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Two Casualties of the Modern World: Poetry and Memorization

Great Southeastern Prose and Ideas Company

It is interesting to read about education in the 19th century.  One encounters a former emphasis on memorization and recitation.  I suppose that method is considered inadequate now and we have moved well past it.  

I can’t help but think, though, that it is a loss that children no longer know what it means to embed bits of verse and wisdom into one’s mind.  The title and substance of Rudyard Kipling’s The Gods of the Copybook Headings (“The wages of sin is death.” and “If you don’t work, you die.”) makes little sense to a modern person because no one copies and memorizes pithy statements any more.  

Though I am in my early 40’s, I, too, am part of the more modern set which possesses very little memorized material.  For that reason, I find myself somewhat awed and wistful when I see what a person like my father…

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