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Didacticism is a philosophy that emphasizes instructional and informative qualities in literature, art, and design.[1][2][3] In art, design, architecture, and landscape, didacticism is a conceptual approach that is driven by the urgent need to explain.[3]


The term has its origin in the Ancient Greek word διδακτικός (didaktikos), "pertaining to instruction",[4] and signified learning in a fascinating and intriguing manner.[5][6]

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.[7][8] During the Middle Age, the Roman Catholic chants like the Veni Creator Spiritus, as well as the Eucharistic hymns like the Adoro te devote and Pange lingua are used for fixing within prayers the truths of the Roman Catholic faith to preserve them and pass down from a generation to another. In the Renaissance, the church began a syncretism between pagan and the Christian didactic art, a syncretism that reflected its dominating temporal power and recalled the controversy among the pagan and Christian aristocracy in the fourth century.[9] 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 overburdened 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 called didacticism the worst of "heresies" in his essay The Poetic Principle.


Some instances of didactic literature include:[citation needed]

Some examples of research that investigates didacticism in art, design, architecture and landscape:

  • "Du Didactisme en Architecture / On Didacticism in Architecture". (2019). In C. Cucuzzella, C. I. Hammond, S. Goubran, & C. Lalonde (Eds.), Cahiers de Recherche du LEAP (Vol. 3). Potential Architecture Books.[3]
  • Cucuzzella, C., Chupin, J.-P., & Hammond, C. (2020). "Eco-didacticism in art and architecture: Design as means for raising awareness". Cities, 102, 102728.[12]

Some examples of art, design, architecture and landscape projects that present eco-lessons.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ What’s Wrong with Didacticism? Archived 2019-06-18 at the Wayback Machine Academia.edu, Retrieved 30 Oct 2013
  2. ^ Didactic Literature or حخ Archived 2012-11-17 at the Wayback Machine, University of Houston–Clear Lake, Retrieved 30 Oct 2013
  3. ^ a b c Du potentiel du didactisme en architecture. Cucuzzella, Carmela, 1962–, Hammond, Cynthia Imogen. Montréal (Quebec), Canada. 2019. ISBN 978-1-988962-03-0. OCLC 1082357029.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link) CS1 maint: others (link)
  4. ^ "OPTED v0.03 Letter D". courses.cs.vt.edu. Archived from the original on 2021-05-18. Retrieved 2021-05-18.
  5. ^ "didactic | Origin and meaning of didactic by Online Etymology Dictionary". www.etymonline.com. Retrieved 2021-05-18.
  6. ^ "Didacticism – Examples and Definition of Didacticism". Literary Devices. 2013-09-15. Retrieved 2021-05-18.
  7. ^ Didacticism in Morality Plays, Retrieved 30 Oct 2013
  8. ^ Glossary of Literary Terms Archived 2013-11-03 at the Wayback Machine, The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Retrieved 30 Oct 2013
  9. ^ Cynthia White (October 1, 2010). The Emergence of Christianity: Classical Traditions in Contemporary Perspective. G - Reference, Information and Interdisciplinary Subjects Series. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press. p. 176. ISBN 9780800697471. OCLC 1056616571. Retrieved July 1, 2021.
  10. ^ a b c Nordquist, Richard. (2021, February 16). Didacticism: Definition and Examples in Literature. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/didactic-writing-term-1690452
  11. ^ Didacticism Archived 2015-05-04 at the Wayback Machine, Boston College Libraries, Retrieved 30 Oct 2013
  12. ^ Cucuzzella, Carmela; Chupin, Jean-Pierre; Hammond, Cynthia (July 2020). "Eco-didacticism in art and architecture: Design as means for raising awareness". Cities. 102: 102728. doi:10.1016/j.cities.2020.102728. S2CID 218962466.
  13. ^ "Eco-didactic Turn in Art and Design in the Public Realm – IDEAS-BE". Retrieved 2020-04-22.

Further reading[edit]

  • Glaisyer, Natasha and Sara Pennell. Didactic Literature in England, 1500–1800: Expertise Reconstructed. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2003.
  • Journal of Thought. United States, Journal of Thought Fund, 2002.
  • Wittig, Claudia. Prodesse et Delectare: Case Studies on Didactic Literature in the European Middle Ages / Fallstudien Zur Didaktischen Literatur Des Europäischen Mittelalters. Germany, De Gruyter, 2019.

External links[edit]