A Lecture on the Best Means of Promoting the Intellectual Improvement of Youth
London: Longman, Brown, Green, & Longmans, 1847.
London: Longman, Brown, Green, & Longmans, 1847. First edition. Recent green paper wrappers. Collates , 51 pages: complete. Pages hand numbered in upper right hand corners; minor marginal annotations on pages 37 and 46. Overall, an exceptionally clean and pleasing copy of this rare educational tract, which argued for widespread education as the best method of attaining social equality. A scarce work, the present copy is the only one on the market, with OCLC reporting 2 copies in the UK and none in the US.
"We will never learn to reason well by merely following the reason of others," Dodd begins his lecture. In what follows, he outlines the important of providing children -- both boys and girls, both wealthy and impoverished -- with access to a wide range of rigorous topics which will develop their logical skills. As students make their way through studies in astronomy, chemistry, algebra, and geometry, to these should be added learning in the classic languages and literatures. Dodd asserts that a knowledge of the English language, a basic command of its grammar as well as an appreciation for its beauty, is also requisite. Dodd explains that all of these fields connect to one another. By starting students out with a foundation that fits their early capacities, and by following his recommendations on exercises, he argues that students will begin to grow their skills and make logical connections of their own. "I consider the improvement of the reasoning powers to be the leading object of intellectual education." With it, students can apply logic to any situation they may face in their homes or professions, and as citizens contributing to the larger populace. "The most extensive education is therefore only preliminary, only to give us the use of our faculties, to lay the foundation stones so squared and fashioned, that a great and noble superstructure may afterwards be reared thereon. At best we can only lead young persons up to a few small eminences, and point out to them the rich fields of literature and philosophy." An important and well-reasoned argument for approaching classroom education as a foundation and means rather than an end in itself, and placing considerable responsibility for intellectual development upon the individual. Fine (Item #2598)