A History of Reading and Writing: In the Western World

A History of Reading and Writing: In the Western World

by Martyn Lyons


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A History of Reading and Writing: In the Western World by Martyn Lyons

Martyn Lyons surveys the changing relationships enjoyed by men and women with the written word, from early times to the present day. He provides a highly-readable account of the social history of reading and writing, relating it to key historical moments such as the Renaissance, the Reformation and the Enlightenment.

Offering a fresh history centred on the reactions and experiences of ordinary readers and writers, Lyons deals with key turning points that occurred throughout the centuries, such as the invention of the codex, the transition from scribal to print culture, the reading revolution and the industrialisation of the book.

Tracing the major historical developments across Europe and North America which revolutionised our relationship with texts, this book provides an engaging and invaluable overview of the history of scribal and print culture.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780230001626
Publisher: Macmillan Education UK
Publication date: 12/15/2009
Edition description: 2009
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

MARTYN LYONS is Professor of History at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. He is the author of several works on French revolutionary history and on the history of reading and writing practices. His publications include Le Triomphe du Livre, Readers and Society in 19th Century France, and Reading Culture and Writing Practices in 19th Century France.

Table of Contents

List of Tables and Illustrations vi

Abbreviations vii

1 What is the history of reading and writing? 1

2 Reading and writing in the ancient and medieval world 12

3 Was there a printing revolution? 26

4 Print and the Protestant Reformation 43

5 Renaissance books and humanist readers 58

6 Print and popular culture 73

7 The rise of literacy in the early modern West, c. 1600-c. 1800 88

8 Censorship and the reading public in pre-revolutionary France 105

9 The reading fever, 1750-1830 119

10 The age of the mass reading public 137

11 New readers and reading cultures 153

12 The democratisation of writing, 1800 to the present 171

13 Readers and writers in the digital age 185

Notes 201

Further reading 226

Index 234

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

A History of Reading and Writing in the Western World provides a thought provoking overview and analysis of a vast range of time and ideas. I would certainly recommend this as a set text for my Book History courses.' – Jane Potter, Oxford Brookes

'A History of Reading and Writing in the Western World fills a crying need for an introductory transnational Book History textbook.' – Jonathan Rose, Drew University

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