Dvořák’s Formal Education Outside Music
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The Dvorak literature has little to say on the subject of his education outside the realm of music. Close study of the topic, moreover, reveals that what has been written is often mistaken or at best seriously misleading. This is in part because direct documentation is scarce. My own researches draw on a variety of materials including especially the applicable law regarding elementary education in the Austrian Empire, various studies of the history of education in the Czech lands, the records of the school of St. Mary of the Snows in Prague (some of them previously examined but only cursorily), biographical sketches of Dvorak published during his own lifetime but ignored in most Dvorak literature, and an article published in 1905 on the history of education in Zlonice. My conclusions are many and varied, but the main results may be summarized as follows: 1) A significant strengthening of our conviction that Dvorak was an exceptionally bright and industrious student; 2) On the other hand, a reevaluation of the nature of his non-musical educational curriculum, as having never gone beyond the level offered by an elementary school - a level attained by many of his fellow students before reaching the age of twelve. In particular, the frequent use of the Czech term pokracovaci (continuing) to describe Dvorak's education after leaving Nelahozeves, implying advancement beyond the curriculum of an elementary school, is unfounded and misleading.
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