Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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Literacy and illiteracy
(915 words)

From the 16th century to the 19th, illiteracy gradually declined in Europe. This process of literacy education, the dissemination of the cultural techniques of  reading and writing throughout the whole population, was originally ascribed to the development of a functioning school system. A precise analysis of the association between school programs and the retreat of illiteracy in the 19th century has shown, however, that a good school program by itself was insufficient for the successful elimination of illiteracy. The  schools were the most important institutions, but a…

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Prass, Reiner, “Literacy and illiteracy”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 26 February 2024 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_016742>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20190801

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