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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

34                THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD

beginning to end, the writings of these authors by hand, almost
producing books as the Benedictines did before the introduction
of printing. I wrote them by hand in order to have time to weigh
the value of every word and to grasp the spirit of the authors.
I was on the point of finishing the copying of the 600 pages of
Seguin's French work, when I received from New York a volume of
the second edition, that is the English book published in 1866,
This old volume had been found among the books discarded from
the private library of a New York doctor and had been readily given
over to the person who sent it to me. I translated it with the
help of an English lady. This volume did not offer a great con-
tribution of later teaching experiments, but rather the philosophy
of the experiments described in the first volume. The man who
had studied abnormal children for thirty years expounded the
idea that the physiological method—a method which had as a
base the individual study of the pupil, and as part of its educa-
tional procedure, the analysis of physiological and mental charac-
ters—ought to be applied to normal children, thus leading to the
regeneration of all humanity. Seguin's voice seemed to me to be
that of the prophet crying in the wilderness and my mind was
overwhelmed with the immensity of the importance of a work
which might reform the school and education.

At that time, as a student of philosophy at the university,
I was following the course in experimental psychology which had
just been founded in Italian Universities—in Turin, Rome and
Naples.. I was also carrying out: at the same time, in elementary
schools research work in pedagogic anthropology and used the
opportunity to study the methods and theories in use for the
education of normal children. These studies led me to the teach-
ing of Pedagogic Anthropology in the University of Rome.

This then was my preparation. I had grown up intellectually
in contact with the scientific problems of my time and was finding
jay way towards new branches which were coming into existence
in the field of mental medicine. I understood, as others did not,
that scientific education cannot be based on studying and measuring