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Wormhoudt, A. (1953). Ivanhoe and the Teacher (). Am. Imago, 10(1):39-56.

(1953). American Imago, 10(1):39-56

Ivanhoe and the Teacher ()

Arthur Wormhoudt, Ph.D.

The interest which psychoanalysts, more than other psychologists, have always had in artists and their work — particularly imaginative writers — is at last beginning to bear fruit in the teaching of literature in our schools. Several colleges throughout the country offer courses in which psychoanalytical facts and theories are used to aid in the study of great masterworks. The movement is not widespread but it seems likely to grow and for that reason it may be worthwhile to consider at this time what some of the goals of this educational technique may be.

It should first be noted, however, that the vast majority of teachers of literature would find little use for psychoanalytical or any psychological knowledge in their work. Most teachers of literature conceive of their task as primarily one of getting the students to enjoy or appreciate the story or play or poem which they are reading. Reading works of imaginative content is for the most part a skill to be acquired much as reading music demands first learning to play a musical instrument. There is very little use of analysis in the sense of finding out why the language is used the way it is. If there is to be analysis it is only carried so far as is needed to arouse emotional and imaginative interest in the work.

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