Education: New Spirit in France

Right from grade one the French believe in making schoolchildren work hard. At nine, a French child is already being stuffed with Chateaubriand and Rousseau; he parses sentences from Hugo and learns all about the Edict of Nantes. At 14, he must begin to dip (in English) into the works of Swift and Poe. By the time he gets to his "baccalaureat" exam, he must know his Tacitus and answer such questions as "What did P. A. Touchard mean when he said of Montaigne: 'Before everything and despite everything, Montaigne is alive'?"

Many a French educator has begun to regard this curriculum...

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