Chapter1 When There Were No Children
- 章节名：Chapter1 When There Were No Children
- 2015-09-02 18:33:01
Like distinctive forms of dress, children's games, once so visible on the streets of our towns and cities, are also disappearing. Even the idea of a children's game seems to be slipping from our grasp. A children's game, as we used to think of it, requires no instructors or umpires or spectators; it uses whatever space and equipment are at hand; it is played for no other reason than pleasure. But Little League baseball and Pee Wee football, for example, not only are supervised by adults but are modelled in every possible way on big league sports. Umpires are needed. Equipment is required. Adults cheer and jeer from the sidelines. It is not pleasure that players are seeking but reputation. 。。。 。。It is an extension of the idea that children require protection and nurturing, and schooling, and freedom from adult secrets, and then, after the Romans, all such ideas disappear. Every educated person knows about the invasions of the northern barbarians, the collpse of the Roman empire, the shrouding of classical culture, and Europe's descent into what is called the Dark and then the Middle Ages. ... The first is that literacy disappears. The second is that education disappears. The third is that shame disappears. And the fourth, as a consequence of the other three, is that childhood disappears... ... What is so useful about Havelock's question is his distinction between "social literacy" and "craft literacy." By social literacy he means a condition where most people can do and do read. By craft literacy he means a condition where the art of reading is restricted to a few who form a "scribal" and, therefore, a privileged class. In other words, if we define a literate culture not on the basis of its having a writing system but on the basis of how many people can read it, and how easily , then the question of why literacy declined permits some plausible conjectures. (作者说了没有人清楚为什么到了暗世纪和中世纪literacy神秘地消失了，只能说有一些很可能成立的，基于不完全信息而来的推论，some plausible conjectures.） .. during the Dark and Middle Ages, the styles of writing the letters of the alphabet multiplied, the shapes becoming elaborated and disguised. The Europeans, it would appear, forgot that recognition, which was the Greek word for reading, must be swift and automatic if reading is to be a pervasive practice. The shapes of letters must be, so to speak, transparent, for among the marvelous features of alphabetic writing is that once the letters have been learned, one need not think about them. They disappear psychologically, and do not interpose themselves as an abject of thought between the reader and his recollection of spoken language. If calligraphy calls attention to itself, or is ambiguous, the essential idea of literacy is lost, or, to be more accurate, is lost to the majority of people... Still another explanation for the loss of literacy, by no means contradictory to the first, is that the sources of papyrus and parchment became scarce... We know that paper did not come to medieval Europe until the thirteenth century, at which time the Europeans began at once to manufacture it, not in the time-honored way-- by hand and foot -- but by water-powded mills. It is surely no accident that beginnings of the great medieval universities and a corresponding renewed interest in literacy coincide with the introduction and manufacture of paper...（不太清楚作者的意思。欧洲早期的造纸术不是从中国传入（经过巴格达）的吗？还是由埃及纸莎草而来？这段历史我不清楚。） We may also conjecture that the Roman Church was not insensible to the advantages of craft literacy as a means of keeping control over a large and diverse population; that is to say, of keeping control over the ideas, organization, and loyalties of a large and diverse population. Certainly it would have been in the interests of the Church to encourage a more restricted access to literacy, to have its clerics form a scribal class that alone would have access to the theological and intellectual secrets. But whatever the reasons, there can be no doubt that social literacy disappeared for close to a thousand years; and nothing can convey better the sense of what that means than the image of a medieval reader tortuously working on a text... What this meant is that all important social interactions were conducted through oral means, face-to-face. In the Middle Ages, .."The average layman acquired knowledge mainly by ear, through public sermons, mystery plays, and the recital of narrative poems, ballads, and tale." Thus, Europe returned to a "natural" condition of human communication, dominated by talk and reinforced by song. For almost all of our history, that is the way human beings have conducted their affairs and created culture. After all, as Havelock has reminded us, biologically we are all oralists. Our genes are programmed for spoken language. Literacy, on the other hand, is a product of cultural conditioning. To this, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the great advocate of the noble savage, would readily agree,.. Rousseau is, I believe, correct, if one may take him to mean that reading is the end of permanent childhood and that it undermines both the psychology and sociology of oralism. Because reading makes it possible to enter a non-observed and abstract world of knowledge, it creates a split between those who cannot read and those who can. Reading is the scourge of childhood because, in a sense, it creates adulthood. Literature of all kinds-- including maps, charts, contracts, and deeds -- collects and keeps valuable secrets. Thus, in a literate world to be an adult implies having access to cultural secrets codified in unnatural symbols. In a literate world children must become adults... .. And that is why, in all the sources, one finds that in the Middle Ages childhood ended at age seven. Why seven? Because that is the age at which children have command over speech.... ...The medieval way of learning is the way of oralist; it occurs essentially through apprenticeship and service -- what we would call "on-the-job-training."....... ....... ......But I believe it would be a mistake to give too much importance to the high mortality rate of children as a way of explaining the absence of idea of childhood. Half the people who died in London between 1730 and 1779 were under five years of age, and yet, by then,England had already developed the idea of childhood. And that is because, as I shall try to show in the next chapter, a new communication environment began to take form in the sixteenth century as a result of printing and social literacy. The printing press created a new definition of adulthood based on reading competence, and, correspondingly, a new conception of childhood based on reading incompetence. ... ... "Of all the characteristics in which the medieval age differs from the modern, none is so striking as the comparative absence of interest in children." And then, without anyone's suspecting it, a goldsmith from Mainz, Germany, with the aid of an old winepress, gave birth to childhood.
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