Tuesday, February 9, 2010

feb. 9, 1810 (fri.)

A couple of days ago a package came from Joseph Milligan, a bookseller in Georgetown Mr. Jefferson had done business with when he was living in Washington as President. It was The Parent's Assistant, by Maria Edgeworth -- not, as the title might suggest, a book on parenting, but rather, a two-volume collection of stories and plays for children. The grandchildren will really enjoy this book.

Mr. Jefferson doesn't believe it's good for children, especially girls, to read novels; idle romances waste time and spoil a girl with longing for a world of fantasy. But Mrs. Edgeworth's stories are an exception. They teach morals, and for that reason, are useful tools for education, in a lesser, but similar way as nonfiction works of history and moral philosophy do.

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