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Literacy and popular culture : England 1750-1914 / David Vincent

Main Author Vincent, David Country Reino Unido. Publication Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1993 Description XII, 362 p. ; 23 cm Series Cambridge studies in oral and literate culture , 19 ISBN 0-521-45771-8 CDU 371.09(410)
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Item type Current location Call number Status Date due Barcode Item holds
Monografia Biblioteca Vitor Aguiar e Silva
BVAS 371.09(410) - V Indisponível | Not available 112096
Monografia Biblioteca de Ciências da Educação
BCE1 371.09(469) - V Available 185634
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

In l750, half the population were unable to sign their names; by l9l4 England, together with a handful of advanced Western countries, had for the first time in history achieved a nominally literate society. This book seeks to understand how and why literacy spread into every corner of English society, and what impact it had on the lives and minds of the common people.

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • List of figures and tables (p. ix)
  • Preface (p. xi)
  • 1 Introduction (p. 1)
  • 2 Family (p. 21)
  • Family literacy (p. 22)
  • The status of literacy (p. 29)
  • The post (p. 32)
  • Conclusion (p. 49)
  • 3 Education (p. 53)
  • The domestic curriculum (p. 54)
  • Becoming literate (p. 66)
  • Official schooling (p. 73)
  • Conclusion (p. 92)
  • 4 Work (p. 95)
  • Occupational literacy (p. 96)
  • Occupational learning (p. 104)
  • Occupational recruitment (p. 119)
  • Labour relations (p. 134)
  • Conclusion (p. 153)
  • 5 The natural world (p. 156)
  • Knowledge (p. 159)
  • Authority (p. 171)
  • Time (p. 180)
  • Conclusion (p. 193)
  • 6 Imagination (p. 196)
  • Transition (p. 197)
  • Commercialisation (p. 210)
  • Conclusion (p. 226)
  • 7 Politics (p. 228)
  • The State (p. 229)
  • The press (p. 241)
  • The earnest worker (p. 258)
  • Conclusion (p. 268)
  • 8 Literacy and its uses (p. 270)
  • Appendix A Marriage register sample (p. 281)
  • Appendix B Literacy networks (p. 283)
  • Notes (p. 286)
  • Bibliography (p. 328)
  • Index (p. 356)

Reviews provided by Syndetics


Vincent's fully documented and closely reasoned study examines how and why literacy rose in modern England within the loci of institutions such as family, education (formal and informal), the workplace, and politics, and within the individual's imagination and sense of the natural world. The increase of signatures on marriage certificates illustrates the rise and spread of literacy. Data on postal deliveries show how technology and inventions played their roles, and tables on literacy and mobility of working-class fathers/sons and unskilled laboring-class fathers/sons demonstrate the impact of literacy on changes in occupation and social status. Although literacy was usually identified with progress and with improving the plight of the masses, different institutions, such as the Church of England and the government, had specific ends for its use that would serve their own purposes. Rather than equalizing society and making it adhere to middle-class views, literacy tended to divide it further, argues Vincent. Upper-division undergraduates and above. -R. T. Matthews, Michigan State University

Author notes provided by Syndetics

David Vincent is Professor of Social History at Keele University. His publications include The autobiography of the working class (1984, 1987, 1989), Bread, knowledge and freedom (1981) and Poor citizens (1991).

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