Rise of Literacy

The Trailblazer: Jelena Dimitrijević, Serbia’s first feminist author

This is a story about a Serbian writer and traveller who chose to lead a very different life to the one expected of a woman born and raised in the patriarchal Serbian society of the 19th and early 20th century. Brave, educated and self-aware, this remarkable woman was a poetess, a novelist, and a writer […]

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Madame de Staël (1766-1817): from the Enlightenment to the Dawn of Romanticism

Writer, republican, literary theoretician and philosopher, Madame de Staël contributed to the diffusion of ideas in Europe through her travels and her Salon, where she received many European intellectuals.

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Lighting the Way: How Illuminated Initials Guided Medieval Readers through Books

Many medieval manuscripts are full of decorated capital letters that add colour to the page. They come in all styles and sizes, but what exactly are they and what was their purpose?

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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. 

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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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