Lektuur en morele ontwikkeling : 'n leserkundige perspektief
In this study the relationship between literature and moral development is investigated from the point of view of readership. Simultaneously an attempt is made to place the problems of readership in a wider framework and against the background of a more comprehensive picture of the human being. At the root of this more complete picture of man is the view that man is still in the process of realising his true being as image of God, that is, the human being is still in the process of developing to higher stages of morality. The theories of Lawrence Kohlberg and especially those of Rudolf Steiner proved to be the most valuable as illustrations of this point of view. Steiner's approach to moral development and education is based upon the three dimensions of man's being, namely willing, feeling and thinking, which develop successively in the child end adolescent according to the principle of metamorphosis. The importance of this view for moral education is that the child (also as concerns his literature) can be guided during the phase of willing, to the doing of the good by means of an example fit for imitation; that he can be guided during the phase of feeling to an experience of the beautiful by stimulating his life of fantasy and his capacity for identification through feeling (empathy); that he can be guided during the intellectual phase to the experience of truth by promoting his life of thought and his capacity for forming concepts. In contrast Kohlberg's approach is directed purely towards the cognitive dimension and can therefore be of use in educational practice during the intellectual phase (adolescence). The most important conclusion arrived at in the course of this study is that literature can only have a formative influence on moral development if the reader is capable of relating himself in his feelings to the moral content thereof, that is, he must be capable to identify with the characters in the book and with their moral development. When literature is presented at a too early stage in an intel114 lectual rather than in an imaginative and pituresque manner, it can have the consequence that the child is harmed in his moral development, since identification by means of empathy cannot take place. A purely intellectual objective approach places too large a distance between the reader and his experience of the characters in the book.
- Humanities