Literacy and the Social Order: Reading and Writing in Tudor and Stuart England

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Cambridge University Press, Nov 23, 2006 - History - 260 pages
In this exploration of the social context of reading and writing in pre-industrial England, David Cressy tackles important questions about the limits of participation in the mainstream of early modern society. To what extent could people at different social levels share in political, religious, literary and cultural life; how vital was the ability to read and write; and how widely distributed were these skills? Using a combination of humanist and social-scientific methods, Dr Cressy provides a detailed reconstruction of the profile of literacy in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England, looking forward to the eighteenth century and also making comparisons with other European societies.

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Contents

List of maps page
5
The acquisition of literacy
19
The measurement of literacy
42
Literacy and loyalty
62
Lay illiteracy in ecclesiastical records
104
The structure of illiteracy
118
The dynamics of illiteracy
142
Literacy and society in England and beyond
175
Notes
204
Bibliography
231
Index
244
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