Rise of Literacy

Private and Public Letters

Read about the famous epistolary cases from 14th and 17th century when private correspondence entered public life.

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Before Braille: raised type in Europe

In the nineteenth century innovations in raised type allowed the written word to became accessible to visually impaired readers for the first time.

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Romanticism and the Invention of Tradition: Iolo Morganwg and James MacPherson

Learn about literary forgeries in 18th century poetry celebrating Celtic cultures in Scotland and Wales.

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Street Literature: Welsh Almanacs

Discover the favourite reading material of monoglot Welsh speakers right from the 17th century.

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Babylonian Language Confusion – Ljubomir Micić and Yugoslav avant-garde movement

Yugoslavia’s avant-garde invented a new language and orthography in the early 20th century.

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The Traveller – story of Milorad Rajčević

Read about adventurous Serbian journalist and his journey around the world at the beginning of 20th century.

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Born to be Forgotten – the story of Božidar Knežević

Read about Božidar Knežević, one of the most significant Serbian philosophers at the turn of the 20th century.

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An international news medium – the European dissemination of 17th century Dutch Newspapers

The Dutch Republic was not the first country where newspapers were published. But in Amsterdam the conditions for the gathering and publishing of news appeared to be much better than in other places. Why?

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Catchpenny prints in The Netherlands

What did the people in the lower orders of society and children read in the 18th and 19th centuries? In the Netherlands, their main reading material was catchpenny prints.

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‘In the Album of a Girl’: a Dutch Poet Laureate writes a poem in an album amicorum

How would you like having a poem composed especially for your friendship album? This is what happened to Elizabeth Adriana Staats (1823-1896). 

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Chapbooks: the poor person’s reading material

Books were expensive in Scotland between the 17th and 19th centuries. But literacy was comparatively high, and people were keen on reading. There was a large market for cheap, easy-to-get reading material: so-called street literature because it was simply sold on the streets.

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Paul Du Chaillu: an Ethnologist in the Nordic Countries

The French explorer Paul Belloni Du Chaillu (1831-1903) reported on his travels in the lands of the midnight sun in his illustrated and well-documented account of life in Northern Europe. Also a seasoned explorer of Africa, in the 1870s Paul Du Chaillu changed track and travelled through the Nordic countries. He wrote several books about […]

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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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