Ransome 2015

From Whiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Ransome, Joyce. "'Courtesy' at Little Gidding." The Seventeenth Century 30.4 (2015): 411-31.

"mixt life" -- in the world but not of it

"For this programme, Nicholas prepared a variety of educational materials." (411) - didactic/educational children's books

"The boys, certainly those in the family but probably also any other boarding pupils as well as the masters, were provided with rooms placed strategically near to Nicholas’ own set so that he could oversee the boys’ activities when they were not in school. Boys and masters ate with the family, and the boys took their turns for the mealtime reading. He was not only careful to provide a separate infirmary for any who fell ill but also aimed to keep them healthy by setting aside time on Thursday and Saturday afternoons for exercise and recreation, which included the traditional masculine activities of running, jumping and archery. 20 For the boys, then, the school was very much in the pattern of those within ministerial households such as Nicholas himself had attended. The girls lived in a different part of the house. Whether they shared the lessons in arithmetic and writing and music (though not Latin) with the boys or were taught separately was not spelled out though they certainly studied those subjects and could keep household accounts, write a fair hand and sing and play instruments." (413)

Ralph Woodnoth, Arthur's nephew, sent to be educated at Gidding

Susanna Beckwith sent her son from Yorkshire to Gidding

Sir John Danvers sponsored two students: his godson, the son of his sister and her husband Sir John Browne; and John Gabbet

Nicholas emphasized "appropriate relationship between gesture and speech" (416)

"What then can we conclude from the “Instructions” in particular and Nicholas’ broader educational programme in general about the master of that “little college” that he established at Little Gidding? I have argued elsewhere that the detail with which Nicholas organised the Gidding household marked him as a man for whom an ordered life was essential. 66 Hence, his attention to providing timepieces throughout the house and to winding up the watches of both children’s and adults’ minds. Although sellers of unsuitable chapbooks and other popular literature were unlikely to penetrate the self-contained household of Gidding, he nevertheless took pains to provide the children with storybooks more edifying though still appealing than those chapbook histories and the “Small Merry Books” that Margaret Spufford has described. 67 If he took his selections from volumes in his library, did he reword them to make them particularly compelling and easy to remember for the children? The tales Blackstone has published suggest that he did, though the children were also expected to listen to unsimplified stories of martyrdom in Foxe’s Actes and Monumentes. 68 In any event, he clearly took pains to broaden the children’s exposure to history and to the expanding literature of travel, accounts of which the family evidently had in their own library." (420)

"Nicholas addressed the “Instructions”, with their concrete and vivid descriptions of “foolish gesticulations” and “apish gestures”, directly to the children. He did not need to dress them up in the phraseology of parental legacy often used in works intended for publication and perusal by adults as well as children. 72 Moreover, though the household for which he compiled them was unusual, the instructions themselves, except for their particular stress on the hands, were thoroughly conventional in their concept of courtesy and its appropriate modes of expression." (421)