By David Cressy
During this exploration of the social context of interpreting and writing in pre-industrial England, David Cressy tackles very important questions about the boundaries of participation within the mainstream of early smooth society. To what quantity may possibly humans at diversified social degrees proportion in political, spiritual, literary and cultural existence; how very important used to be the power to learn and write; and the way broadly allotted have been those talents? utilizing a mix of humanist and social-scientific tools, Dr Cressy offers a close reconstruction of the profile of literacy in 16th- and seventeenth-century England, awaiting the eighteenth century and likewise making comparisons with different eu societies
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Additional info for Literacy and the Social Order: Reading and Writing in Tudor and Stuart England
Opportunities opened up around the age of seven or eight and closed again as people became fully occupied in work around fifteen. For those seven or eight years there was some chance of receiving an elementary education, but if the parents could not see the value in it, if the child was hostile or the teacher lacking in talent, if the schooling proved too expensive or was not locally available, then the opportunity might pass, never again to return. 3 The measurement of literacy How can we measure the extent of literacy and illiteracy in Tudor and Stuart England?
The rewards were small, but teachers like these could always find clients who wished for someone to teach their children to read instead of undertaking the task themselves. Schoolmistresses probably did no more damage than the men, but their activities are difficult to trace. Dorothy Gardiner remarked on their 'insignificant number and subordinate position' in Elizabethan England. The ecclesiastical licensing system which was supposed to embrace petty teachers as well as grammar masters seems, in practice, not to have concerned itself with women.
They sound so rudimentary as to be superfluous, but it should be remembered that most people in the past grew up with no access to writing materials of any kind and had none of the practice of doodling, scribbling or sketching that children enjoy today. 22 Writing was first taught as a supplementary skill in order to consolidate what had already been learned through reading. The beginning writer would work his way through the letters, diphthongs, syllables and words that he had already learned to recognize and pronounce.