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Schools and the Republic of Letters in early modern Germany
Author: Alan S. Ross

In the majority of German towns, access to learned culture was provided not through universities, academies or princely courts, but through Latin schools, the German equivalent to English grammar schools. This book is the first in-depth study of a footsoldier of the seventeenth-century German Republic of Letters. Its subject, the polymath and schoolteacher Christian Daum established himself as a scholar by focusing on how he convinced others that he was one. He did so through his dress, the way he conducted his married life and the ideal of scholarship to which he ascribed. Schools in the German culture, were focal points of Lutheran learning outside of universities and courts, as places not just of education but of intense scholarship. The most influential paradigm concerning German education remains Gerald Strauss' concept of an 'indoctrination of the young', where he argued that reformers had been able to restructure Lutheran schooling to suit their doctrinal purposes. In the seventeenth century, the Lutheran territories of the Holy Roman Empire saw a flood of publications on pedagogical method and matters of education in general. The book examines the changes that the Zwickau curriculum underwent in the seventeenth century. Anthony La Vopa's seminal study on poor students and clerical careers in eighteenth-century Germany raised important questions on social mobility through education. Christian Daum's network of correspondents was an instrument for maintaining and expanding his position within the Respublica litteraria. Teacher-scholars like Daum expressed a sense of mission towards the cause of humanist education and scholarship.

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Alan S. Ross

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book investigates the multifaceted nature of the school, not through an institutional case study in the traditional sense, but through the personal papers of a teacher and scholar. It describes the Latin school within its urban context as one of a multitude of intellectual microclimates that, taken together, accounted for the decentralised nature of scholarly production in the Holy Roman Empire. The book explores how Christian Daum established himself as a scholar by focusing on how he convinced others that he was one: through his dress, the way he conducted his married life and the ideal of scholarship to which he ascribed. It analyses how Daum used his expansive network of correspondents as a tool for patronage to further his own career and those of his select pupils.

in Daum’s boys
Urban culture, authority and education in early modern Zwickau
Alan S. Ross

This chapter describes the Zwickau Latin school in its territorial and administrative context as one of a multitude of intellectual microclimates that, taken together, accounted for much of the decentralised nature of scholarly production in the Holy Roman Empire. Zwickau was located within the electorate of Saxony, which was by far the largest and most powerful territory in the Middle German region of the Holy Roman Empire in the seventeenth century. The electorate of Saxony long served as the prime example for an expansion of centralised authority into matters of schooling by historians wishing to integrate the history of education into that of the emergence of the state. The small physical area of early modern Zwickau ensured that the pupils of the school were under constant surveillance by the teaching staff, who in turn were watched closely by the burghers.

in Daum’s boys
Convincing oneself and convincing others
Alan S. Ross

This chapter tells the story of how Christian Daum established himself as a scholar by focusing on how he convinced others that he was one. Daum had planned to spend some time at the University of Wittenberg, but his time at the university was cut short by the doubly catastrophic coming of the plague and imperial troops to Saxony. The clothes Daum and his fellow scholars wore underlined a male identity that was defined both in relation to these men's learned peers and other men in the locality, not in relation to the female sex. Teacher-scholars like Daum expressed a sense of mission towards the cause of humanist education and scholarship that we should not take lightly. A curious drawing that has survived in the Ratsschulbibliothek suggests that, during his later years, Daum had become increasingly concerned with his legacy.

in Daum’s boys
Pedagogical innovation and contested curricula
Alan S. Ross

In the seventeenth century, the Lutheran territories of the Holy Roman Empire saw a flood of publications on pedagogical method and matters of education in general. This chapter examines the changes that the Zwickau curriculum underwent in the seventeenth century. It links these changes closely to the scholarly interests of Johannes Zechendorf and Christian Daum, whose terms of rectorship spanned almost the entire seventeenth century. The chapter discusses the introduction of oriental languages, then the adaptation of new teaching methods, in particular that of Wolfgang Ratke, Jan Amos Komenský and Johannes Rhenius. Though now largely forgotten, Rhenius' work was better known and more influential in Saxony than Ratke's or Komenský's during the seventeenth century. The chapter examines the negotiations between the teachers and the council during which both parties revealed what knowledge they thought should be passed on to the next generation of Zwickauers.

in Daum’s boys
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Educational strategies and social mobility
Alan S. Ross

Anthony La Vopa's seminal study on poor students and clerical careers in eighteenth-century Germany raised important questions on social mobility through education. This chapter suggests that the history of schooling cannot be written without taking the educational strategies that pupils and their parents employed into account. On the basis of the Zwickau Latin school's exceptionally detailed matriculation records, the chapter addresses the general trends of pupil numbers in the seventeenth century. The reconstruction of individual pupils' careers shows that, rather than progressing through the carefully devised curriculum, pupils made use of only parts of it in a highly selective manner. The chapter discusses the local origin of pupils and whether the peregrinatio academica was matched by a peregrinatio scholastica. It examines the educational strategies that pupils and their parents employed, and it also discusses education as an avenue for social mobility with the evidence gleaned from parish registers.

in Daum’s boys
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Pupils’ transgression and the spectre of university
Alan S. Ross

A number of studies have been taken in relation to the history of conflict at German universities, reinterpreting students' transgressive behaviour as expressions of conflict within the corporation of the university. By accentuating the pre-eminent importance of long-standing corporate and 'town-and-gown' conflict, these studies have also served to contradict the long-held view that the Thirty Years War caused a collapse in mores at German universities. This focus on the particular legal and social situation of an institution within its civic and territorial context is as useful for investigating transgression at schools as it is for universities. Violent behaviour was commented on more readily by figures of authority and is therefore more easily traceable than the experimentation with other, more peaceful forms of student behaviour. There was a sartorial aspiration involved because of the fact that students wore swords habitually.

in Daum’s boys
Correspondence and the next generation of scholars
Alan S. Ross

This chapter examines Christian Daum's network of correspondents as an instrument for maintaining and expanding his position within the Respublica litteraria. It discusses how Daum recruited pupils into this network and what benefits he and the pupils derived from these relationships of patronage. Through adding his letters to the ocean of correspondence that connected the isolated islands of scholarship in the Holy Roman Empire, Daum contributed to making scholars what physically they were not: a community. Pupils were different from other correspondents in that their future was highly uncertain: they could become well-connected stars of the Republic of Letters or peripheral figures with little influence. Joachim Feller's case is worth exploring in detail, since of all former pupils of Daum's, he exploited his early association with Daum to the greatest effect.

in Daum’s boys
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Civic communities, humanist education and the ‘Age of Enlightenment’
Alan S. Ross

The regeneration of the Latin school and its humanist curriculum took place in an environment of increased demand for education. Pupils pursued a wide range of educational strategies in an environment where both local German schools and Latin schools in other towns provided fierce competition, the school's rectors were acutely aware. The considerable extent of social mobility among Zwickau pupils suggests that the school more than fulfilled its function as a preparatory institution. In an educational market as competitive as that of Saxony and Thuringia, the teaching method used needed to be constantly updated, especially since dissatisfaction with Melanchthonian method had spawned something of a craze for pedagogical innovation. Territorial government certainly had an influence on the conditions in which scholars and schools found themselves, but equally important were the civic traditions of their localities and the specific social and economic conditions of these towns and their populations.

in Daum’s boys