Rise of Literacy

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 Sinking of the Titanic – a Historic Press Panorama

In the early morning of 15 April 1912, one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history occurred. RMS Titanic – which was considered unsinkable – was on her maiden voyage in the North Atlantic when she collided with an iceberg.

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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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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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