Writings of L. G. Kumlien and the evidence of several Swedish gymnastics1 1 Translated by Tikinet. E-mail: tikinet@tikinet.com.br. ;2 2 Work funded by the Coordination of Higher Education and Graduate Training (CAPES) - funding code 001 - and the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais (FAPEMIG). Translation funded by CAPES/ProEx - Graduate Program in Education/Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais.

Iara Marina dos Anjos Bonifácio Anderson da Cunha Baía About the authors

RESUMO

A ginástica sueca, sistematizada por Pehr Henrik Ling (1776-1839) no Instituto Central de Ginástica de Estocolmo (GCI), foi divulgada pelo mundo ao menos até as últimas décadas do século XX, sobretudo, a partir do trânsito realizado por sujeitos formados no GCI. Dentre eles, podemos citar Ludvig Gideon Kumlien (1874-1934); sueco, formado no Instituto de Estocolmo, que se mudou em 1895 para Paris, na França, onde realizou diferentes ações de divulgação da ginástica de Ling, dentre elas a publicação de manuais. O que esses manuais nos revelam? Podemos afirmar que a ginástica divulgada por Kumlien é a ginástica de Ling? Ou que é a mesma ginástica que ele aprendeu no GCI? No contato com uma cultura diferente da sua de origem, Kumlien altera a ginástica que aprendeu? Assim, o presente artigo tem como objetivo compreender qual foi a ginástica divulgada por Ludvig Kumlien em seus manuais. Para dar conta disso, mobilizamos como fontes os manuais escritos por Kumlien e seus parceiros e reportagens de jornais dos países nos quais seus escritos circularam. Ao analisar os manuais de Ludvig Kumlien, observamos que a ginástica divulgada por ele em território francês foi se transformando no contato com uma nova cultura, tornando-se uma nova ginástica, diferente daquela proposta por Ling e ensinada no GCI.

Palavras-chave:
Ginástica sueca; Kumlien; Educação do Corpo; Manuais; História da Educação

ABSTRACT

Swedish gymnastics, systematized by Pehr Henrik Ling (1776-1839) at the Stockholm Central Institute of Gymnastics (CIG), spread throughout the world, at least until the last decades of the 20th century, especially from the circulation of individuals trained at the CIG. Among them was Ludvig Gideon Kumlien (1874-1934), a Swedish doctor-gymnast who graduated from the Stockholm Institute, who moved in 1895 to Paris, France, where he carried out different actions to promote Ling’s gymnastics, among them publishing handbooks. What do these handbooks reveal? Can we assert that the gymnastics promoted by Kumlien is Ling’s gymnastics? Or that it is the same gymnastics he learned at CIG? In contact with a culture different from his own, does Kumlien alter the gymnastics he learned? Thus, this article aims to understand which gymnastics Ludvig Kumlien has promoted in his handbooks. To do so, we mobilized as sources the handbooks written by Kumlien and his partners and newspaper reports from the countries in which his writings circulated. By analyzing Ludvig Kumlien’s guidebooks, we observed that the gymnastics he divulged in French territory were transformed through contact with a new culture, becoming new gymnastics, different from that proposed by Ling and taught in the CIG.

Keywords:
Swedish gymnastics; Kumlien; Body Education; Handbooks; History of Education

Introduction

In the early 19th century, more precisely in 1813, Pehr Henrik Ling (1776-1839) proposed the creation, in Stockholm, Sweden, of a physical training institute for young people using gymnastics (LINDROTH, 1979LINDROTH, Jan. Linganism and the natural method - the problem of continuity in Swedish gymnastics. In: INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS FOR THE HISTORY OF SPORT AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION, 8th, 1979, Uppsala and Stockholm. Congress Report. Uppsala and Stockholm: SVIF, 1979. Disponível em: Disponível em: https://institut-schmelz.univie.ac.at/fileadmin/user_upload/i_sportwissenschaft/Diplompruefungsliteratur/ Lindroth1979_._Lingianism_and_the_Natural_Method.pdf . Acesso em: 20 jan. 2021.
https://institut-schmelz.univie.ac.at/fi...
; MORENO; BAÍA, 2019MORENO, Andrea; BAÍA, Anderson da Cunha. Do Instituto Central de Ginástica (GCI) de Estocolmo para o Brasil: Cultivo e divulgação de uma Educação Do Corpo. Educação em Revista, Belo Horizonte, v. 35, p. 1-31, 2019.; PEREIRA, [20--?]). This proposal resulted in the Stockholm Central Institute of Gymnastics (CIG)3 3 For a time, the institute was called the Royal Gymnastics Central Institute. Throughout the text, we refer to the Institute by the acronym CIG, as it is known worldwide. , the birthplace of what would become internationally known as Ling, gymnastics, Swedish gymnastics, or rational gymnastics.

Ling’s proposal was not unique, with other systematizations on physical education modes surfacing in the period. Their names refer to the territories where they were proposed, such as French gymnastics and German gymnastics. Despite similarities, it was not a homogeneous and linear process, and each one “focused on the study of human gesture from a different perspective” (QUITZAU; MORENO; BAÍA, 2019QUITZAU, Evelise Amgarten; MORENO, Andrea; BAÍA, Anderson da Cunha. Entre traduções e apropriações: reflexões sobre a circulação e recepção dos métodos ginásticos na Alemanha e no Brasil. In: LINHALES, Meily Assbú; PUCHTA, Diogo Rodrigues; ROSA, Maria Cristina (org.). Diálogos transnacionais na história da educação física. Belo Horizonte: Fino Traço, 2019. p. 275-300., p. 281). At times, the different proposals engaged in disputes to affirm which was the most appropriate for educating bodies (PFISTER, 2003PFISTER, Gertrud. Cultural confrontations: German Turnen, english gymnastics and english sport - European diversity in physical activities from a historical perspective. Culture, Sport, Society, [s.l.], v. 6, n. 1, p. 61-91, Mar. 2003.).

The circulation of Swedish gymnastics around the world reveals, on the one hand, a certain nod to its so-called scientific proposal to educate; on the other, it reveals a deliberate move on the part of the CIG for Ling’s gymnastics to reach different territories (especially after the death of its precursor). From this perspective, Moreno and Baía (2019MORENO, Andrea; BAÍA, Anderson da Cunha. Do Instituto Central de Ginástica (GCI) de Estocolmo para o Brasil: Cultivo e divulgação de uma Educação Do Corpo. Educação em Revista, Belo Horizonte, v. 35, p. 1-31, 2019., p. 5) state that “the CIG became the epicenter of Ling’s gymnastics in the world, promoting the method and circulating it beyond Swedish borders”.

Different authors researched4 4 We refer to the works of Bollinng and Yttergren (2015); Bloomfield (2005); Bazoge, Saint-Martin and Attali (2011); Sarremejane (2006); Baía, Bonifácio and Moreno (2019); Moreno and Baía (2019), among others. . In general, we can assert that Swedish gymnastics spread throughout the world at least until the last decades of the 20th century, especially from the circulation of individuals - Swedes and foreigners - who, for the most part, had a relationship with the Stockholm Institute - students, graduates, principals, visitors, among others. But it also circulated in handbooks by establishing Institutes, holding congresses, among other modes. In all these studies, the gymnastics proposed by Ling is referred to as rational gymnastics, Swedish gymnastics, and/or Ling’s gymnastics.

On the other hand, Quitzau, Moreno, and Baía (2019QUITZAU, Evelise Amgarten; MORENO, Andrea; BAÍA, Anderson da Cunha. Entre traduções e apropriações: reflexões sobre a circulação e recepção dos métodos ginásticos na Alemanha e no Brasil. In: LINHALES, Meily Assbú; PUCHTA, Diogo Rodrigues; ROSA, Maria Cristina (org.). Diálogos transnacionais na história da educação física. Belo Horizonte: Fino Traço, 2019. p. 275-300.), when analyzing translations to Swedish and German gymnastics appropriations, pointed to significant ways to understand the circulation of different gymnastics around the world. For the authors, conducting this analysis means thinking that what arrived in the various places, what was appropriate, will be a version of one of the writings on these gymnastic methods and that these versions depend on how they were transposed to the country - handbooks, translations, individuals, immigrants, among others.

With that in mind, can we speak of a single Ling’s gymnastics? Can we treat it as homogeneous gymnastics? When we refer, in the different works, to Swedish gymnastics, Swedish method, Ling’s gymnastics, are we saying the same thing? Investigating Ling’s gymnastics from this perspective was made possible from our contact with Serge Gruzinski’s work. To him, cultural objects - in this case, Swedish gymnastics - are neither pure in their conception nor their circulation; they are influenced and transformed by the different cultural spaces through which they pass (GRUZINSKI, 2001GRUZINSKI, Serge. O pensamento mestiço. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2001. 416 p.). So how to account for the transformations suffered by Swedish gymnastics? Angela de Castro Gomes (1993GOMES, Angela de Castro. Essa gente do Rio... os intelectuais cariocas e o modernismo. Estudos Históricos, Rio de Janeiro, v. 6, n. 11, p. 62-77, 1993.), inspired by Jacques Julliard, points out that ideas do not circulate in the streets but are carried by subjects and/or social groups. Explaining the individuals (and their itineraries) allows us to understand the cultural and political changes of cultural objects, i.e., the ideas and practices about Swedish gymnastics. Therefore, we are interested in understanding this transformative process of circulation of Swedish gymnastics from the efforts of one individual, Ludvig Gideon Kumlien (1874-1934).

Swedish graduated from CIG, Ludvig Kumlien moved in 1895 to Paris, France, where he undertook different actions to promote Ling’s gymnastics. Among them, he wrote three gymnastic handbooks: La Gymnastique Suédoise (Swedish Gymnastics, 1901) - in partnership with Emile André (1859- 1943); La Gymnastique pour tous (Gymnastics for all, 1906); and Cours Complet d’éducation physique (Complete Physical Education Course, 1909) - in partnership with Raoul Fabens (1862-1932). The first two handbooks circulated (translated or not) in different Brazilian states, as well as in other countries - Portugal, Spain, Italy, Argentina (BAÍA; BONIFÁCIO; MORENO, 2019MORENO, Andrea; BAÍA, Anderson da Cunha. Do Instituto Central de Ginástica (GCI) de Estocolmo para o Brasil: Cultivo e divulgação de uma Educação Do Corpo. Educação em Revista, Belo Horizonte, v. 35, p. 1-31, 2019.; BONIFÁCIO, 2019BONIFÁCIO, Iara Marina dos Anjos. Itinerários de Ludvig Gideon Kumlien e a (re) produção da ginástica sueca. 2019. 158 f. Dissertação (Mestrado em Educação) - Faculdade de Educação, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, 2019.).

When investigating Ludvig Kumlien’s trajectory, we posited: can we assert that the gymnastics promoted by Kumlien is Ling’s gymnastics? Or that it is the same gymnastics he learned at CIG? In contact with a culture different from his own, does Kumlien alter the gymnastics he learned? Thus, we aim to understand which gymnastics Ludvig Kumlien has promoted in his handbooks. Having as a hypothesis that we cannot speak of Swedish gymnastics as a sole, homogeneous method due to the different movements and mediations involved in the circulation process of this cultural object throughout the world, we believe that the gymnastics Kumlien promoted in French territory was transformed through contact with a new culture.

To do so, we mobilized as sources the handbooks written by Kumlien and his partners and newspaper reports from the countries in which his writings circulated. Although handbooks are mobilized as a source and not as research objects (GALVÃO; BATISTA, 2009GALVÃO, Ana Maria de Oliveira; BATISTA, Antônio Augusto Gomes. O Estudo dos manuais escolares e pesquisa em história. In: GALVÃO, Ana Maria de Oliveira; BATISTA, Antônio Augusto Gomes. Livros Escolares de Leitura no Brasil: Elementos para uma história. Campinas: Mercado de Letras, 2009. p. 11-40.), we used the studies of Robert Darton (1990DARNTON, Robert. O beijo de Lamourette: mídia, cultura e revolução. São Paulo: Cia. das Letras, 1990. 400 p.) and Roger Chartier (1991CHARTIER, Roger. O mundo como representação. Estudos Avançados, São Paulo, v. 5, n. 11, p. 173-191, jan./abr.1991.) on the history of printed media as an observation lens. For the newspaper analysis, Jean-Yves Mollier’s (2008MOLLIER, Jean-Yves. O surgimento da cultura midiática na Belle Époque: a instalação de estruturas de divulgação de massa. In: MOLLIER, Jean-Yves. A leitura e seu público no mundo contemporâneo: ensaios sobre História Cultural. Belo Horizonte: Autêntica, 2008. Cap. 9, p. 175-195.) work was paramount. All these works enabled a more refined and attentive look to the different processes by which printed media is constituted as such and circulate through multiple places.

Swedish gymnastics and Kumlien’s handbooks as a promotion support

The Gymnastikens allmänna grunder (1840) was one of the few writings left by Pehr Henrik Ling on his gymnastics and its principles, but the book does not focus on describing exercises. Its first chapter differs from the other ones by bringing more philosophical aspects, as understood by Ling, regarding the human organism. The remaining chapters, although also encompassing a certain philosophical dimension, deal more with the indispensable elements of Ling’s gymnastics.

For Ling, in this work, the gymnastics elements would divide into four branches: pedagogical gymnastics, military gymnastics, medical- gymnastics, and aesthetic gymnastics (LING, 1840LING, Pier Henrik. Gymnastikens allmänna grunder. Upsala: Palmblad & Comp, 1840. 239 p.). The pedagogical branch aimed to teach practitioners domain over their own body; the military branch, in turn, besides the use of one’s own body, also included the use of external elements such as weapons, for example. Medical-gymnastics aimed to overcome or mitigate deficiencies and imbalances, alone or with the help of a professional. Finally, aesthetic gymnastics intended to use the body to achieve inner harmony; its practice would unify body and mind. For Ling (1840), all these branches were interconnected, and their fragmented view would hinder the efficiency and effectiveness of the exercises.

Ling’s book was, to some extent, the materialization of the gymnastics systematized in the daily work at the Stockholm Institute and in interactions with his disciples Lars Gabriel Branting (1799-1881) and August Georgii (1808- 1881) (LINDROTH, 1979LINDROTH, Jan. Linganism and the natural method - the problem of continuity in Swedish gymnastics. In: INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS FOR THE HISTORY OF SPORT AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION, 8th, 1979, Uppsala and Stockholm. Congress Report. Uppsala and Stockholm: SVIF, 1979. Disponível em: Disponível em: https://institut-schmelz.univie.ac.at/fileadmin/user_upload/i_sportwissenschaft/Diplompruefungsliteratur/ Lindroth1979_._Lingianism_and_the_Natural_Method.pdf . Acesso em: 20 jan. 2021.
https://institut-schmelz.univie.ac.at/fi...
; MORENO; BAÍA, 2019MORENO, Andrea; BAÍA, Anderson da Cunha. Do Instituto Central de Ginástica (GCI) de Estocolmo para o Brasil: Cultivo e divulgação de uma Educação Do Corpo. Educação em Revista, Belo Horizonte, v. 35, p. 1-31, 2019.). These gymnastics was later expanded by Hjälmar Fredrik Ling (1820-1886), Ling’s son, and by other successors who worked at the CIG (LINDROTH, 1979LINDROTH, Jan. Linganism and the natural method - the problem of continuity in Swedish gymnastics. In: INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS FOR THE HISTORY OF SPORT AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION, 8th, 1979, Uppsala and Stockholm. Congress Report. Uppsala and Stockholm: SVIF, 1979. Disponível em: Disponível em: https://institut-schmelz.univie.ac.at/fileadmin/user_upload/i_sportwissenschaft/Diplompruefungsliteratur/ Lindroth1979_._Lingianism_and_the_Natural_Method.pdf . Acesso em: 20 jan. 2021.
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; PEREIRA, [20--?]).

After his death, pedagogical and medical gymnastics underwent a vast development by his successors to the detriment of military and aesthetics gymnastics, Lindroth (1979LINDROTH, Jan. Linganism and the natural method - the problem of continuity in Swedish gymnastics. In: INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS FOR THE HISTORY OF SPORT AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION, 8th, 1979, Uppsala and Stockholm. Congress Report. Uppsala and Stockholm: SVIF, 1979. Disponível em: Disponível em: https://institut-schmelz.univie.ac.at/fileadmin/user_upload/i_sportwissenschaft/Diplompruefungsliteratur/ Lindroth1979_._Lingianism_and_the_Natural_Method.pdf . Acesso em: 20 jan. 2021.
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) states that two groups emerged: the orthodox or “Lingianism”, who defended Ling’s basis for developing the method; and the heterodox or “naturalist”, who believed that Ling’s gymnastics should be developed based on diverse influences. They also proposed and incorporated movements from other practices that gained ground in the 19th-century European scenario (LANGLADE, A.; LANGLADE, N., 1970LANGLADE, Alberto; LANGLADE, Nelly Rey. Teoria general de la gimnasia. Buenos Aires: Editorial Stadium, 1970. 526 p.; MORENO; BAÍA, 2019MORENO, Andrea; BAÍA, Anderson da Cunha. Do Instituto Central de Ginástica (GCI) de Estocolmo para o Brasil: Cultivo e divulgação de uma Educação Do Corpo. Educação em Revista, Belo Horizonte, v. 35, p. 1-31, 2019.).

Swedish gymnastics was, therefore, adapting to new times and the challenges of another body of education that was emerging.

In this transformation process, the training structure of the CIG also changed. In 1887, the CIG promoted a reform in which the three gymnastics were divided into different but related courses, other reforms also took place earlier (PEREIRA, [20--?]). The complete training course would comprise three years: the first dedicated to military gymnastics, the second to pedagogical gymnastics, and the third to medical gymnastics. It is in this training structure that Ludvig Kumlien joined the Stockholm Institute.

We observe, therefore, that the gymnastics with which Kumlien had a contact at the CIG arose from different mediations and interpretations since that proposed by Ling. These gymnastics was put into circulation in different ways, betting, above all, on the publicity actions of its students. Among the various strategies taken is publishing handbooks5 5 On the different possibilities, see Bonifácio (2019); Baía, Bonifácio and Moreno (2019). , an action also carried out by Kumlien. In Paris, Ludvig Kumlien published, in a partnership or not, three handbooks. In this regard, one must remember that France, the territory where Kumlien writes his works, has regulated its education processes in late 19th century and began to serve almost its entire population free of charge (MOLLIER, 2008MOLLIER, Jean-Yves. O surgimento da cultura midiática na Belle Époque: a instalação de estruturas de divulgação de massa. In: MOLLIER, Jean-Yves. A leitura e seu público no mundo contemporâneo: ensaios sobre História Cultural. Belo Horizonte: Autêntica, 2008. Cap. 9, p. 175-195.). Mollier (2008MOLLIER, Jean-Yves. O surgimento da cultura midiática na Belle Époque: a instalação de estruturas de divulgação de massa. In: MOLLIER, Jean-Yves. A leitura e seu público no mundo contemporâneo: ensaios sobre História Cultural. Belo Horizonte: Autêntica, 2008. Cap. 9, p. 175-195.) states that in 1890, school textbooks became mandatory in schools, significantly increasing their production and distribution. Flammarion publishing house, which published Ludvig Kumlien’s first handbook in partnership with Emile André, already exported its works since the late 19th century (MOLLIER, 2008). Armand Colin, editor of the third handbook published in partnership with Rauol Fabens, had extensive experience with publishing textbooks (MOLLIER, 2008MOLLIER, Jean-Yves. O surgimento da cultura midiática na Belle Époque: a instalação de estruturas de divulgação de massa. In: MOLLIER, Jean-Yves. A leitura e seu público no mundo contemporâneo: ensaios sobre História Cultural. Belo Horizonte: Autêntica, 2008. Cap. 9, p. 175-195.).

Ludvig Kumlien’s first two handbooks, La Gymnastique Suédoise and La Gymnastique pour tous, were written in French and subsequently translated into other languages. The first was translated into Spanish, published in Mexico as La gimnasia sueca: manual de gimnasia racional al alcance de todos y para todas las edades (1909/1919); in Spain, La Gimnasia Sueca: Manual de Gimnasia Racional (1919-[20--?]); and in Buenos Aires, entitled Gimnasia sueca al alcance de todos (1957). The second handbook was translated into Spanish and published in Spain as La gimnasia para todos ([20--?]); to Italian, titled La ginnastica per tutti: traduzione e note di um pubblico insegnante (1911); and to Portuguese, under the title Tratado Pratico de Gymnastica Sueca (1908).

In Brazil, Vago (2002VAGO, Tarcísio Mauro. Momentos iniciais do ensino de Ginástica nas Escolas Primárias de Belo Horizonte. In: VAGO, Tarcísio Mauro. Cultura Escolar, Cultivo de Corpos: Educação Physica e Gymnastica como práticas constitutivas dos corpos de crianças no ensino público primário de Belo Horizonte. Bragança Paulista: Edusf, 2002. p. 249-282., p. 270), when studying primary education in Belo Horizonte, showed the presence and uses of the Tratado Pratico de Gymnastica Sueca in the 4th School Group. The “gymnastic exercises” taught by boys’ and girls’ teachers used the forenamed handbook as a “guide”, which, in turn, was appraised and approved by the Superior Council of Public Instruction in 1911. Thus, the Secretariat of the Interior bought copies of the Tratado and made it circulate in the Isolated Schools and School Groups. We found records of these purchases in 1912 at the Francisco Alves Bookstore in Belo Horizonte (REQUISIÇÕES, 1912REQUISIÇÕES. Ns. 1 a 176- Letra B - 1912 - 7ª Secção [S. J.]. In: Arquivo Público Mineiro (APM): SI 3840, 1912.).

Although the translation into Portuguese has circulated in Brazil, the handbook was published in Lisbon, Portugal, and may have been its entry point due to the relationship between the two countries (BAÍA; BONIFÁCIO; MORENO, 2019MORENO, Andrea; BAÍA, Anderson da Cunha. Do Instituto Central de Ginástica (GCI) de Estocolmo para o Brasil: Cultivo e divulgação de uma Educação Do Corpo. Educação em Revista, Belo Horizonte, v. 35, p. 1-31, 2019.). If in Brazilian lands the Tratado featured in schools, in Portugal it seemed to have gained relative prestige since we found the work Ginástica Sueca: baseada nos sistemas de Ling, Kumlien e Muller ([20--?]), published, anonymously, by the Empresa Literária Universal of Lisbon, Portugal. Thus, Kumlien was understood not as someone who promoted and taught Swedish gymnastics but rather as one who proposed his own teaching “system”. The Swedish gymnastics in Kumlien’s works circulated in different territories through different languages and, in these spaces, was mobilized in diverse ways: as guides for teachers, as handbooks for practitioners of other physical activities, or as a reference for legitimizing discourses. This variety is indicative of a certain prestige of the work, especially in Brazil and Portugal, where an anonymous Swedish gymnastics handbook was considered based on the “Kumlien system”.

This receptivity to the handbooks was also noted in other countries; Flix and Betrán (2012FLIX, Xavier Torrebadella; BETRÁN, Javier Olivera. Las cien obras clave del repertorio bibliográfico español de la educación física y el deporte en su proceso de legitimación e institucionalización (1807-1938). Revista General de Información y Documentación, Madrid, v. 22, p. 119-168, jul. 2012.), for example, classified one of L. G. Kumlien’s works as one of the hundred works that helped legitimize and institutionalize Physical Education in academic, social, and professional circles in Spain6 6 On the circulation of these handbooks in other countries, Cf. Baía, Bonifácio and Moreno (2019) and Bonifácio (2019). . Despite being originally published in France, these handbooks circulated in other countries and may have, to some extent, conform the physical education in these places, as well as their understandings of Swedish gymnastics.

Consider the action of subjects in the conformation of a gymnastics means asserting that, when analyzing their circulation, what we see is a version of this gymnastics(s); and these versions depend on how they accessed these other places - original handbooks, the immigrant experience, translations, actions of individuals, among other aspects (QUITZAU; MORENO; BAÍA, 2019QUITZAU, Evelise Amgarten; MORENO, Andrea; BAÍA, Anderson da Cunha. Entre traduções e apropriações: reflexões sobre a circulação e recepção dos métodos ginásticos na Alemanha e no Brasil. In: LINHALES, Meily Assbú; PUCHTA, Diogo Rodrigues; ROSA, Maria Cristina (org.). Diálogos transnacionais na história da educação física. Belo Horizonte: Fino Traço, 2019. p. 275-300.). Choosing Ludvig Kumlien’s handbooks means understanding Swedish gymnastics through his lens, i. e., the gymnastics he learned at CIG and the gymnastics he developed in his daily practice in Paris.

Kumlien’s handbooks: records of a Swedish gymnastics in France

Ludvig Kumlien and his partners, as stated earlier, published three handbooks titled as follows: La Gymnastique Suédoise (1901); La Gymnastique pour tous (1906); and Cours Complet d’éducation physique (1909). The title changes over time are interesting, especially the term “Swedish” removal to refer to gymnastics.

In 1900, a year before the first handbook was published, Paris hosted the International Congress of Physical Education, an event in which, according to Sarremejane (2006SARREMEJANE, Philippe. L’héritage de la méthode suédoise d’éducation physique en France: les conflits de méthode au sein de l’Ecole normale de gymnastique et d’escrime de Joinville au début du Xxème siècle. Paedagogica Historica, [s.l.], v. 42, n. 6, p. 817-837, déc. 2006.), Swedish gymnastics received public acclaim. Among those who defended said gymnastics, the author mentions Georges Demeny7 7 Georges Demeny (1850-1917) was born in Dowai, France and moved to Paris where he founded the Circle of Rational Gymnastics and, together with E. J. Marey, founded the physiological station at Parc des Princes. He also organized the physical education course at École de Joinville Le Pont, where he was appointed professor of physiology. His career is marked by moments of intense support for the Swedish method and others of criticism, in which he started advocating for a French method (SOARES, 1998; SARREMEJANE, 2006). , Philippe Tissié8 8 Philippe Tissié (1852-1935) was a physician and furthered his studies in Swedish gymnastics, becoming one of its advocates on French territory and thus entering a huge controversy with Georges Demeny (SOARES, 1998; BAZOGE; SAINT-MARTIN; ATTALI, 2011). , and Fernand Lagrange9 9 Fernand Lagrange (1845-1909) was a physician and physiologist. Renowned scientist who dedicated his studies to issues related to hygiene and therapy and its relationship with movement (SOARES, 1998). , all of the important figures in the French debate on physical education. In 1902, two years after the congress, the École de Joinville Le Pont10 10 Founded in 1852, the École de Gymnastique de Joinville Le Pont aimed to train instructors capable of teaching military gymnastics. In 1872, the school added the term “normal” to its name, signifying that it now aims to train gymnastic instructors and not just prepare soldiers. Thus, the École de Joinville became the institution responsible for structuring physical education in French territory (SARREMEJANE, 2006). , an important French military institution involved in the debate on France’s official method of education, officially adopts Swedish gymnastics (SARREMEJANE, 2006SARREMEJANE, Philippe. L’héritage de la méthode suédoise d’éducation physique en France: les conflits de méthode au sein de l’Ecole normale de gymnastique et d’escrime de Joinville au début du Xxème siècle. Paedagogica Historica, [s.l.], v. 42, n. 6, p. 817-837, déc. 2006.).

This context suggests that, at the time the first handbook was published, the environment experienced by Kumlien and Emile André appeared favorable for a Gymnastique Suédoise. Its second edition in 1904ANDRÉ, Emile. La Gymnastique suédoise: Manuel de Gymnastique Rationnelle A la portée de tous et à tout âge d’après la méthode de L. G. Kumlien. Paris: Flammarion, [1904]. 228 p.. seems to corroborate this receptivity. Newspaper advertisements and the cover of the second edition indicated eight thousand and ten thousand printings, respectively.

That same year, however, Swedish gymnastics becomes a controversial topic. According to Sarremejane (2006SARREMEJANE, Philippe. L’héritage de la méthode suédoise d’éducation physique en France: les conflits de méthode au sein de l’Ecole normale de gymnastique et d’escrime de Joinville au début du Xxème siècle. Paedagogica Historica, [s.l.], v. 42, n. 6, p. 817-837, déc. 2006.), the then French president, Émile Loubet (1838-1929), created in 1904 an interministerial committee, which included the Ministry of War and the Ministry of Public Instruction, aiming to unify the method of physical education and to create a handbook for its teaching. In this committee, Georges Demeny, who once defended Swedish gymnastics, begins questioning it and clashes with Émile Coste, then director of the École de Joinville. Georges Demeny also expresses his objection to Swedish gymnastics, among other spaces, at the International Congress of Physical Education held in 1905 in Brussels, Belgium (DELHEYE, 2014DELHEYE, Pascal. Statistics, gymnastics and the origins of sport science in Belgium (and Europe). European Journal Of Sport Science, [s.l.], v. 14, n. 7, p. 652-660, Mar. 2014.).

Ludvig Kumlien, for his part, holds a display of Swedish gymnastics at the party room of the newspaper Le Figaro the same year the second edition of his handbook is published. French newspapers highlighted the event, claiming the presence of an “elite audience”, with French figures from medicine, school, and sport; additionally, opening the exhibition was Professor Poirier from the Faculty of Medicine of Paris (BONIFÁCIO, 2019BONIFÁCIO, Iara Marina dos Anjos. Itinerários de Ludvig Gideon Kumlien e a (re) produção da ginástica sueca. 2019. 158 f. Dissertação (Mestrado em Educação) - Faculdade de Educação, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, 2019.). With both actions, we believe Ludvig Kumlien and his partners sought to circumvent the opposition Swedish gymnastics faced.

In 1906, Kumlien published alone his second handbook La Gymnastique pour tous, replacing suédoise for pour tous. We observe that Kumlien, to circumvent oppositions against Swedish gymnastics in the handbook in question, repeats the same initiative undertaken in the first handbook. He changed its title, and used the terms “gymnastique suédoise” or “méthode suédoise” less, preferring “gymnastique rationnelle”.

Unlike the previous two handbooks, the Cours complet d’éducation physique, published in 1909, did not focus on gymnastics, as its name suggests; it proposed, however, to compile “the main elements of a well-understood physical education and specially adapted to teaching needs” (FABENS; KUMLIEN, 1909FABENS, Raoul; KUMLIEN, Ludvig Gideon. Cours Complet d’Éducation Physique: à l’usage de la Jeunesse des Écoles. Paris: Armand Colin, 1909. 210 p., p. V). Instead of opposing gymnastics to sports, the authors propose to bring them closer together so that one completes the other. Thus, the handbook comprises a first part focused on “the basics of hygiene and physiology”, a second part on “educational gymnastics (Swedish gymnastics)”, and a third party for “games and school sports”.

The Cours complet was published in partnership with Rauol Fabens, a journalist who served as director of the newspaper Tous Le Sports. He also served as general secretary of the Union des sociétés françaises de sports athlétiques, which later became the French Olympic committee at the 1896 Olympic Games- an event conceived by Pierre de Coubertin (1863-1937), with whom Fabens worked at that time (BONIFÁCIO, 2019BONIFÁCIO, Iara Marina dos Anjos. Itinerários de Ludvig Gideon Kumlien e a (re) produção da ginástica sueca. 2019. 158 f. Dissertação (Mestrado em Educação) - Faculdade de Educação, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, 2019.).

The action of bringing gymnastics and sports closer together may be related to the strengthening of the sports movement to the detriment of gymnastics, although both coexisted in France since the end of the 19th century, when Pierre de Coubertin carried out several initiatives to promote the modern Olympic Games, which had its first edition in Athens, Greece, in 1896; four years later, in Paris, sports gradually gained significant space.

Bazoge, Saint-Martin, and Attali (2011BAZOGE, Natalia; SAINT-MARTIN, Jean; ATTALI, Michael. Promoting the Swedish method of physical education throughout France for the benefit of public health (1868- 1954). Scandinavian Journal Of Medicine & Science In Sports, [s.l.], v. 23, n. 2, p. 232-243, Aug. 2011.) claim that the 1911 International Congress of Physical Education, held in Odense, Denmark, would have been central in the new course of promoting Swedish gymnastics, which had been losing ground to sports. “Join” sports would have been, then, a strategy to guarantee a space for gymnastics.

Not only in French territory but also within the CIG itself, at the end of the 19th century, there were proposals to change Swedish gymnastics by including sports (LINDROTH, 1979LINDROTH, Jan. Linganism and the natural method - the problem of continuity in Swedish gymnastics. In: INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS FOR THE HISTORY OF SPORT AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION, 8th, 1979, Uppsala and Stockholm. Congress Report. Uppsala and Stockholm: SVIF, 1979. Disponível em: Disponível em: https://institut-schmelz.univie.ac.at/fileadmin/user_upload/i_sportwissenschaft/Diplompruefungsliteratur/ Lindroth1979_._Lingianism_and_the_Natural_Method.pdf . Acesso em: 20 jan. 2021.
https://institut-schmelz.univie.ac.at/fi...
; LANGLADE, A.; LANGLADE, N., 1970LANGLADE, Alberto; LANGLADE, Nelly Rey. Teoria general de la gimnasia. Buenos Aires: Editorial Stadium, 1970. 526 p.). After graduating from the CIG at the time, Kumlien would probably have already understood this debate.

Given this context, Ludvig Kumlien changed the titles of his handbooks, among other reasons, in an attempt to circumvent the opposition faced by Swedish gymnastics in French territory. These changes, however, went beyond the title.

From the 1901 edition to the 1904 edition of La Gymnastique suédoise, authorship changed, more text was inserted, and a new chapter was added. While Ludvig Kumlien and Émile André (1901KUMLIEN, Ludvig Gideon; ANDRÉ, Emile. La gymnastique suédoise: Manuel de la gymnastique rationelle a la portée de tous et à tout âge. Paris: Flammarion , [1901]. 136 p.) appear as co-authors in the first edition, only Émile André ([1904]) signed the work “according to the Kumlien method”. The following excerpt was added in the section Histoire résumée de la gymnastique:

In France, the main initiator of Swedish gymnastics, as Mr. Hugues Le Roux explained so well, was my excellent teacher and friend, Mr. L. G. Kumlien. And this master inscribes in his teaching a mark so personal that it was correct, by forcing his modesty, to name this teaching the “Kumlien method”. Not only for the pedagogical part of the Swedish method, but also and especially for the medical and orthopedic part, as well as for massage, Mr. Kumlien quickly acquired, in Paris, a very justified reputation in the public and in the academic world (ANDRÉ, [1904]ANDRÉ, Emile. La Gymnastique suédoise: Manuel de Gymnastique Rationnelle A la portée de tous et à tout âge d’après la méthode de L. G. Kumlien. Paris: Flammarion, [1904]. 228 p.., p. 65-66, our translation).

The excerpt reveals Kumlien’s dedication to the pedagogical and medical- gymnastics, as well as his attempt to enter the “history of gymnastics”; after all, his “teaching method” is added to the section concerning the history of gymnastics, placing him alongside Ling, Amoros11 11 Francisco Amoros y Odeano was born in Valencia, Spain, on February 19, 1770. He was deported to France in 1814 and, in 1816, became French citizen and began initiatives to create gymnasiums. Amoros died in Paris on August 8, 1948 (SOARES, 1998). and Jahn12 12 Friedrich Ludwig Jahn (1778-1852) was one of the responsible for systemizing German gymnastics (QUITZAU, 2014, 2015). , important exponents of Swedish, French and German gymnastics, respectively. Mentioning his “personal mark” in gymnastics teaching in this section could suggest an attempt to be placed on the same level as those recognized as gymnastics exponents. Possibly, the need to distinguish this “method” motivated the changes made in the handbook.

The [1904] edition also featured a new chapter, Les progrès de la gymnastique suédoise en France, assessing the presence of Swedish gymnastics in France. Despite oppositions, doctors, journalists, and renowned professors attested to the excellence of the method; even the army gymnastics regulation of 1902 adopted, in part, the Swedish gymnastics - “what may be surprising is that it has not been yet fully adopted throughout France” (ANDRÉ, [1904]ANDRÉ, Emile. La Gymnastique suédoise: Manuel de Gymnastique Rationnelle A la portée de tous et à tout âge d’après la méthode de L. G. Kumlien. Paris: Flammarion, [1904]. 228 p.., p. 198). According to André ([1904]ANDRÉ, Emile. La Gymnastique suédoise: Manuel de Gymnastique Rationnelle A la portée de tous et à tout âge d’après la méthode de L. G. Kumlien. Paris: Flammarion, [1904]. 228 p..), the main causes for opposing Swedish gymnastics in France were: routine; the interest of certain personalities in using gymnastics only as a stepping stone for titles, honors, and electoral votes; the absence of a national institute of gymnastics for teachers, based on rational gymnastics; insufficient knowledge about gymnastics and even its total ignorance. But another seems to have been the main obstacle.

Should we mention another type of objection that was used to prevent its full introduction in France? “It is a foreign gymnastics”, they say.

It is good to sound patriotic, especially be a patriot, and as far as I am concerned, I dearly respect chauvinism, when it is sincere; but when your differences go against the goal proposed, one must, however, cry out for position!

So, the so-called French gymnastics is truly national? It includes exercises on foreign devices: for example, the bar is from Germany, where it was called reck; other devices come from England, Spain and other countries. Even if we had a kind of gymnastics created entirely in France, would he not have less chance to adopt a method invited abroad, if it is shown to be more practical, suitable for all and quite adequate to train healthy and vigorous men, to strengthen the race? (ANDRÉ, [1904]ANDRÉ, Emile. La Gymnastique suédoise: Manuel de Gymnastique Rationnelle A la portée de tous et à tout âge d’après la méthode de L. G. Kumlien. Paris: Flammarion, [1904]. 228 p.., p. 201-202, our translation).

Chauvinism, and patriotism seem to have created such opposition that “one does not say that Swedish theory was introduced into the army, into schools; one says that the ‘rational method’ was introduced” (ANDRÉ, [1904]ANDRÉ, Emile. La Gymnastique suédoise: Manuel de Gymnastique Rationnelle A la portée de tous et à tout âge d’après la méthode de L. G. Kumlien. Paris: Flammarion, [1904]. 228 p.., p. 202). Considering that its name, which promptly showed its foreign nature - “Swedish” -, created such objection, could renaming it the “Kumlien method” been a strategy to circumvent this issue? Were Kumlien’s teaching skills the sole reason for using that expression? Could having a French author, not a foreigner, also contribute to its acceptance?

Thus, La Gymnastique suédoise left the first traces on the version and method of the gymnastics practiced by Ludvig Kumlien in French territory, even if anchored on Swedish gymnastics principles proposed by Ling and mediated by his disciples.

Unlike the first handbook, where movements are grouped and classified, in La Gymnastique pour tous, the sessions are presented according to gender and age. Additionally, it only featured movements that can be performed without devices, thus abandoning the exercises performed with rope, wall bars, horse, and weapons. They also removed the “application movements”, which included practicing fencing, swimming, among others, remaining only the games - for children - and walking. Some movements with jumps also remained in the series (KUMLIEN, [1906]KUMLIEN, Ludvig Gideon. La Gymnastique pour tous. Paris: Per Lamm, [1906]. 107 p.).

Besides trying to move away from its foreign aspect, La Gymnastique pour tous also sought to circumvent another opposition found in France and featured in Kumlien’s first handbook published: the routine. It removed the use of devices, established the sessions according to the public, and shortened the introductory aspects, which addressed everyday issues such as bathing, cleaning the house, and also the parents’ role in the good upbringing of their children, which would include practicing together with the gymnastics for all. This would enable even those with a busy routine to practice the lessons.

The Cours complet d’éducation physique merges many elements present in the two handbooks previously published by Kumlien, both concerning content and movements. Its main difference lies in the prominence given to the games and the addition, in a gymnastics session, of rhythmic elements, songs, and dance, for women. The inclusion of these practices, as well as having participated in a work that understands sports as elements of physical education, shows how Kumlien gradually outlined strategies to promote his gymnastics and, through them, also transformed it.

But Kumlien remains to reference Swedish gymnastics and expressing how its practice could provide many benefits. In the Cours complet d’éducation physique, for example, Kumlien dedicated a chapter, entitled “résultats de la gymnastique suédoise or rationnelle”, to show the accomplishments and recognitions obtained in France by rational gymnastics, as it was done in La Gymnastique Suédoise.

In the 1921 edition of the Cours complet, different movements were added to the handbook - more than forty pages -, some very similar to those that had already been published in the previous two handbooks, and some original ones. Both in the new and those already published, we remarked on the exercises and the proposal of exercises done in pairs combination.

Kumlien’s dedication in developing other gymnastic movements may be related to the fact that in the year the second edition of Cours complet was published, approximately eight years had passed since Kumlien began working as a professor at the École des Roches, where he remained for another four years. The new exercises may have emerged from this teaching experience.

Finally, we noticed one last change between the handbooks. In La Gymnastique Suédoise, Kumlien and André focused mainly on pedagogical gymnastics and medical gymnastics - they corresponded to 81 and 65 pages, respectively, out of 226 pages of the book, together they comprised more than half of the work. This emphasis given to both gymnastics appears in the introduction of the handbook, where the authors state: “we will no longer insist in this book on aesthetic gymnastics. On the other hand, we will touch briefly on military gymnastics” (ANDRÉ, [1904ANDRÉ, Emile. La Gymnastique suédoise: Manuel de Gymnastique Rationnelle A la portée de tous et à tout âge d’après la méthode de L. G. Kumlien. Paris: Flammarion, [1904]. 228 p..], p. 69).

In La Gymnastique pour tous, medical, pedagogical, military, and aesthetic gymnastics only appear at the end of the handbook, in supplementary notes. Although Kumlien does not mention whether the exercises proposed came from one of these gymnastics, at last, he stated that the pedagogical or educational part of the Swedish method applied to people of all ages and both genders.

In the Cours complet d’éducation physique, Kumlien makes no mention of these divisions, but dedicated a chapter, entitled “résultats de la gymnastique suédoise or rationnelle”, to show the accomplishments and recognitions obtained in France by rational gymnastics, as it was done in La Gymnastique Suédoise. We observe thus that throughout his writings, Ludvig Kumlien refers continuously to Ling and/or the Stockholm Institute, even if doing so may engender opposition to his ideas. His compositions also betray the changes in his daily work, experiences, and confrontations that affected the gymnastics he learned. In this sense, his handbooks can be read as records of his teaching, exhibition, and publicity efforts. Although influenced by Ling and the Institute, Ludvig Kumlien’s gymnastics presents an authorial dimension. Kumlien’s mediation turns the gymnastics he teaches into a singular cultural good, a product other than what he came into contact with in his training.

After all, what was Ludvig Kumlien’s Swedish gymnastics?

Initially, with a gymnastics proposal close to what we believe he learned at the Stockholm Institute, Kumlien published his first handbook. He presented different elements that would allow the reader a broad notion of the ways of teaching Swedish gymnastics, especially the pedagogical and medical. The second edition of his first handbook seems to have been the first initiative towards changing these gymnastics due to the opposition it faced when promoted. Still, he kept the name “Swedish gymnastics”, even stating that it would be taught from his method.

From then on, different changes came into play: from removing “Swedish gymnastics” from the title of his works to proposing new exercises and other ways of practicing those previously published, giving greater emphasis to games, and incorporating rhythmic games and dance. The intended audience for the handbook also changed. First concerned with those who would teach it, in the second edition, he turned to those who would practice it, too, re-establishing a dialogue with the teachers. Even their structure changed: previously divided as the CIG - between medical, pedagogical, and military gymnastics -, they began being divided into an introductory part followed by the exercises.

Undertook mainly to circumvent its opposing forces, such changes did not curtail Kunlien’s references to Swedish gymnastics and Ling. Sometimes more explicitly, in the title and texts of the handbook, in mobilizing the CIG members compositions; sometimes more implied, using synonyms such as “rational gymnastics”, bringing French individuals convinced of Swedish gymnastics in his partnerships, quoting and changing the authorship of the works.

All these initiatives reveal how, over the years, Ludvig Kumlien promoted changes in the Swedish gymnastics he proposed to divulge and teach when arriving in Paris. Having had contact, in his training, with a Swedish gymnastics highly mediated by Ling’s disciples and his son, who gave significant prominence to medical and pedagogical gymnastics alternately, he also leaves his mark on this cultural object. He initially reproduced what he learned at the CIG; after his travels and contact with opposing parties and different audiences, he developed another gymnastics: his version of Swedish gymnastics.

Even though Ludvig Kumlien effected changes in the gymnastics, he disclosed - what we are calling “Kumlien’s Swedish gymnastics”, “his version” of Swedish gymnastics -, these changes dialogued with the movement taking place within the CIG itself, called modern Swedish gymnastics. The Stockholm Institute, aware of the criticism and resistance its gymnastics began to face over time, incorporated other practices into its method and named this process “modernization”.

Thus, when referring to Ling’s gymnastics, Swedish gymnastics, or rational gymnastics, we do not describe homogeneous, unique, equal practices. These are basic systematizations, principles, common grounds that differ, to some extent, regarding their exercises and that these differences may vary according to the individual, the places they occupy, the experiences and repertoires they accumulate, among other aspects.

Finally, we reinforce the provisional nature of the conclusions drawn here because although the handbooks Ludvig Kumlien published with his partners are revealing of this transformation process, they represent only part of the initiatives carried out by the different subjects involved in it. In this sense, we highlight the need for further in-depth studies related to this issue.

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  • VAGO, Tarcísio Mauro. Momentos iniciais do ensino de Ginástica nas Escolas Primárias de Belo Horizonte. In: VAGO, Tarcísio Mauro. Cultura Escolar, Cultivo de Corpos: Educação Physica e Gymnastica como práticas constitutivas dos corpos de crianças no ensino público primário de Belo Horizonte. Bragança Paulista: Edusf, 2002. p. 249-282.

  • 1
    Translated by Tikinet. E-mail: tikinet@tikinet.com.br.
  • 2
    Work funded by the Coordination of Higher Education and Graduate Training (CAPES) - funding code 001 - and the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais (FAPEMIG). Translation funded by CAPES/ProEx - Graduate Program in Education/Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais.
  • 3
    For a time, the institute was called the Royal Gymnastics Central Institute. Throughout the text, we refer to the Institute by the acronym CIG, as it is known worldwide.
  • 4
    We refer to the works of Bollinng and Yttergren (2015); Bloomfield (2005); Bazoge, Saint-Martin and Attali (2011); Sarremejane (2006); Baía, Bonifácio and Moreno (2019); Moreno and Baía (2019), among others.
  • 5
    On the different possibilities, see Bonifácio (2019); Baía, Bonifácio and Moreno (2019).
  • 6
    On the circulation of these handbooks in other countries, Cf. Baía, Bonifácio and Moreno (2019) and Bonifácio (2019).
  • 7
    Georges Demeny (1850-1917) was born in Dowai, France and moved to Paris where he founded the Circle of Rational Gymnastics and, together with E. J. Marey, founded the physiological station at Parc des Princes. He also organized the physical education course at École de Joinville Le Pont, where he was appointed professor of physiology. His career is marked by moments of intense support for the Swedish method and others of criticism, in which he started advocating for a French method (SOARES, 1998; SARREMEJANE, 2006).
  • 8
    Philippe Tissié (1852-1935) was a physician and furthered his studies in Swedish gymnastics, becoming one of its advocates on French territory and thus entering a huge controversy with Georges Demeny (SOARES, 1998; BAZOGE; SAINT-MARTIN; ATTALI, 2011).
  • 9
    Fernand Lagrange (1845-1909) was a physician and physiologist. Renowned scientist who dedicated his studies to issues related to hygiene and therapy and its relationship with movement (SOARES, 1998).
  • 10
    Founded in 1852, the École de Gymnastique de Joinville Le Pont aimed to train instructors capable of teaching military gymnastics. In 1872, the school added the term “normal” to its name, signifying that it now aims to train gymnastic instructors and not just prepare soldiers. Thus, the École de Joinville became the institution responsible for structuring physical education in French territory (SARREMEJANE, 2006).
  • 11
    Francisco Amoros y Odeano was born in Valencia, Spain, on February 19, 1770. He was deported to France in 1814 and, in 1816, became French citizen and began initiatives to create gymnasiums. Amoros died in Paris on August 8, 1948 (SOARES, 1998).
  • 12
    Friedrich Ludwig Jahn (1778-1852) was one of the responsible for systemizing German gymnastics (QUITZAU, 2014, 2015).

Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    20 Aug 2021
  • Date of issue
    2021

History

  • Received
    29 Sept 2020
  • Accepted
    27 Jan 2021
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