said to His disciples: 'He to learned them and because the history of the Jews of the
w~~m I shall give ~ piece of bread will betray Me.' Old Testame~t seemed naturally to lead the childr~r;t to
Then Jesus ChrIst gave Judas a piece of bread. Then the questions where, when, and under what condItIOns
Satan took his abode in him, so that he was abashed and certain incidents had taken place, what Egypt was, and
went out of the room." Pharaoh, and the Assyrian king, and so fort~. ..
From the copy-book of the boy R-- B--: I began history, as is always done, WIth antIqUIty.
"Then Jesus Christ went with His disciples into the But neither Mommsen, nor Dunckel', nor all r;tIy effor~s,
g~r~en of Gethsemane to pray to God, and He said to His were able to make it interesting. They felt no mterest ~
dIscIples: '"\Vait for Me and do not sleep.' Sesostris, in the Egyptian pyramids, and in the Phrom-
"When Jesus came and saw that His disciples were cians. I had hoped that questions, s~ch as who the
asleep, He wakened them and said: 'You could not wait nations were that had anything to do wIth. the Jews and
one hour for Me.' where the Jews lived and wandered, would illterest them;
"Then ~e went again to pray to God. He prayed to but the pupils were in no need of this ~formation. . The
God and saId: 'Lord, cannot this cup pass by ?' and He Pharaohs and Egypt and Palestine, WhICh have eXls.ted
prayed so long to God that He began to sweat blood. An sometime and somewhere, do not in the least satIsfy
angel flew down from hea,:en ~n(~ hegan to fortify Jesus. them. The Jews are their heroes, all the others a~e
;hen Jesus returne~ to HIS dISCIples and said to them: unnecessary, superfluons persons. I did not s~c.ceed ill
Why are ye .slee~mg? The hour is coming when the making heroes out of the Egyptians an~ Phror:ICIans for
Son o.f man WIll gIve Himself up into the hands of His lack of material No matter how much ill detaI~ ~e may
enemIes.' know how pyramids were built, in what condItIOn and
316 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 317

relation to each other the castes were, - what good is all entered the class just as they were to recite. . It is hard
that to 7~S 1- to us, that is, the children? In those his- to describe what really happened. All were sIlent for a
tories there is no Abruham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Samson. long time. Finally, those who were called out by the
~here. were. a fe~ things which they remembered and teacher began to speak, some of them more ~oldly and
lIked III anCIent hIstory, such as Semiramis, and so forth, with a better display or memory. . All thel~, menta,~
but t?at was retained only incidentally, not because it owers were directed toward recalling the funny
explamed anything, but because it was artistic and fairy- ~ames, but what each of them had done was a matter
like. But such passages were rare' the rest was dull of secondary importance.
aimless, and I was compelled to abandon the study of "SO he - what is it? - Ban'kav, l'S l·t~." began one..
universal history. " went to ' what do you call it ?" .
. I.was confronted ~ith the same failure in geography as "Musl~v, Lev Nikolaevich ?" a girl helps hIm out.
III hIstory. I sometImes tell them anything that occurs "Mstislav," I say.
to me ~rom Greek, English, Swiss history, without any " And put him to rout," proudly says one.
connectIOn, and only as an instructive and artistic fable. "Hold on, there was a river there." .
~fter un~vers~l history I had to experiment on our " And his son collected an army and smashed ~t to 'fout,
natIve RussIan hIstory, and I began that cheerless Russian what do you call him? "
history, which we know so well as neither artistic nor "I can't make it out," says a girl who has a memory
instructive, in the many remodellings from Ishlmova to like a blind person.
Vodov6zov. I began it twice: the first time before hav- " It is such a funny thing," says Semka.
ing finished the whole Bible, and the second time after it. "What is it, anyway,-Mislav, Chislav? The devil
Before the Bible had been read, the pupils absolutely can't make out what it is good for!" 1"
refused to re~e~ber the existence .of the Igors and Olegs. "Don't bother me if you do not know any better.
The same thmg IS repeated now WIth the younger pupils. "You know much! You are awfully clever."
Those wh.o have not yet learned to enter into the meaning "Don't push me !"
of what IS told them from the Bible and to render it in Those who have the best memories tried it once more
their own words, will listen to it fo; five times and will and managed to say something if t~ey were helpe~ out.
remember nothing about Rurik and YarosIav. But all that was so monstrous, and It was such a pIty ~o
The oldest pupils now remember Russian history and see these children (they were like hens t~ w?om gram
~ake . notes of i~, but nowhere near so well as they had been thrown out before and noW sand IS gIVen, when
dId WIth t~e. stones from the Bible, and they ask for fre- they suddenly become perplexed, begin to cackle, are all
quent repetItIOns. We tell them the stories from Vodo- in a flutter, and ready to pick each ?ther's feathers), th.at
v6zov and from Pog6din's " Norman Period." One of the the teacher and I decided never agam t~ m~ke suc~ ~IS­
~eachers was ~omehow carried away in his zeal, and, pay- takes. We passed beyond the feudal penod. I~ contmumg
mg no attentIOn to my advice, did not leave out the Russian history, and here is what comes of It m the copy-
feudal period, and landed in the hopeless tangle and non- books of the older pupils.
sense of the Mstislavs, Bryachislavs, and Boleslavs. I From the copy-book of pupil V-- R--:
318 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 319

"Our ance~tors were called Slavs. They had neither half of the men in boats, and half he left behind. When
tsars, nor prrnces. They were divided into families Ask6ld and Dir came out with a small retinue, Oleg's
attacked each other, and went to war. Once the N or~ army jumped out from und~rueath the boats a~d rushed
ma~s fell upon the Slavs, and they conquered them, and aaainst them. Then Oleg lifted up fgor and saId:
to" , You are no princes and not of a princely race, but
levIed a tnbute. Then they say: 'Why are we living
thus? Let us, ~hoos~ a prince, that he may rule over us.' here is the prince.'
T~ey ch?s: Runk, ~Ith his two brothers Sineus and Tru- "Then 018g ordered them to be killed and conquered
vor; . Runk settled III Ladoga, Sineus in fzborsk with the KIev. Oleg remained there, made that city a capital, and
~nvlch~s? Truv6r at the Byel6zero. When those brothers called it the mother of all Russian cities. Then he
dIed, Runk took their places. ordered cities and fortresses to be built, and sent the
" Then two of them went to Greece, - Ask6ld and Dir boyars to collect tribute, and they br?ught i.t to ~im.
- and they stopped in Kiev and said: 'Who is rUling' Then he went to wage war with the nmghbourrng tnbes,
here? ' and he conquered very many of them. He did not want
"The Ki'evans said: 'There were three here' Ki to wage war with peaceful men, but with brave men.
Shchek, and Khoriv. Now they are dead.' " Then he got ready to go against Greece, and we went
yo:.fsk6ld and Dir said: 'All right, we shall rule over down the Dnieper. When he had travelled down the
Dnieper, he went over the Black Sea. When he reached
:: The peo~l~ agreed to it and began to pay tribute. Greece, his army leaped upon the shore and began to
Then Runk ordered cities and fortresses to be built burn and pillage everything. Says Oleg to the Greeks:
an.d h~ sent .out the boyars to collect the tribute and , Pay us a tribute, - a grivna for each boat.' They were
brrng It to. hIm. Then Rurik made up his mind to go glad and began to pay them the tribute. Here Oleg col-
to war. agarnst Constantinople with two hundred boats. lected three hundred puds and went home again."
When he rode up to that city, the emperor was not there From the copy-book o,f pupil V-- M-,-. : .
The ~reeks sent for him. The people prayed to God ali "When Olea died Igor, the son of Runk, took hIS
, to '
the tIme. Th~n .the archpriest brought out the garment place. Igor wanted to get married. Once he went ~ut
of the Hol~ VIrgrn and dipped it in the water, and there to disport himself with his retinue, - he .had to S":l111
rose a ternble storm, and all the boats of Rurik were across the Dnieper. Suddenly he saw: a gIrl 'Yas SWI:ll-
scattered. Very few of them were saved. Then Rurik ming in a boat. When she reached the, shore, Ig?r saId:
went home and there died. There was left one son , Put me in.' She put him in. Then Igor mamed her.
~~ , igor wanted to distinguish ~ himself. So he collected an
"When he :vas small Oleg, took his place. He wanted army and went to war, straight down the J?niepe~, - not
to ~onquer KIev; he took Igor with him and travelled to ~the right, but to the left, from the Dmeper rnto ,the
straI~h.t down t,he Dnieper. On his way he conquered Black Sea, from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea. Igor
th: CItIes of Lyubich and SmoIensk. When they reached sent messengers to the kagan to let him pass through the
KIeV, Oleg sent his messengers to Ask6ld and Dir to say field' when he should return from the war, he would
that merchants had come to see them, and himself hid give 'him half his booty. The kagan let him through.
320 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 321
When they came near to the city, Igor ordered the people Nearly all were able to tell it, and all were enthusiastic.
to come o~t on the shore, to burn and cut everything and But if only the national feeling is to be satisfied, what
to take prIsoners. When they were through with their will there be left of the whole history 1 The years 1612,
~ork, they began to rest. When they were through rest- 1812, and that is all. You cannot go through the whole
I~g, they went home,in great joy. They came up to the of history by responding to the national ~ee~g. I u~~er­
CIty ~f the kagan, - Igor sent to tge kagan what he had stand that it is possible to employ the histOrIcal traditIOn
promISed. The people heard that Igor was coming from in order always to satisfy the artistic interest inh~rent in
the war, so they began to ask the kagan to allow them to children, but that will not be history. For the IllstruC-
avenge themselves on igor, because Igor had spilled the tion of history we need the preliminary development of
blood of thei: relatives. The kagan told them not to, but the historical sentiment in children. How is that to be
the people dId. not obey him and began to wage war,- done 1
there was a nughty battle. The Russians were worsted I have frequently had occasion to hear that the teach-
and everything was taken away from them which they ing of history ought to be begun, n?t from .the beginn~g,
had conquered." but from the end, that is, not WIth anCIent, but WIth
There is no vital interest in this, as the reader may see modern history. This idea is essentially true. How can
from the extracts quoted. Russian history goes better a child be told and made interested in the beginning of
than universal history, only because they were accus- the Russian realm, when he does not know what the
tomed to assimilate and write down what had been told Russian realm, or realm in general, is 1 He who has had
~hem, and also because the question, "What is this for 1" anything to do with children ought to know that ever!
~s less applicable here. The Russian people is their hero Russian child is firmly convinced that the whole world IS
Just as the Jewish nation has been. The Jewish because just like Russia, in which he is living; the same is true
it ~a.s God's favou:ite nation, and because its history is of a French or a German child. Why are children, and
artIstIC. .The RussIan, although it has no artistic right even grown-up, childishly naive men, always surprised to
~o be thClr ~e:o, beca~se ~he national feeling speaks for hear that German children speak German 1
It. But thIS IllstructlOn IS dry, cold, and tedious. Un- The historical interest generally makes its appearance
fortunately.' the hist~ry itself very seldom gives occasion after the artistic interest. It is interesting for us to know
for the natIOnal sentIment to triumph. the history of the foundation of Rome because we know
. Yeste;day I went out from my class to the class of what Rome was in her flourishing time, just as the child-
hIstory III order to find out the cause of the animation hood of a man whom we recognize as great is interesting.
which I could hear from the other room. It was the The antithesis of her might with an insignificant crowd
battle at Kulik6vo. All were acritated. of fugitives is for us the essence of history. We watch
" Now that is history! It is great! - Listen Lev the evolution of Rome, having before our imagination the
Nik~llaevich, how he scared away the Tartars 1- ~t me picture of that which she finally reached. We are inter-
tell It to you l "
ested in the foundation of the Moscow tsardom, because
" No, I!" cried several children. "How the blood we know what the Russian Empire is. According to my
flowed in a stream!" observation and experience, the first germ of the historic
322 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 323

interest makes its appearance as the result of the knowl. we should come to some other countries; where will
edge of contem~o.ran~ous. hi~tory, and frequently as the Russia end and other countries begin 1
res~l.t of a p~rtIClpatIOn ill It, through political interest, Pupil. Where the Germans ~egin. , .
politIcal 0pillI.ons, debat~s, reading of newspapers, and Teacher. So, if you meet Gustav IvanovlCh and Karl
t}J.erefore the Idea of b~gillning history with the present Fedorovich in Tula, you will say that the Germans have
must naturally present Itself to every thinking teacher. begun and that there is a new countr~ 1 .
I made these experiments in the summer; I then wrote Pupil. No, when the Germans begill thICk.
them down, and shall adduce one of them here. Teacher. No, there are places in Russia where the Ger-
The first lesson of history. mans are thick. Ivan F6rmich is from one of them, and
I had the intention of explaining at the first lesson in yet that is still Russia. Why is it so ?
what way Russia differed from other countries, what its Silence.
borders wer.e, the characteristic of the governmental struc- Teacher. Because they obey the same laws with the
ture, of telling them who was reigning now, and how and Russians.
when the emperor ascended the throne. Pupil. One law 1 How so 1 The Germans don't come
Teacher. Where do we live, in what country ? to our church and they eat meat on fast-days.
A pupil. In Yasnaya Polyana. Teacher. Not that law, but they obey one tsar.
Another pupil. In the field. Pupil (skeptical Semka). That is funny! Why have
Teacher. No, in what country is Yasnaya Polyana, and they a different law, and yet obey the Tsar 1 .
the Government of Tlila ? The teacher feels the need of explaining what a law IS,
Pupil. The Government of Tlila is seventeen versts and so he asks what is meant by "obeying a law, being
from us. Where is it? The Government is a Govern- under one law."
ment and that is all there is to it. Girl (independent manorial girl, hur:'ie~!y and timidly).
Teacher. No. That is the capital of the Government To accept the law means" to get marned.
but a Government is something different. Well what The pupils look interrogatively at the ~eac~er. ~he
land is it? ' teacher begins to explain that the law consl~ts ill p~t~mg
Pupi.l (who had heard geography before). The earth is a man in jail and in punishing him for stealIng or kl11mg.
round lIke a ball. Skeptic Semka. And have not the Germans such a law?
By means of questions as to what country a German Teacher. There are also laws with us about the gentry,
whom thef knew, had lived in before, and where they the peasants, the merchants, the clergy (the word" clergy"
,:ould get If they were to travel all the time in one direc- perplexes them).
tIOn, .the pupils were led up to answer that they lived in Skeptic Semka. And the Germans have them not 1 .
RUSSia. Some? however, replied to the question where Teacher. In some countries there are such laws, and III
we should get If we travelled all the time in one direction others there are not. We have a Russian Tsar, and in the
that we should get nowhere. Others said that we should German countries there is a German Tsar.
get to the end of the world. This answer satisfies all the pupils and even skeptical
Teacher (repeating the pupil's answer). You said that Semka.
THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 325
324 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA

Seeing the necessity of passing over to the explanation IIe flatters himself with the hope that all have understood
of the classes, the teacher asks them what classes of him but when he asks them how to find out how far it
society they know. The pupils begin to count them out: is f~om our locality to the boundaries of Russia, t~e
the gentry, the peasants, the popes, the soldiers. " Any pupils answer, without the least hesitation, that ~hat IS
more?" asks the teacher. "The manorial servants, the easy, that all that is necessary is to measure the dIstance
burghers, the samovar-makers." The teacher asks them with a yardstick.
to distinguish these classes. Teacher. In what direction?
P~tpils. The peasants plough, the manorial servants Pupil. Just take it from here to the boundary and
serve their masters, the merchants trade, the soldiers write down how much it is.
serve, the samovar-makers get the samovars ready, the We again pass over to the drawings, plans, and .map~.
popes serve mass, the gentry do nothing. It is found that they need an idea of the scale, whIch IS
The teacher explains the real distinction of the classes entirely absent from them. The teacher proposes to dra:w
but in vain tries to make clear the need of soldiers whe~ a plan of the village laid out along the street. We begl?
there is no war on, - only as a protection of the state drawing on the board, but the village do~s not get on .It
against attacks, -:- and the occupations of the gentry in because the scale is too large. We rub It out and begm
governme~t serVICe. The teacher endeavours to explain
anew on a small scale on a slate. The idea of scale, plan,
to them m what way Russia differs geographically from b oundary , is gettinab clearer. The teacher repeats all

that
d
the other countries by saying that the whole earth is has been said and asks what Russia is and where ItS en s
divided into different states. The Russians, the French are.
the Germans, divided up the whole earth and said t~ Pupil. The country in which we live and in which
themsclves: "So far is mine, and so far is tIline," so that Germans and Tartars live.
Russia, like the other countries, has its borders. Another Pupil. The country which is under the Rus-
Teacher. Do you understand what boundaries are? sian Tsar.
Let anybody explain them to me. Teacher. But where are its ends?
Pttpil (bright boy). Beyond Turkin Height there is a Girl. There where the infidel Germans begin.
boundary (this boundary is a stone post standing on the Teacher. The Germans are not infidels. The Ger·
road to Tula from Yasnaya Polyana and indicating the mans, too, believe in Christ. (Explanation of religions
beginning of Tula County). and creeds.)
All the pupils are satisfied with this definition. P7tpil (zealously, apparently happy to have recal,led
The teacher sees the need of pointing out the bound- something). In Russia there are l~ws that he who kIlls
aries in a familiar locality. He draws the plan of two is put in jail, and there are all kmds of people, clergy-
room~ and shows the boundary which separates them j people, soldiers, gentry.
he brmgs a plan of the village, and the pupils themselves Semka. Who feeds the soldiers?
recognize certain boundaries. The teacher explains that Teacher. The Tsar. That's why money is taken from
is, he, thinks t!mt he expl~ins, that as the land of Ya~naya everybody, for they serve for all.
Polyana has ItS boundanes, even so Russia has borders. The teacher explains what the Crown is, and manages
326 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 327

to make them repeat some way or other what bound- by means of which it will be possible to do it. I know
aries are. this much, that the method will in no way consist in
The lesson lasts about two hours. The teacher is con- what is called history and geography, that is, in studying
vinced that the pupils have retained a great deal of what out of books, which kills and does not rouse these inter-
has been said, and continues his following lessons in the ests.
same strain, and convinces himself only much later that I have also made other experiments in teaching modern
his method was wrong and that all that which he has history, and they have been very successful. I told them
been doing was the merest nonsense. the history of the Crimean campaign, and the reign of
I involuntarily fell into the habitual error of the Emperor Nicholas, and the year 1812. All this I told
Socratic method, which in the German Anschauungsun- almost in a fairy-tale tone, as a rule, historically incor-
terricht has reached the highest degree of monstrosity. rect, and grouping the events about some one person.
I did not give the pupils any new ideas in these lessons, The greatest success was obtained, as was to have been
thinking all the time that I was giving them, and it was expected, by the story of the war with Napoleon.
only due to my moral influence that I made the children This class has remained a memorable event in our life.
answer as I pleased. Russia, Russian, remained the same I shall never forget it. The children had long been prom-
unconscious tokens of something hazy and indefinite be- ised that I should tell them history from its end, while
longing to them, to us. Law remained the same unintel- another teacher would begin from the beginning, so that
ligible word. I made these experiments about six months we should finally meet. My evening scholars had left
ago and at first I was exceedingly well satisfied and proud me, and I came to the class of Russian history. They
of them. Those to whom I read them said that it was were talking about Svyatoslav. They felt dull. On a
uncommonly good and interesting; but after three weeks, tall bench sat, in a row, as always, three peasant girls,
during which time I was not able to work in the school, I their heads tied with kerchiefs. One was asleep. Mlshka
tried to continue what I had begun, and I convinced my- pushed me: "Look there, our cuckoos are sitting there, -
self that what I had done before was nonsense and self- one is asleep." And they were like cuckoos!
deception. Not one pupil was able to tell me what a "You had better tell us from the end," said some one,
boundary was, what Russia, what a law was, and what and all arose.
were the boundaries of Kraplvensk County. Everything I sat down and began to talk. As always, the hub-
they had learned they had now forgotten, and yet they bub, the groans, the tussling, lasted about two minutes.
knew it all in their own fashion. I was convinced of my Some were climbing under the table, some on the table,
mistake; but what is not determined by me is whether some under the benches, and on their neighbours' shoulders
the mistake consisted in the wrong method of instruction and knees, and all was silent. I began with Alexander
or in the very thought; maybe there is no possibility, up I., told them of the French Revolution, of Napoleon's suc-
to a certain period of a general development and without cesses, of his seizing the government, and of the war
the aid of newspapers and travel, of awakening in the which ended in the peace of Tilsit. The moment we
reached Russia there were heard sounds and words of
child a historical and geographical interest; maybe that I lively interest on all sides.
method will be found (I am still endeavouring to find it)
I
I
1
328 THE SCnOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 329
" Well, is he going to conquer us too?" "When he came out of Moscow Kutuzov rushed after
" Never mind, Alexander will give it to him!" said him and went to fight him," I said.
some one who knew about Alexander, but I had to "He made him rear up!" Fedka corrected me.
disappoint them, - the time had not yet come for Fedka, red in his face, was sitting opposite me, and from
that, - and they felt bad when they heard that the excitement was bending his thin, tawny fingers. That is
Tsar's sister was spoken of as a bride for Napoleon, his habit. The moment he said that, the whole room
and that Alexander spoke with him on the bridge as groaned from a feeling of proud ecstasy. A little fellow
with an equal. ' in the back row was being crushed, but nobody paid any
" Just wait!" exclaimed Petka, with a threatening attention to it.
gesture. "That's better! There, take the keys now!" and so
" Go on and tell us !" forth.
When Alexander did not submit to him, that is, when Then I continued about our pursuit of the French. It
Alexander declared war against him, all expressed their pained the children to hear that some one was too late at
approbation. When Napoleon came against us with the Berezina and that we let them pass; Petka even
twelve nations, and stirred up the Germans and Poland groaned with pain.
their hearts sank from agitation. ' "I should have shot him to death for being late."
A German, a friend of mine, was standing in the room. Then we even pitied a little the frozen Frenchmen.
"Ah, you were against us, too," said Petka (the best Then, when we crossed the border, and the Germans, who
story-teller). had been against us, joined us, some one recalled the
"Keep quiet!" cried the others. German who was standing in the room.
The retreat of our army tormented the hearers, and on "How is that? At first you are against us, and when
all sides were asked questions why? and curses were the power is losing, you are with us!" and suddenly all
heaped on Kutuzov and Barclay. arose and shouted against the German so that the noise
"Your Kutllzov is no good! " could be heard in the street. When they quieted down,
" Just wait," said another. I continued telling them about our following up Napoleon
" Well, did he surrender?" asked a third. as far as Paris, placing the real king on the throne, cele-
When we reached the battle at Borodin6, and when in brating our victory, and feasting. But the recollection
the end I Fas obliged to say that we did not gain a victory, of the Crimean War spoiled our whole business.
I was sorry for them, - it was evident that I crave them "Just wait," said Petka, shaking his fist, "let me grow
all a terrible blow. to up and I will show them!"
" Though our side did not win, theirs did not either! " If we had now had a chance at the Shevardin6
When Napoleon came to Moscow and was waiting for redoubt and at Mount MalakhOv, we should certainly
the keys and for obeisances, there was a clatter from a have taken it back.
consciousness of being inconquerable. The conflagration It was late when I finished. As a rule the children
of Moscow was, naturally, approved by all. Then came are asleep at that time. Noone was sleeping, and the
the victory, - the retreat. eyes of the little cuckoos were burning. Just as I got up,
330 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA rOLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 331
Tafllska cr~wled out from underneath my chair, to my except such as had lately left school or as were teachers,
g.reat as~omshment, and looked lively and at the same was able to explain it to me well without a globe. I ask
tune serIously at me.
all my readers to verify this statement. I aver that out
"How did you get down there? " of one hundred people only one knows it, although all
" He has been there from the start," some one said. the children learn it. Having studied it up well, I again
There was no need asking him whether he had under- began to explain it and, as I imagined, had, with the help
stood, - that could be seen from his face. of a candle and a globe, given them an excellent idea of
" Well, are you going to tell it ?" I asked. it. I was listened to with great attention and interest.
" I ?" He thought awhile. "I will tell the whole (It gave them especial pleasure to know that whicli. their
thing."
fathers did not believe, and to be able to make a display
" I will tell it at home." of their wisdom.)
" I too."
"And I" At the end of my explanation, skeptic Semka, the most
" Is that all ?" intelligent of all, stopped me with the question: "How is
"Yes." it the earth is moving and our house is all the time stand-
ing in the same spot? It ought to get off its old place."
. AI~ flew down under the staircase, Some promising to I saw that I had in my explanations gone a thousand
gIve It to the Frenchmen, others rebuking the German versts ahead of the most intelligent pupil; what kind of
an~ o~hers repeating how Kutuzov had made him rear up: an idea must those have formed who were least intelli-
S~e haben ganz Russisch erZiihlt," the German who gent?
had been hooted said to me in the evening. " You ought I went back, - talked, drew, and adduced all the proofs
to hear ~ow they tell the story in our country ! You of the sphericity of the earth: voyages around the earth,
have saId nothing about the German struagles for the appearance of the mast of a ship before the deck is
freedom." '"
seen and so forth, and, consoling myself with the thought
. I fully agreed .with him that my narrative was not that'now they must have understood, I made them write
hIstory, but a fancIful tale rousing the national sentiment. out the lesson. All wrote: "The earth is like a ball,-
Oonsequently, as a study of history, this attempt was first proof - second proof;" the third proof they had
even less successful than the first.
forgotten and asked me to tell them. It was quite ap-
.In teaching geography I did the same. I first began parent that the main thing for them was to remember
WIth physical geography. I remember the first lesson the" proofs." Not only once, or ten times, but a hun~red
I began it, and immediately lost my way. It turned out: times I returned to these explanations, and always WIth-
what I ~hould never have suspected, that I did not know out success. At an examination all pupils would answer
that whICh I wanted ten-year-old peasant boys to know the questions satisfactorily; but I felt that t~ey did not
I could explain ~ight and day to them, but was completely understand, and, considering that I myself dId not get a
at a los~ to explam summer and winter. Feeling ashamed I good idea of the matter before the age of thirty, I gladly
of my Ignorance, I studied up the matter' later I asked I excused them for their lack of comprehension. As I had
many of my acquaintances, educated peopie, and nobody, taken it on faith in my childhood, so they now took my
332 TilE SCilOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 333
~ord that the earth was round, and so forth, though they nations of the sphericity of the earth and not one believes
dId not comprehend a thing. in the reality of Guadeloupe, and yet all are persistently
It is ev~n now ea~ier for me to understand - as my taught both from early childhood.
nurse had Impressed It ~upon me in my first childhood_ After physical geography I began the parts of the
that earth and sky meet at the end of the world, and world with their characterizations, and of that whole
~hat th~re,. at the end of the earth, the women are wash- matter nothing was left but their vying in the ability to
mg theIr Imen, putting their beetles away upon the sky cry: " Asia, Africa, Australia;" and if I asked them: "In
Our. pupils had l?ng ago been confirmed, and they still what part of the world is France 1" (having told them
perSIst m. conce~tlO~s .that are the very opposite to what but a minute before that England and France were in
I am tr~mg to mstIl lD them. It will be necessary for Europe) somebody called out that France was in Africa.
a long tIme to break down the explanations which they I could see the question "Why 1" in each dim vision, in
have, .and .all that world conception, which has not yet every sound of their voices, whenever I began geography
been ImpaIred by anything, before they will be able to with them, - and there was no answer to that sad
com~rehend. The laws of physics and mechanics will be question "Why 1"
the fir~t compl~tely to shatter their old conceptions. But Just as in. history the simple thought was to begin
they, lIke me, lIke all the rest, began physical geography with the end, so in geography the thought naturally oc-
before they had had physics. curred to begin with the schoolroom, with our native
In the teaching of geo~aphy, as in all other subjects, village. I had seen these experiments in Germany, and
the commonest, most senous and detrimental error is I myself, discouraged by the failure of the usual geog-
haste. We act as though we were so happy to have raphy, took up the description of the room, the house, the
found out that the earth is round and moves around the village. As drawings of plans, such exercises are not
sun th.at we hurry to inform the pupil of the fact. But devoid of usefulness, but it is not interesting for them
what IS really worth knowing is not that the earth is to know what land lies beyond our village, because they
roun.d, but the manner in which that information was all know that there is the village of Telyatinki. And
?btamed. v: ery frequently children are told that the sun
IS so .many bIllIons of versts distant from the earth, but
it is not interesting to know what lies beyond Telya-
tinki, because there, no doubt, is just such a village
th~t IS not at all a matter of surprise or interest to the as Telyatinki, and Telyatinki with its fields is absolutely
clnld. What he wants to know is how that was found uninteresting.
out. If anyone wants to talk about that let him tell I tried to put up for them geographical guide-posts,
about parallaxes. That is quite possible. The only reason such as Moscow, Kiev, but all that arranged itself so dis-
why I dwelt.so long on the roundness of the earth is connectedly in their minds that they leumed it by heart.
because what IS said about it refers to the whole of geo a - I tried to draw maps, and that interested them and really
raphy. Out of ~ thousand educated people, outside gf aided their memories; but again the question arose why
teache~s and pupIls, one knows well why there is summer their memories should be aided. I also tried to tell them
al1:1 wmter, and where Guadeloupe is; out of a thousand about the polar and equatorial regions, - they listened
chIldren not one understands in his childhood the expla- with pleasure and recited well, but they memorized only
334 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 335
that which was not of a geographical nature in these them by the historian, and even. ~ore so - not by the
stories. The main trouble was that the drawing of the historian but by the popular tradltlOn.
plans of the village was drawing of plans, and not geog- The ;tory of Romulus and Remus is interesti~g, ~ot
raphy; the drawing of maps was drawing of maps, and because these brothers were the founders of the mIghtIest
not geography; the stories about animals, forests, icebergs, empire in the world, but because it is entertaining, funny,
and cities were fairy-tales, and not geography. The geog- and nice to hear about their having been nurtured by.t~e
raphy was only a learning of something by heart. Of she-wolf and so forth. The story of the Gracchl IS
all the books, - Grube, Biermldski, - not one was in- interesti~g because it is as artistic as the. h~story ~f Gregory
teresting. VII. and the humiliated emperor, and It IS pOSSlbl? to ?et
One little book, forgotten by all, which resembles a the pupils' attention by it; but. the story of th~ mlgratlOn
geography, was read with greater enjoyment than all the of the nations will be dull and aImless, because ItS .co~ten~s
rest, and in my opinion is the best specimen of what ought are not artistic, just as the story of the art of prmtm~ IS
to be done in order to prepare children for the study of not interesting, no matter how much we may try to I~­
geography and stir up the geographical interest in them. press the pupils with the idea that it forms an epoch m
That book is " Parley," a Russian translation of the year history, and that Gutenberg was a great m~. Tell them
1837. That book is read, but mainly serves as a guiding well how matches were invented, and they will never agree
string for the teacher, who in accordance with it tells with you that the inventor of match~s was a lesser man
what he knows of each country and city. The children than Gutenberg; in short, for the chIld, for the student
recite, but rarely retain a name or a place on the map, in general, who has not yet begun to live,. there does n~t
which refers to the event described, - there are mainly exist the historical interest, let alone the mterest of Ulll-
the events alone that are left. However, this class be- versal humanity. There is only the artistic interest. ~t
longs more properly to the category of conversations, of is said that when all the material has been worked out, It
which we shall speak in their proper place. In spite will be possible to give an artistic exposition of all .the
of all the art with which the study of unnecessary names periods of history, - I ~o not s~e it. Macaulay an~ Thlers
is masked in this book, in spite of all the care which we may no more be given mto theIr hands than TaCItus and
took with it, the children lately scented our purpose to Xenophon. ., ..
inveigle them by pretty stories, and have acquired a In order to make history popular, the artIstIC extenor IS
positive distaste for this class. not sufficient· the historical phenomena have to be. per-
I finally came to the conclusion that, in respect to sonified, just ~s tradition, ~ometimes ~fe itself, som~tlmes
history, there is not only no need of knowing the dull great thinkers and histonans, persomfy t~e~. ChIldre?
Russian history, but that Cyrus, Alexander the Great, like history only when its contents are artIstIC. There IS
Cffisar, and Luther are not necessary for the development no historical interest for them, nor ever can be, conse-
of any child. All these persons and events are interesting quently there can be no such a thing as histo:y for
for the student, not to the extent of their importance in children. History sometimes serves only as mat~nal.for
history, but to the extent of the artistic composition of an artistic development, and so long as the hlstoncal
their activities, to the extent of the artistic treatment of interest is not developed, there can be no history. Bertet,
336 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 337
Kaydanov, after all, remain the only manuals. There is an layer goes to a certain place, and that the Samoyeds travel
old anecdote that the history of the Medans is dark and on reindeer, and so forth.
fa~ulous. Nothing else can be made out of history for I have a whole world of mathematical and natural
children, who do not understand the historical interest. science information, of language and poetry, which time
Th? ?ontrary. attemI:ts to ~ake history and geography is too short to transmit; there is an endless number of
artIstIC and mterestrng, Grube's biographical sketches questions from the phenomena of life surrounding me, to
Biernadski, satisfy neither the artistic nor the historicai which the pupil demands an answer, and which I must
?em~nds, nor do they satisfy consistency and the histor- answer before drawing for him pictures of the polar ice, of
Icalrnterest, and at the same time with their details they the tropical countries, of the mountains of Australia, and
expand to impossible dimensions. of the rivers of America.
The same is true of geography. When Mitrofanushka 1 In history and geography, experience tells us one and
was being persuaded to study geography, his mother said: the same thing, and everywhere confirms our thoughts.
" What is the use of teaching him all kinds of countries? Everywhere the teaching of history and of geography
His coachman will know how to get him there, when there proceeds badly. In view of th~ exa~inations,. the pupils
is any need." There has never been brought forward a memorize the names of mountams, CItIes and rIvers, krngs
stronger argument against geography, and all the learned and emperors. The only possible text-books are, then,
~en of the world are unable to make any reply to this those by Arsenev and Obod6vski, Kaydanov, Smaragdov,
Imperturbable argument. I am quite serious. What use and Bertet, and everywhere one hears complaints about
was there .in m~ stU?ying ~bout the river and city of the instruction in these subjects, and all are seeking for
Barcelona If, havrng lived thIrty-three years, I have not something new which they do not find.
once needed that information? But for the development It is curious to hear men recognize the incompatibility
of my mental ~ow?rs, t~e most picturesque description of of the demands of geography with the spirit of the students
Barcelona and Its mhabItants could do nothing, so far as throughout the world, and in consequence of this invent a
I can see. What use is there in Semka's and Fedka's thousand ingenious means (such as Sidov's method) in
knowing anything about the Marfinsk canal and the order to make the children remember words; but the
waterways .if, as is to be supposed, they will never get simplest thought that the whole geography is unnecessary,
there; but If Semka should have an occasion to 0'0 there that there is no need of knowing these words, never enters
it will make no difference whether he has stud~d it 0; anybody's mind. All attempts at combining geography
not, for he will find out in practice, and he will find out with geology, zoology, botany, ethnography, and I do not
well, all about this waterway. I am quite unable to see know with what else, and history with biography, remain
how, for the development of his mental powers, he will be empty dreams which result in such worthless books as
helped by the knowledge .that hemp bO'oes down the V6lua b , that by Grube, which are of no use for the children, nor
an d tar comes up that rIver, that there is a harbour by for youths, nor for teachers, nor for the public at large.
the name of Dub6vka, and that a certain subterranean Indeed, if the compilers of these seemingly new text-
books of geography and history only thought what it is
1 In Fon-Vfzin's comedy, "The Minor." they want, and if they themselves were to apply their
338 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 339

books to instruction, they would soon convince themselves historical knowledge is really as necessary for our general
of the impossibility of their undertaking. development as it seems to be, life will always supply
In the first place, geography in connection with the nat- that defect.
ural sciences and ethnography would form such an exten- Indeed if we can renounce that old superstition, it will
sive science that a whole life would not be sufficient for its not appe;r so terrible to us that men may grow up with-
study, and it would be even less a child study and much out having learned in their childhood that ther~ was such
drier than geography. In the second, it is not likely that a man as Yaroslav, or Otho, and that there IS such a
in another thousand years there will be enough material place as Estremadura, and.so fo:th. Have ~e not stopped
on hand for the writing of such a manual. Teaching the teachina astrology, and dialectICS, and poetIcs? And are
geography of Krapivensk County, I shall be compelled to they n~ giving up the study. of Latin, wit~out the human
give the pupils detailed information about the flora and race growing any more stupId: New sCle~ces are born,
the fauna and the geological structure of the earth at the and in our time the natural SC18nces are bemg made pop-
north pole, and details about the inhabitants and the ular; the old sciences have to drop off when they l~ave
commerce of the kingdom of Baden, because I shall be in outlived their utility, - not the sciences, but those. SIdes
possession of this information; and I shall hardly be able of the sciences which with the birth of new SClences
to say anything about the Byelev and Efremov Counties, have become obsolete.
because I shall have no material in respect to them. But To rouse the interest and to know how the human race
the children and common sense demand of me a certain has lived and formed itself and developed in various
harmoniousness and regularity of instruction. There is countries; to rouse interest for the discovery of those
left, then, nothing else but to teach geography from Obo- laws by which humanity eternally moves; o~ the other
d6vski's text-book, or not to teach it at all. hand to rouse interest in the comprehenslOn of the
Just as the historical interest must first be roused for laws' of the phenomena of Nature on the wh?le globe
history, so the geographical interest must be evoked for the and of the distribution of the human race over It, - that
study of geography. But the geographical interest, from is a different matter. Maybe the rousing of such interest
my observations and experiments, is roused either by the is useful but in order to attain this aim neither Segur,
study of the natural sciences, or by travel, more partic- nor Thie;'s nor Obod6vski, nor Grube will add anything.
ularly, in ninety-nine out of a hundred cases, by travel. I know t~o elements for that, - the artistic feeling of
As the reading of newspapers, and especially of biogra- poetry and patriotism. But, in order to develop both,
phies, and the sympathy with the political life of the there have not yet been written text-books, and so long
nation generally serve as the first step in the study of as there are none, we must seek, or waste our time ~nd
history, just so travels serve as the first step in the study strength in vain, and torment the youn~er generatlOn,
of geography. Both are now exceedingly accessible to making it learn history and geography SImply because
everyone and are easy in our day, - therefore we ought we have learned them. Up to the university I not only
to be the less afraid of renouncing the old superstition see no need of the study of history, and geography, but
about teaching history and geography. Our life is in our even a great injury in it. What IS beyond that I do
day so instructive in this respect that, if geographical and not know.
340 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 341
THE ARTS number, - this is logic. Every harmonization is impossi-
ble and is only a self-deception.
In the report for the months of November and Decem- I shall be told, and I have been, if drawing is needed
ber of the Yasnaya Polyana school there now stand in a popular school, it can be admitted only as drawing
before me two subjects which have an entirely different from Nature, technical drawing, to be applied to life; the
character, and those are drawing and singing, - the arts. drawing of a plough, a machine, a building; free-hand
If I did not start with the opinion that I do not know drawing as a mere auxiliary for mechanical drawing.
what is to be taught, and why this or that is to be This common view of drawing is also held by the teacher
taught, I should have to ask myself: Will it be useful for of the Yasnaya Polyana school, whose report we offer. But
peasant children, who are placed under the necessity of it was the very experiment with teaching drawing in this
passing all their lives in care about their daily bread, to manner which convinced us of the falseness and injustice
study art, and what good is it to them? Ninety-nine of this technical programme. The majority of the pupils,
out of every hundred will answer in the negative. Nor after four months of cardul, exclusively technical draw-
can one answer otherwise. The moment such a question ing, from which was excluded all drawing of men, animals,
is put, common sense demands the following answer: and landscapes, ended by cooling off considerably in
He is not to be an artist, - he will have to plough the respect to the drawing of technical objects and by develop-
ground. If he is to have any artistic needs, it will be ing to such an extent the feeling and need of drawing as
above his strength to carry that persistent, untiring work an art that they provided themselves with their secret
which he must carry, and without carrying which the copy-books, in which they drew men, and horses with all
existence of the state would be unthinkable. When I four legs coming out of one spot. The same was true of
say "he," I mean the child of the masses. Of course, it music.
is insipid, but I rejoice at this insipidity, do not stop The customary programme of the popular schools does
before it, but try to discover its causes. There is another not admit singing beyond the singing of church choirs.
great insipidity. This same child of the masses, every The same thing takes place here: either it is a very dull
child of the masses, has just such a right, - what do I and painful memorizing for the children, where certain
say? - a greater right to enjoy art than we have, the sounds are produced by them, as though they were
children of a happy class, who are not placed under the regarded merely as so many throats taking the place of
necessity of that untiring work, who are surrounded by all the organ pipes, or there will be developed in them the
the comforts of life. feeling for the artistic, which finds its satisfaction in the
To deprive him of the right of enjoying art, to deprive balaIayka and the accordion and frequently in a homely
me, the teacher, of the right of introducing him into that song, which the pedagogue does not recognize, and in
region of the better enjoyments, toward which his being which he does not think it necessary to guide his pupils.
strives with all the powers of his soul, is that greater Either one or the other: either art in general is injurious
insipidity. How are these two insipidities to be harmo- and unnecessary, which is not at all so, strange as it may
nized? This is not lyricism, of which I was reproached appear at a first glance, or everybody, without distinction
in the description of the walk which I gave in the first of classes and occupations, has a right to it and a right to
342 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 343

devote himself to it, on the ground that art does not smoke-fined room, the air of which has been exhausted
brook mediocrity. by breathing; his vital functions are still vigorous, for
The insipidity is not in that, but in the very putting of his organism has through breathing been fed by a large
such a question as a question: Have the children of the quantity of oxygen, whi?h he ~as take.n from the. pure
masses a right to art? Asking this is like asking whether air. With the same habIt of hIS orgamsm he begms to
the children of the masses have a right to eat beef, that breathe in the vitiated air of the room; the injurious
is, have they the right to satisfy their human needs? gases are communicated to the blood in a larg~ ~uantity,
Now the question ought not to be in that, but whether _ his organism is weakened (frequent~y famtmg and
the beef is good, which we offer the masses, or which sometimes death ensue); at the same tIme hu.ndreds of
we keep from them. people continue to breathe and live in .the foul aIr because
Even thus, when I offer the masses certain knowledge their functions have become less VIgorous, because,. to
which is in our power, and when I notice the evil influence express myself differently, they are weaker and lIve
produced by it upon them, I do not conclude that the less.
masses are bad, because they do not receive this knowledge, If I am to be told that both classes of people live, and
nor that the masses have not yet developed sufficiently to that it would be hard to decide whose life is more normal
receive this knowledge and make use of it as we are and better· that when a man comes out from a vitiated
making use of it, but that this knowledge is not good, not atmospher~ into the fresh air he frequently fai~ts, ~nd
normal, and that we must with the aid of the masses vice versa - the answer will be easy: not a phySIOlogIst,
work out a new knowledge, which will be more in accord but a simple man with common sense, will ask .himse.If
with us, and with society, and with the masses. I con- where most people live, whether in the fres~ ~ll' or m
clude only that this knowledge and the arts live among pestilential prisons, - and will foll?w the maJonty; and
us and do not seem injurious, but cannot live among the the physiologist will make observ~tIOns on the snm t?tal
masses, and seem injurious to them only because this of the functions of both and he WIll say that the functIOns
knowledge and the arts are not those which are needed in are more vigorous and the alimentation fuller with him
general, and that we live among them only because we who lives in the fresh air.
are spoiled, because only those who harmlessly sit for five The same relation exists between the arts of the so-called
hours in the vitiated air of a factory or a tavern do not cultured society and between the demands of the peopl~'s
suffer from the air which would kill a newcomer. art: I am speaking of painting, and sculptu~e, and mUSIC,
I shall be told: "Who said that the knowledge and and poetry. Ivanov's painting will. rouse m the peop.le
the arts of our cultivated society are false? How can nothing but admiration for his techmcal m~stery, ~ut Wl~l
you conclude from the fact that the masses do not receive not evoke any poetical, nor religious sensatIOn, whII~ thIS
them that they are false? " All such questions are solved very poetical sentiment is evoked. b.y a cha~-book ICture F
very simply: Because there are thousands of us, and there of John of N6vgorod and the deVIl ill the pItchers. The
are millions of them.
1 We beg the reader to direct his attention to this monst:o.UB
I continue the comparison with the well-known phys- picture, which is remark.ab~e on accou?t of the strength of the r~hglO­
iological fact. A man comes from the fresh air into a poetic feeling expressed 1ll It, and whICh bears the same relatIOn to
344 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 845
Venus de Milo will rouse only a legitimate loathing for is, during the transmission .of our arts to the younger
the ,nakedness and shamelessness of the woman. Beetho- generations, and on the basIs of those ,syncopes and. of
v~n s quartette of the latest epoch will appear only as a that loathing which fresh natures mamfest upon beID:g
disagr~eable sound, interesting perhaps because one plays introduced into an artificial atmosphere, and on the basIs
on a bI~ fiddle and the other on a small fiddle. The best of the limitation of their mental functions, he will con-
p~oductIOn of our poetry, a lyrical composition by Pushkin clude that the demands that the people make upon art
wil~ seem only a collection of words, and its meaning th~ are more legitimate than the demands of a spoiled minor-
venest nonsense.
ity of the so-called cultured class.
Introduce a child from the people into this world, you I have made these observations in respect to the two
can d? that and are doing that all the time by me~s of branches of our arts, with which I am the more inti-
the hIerarchy of the ~ducational institutions, academies, mately acquainted and which I formerly loved very
and art classes: he wIll feel, and will sincerely feel the passionately, - music and poetry, Strange to say, I ca:ne
beauty of Ivanov's painting, and of the Venus de Milo to the conclusion that everything that we had been domg
an~ of the quartette by Beethoven, and of Pushkin'~ in those branches had been done along a false, excep-
lyncal poem. But, upon entering into this world he will
tional path, which had no meaning. and n? future, and
no longer be breathing with full lungs, _ the f;esh air
which was insignificant in companson WIth those de-
whe~e~e~ he has to go into it, will affect him painfully mands and even with those productions of the same arts,
and lUlmically.
samples of which we find among the people, I convinced
As in. the matter of breathing common sense and physi- myself that a lyrical poem, for .example, "I ,remember the
ology WIll make the same reply, even thus in the matter charming moment" the mUSIcal productIOns, such as
of the arts the same common sense and pedagogy (not
Beethoven's last symphony, were not as unconditionally
the pedagogy that writes programmes, but the one that
and universally fine as the song of "Steward Vanka," and
~ndeavours,to study the universal paths of education and the tune of" Down the Mother Volga j" that Pushkin
Its laws) WIll reply that he who is not living in the art-
and Beethoven please us, not because there is any ab~o­
sphere of our educated classes lives better and fuller'
lute beauty in them, but because we are as much spOIlt
tha~ t~e ~emands made Upon art, and the satisfactiod as PUshkin and Beethoven were, because Pushkin and
whIch ~t gIves, are fuller and more lawful with the masses
Beethoven alike flatter our freaky irritability and our
than wIth us. Common sense will say that because it
weakness. How common it is to hear the trite parado,x
s~~s a happy majority, mighty not merely in
numbers, that for the comprehension of what is beautiful there IS
lIVIng outsIde that milieu,. the pedagogian will observe
needed a certain preparation! Who said that? How
t?e mental fun~tions of the men who are living in our
has that been proved? It is only an excuse, a way out
cIrcles, and outsIde of them he will observe what happens
from a hopeless situation, into which we have been
when people are introduced into the vitiated air, that
brought by the falseness of the direction, by our art's
modern R~s~ian painting that the painting of Fra Beato Angelico has belonO'ing exclusively to one class. Why are the beauty
tAOutthhe
or'spamtmg
Note. of the disciples of the school of Michela.ngelo._ of th: sun, the beauty of the human face, the beauty of
the sounds of a popular song, the beauty of an act of love
346 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 347

and self-renunciation accessible to all, and why do they they say that the arts must have their own especial ser-
demand no preparation? vants who are devoted to but one matter. They say that
I know that for the majority everything I have said the highly gifted natures must have the chance to get
here will appear as the merest prattle, as the privilege away from the mass of the peo~le and to devo~e ~hem­
of a boneless tongue, but pedagogy - free pedagogy- selves exclusively to the serVICe of art. ThIS IS. the
explains many questions by means of experiment, and greatest concession which pedag~gy makes to the nght
by means of an endless repetition of one and the same of each individual to make of hImself what he pleases.
phenomenon transfers the questions from the field of All the cares of the pedagogues in respect to the arts are
dreams and reflections into the territory of propositions directed toward attaining this one aim.
based on facts. I have for years vainly endeavoured to I regard all this as unjust. I assume. that the. neces-
transmit to the pupils the poetical beauties of Pushkin sity of enjoying art and serving art are mherent .1I~. each
and of our whole literature; the same is being done by human personality, no matter to w,hat race. or ~tlteu he
an endless number of teachers, - not in Russia alone, may belong, and that this necessIt! has ItS ~Ights and
- and if these teachers watch the results of their efforts, ought to be satisfied. Taking thIS assu.mptlO~ as ~n
and if they want to be frank, they will all confess that axiom, I say that if inconveniences and mconsIstenc:es
the chief effect of developing the poetical feeling has arise for each person in the enjoyment of art and ItS
been to kill it, that the highly poetical natures have reproduction, the cause of these inconv.eniences. lies .not
shown the greatest loathing for such explanations. I had in the manner of the transmission, not m the dIssemma-
struggled for years, I say, without being able to obtain tion or concentration of art among many or among a f~w,
any results, - and it was enough for me accidentally to but in the character and direction of the art, .upon wh~ch
open Rybnikov's collection, and the poetical demand we must look with doubt, in order not to fOl~t anything
of the pupils found its full satisfaction, a satisfaction false upon the younger generation, and also m order to
which, by calmly and without prejudice comparing any give that younger generation a chance to work out some-
poem whatever with the best production of Pushkin, I thing new, both as to form and contents. . .
could not help finding legitimate. The same happened I now present the teacher's report m drawmg for
to me in respect to music, of which I shall have to speak the months of November and December. T~is method
now. of instruction, it seems to me, may be con~Idere~ con-
I shall try and make a resume of all said above. When venient for the manner in which the techmcal dIfficul-
the question is put whether the fine arts are necessary ties have been pleasantly and imperceptibly obviated for
for the masses, the pedagogues generally become timid the pupils. The question of the art itself ha.s n?t been
and confused (Plato was the only one who boldly de- touched upon, because the teacher, ~hen begI~D;mg the
cided the question in the negative). They say that they instruction, had prejudged the questIon by deCldmg that
are necessary, but with certain limitations; that it is dan- it was useless for the children of peasants to become
gerous for the social structure to give all a chance to artists.
become artists. They say that certain arts and a certain
degree of them may exist only in a certain class of society;
THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 349
348 TIlE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA
rather than to trouble myself about their ability to make
DRAWING
the lines themselves as regular as possible.
A child will learn to comprehend the relation between
When I nin~ months a?o took up teaching drawing, a long and a short line, the difference between a right
I had no defimte plan, nelther as to how to distribute
angle and parallels, sooner than be able passably to draw
the matt~r of instr~ction, nor how to guide the pupils.
I had neIther dra:vmgs, nor models, except a few illus- a straight line.
By degrees we began, at the following lessons, to draw
trat~d albums, which, however, I did not make use of
the corners of these square little sticks, and then we com-
d~rmg my course of instruction, limiting myself to simple
al~S, such as one may find in any village school. .A
posed various figures out of t~em. .
The pupils paid no attentIOn whatever to the slight
pamte.d wooden board,. chalk, slates, and little square sticks
thickness of these sticks, - the third dimension, - and
?f vaflo~s lengths, which were used for object illustrations we drew all the time only the front view of the objects
m teachmg mathematics, - those were all the means we
had durin~ our instr~ction, which did not prevent us composed. . . . .
The difficulty of clearly presentmg, wIth our msuffiC18nt
from copymg everythmg that fell into our hands. Not
material, the position and correlation of the figures com-
one of the pupils had st~died. ?rawing before; they pelled me, now and then, to draw figures on the board. I
had brought to me only thelr abIhty to pass judgments
frequently united the drawing from Nat~re w~th the ~raw­
and they were granted full liberty to express themselve~ ing of models, giving them some certam obJects; If the
whenever and however they wished, hoping thus to dis-
boys were unable to draw a given object, I drew it myself
cover what their needs were and then to form a definite
plan of occupations. For the first lesson I formed a on the board.
The drawing of figures from the board took place in the
square out of four sticks and I tried to see whether the following manner: I first drew a horizontal or vertical
boys would be able without any previous instruction to line, divided it by points into different parts, and the
draw ~hat square. Only a few of the boys drew some pupils copied that line. Then I drew another or seve.ral
very. Irregular squares, by expressing the solid sticks
other lines, perpendicular or slanting t? ~he fi.rst, sta~dmg
for.mmg ~he squ.are by means of straight lines. I was in a certain relation to the first, and dIvIded mto umts of
qUIte satlsfied WIth that. For the weaker pupils I drew the same size. Then we connected the points of division
with chalk a square on the blackboard. Then we com- of these lines by straight lines. or arcs, and thus fo:med a
posed a cross in the same manner, and we drew it. certain symmetrical figure, whICh, step by step as It grew
An u~conscious, i~born feeling made the children gen- up, was copied by the boys. I thought that that would
erally dIscover a faIrly correct correlation of the lines be advantageous, in the first place, because the ?oy learned
althou?h they drew the lines quite poorly. I did not
objectively the whole process of the formatl?n of ~he
deet;l It ~eces~ary to try to obtain a regularity in the figure, and, in the second, because through thIS draw~ng
~~e~;h~l~:i~,~n~ve~~m:~~:~ i~nl;r~~atn~~etOfi;~~:e::i~.,. on the board there was developed in him the conceptIon

I
l'.
of the correlation of lines much better than through the
copIed. I I~tended,. at first, to give the boys a conception '" copying of drawings and originals. With such a process
of the "l.bon of 1m"" from thci, length and diroetion.

:i~

350 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 351
there was destroyed the possibility of copying directly ings were peculiarly in harmony with the characters of
but the figure itself, as an object from Nature had to b~ the boys.
copied on a diminished scale. ' In each child there is a tendency to be independent,
It is nearly alwa~s useless to hang out before the pupils which it is injurious to destroy in any instruction, and
a !arge cOI~p!ete pIcture or figure, because the beginners which especially finds its expression in the dissatisfaction
WIll be posItIvely confused before it, just as though they with the copying of models. By the above mentioned
,;ere before an object from Nature. But the very evolu- method, this independence was not only not killed, but
tIOn of the figure before their eyes has a great significance even developed and strengthened.
The pup~s, in this case, see the skeleton of the drawing: If a pupil does not learn to create himself, he will
upon WhICh the whole body is later formed. The pupils always imitate and copy in life, because there are few
were constantly called upon to criticize the lines and their who, having learned to copy, are able to make an inde-
r~lations, as I had drawn them. I frequently drew the pendent application of such knowledge.
~mes wrong on purpose, in order to get an idea how much By always keeping to natural forms in drawing, and
Jud~ment they ~ad formed about the correlation and reg- by frequently changing the objects, as, for example, leaves
ulanty of the lines. Then again I asked the children of a characteristic from, flowers, dishes and objects fre-
when I drew some figure, where some line ought to b~ quently used in life, and instruments, I tried to keep out
added in their opinion, and I even made now one boy routine and mannerism from our drawing.
now another, suggest some figure. ' With the greatest caution I approached the explana-
In this manner I not only roused a greater interest in tion of shades and shadows, because the beginner easily
the boys, but also a free participation in the formation destroys the sharpness and regularity of figures by shad-
and ~evelopment of the figure; in this way the children's ing them too much, and thus gets used to a disorderly
ques~IOn, " ~hy ?" which every child naturally asks him- and infinite daubing.
self m copymg from an original, was obviated. In this manner I soon got more than thirty boys in a
Their weater or lesser comprehension and their greater few months to learn quite thoroughly the correlation of
or lesser mterest had the chief influence on the progress lines in various figures and objects, and to render these
and the .method of instruction, and I frequently abandoned figures in even, sharp lines. The mechanical art of line-
that whIch I had purposely prepared for the lesson only drawing was soon evolved as if of its own accord. The
because it was for~ign or dull to the boys. ' greatest difficulty I had was to teach the children to keep
So far, I ?ad gIVe~ the.m symmetrical figures to draw their drawing-books and the drawings themselves clean.
because theIr fo:matI?n IS easiest and most apparent. The convenience in rubbing out what has been drawn
Then I, for expenment s sake, asked the best pupils them- on a slate greatly enhances my difficulty in this respect.
selves to compose and draw figures on the board. Al- By giving the best, most talented boys copy-books, I
though nearly all drew only after one given manner it obtained a greater cleanliness in the drawings themselves;
was, .nevertheless, interesting to watch the growing rivairy, for the greater difficulty in rubbing out compels them to
the J~dgment which they passed on the others, and the be more careful and tidy with the material on which they
peculIar structure of their figures. Many of these draw- are drawing. In a short time the best pupils reached
352 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 353

such a clear and correct handling of the pencil that they all charming. Then other boys joined them, an~, they
could cleanly and regularly draw, not only straight-lined began to sing "As under such an apple-tree,. and
figures, but also the most fantastic compositions of curved they made a noise, but ther~ w.as not much muslC.
lines. With that evening the Slllglllg began. ~ow, after
I made some of the pupils control the figures of the eight months, we sing "The angel lamented and two
others, when they were through with their own, - and cherubical songs, numbers four and seven, the whole co~­
this teacher's activity greatly encouraged the pupils, for man mass and small chorus songs. The best pupIls
they were at once able to apply that which they had just (only two)' take down in writing the tunes of the songs
learned. which they know, and almost read music. But up to the
Of late I have been working with the oldest boys try- present what they sing is not anywhe~e near so good. as
ing to get them to draw objects in different positions in the song which they sang when returmng from .the SWIm-
their perspective, without clinging exclusively to the ming. I say this with no ulterior purpose, not III order to
well-known method of Dupuis. prove anything, - I simply state a fact. N?w I ~m
going to tell how the instruction proceeded, wIth wInch
SINGING I am comparatively satisfied.. . .
At the first lesson I diVIded all up lllto three VOIces
Last summer we returned from swimming. We were and we sang the following chords:
all in a happy mood. A peasant boy, the same that had
been enticed by the manorial boy to steal books, a thick-
set boy with protruding cheek-bones, all covered with
freckles, with bandy legs turned inward, having all the
aspect of a grown-up sturdy peasant, but an intelligent,
strong, and talented nature, ran ahead and seated himself
in the cart that was driving in front of us. He took the
lines, poised his cap jauntily, spit out sidewise, and
started a drawn-out peasant song, and he sang with such
feeling, such sobbing sounds, such lamentings! The boys We succeeded in this very soon. Each sang what he
laughed. pleased. One would try soprano, and then would pass
" Semka, Semka ! What a fine singer he is I " over to tenor and from tenor to alto, so that the best
Semka was quite serious. pupils learned the whole chord do-mi-sol, some of the~
"Don't interrupt my song," he said, in a peculiar, even all three chords, They pronounced the notes as III
feignedly hoarse voice, during an interval, and just as French. One sang mi-fa-fa-mi, another do-do-re-do, and
seriously and evenly proceeded to sing. Two of the more so forth. 'd
musical boys sat down in the cart with him, and fell in "I declare that is fine, Lev Nikolaevich!" they sal ,
with him and carried the refrain. One of them seconded "it even makes something shake in the ear. Let us have
now at an octave or sixth, another at a third, and it was some more!"
THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 355
354 TIlE scnOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA
measure without the sounds, to analyze one beat by tap-
We sang these chords at school, and in the yard, and in ping the finger, and only then to combine the two proc-
the garden, and on the way home, until late into the esses together.
night, and could not tear ourselves away from this occu- After a few lessons, when I tried to render myself an
pation or have enough of our success. account of what I had been doing, I came to the conclu-
On the following day we tried the gamut, and the more sion that my method of instruction i~ almost. the same ~s
talented went through it all, while the poorer ones could Ohevet's method, which I had seen III practICe at ~ans,
hardly get as far as the third. I wrote the notes on a _ a method which I had not adopted at once SImply
staff in the alto-clef, the most symmetrical of clefs, and because it was a method. All those who are teachlllg
gave them the French names. The next five or six les- singing cannot be urged too much to read that work, o~
sons proceeded just as merrily; we also succeeded in the outer cover of which it says in large letters" Reponsse
getting new minor keys and the passes to the majors,- a l'nnanimite" and which now is sold in tens .of tho~­
" Kyrie eleison," "Glory be to the Father and Son," and a sands of copies throughout Europe. I saw III ParIS
song for three voices with piano accompaniment. One-half striking examples of success with. that method when
of the lesson was occupied with that, the other half with taught by Ohevet himself: an audlGnce of from five to
the singing of the gamut and the exercises, which the six hundred men and women, sometimes of between forty
pupils themselves invented, "do-mi-re-fa-mi-sol," or "do- and fifty years of age, were singing in absolute harmony
re-re-mi-mi-fa," or "do-mi-re-do-re-fa-mi-re," and so forth. and a livre onvert, whatever the teacher gave them to
I soon noticed that the notes on the staff were not sing. .
clear to them, and I found it necessary to use figures In Ohevet's method there are many rules, exerClses,
instead. Besides, for the explanation of intervals and the prescribed courses, which have no significance :vh~tever,
variation of the tonic scale, the figures present greater and the like of which every intelligent teacher wllllllvent
conveniences. After six lessons some of them took the by the hundred on the batt~e-field, that i~, during the class;
intervals by order, such as I asked them for, getting up to there is there a very comICal, though It may be a very
them by some imaginary gamut. They were particularly convenient method of keeping time without the sounds,
fond of exercises in fourths, - do-fa-re-sol, and so forth, for exampie, at four fourths the pup~l say~ ta-f~-te-fe,
up and down. Fa (the lower dominant) struck them at three fourths the pupil says ta-te-tI, at mght mghths
more especially by its force. ta-fa-te-fe-te-re-li-ri. All that is interesting, as one of the
"What a Whopper of a fa!" said Semka. "It just means by which music may be taught, interesting as
cuts clean." the history of a certain musical school, but these rules are
The unmusical boys soon fell away, while with the not absolute and cannot form a method. But in ~he:et
musical boys the class lasted as much as three or four there are thouahts remarkable on account of thmr sun-
houri'). I tried to give them an idea of time by the plicity, three of which form the essence of. his ~ethod:
accepted method, but the matter proved so difficult that (1) An old idea of expressing the musIcal SIgns by
I was compelled to separate time from tune and, writing means of figures, first introduced by Jean Jacques Rous-
down tho sounds without the measure, to analyze them, seau in his "IJictionnaire de mu,siqne." Whatever the
and then, having written down the time, that is, the
356 THE SCIIOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA TIlE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 357

opponents of this method of writing may say, any teacher That is my method which, like Chevet's, cannot be pre-
of singing may make this experiment, and he will always scribed j it is convenient, but there may be discovered
convince himself of the immense advantage of figures more convenient 'methods still. The main thing is to
over the staff, both for reading and writing. I taught separate the study of time from sound, though there may
with the staff about ten lessons, and only once pointed be an endless number of ways to accomplish this.
out the figures, telling them that it was the same, and the Finally, Chevet's third great idea consists in making
pupils always ask me to write the figures for them, and music and its study popular. His method of instmc-
always themselves write the figures. (2) A remarkable tion fully realizes this aim. And that is not only
idea, exclusively belonging to Chevet, which consists in Chevet's wish and my assumption, but an actual fact. I
teaching the sounds independently of time, and vice saw in Paris hundreds of labourers with horny hands,
versa. Having but once applied this method to instmc- sitting on benches, underneath which lay the tools with
tion, everybody will see that that which had appeared as which they were returning from their shops, singing from
an insuperable difficulty will now appear so easy that he music, comprehending and enjoying the laws of music.
will only marvel how it is such a simple thought had not As I looked at these labourers, I could easily imagine
occurred to anyone before. How many torments the un- Russian peasants in their place, if Chevet but spoke Rus-
fortunate children would be saved, who sing in the archie- sian: they would sing in just the same fashion, would
piscopal and other choirs, if the conductors only tried this just as easily understand everything he was saying about
simple thing, - to make the student, without singing, the common mles and laws of music. We hope to have
strike with a little stick or with his finger that phrase an occasion to say something more about Chevet, and
which he is to sing: four times a whole note, once a quar- more especially about the importance of popularized
ter note or two eighths, and so forth, then sing, without music, especially singing, as a means for uplifting the
counting time, the same phrase, then again sing a measure, decaying art.
and then all together. I now pass over to the description of the progress of
For example, it is written: instmction in our school. After six lessons the goslings
were separated from the sheep; there were left only
the musical natures, the amateurs, and we passed over to
the minor scales, and to the explanation of intervals.
The only difficulty was to find and distinguish the small
second from; the large. Fa was called a "whopper" by
The pupil will first sing, without counting time, do-re-mi- the pupils, do was just such a "crier," and so I did not
fa-sol-mi-re-do; then he, without singing, but only striking have to teach them, - they themselves felt the note into
the note of the first measure, says, one, two, three, four; which the small second resolved itself, and so they felt
then, on the first note of the third measure he strikes the second itself. We easily found that the major scale
twice and says, one, two, and the second note of the third consisted of a sequence of two large, one small, three
measure, saying, three, four, and so forth; then he sings large, and one small~seconds. Then we sang" Glory be to
beating time, while the other pupils read aloud. God" in the minor scale, and by ear got up to the scale
358 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA 359
which turned out to be minor; then we found in that winter. Our instruction was spoiled by ambition. The
scale one large, one small, two large, one small, one very parents, we, the teachers, and the pupils themselves,
!arge, and one small second. Then I showed them that wanted to surprise the whole village, - to sing in the
It was possible to sing and write a scale beginning with church; we began to prepare the mass and the cherubical
any sound, that when it does not come to large or small songs of Bortnyanski. It seemed to be more amusing for
second, wh~n n~cessary, we may place a sharp or fiat. the children, but it turned out quite differently. Although
For convemence sake I wrote out for them a chromatic the desire to be in the choir sustained them, and they
scale of the following kind: loved music, and we, the teachers, put forth our special

rJdo effort in this subject and made it more compUlsory than


the rest, I often felt sorry, looking at some tiny Kiryushka
in torn leg-rags, as he rolled off his part, " Secretly fo-o-o-o-

/
orming," and was requested to repeat it ten times, which
finally vexed him so much that he beat the music with
his fingers, insisting that he was singing right.
--' sol We once travelled down to the church and had a
success; the enthusiasm was enormous, but the singing
suffered from it; the lessons were growing tedious to
them, and they fell out by degrees, and it was only at
Easter that it was possible after great effort to get
together a choir. Our singers began to resemble archie-
piscopal singers, who frequently sing well, but with whom,
on account of that skill, all desire for singing is killed,
and who absolutely know nothing of notes, though they
think they do know. I have frequently seen those who
come out of such a school undertake to study themselves
Al~ng this staircase I made them write all kinds of without knowing anything about notes, but they are quite
major and minor scales, beginning with any note what- helpless the moment they try to sing that which has not
ever. These exercises amused them very much and the been shouted into their ears.
progress ~as. so striking that two of them f;equently From the small experience which I have had in the
passed thelr tIm~ between classes in writing out the tunes instruction of music, I have convinced myself:
of the songs wInch they knew. These pupils are contin- (1) That the method of writing the sounds down in
ually humming the motives of some songs which they figures is the most convenient.
cannot name, and they hum them sweetly and tenderly (2) That teaching time independently of sound is the
and, above all, they now second much better and cannot most convenient method.
bear to hear all the children sing inharmoniously together. (3) That, in order that the musical instruction should
We had hardly more than twelve lessons during the leave traces and should be cheerfully received, it is
360 THE SCHOOL AT YASNAYA POLYANA

necessary from the very start to teach the art, and not
the skill of singing and playing. Young ladies may be
made to play Burgmliner's exercises, but the children of
the people it is better not to teach at all than to teach
mechanically.
(4) That the aim of the musical instruction for the
pupils must consist in transmitting to them that knowledge
of the common laws of music which we possess, but by
no means in the transmission of that false taste which is
developed in us.
(5) That the aim of teaching the masses music must
consist in transmitting to them such knowledge of the
common laws of music as we possess, but by no means
in transmitting to them that false taste which is devel-
oped in us.
)