Didacticism is an artistic philosophy that emphasizes instructional and informative qualities in literature and other types of art. The term has its origin in the Ancient Greek word διδακτικός (didaktikos), "related to education/teaching." Originally, signifying learning in a fascinating and intriguing manner.

Yet the intention of didactic art was to present a profound lesson, not merely to entertain. Didactic plays, for instance, were intended to convey a moral theme or other rich truth to the audience. An example of didactic writing is Alexander Pope's An Essay on Criticism (1711), which offers a range of advice about critics and criticism. An example of didactism in music is the chant Ut queant laxis, which was used by Guido of Arezzo to teach solfege syllables.

Around the 19th Century the term didactic came to also be used as a criticism for work that appears to be overly burdened with instructive, factual, or otherwise educational information, to the detriment of the enjoyment of the reader (a meaning that was quite foreign to Greek thought). Edgar Allan Poe even called didacticism the worst of "heresies" in his essay The Poetic Principle.


Some instances of didactic literature include:

See also

Further reading

  • Glaisyer, Natasha & Pennell, Sara. Didactic literature in England, 1500-1800: Expertise reconstructed (Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2003).

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  • didacticism — DIDACTICÍSM s.n. Folosire dogmatică a principiilor şi metodelor didactice; tendinţă de a instrui cu orice preţ. – Didactic + suf. ism. Trimis de claudia, 13.09.2007. Sursa: DEX 98  DIDACTICÍSM s. tezism. Trimis de siveco, 05.08.2004. Sursa:… …   Dicționar Român

  • Didacticism — Di*dac ti*cism, n. The didactic method or system. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • didacticism — noun communication that is suitable for or intended to be instructive the didacticism expected in books for the young the didacticism of the 19th century gave birth to many great museums • Derivationally related forms: ↑didactical • Hypernyms:… …   Useful english dictionary

  • didacticism — didactic ► ADJECTIVE ▪ intended to teach or give moral instruction. DERIVATIVES didactically adverb didacticism noun. ORIGIN Greek didaktikos, from didaskein teach …   English terms dictionary

  • didacticism — noun see didactic …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • didacticism — See didactically. * * * …   Universalium

  • didacticism — noun a) An artistic philosophy that emphasises instructional and informative qualities over mere entertainment. b) A work, statement, etc. of this kind …   Wiktionary

  • didacticísm — s. n …   Romanian orthography

  • didacticism — n. quality of being educational or instructive; tendency to lecture others excessively …   English contemporary dictionary

  • didacticism — di·dac·ti·cism …   English syllables