Publisher Information: London: Richard Phillips, 1802.
Itard, Jean Marie Gaspard (1774-1838). An historical account of the discovery and education of a savage man, or of the first developments, physical and moral, of the young savage caught in the woods near Aveyron. 148pp. Frontispiece. London: Richard Phillips, 1802. Bound with: Gilpin, William (1724-1804). Moral contrasts: Or, the power of religion exemplified under different characters. viii, 226, pp. Lymington: Printed by J. B. Butter, and sold by Messrs. Cadell and Davies, in the Strand, London, 1798. Together 2 items. 164 x 96 mm. Half calf, marbled boards ca. 1802, spine renewed, minor wear and rubbing. Light foxing and toning, but very good. Booksellers’ labels on front pastedown, including one noting that this copy was once owned by Ed Grabhorn at the Grabhorn Press.
First Edition in English of Itard’s De l’education d’un homme sauvage (1801), describing his role as mentor and teacher of the “Wild Boy of Aveyron.” The close and complex relationship between Itard and his “savage” pupil, whom Itard named Victor, was beautifully portrayed in François Truffaut’s 1970 film, The Wild Child.
In 1799 a young boy who had lived since infancy entirely apart from human contact was captured in the Caune woods near Saint-Sernin. This boy was brought to Paris, where, after achieving a brief notoriety as the “Sauvage de l’Aveyron,” he was consigned to the care of the otologist Jean Itard, who undertook the difficult task of teaching him language and social mores. Itard’s methods were based upon the philosopher Condillac’s analytical approach to the acquisition of knowledge, which had been used with success in the teaching of deaf-mutes, but in adapting this approach to the needs of his extraordinary pupil Itard created an entirely new system of pedagogy. “It was Itard who first broke with traditional subject-matter instruction and implemented the education of the individual child through interaction with a carefully-prepared environment. It was Itard who first called for a scientific pedagogy based on philosophy and medicine, employing the technique of observation . . . It was Itard who spent long hours watching for the spontaneous expressions of his pupil in nature as in society, and he who, following the precepts of mental medicine, tailored the child’s environment to accommodate and shape his needs. And it was Itard who took Condillac’s model of the development of the intellect and first created a program of sensory education” (Lane, The Wild Boy of Aveyron, p. 283). Itard’s pedagogical methods were adopted by his student Edouard Séguin, who applied them successfully to educating the mentally retarded, and by Maria Montessori, who applied them to childhood education in general. See Garrison-Morton.com 4969.1 and Norman 1144.
The English edition of Itard’s work curiously gives his name on the title as “E. M. Itard.” This copy is bound with a copy of the first edition of Gilpin’s Moral Contrasts, a religious work.Book Id: 45297