EDUCATING RUSSIA
JANKOVIC-MIRIJEVSKI, Teodor. Rukovodstvo uchiteliam pervago i vtorago klassa narodnykh uchilishch Rossiiskoi imperii, izdannoe po vysochaishemu poveleniiu Tsarstvuiushchei Imperatritsy Ekateriny Vtoryia [A Manual for the Teachers of the First and Second Classes of the Public Schools of the Russian Empire, published at the Imperial Command of the reigning Empress Catherine the Second] …
V Sanktpeterburge [Schnoor],  1783 goda.
8vo (189 × 122 mm), pp. viii, 114, 31, [1], ‘34’, [1], with 4 folding tables after p. 114; light waterstaing to upper corner of the first few leaves, the odd spot elsewhere; a very good copy in contemporary Russian half calf, corners worn, some surface wear, spine defective in places, short snag at foot.
Extremely rare first edition of ‘Russia’s first systematic outline of pedagogical method’ (Black). By 1818 it was in its fifth edition.

Inspired by Rousseau and other Western writers, Catherine the Great had begun to establish schools in Russia the 1760s (foundling homes, an institute for young women, a school for young merchants, a cadet college), with Diderot encouraging her to do even more. Various problems, not least a dearth of good teachers and a general apathy among provincial noblemen for a policy of ‘education for all’, meant that ‘it was not until 1782 that a suitable individual could be found to put the educational affairs of Russia in order, and he had to be imported from the Austrian Empire …

‘A turning point for the better in the doldrums into which Catherine’s school projects had descended came in the early 1780s … In 1777 Paul’s first son, Alexander, was born, and Catherine soon began to concern herself with her grandson’s upbringing. Besides compiling notes herself for textbooks on Russian history and civic behaviour, she opened a Charity School of her own … in 1781 … [But] the real breakthrough came in 1782, when Catherine ordered into existence a Commission for the Establishment of Public Schools, and appointed to it an Austrian-Serb, Theodor Iankovich [Teodor Jankovic in Serbian] (1741–1814), who was ennobled by Maria Theresa in 1774 for his contributions to educational reform and management in Austria … Director of Serbian and Romanian schools in the Banat of Temesvár from 1773, Iankovich had been successful in having schools built for minorities in the Habsburg domains, and he had translated into Serbian and Romanian several of Felbiger’s manuals. [Johann Felbiger was the man who had inspired the Austrian school system.] He was Orthodox and Russian-speaking and that coupled with his experience in organizing education … made him the logical choice as the man to bring the system to Russia. Felbiger himself praised him highly. Iankovich … had his first meeting with Catherine on 6 September [1782]. The next day he was made the director of Russian schools and by law a permanent member of the Commission for the Establishment of Public Schools. Ten days later, Iankovich produced a draft plan for a public school system in Russia which was accepted by Catherine on 21 September. For the next four years the Commission worked out ways and means to implement the proposals …

‘The year 1783 saw the publication of three books by the Commission which in themselves reveal Catherine’s entire educational attitude. The first was a guide for the teachers who were to staff the new schools, the second two were books of rules for students to follow. The teachers’ manual, Rukovodstvo uchiteliam pervago i vtorago klassa narodnykh uchilishch Rossiiskoi Imperii, was Russia’s first systematic outline of pedagogical method. Iankovich was the author of the manual, which was based in part upon a Felbiger Handbuch already translated by him into Serbian in 1776 for use in the Austrian Empire. But the Russian guidebook also encompassed ideas held by the University of Moscow compilers of Teaching Methods [Sposob ucheniia, 1771] …

‘Iankovich’s new pedagogical textbook was divided into chapters on the methodology of group lessons, reading, numbers’ tables, and questioning; ways to instruct individuals in learning their letters, writing, and arithmetic; and administrative procedures. These divisions were the same as those in the book’s Austrian counterpart. But as was so often the case when an idea, ideal, or system indigenous to Western Europe was adapted to Russian circumstances, the textbook took on specific Russian characteristics. In contrast to the earlier Felbiger/Iankovich Serbian manual, this one practically ignored religion as a subject to be taught in school, was shorter and more precise, and stressed the use of the Russian language in the classroom. The central theme of the Guide for Teachers was put succinctly enough in a foreword: “The rank of teacher obligates them to try and make from their students useful members of society, and to do what is necessary to frequently encourage youth towards the observation of their societal duties, to enlighten their minds, and to teach them to think and to act wisely, honourably and decently”’ (J. L. Black, Citizens for the Fatherland: Education, Educators, and Pedagogical Ideals in Eighteenth-Century Russia, pp. 103, 130–4).

Svodnyi katalog 7692. WorldCat locates 2 copies only, at Göttingen (the copy belonging to Georg Thomas von Asch, 1729–1807, physician general the Imperial Russian Army) and Penn State.
£7500   
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