Rise of Literacy

The Place of Literature in the World of Newspapers

In France, the important development of including literature in the press began with the launch of ‘La Presse‘ in 1836 by Emile de Girardin. He cut the subscription rate to his daily newspaper in half by speculating on advertising to cover the costs. He also developed the serialised novel to create customer loyalty, by calling […]

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Emile Zola: Novelist and Journalist

A true writer-journalist, Emile Zola successfully managed both activities for about 20 years, at first out of financial necessity before he became a successful author, but also by conviction.

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Europe’s First Printed Book

How do we know what Europe’s first printed book was? Until the 18th century this question was open to speculation.15th-century printed books usually have no title page and do not always give the printer’s name.

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A Path to Literacy – Role of the Catechism in Learning to Read

For Protestant and Catholic communities of the past, learning the basics of faith and the basics of reading went quite naturally hand in hand. But were all early catechisms necessarily intended as reading primers? Children’s Education: a Point of Contention between Catholics and Protestants For Europeans at the start of the Early Modern Period, knowledge […]

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Use of Propaganda in WWI Postcards

Millions of postcards circulated during the First World War and influenced public opinion. It is not surprising that something as ordinary as a postcard was used by governments on all sides to either defend their own actions, to discredit the enemy and to rouse the masses to support their nation.  Within just three days of […]

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Arthurian Literature: Foundation for a Common History in Europe

No literary figure has stood the test of time quite like King Arthur. His story has inspired people across Europe for centuries. King Arthur: a Legendary Figure The earliest reference to Arthur can be found in ‘The Book of Aneirin’. Originally composed in the 6th century, Aneirin’s poem ‘Y Gododdin’ discusses the battle of Catraeth […]

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The ‘Romance of the Rose’: A Medieval Guide to Love

This poem about living and loving in medieval courts was both very popular and controversial in the late Middle Ages and throughout the Renaissance. Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun, ‘Le Roman de la Rose’ (Paris, 2nd quarter of the 14th century) Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département des Manuscrits, Français 1572, f. 3r, No […]

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Banned Authors – who got on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum?

Many noteworthy authors were put on the Index librorum prohibitorum because their works were seen to cause religious, political and moral controversies. Famous names on the Roman Index include: – Greek and the Roman authors like Ovid and Petronius – religious reformers like Martin Luther, Philipp Melanchthon, and Jean Calvin – humanists like Erasmus of […]

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