The Spirit of Youth and the City Streets by Jane Addams


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Page 1




TO MY DEAR FRIEND

Louise de Koben Bowen

WITH SINCERE ADMIRATION FOR HER UNDERSTANDING OF THE NEEDS OF CITY
CHILDREN AND WITH WARM APPRECIATION OF HER SERVICE AS PRESIDENT OF THE
JUVENILE PROTECTIVE ASSOCIATION OF CHICAGO




CONTENTS


CHAPTER I

Youth in the City 3

CHAPTER II

The Wrecked Foundations of Domesticity 25

CHAPTER III

The Quest for Adventure 51

CHAPTER IV

The House of Dreams 75

CHAPTER V

The Spirit of Youth and Industry 107

CHAPTER VI

The Thirst for Righteousness 139




FOREWORD


Much of the material in the following pages has appeared in current
publications. It is here presented in book form in the hope that it
may prove of value to those groups of people who in many cities are
making a gallant effort to minimize the dangers which surround young
people and to provide them with opportunities for recreation.




CHAPTER I

YOUTH IN THE CITY


Nothing is more certain than that each generation longs for a
reassurance as to the value and charm of life, and is secretly afraid
lest it lose its sense of the youth of the earth. This is doubtless
one reason why it so passionately cherishes its poets and artists who
have been able to explore for themselves and to reveal to others the
perpetual springs of life's self-renewal.

And yet the average man cannot obtain this desired reassurance through
literature, nor yet through glimpses of earth and sky. It can come to
him only through the chance embodiment of joy and youth which life
itself may throw in his way. It is doubtless true that for the mass of
men the message is never so unchallenged and so invincible as when
embodied in youth itself. One generation after another has depended
upon its young to equip it with gaiety and enthusiasm, to persuade it
that living is a pleasure, until men everywhere have anxiously
provided channels through which this wine of life might flow, and be
preserved for their delight. The classical city promoted play with
careful solicitude, building the theater and stadium as it built the
market place and the temple. The Greeks held their games so integral a
part of religion and patriotism that they came to expect from their
poets the highest utterances at the very moments when the sense of
pleasure released the national life. In the medieval city the knights
held their tourneys, the guilds their pageants, the people their
dances, and the church made festival for its most cherished saints
with gay street processions, and presented a drama in which no less a
theme than the history of creation became a matter of thrilling
interest. Only in the modern city have men concluded that it is no
longer necessary for the municipality to provide for the insatiable
desire for play. In so far as they have acted upon this conclusion,
they have entered upon a most difficult and dangerous experiment; and
this at the very moment when the city has become distinctly
industrial, and daily labor is continually more monotonous and
subdivided. We forget how new the modern city is, and how short the
span of time in which we have assumed that we can eliminate public
provision for recreation.

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Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Wed 17th Jul 2019, 1:12