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2.11 Humanist Critiques of the Donat

Paul F. Gehl replies to Susan Barron on the whole section

Thanks for this comparison to the page at 0.08, Susan. They do represent two kinds of final effect, in that this one is partial and largely done by a single reader, while the page at 0.08 is completely covered by marks made by at least three childish readers across a period of time we cannot determine. I will add a few notes there, just to make that point clearer to other readers.

Re: 2.11 visual example & 0.08 visual example: New images at 2.11 seem but typical little boy pictures with totally innocent yet the typical delusions of grandeur. There is not much more than that. The availability of the writing surface seemed to be irresistible to the youngster for his own purposes and there are not enough meaningful scribbles for my taste. Contrast 2.11 with the magnificent singleton 0.08, which seems somehow much more deliberate and from a more earnest or studious school boy. A creation. The boxes and lists of numbers/letters decry (or disguise) the one/two innocent little boy scribbles of dangling paraphernalia. An entire blank stimulated a real image to my eye and I find it much more interesting. Just think when we were in school and caught writing in our books!! Off with our heads! Oh my fur and whiskers!!

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Posted April 19, 2009  6:33 pm
Susan Barron on the whole section

PS to previous message. In the text there are several references to teaching a foreign language: that the children must be able to comprehend the meaning somehow right off – by similarities with their mother-tongue.
Very good observation. It’s not too different with adults learning a foreign language! Too bad the US is not smaller, which would require us to become devoted to the learning of a foreign language or two or three — out of economic necessity.

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Posted April 19, 2009  5:05 pm
Susan Barron on the whole section

Re: 2.11 visual example & 0.08 visual example:
New images at 2.11 seem but typical little boy pictures with totally innocent yet the typical delusions of grandeur. There is not much more than that. The availability of the writing surface seemed to be irresistible to the youngster for his own purposes and there are not enough meaningful scribbles for my taste.
Contrast 2.11 with the magnificent singleton 0.08, which seems somehow much more deliberate and from a more earnest or studious school boy. A creation. The boxes and lists of numbers/letters decry (or disguise) the one/two innocent little boy scribbles of dangling paraphernalia. An entire blank stimulated a real image to my eye and I find it much more interesting.
Just think when we were in school and caught writing in our books!! Off with our heads! Oh my fur and whiskers!!

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Posted April 19, 2009  5:01 pm
Paul F. Gehl on paragraph 3

As always, the anthropomorphic figures are harder to “read.” In this case they seem to be playful caricatures, equally unrelated to the scribbled texts and to the printed book.

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Posted April 14, 2009  12:51 pm
Paul F. Gehl on paragraph 3

People love these marked-up pages for their apparently careless informality, but of course the texts they hold can be read as well. This one has a series of pen trials (where the student practices his own name or that of the book) and several short texts that refer to the passion of Christ. On the left hand page (the back cover of the book), the student has scribbled the mocking phrase “Hail, King of the Jews” (from the gospel of Matthew, chapter 19). On the front cover at the upper right the same student hand has written a prayer that would translate: “Hail, O blood of the living God. May you, who, condemned by the Jews, showed mercy to the thief, have mercy on me, a sinner. Amen.”

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Posted April 10, 2009  9:13 am