The Art of Instruction: Essays on Pedagogy and Literature in 17th-Century France aims to add a new dimension to the scholarly discussion on how culture is inculcated by focusing on the interplay between aesthetic forms and pedagogical agendas. The nine essays in the collection take into account the full range of meanings associated with the term art: science, method, learning, beautiful expression, artistic creation. In exploring the role art plays in shaping an instructional system, the volume's contributors examine literary genres that are both established (comedies, tragedies, sonnets) and nascent (novels, manuals, gazettes) as well as the works of a diverse group of seventeenth-century writers: Chassignet, Subligny, Scarron, Lafayette, La Bruyere, Maintenon, de Vise, Boursault, Moliere and Racine. What emerges from this diversity is an invaluable exploration of how educational imperatives, no matter their focus, rely as much on manipulating artistic forms as they do on articulating didactic principles.
Broad in its scope while remaining thematically coherent, The Art of Instruction will be of interest to students and scholars of early modern French literature, history, culture and pedagogy.