Universiteit Leiden

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PhD project

Hodegetics: Language of Vice in Student Advice Literature, 1700-1900

This project analyzes to what extent hodegetical textbooks relied on each other in warning their readers against vicious habits, how much continuity their catalogs of vice displayed, and to what extent vices that persisted throughout the 18th and 19th centuries were associated with easy-to-remember commonplaces (“the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”), anecdotes (absent-minded professors), or stereotypical images (dogmatic scholasticism).

Duration
2019  -   2023
Contact
Anne Por
Funding
NWO Vici NWO Vici

In the German lands, an unbroken tradition of student advice literature known as Hodegetik existed from the late 17th to the late 19th century. It offered encyclopedic surveys of the fields of knowledge, while also teaching first-year students how to develop studious habits. Given the popularity of hodegetical courses, especially in the 18th and early 19th centuries, and the wide circulation of hodegetical textbooks, many 19th-century scholars in Europe must have been at least moderately familiar with the hodegetical tradition.

Drawing on a corpus of hodegetical textbooks varying from H. A. Mertens’s Hodegetischer Entwurf (1779) to K. H. Scheidler’s often reprinted Grundlinien der Hodegetik (1832), this project analyzes to what extent these textbooks relied on each other in warning their readers against vicious habits, how much continuity their catalogs of vice displayed, and to what extent vices that persisted throughout the 18th and 19th centuries were associated with easy-to-remember commonplaces (“the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”), anecdotes (absent-minded professors), or stereotypical images (dogmatic scholasticism).

Connection with other research

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