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Didacticism is a philosophy that emphasizes instructional and informative qualities in literature and other types of art. The term has its origin in the Ancient Greek word διδακτικός (didaktikos), "related to education and teaching", and signified learning in a fascinating and intriguing manner.
Didactic art was meant both to entertain and to instruct. Didactic plays, for instance, were intended to convey a moral theme or other rich truth to the audience. An example of didactic writing is Alexander Pope's An Essay on Criticism (1711), which offers a range of advice about critics and criticism. An example of didactism in music is the chant Ut queant laxis, which was used by Guido of Arezzo to teach solfege syllables.
Around the 19th century the term didactic came to also be used as a criticism for work that appears to be overly burdened with instructive, factual, or otherwise educational information, to the detriment of the enjoyment of the reader (a meaning that was quite foreign to Greek thought). Edgar Allan Poe even called didacticism the worst of "heresies" in his essay The Poetic Principle.
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Didactic Poetry.|
Some instances of didactic literature include:
- Works and Days, by Hesiod (c. 700 BC)
- On Horsemanship, by Xenophon (c. 350 BC)
- Georgics, by Virgil (c. 30 BC)
- Ars Poetica by Horace (c. 18 BC)
- Ars Amatoria, by Ovid (1 BC)
- Remedia Amoris, by Ovid (AD 1)
- First Thessalonians, by Paul the Apostle (AD 52)
- Medicamina Faciei Femineae, by Ovid (between 1 BC and AD 8)
- The Jataka Tales (Buddhist literature, 5th century AD)
- Philosophus Autodidactus by Ibn Tufail (12th century)
- Theologus Autodidactus by Ibn al-Nafis (1270s)
- The Morall Fabillis of Esope the Phrygian (1480s)
- Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan (1678)
- The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes (anonymous, 1765)
- The Adventures of Nicholas Experience, by Ignacy Krasicki (1776)
- Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh (1945)
- Siddhartha, by Herman Hesse (1952)
- Sophie's World, by Jostein Gaarder (1991)
See also 
|Look up didacticism in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Art for art's sake
- John Cassell, 19th century publisher of educational magazines and books
Further reading 
- Glaisyer, Natasha and Sara Pennell. Didactic Literature in England, 1500-1800: Expertise Reconstructed'.' (Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2003).
- Pumilia-Gnarini, Paolo M., Favaron, Elena, Pacetti, Elena and Bishop, Jonathan. Didactic Strategies and Technologies for Education: Incorporating Advancements (IGI Global, 2012). ISBN 1466621222
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