Home  »  Volume IX: English FROM STEELE AND ADDISON TO POPE AND SWIFT  »  § 7. Influence of John Amos Comenius

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume IX. From Steele and Addison to Pope and Swift.

XV. Education

§ 7. Influence of John Amos Comenius

The Moravian, John Amos Comenius (1592–1671) took a prominent part in familiarising Europe with the idea of national systems of education, covering the whole field from the teaching of infants to the instruction given in universities. His projects form an epitome of contemporary reform; the introduction of modern studies, more especially the mother tongue, the belief in the extraordinary power of method and the search for psychologically grounded principles of teaching are characteristic features of his Didactica Magna, whose contents seem to have been well known before its inclusion in his Opera Didactica Omnia (1657). Comenius received from Bacon the impulse which made him an ardent believer in method and a tireless advocate of “real” studies pursued inductively. His scheme for a “pansophic” college has a partial prototype in the Solomon’s house of Bacon’s New Atlantis (1627), a state-supported institute for scientific research directed to the “relief of man’s estate.” Bacon’s own purely educational writings are few and of comparatively small importance, but, through Comenius, he affected educational thought, and, in a minor degree educational practice, on the continent, thus anticipating the part played by Locke in the following century.