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Group D

Nov 15, 2014




chapters 12, 13, and 14

  • 1. The Advent of Print and the Rise of Literacy Crowley and Heyer: Chapters 12, 13, and 14

2. The Invention of Printing The Invention of Printingby Lewis Mumford 3. Introduction

  • Invention of print second only to the clock according to Mumford
  • Human intervention in the process is eliminated except at the beginning: the production of the work, and at the end, through its consumption


  • Mumford states that a society must abandon slavery and be ready to distribute literacy, which was once available only to social elites, to all levels of society for literacy to truly become universal through cheap and widespread production


  • The invention of the printing press saw the elimination of the calligrapher from the process of bookmaking within a century
  • Printing unified the process of reading; Mumford states reading would have been a very difficult task if a person had to overcome understanding a new form of handwriting on every page they read


  • A handwritten manuscript lost is effectiveness due to the length of time taken to produce a volume and the individualism of the handwriting employed
    • A work could not be widely distributed or understood when handwritten
  • Impersonality of print is a benefit to the development of literacy


  • Print must underemphasize personality
  • The printer must convey the meaning of the writer to the reader, with the least intrusion of his own personality
  • The emphasis of the author is heighted considerably through downplaying the calligrapher


  • Mumford claims that society is falling back into illiteracy due to television and radio, and that this is the only way in which we will realize the benefit of the printed word
  • Final invention will be a scanner that produces print without the need for a typographer
    • Essentially describing the automatic processes enabled by the computer

9. Questions

  • Does the advent of print require a society which already rejects slavery to develop fully, or does the spread of print to all classes breaks down class barriers itself?
  • Are television and radio truly destroying the benefits of print, or are they simply conveying stories and information in more modern forms?

10. The Rise of the Reading Public The Rise of the Reading Publicby Elizabeth Eisenstein 11. The printing press made history, but didnt make history

  • Printing was such a pivotal element of human development, yet there are very few accounts of its detailed effects on civilization
  • Studies about the history of printing are not integrated into the rest of historical literature
  • The exact nature and impact of printing on Western civilization is subject to interpretation.
  • It is obvious that the press made changes, although there are no theories of an explicit and systematic form that outline how these changes took shape, and how access to printed literature changed the way people learned, thought, and perceived

12. Question

  • Do you think that there are ways that historians could have better documented how the printing press changed human thought, learning, and perception?


  • Before 1494, the Carthusians of Cologne turned to local printers to expand their vocation
    • Reformed Benedictine orders also kept local printers busy
    • Scriptorium to printing shop
    • The revival of monastic scripture during the century before Gutenberg was the last revival of its kind

14. Marshall McLuhan: Consequences to Print

  • Discourse replaced by silent scanning (reading)
  • Face-to-face contacts replaced by impersonal interactions
  • Claims that we need to think less metaphorically and abstractly

15. Paul Saenger: Silent Reading

  • Printing did not introduce silent reading, encouraged self-teaching
  • Textbook industries flourished, but classroom lectures never died
  • Increasing option to silent publication changed the character of some spoken words


  • Storytellers replaced by the literate villager who could read aloud
  • Mostly consumed by the hearing public
  • Sunday paper replaced church-going
  • The monthly gazette (newspaper) was succeeded by a weekly to daily paper
  • Rise of personal isolation where community becomes more privatized


  • Public reading becoming rare
  • Competition between older, restricted center of faithful groups and new forms of group identities
  • Less public participation in civic ceremonies due to print
  • Rise in print and engravings made loyalty spread their message easier

18. Questions to Ponder

  • The printing press helped spread the religious word. Is this a factor for a rise in public literacy?
  • Did silent reading lead to an impersonal means of communication?
  • Influenced through print reading, was there an increase number of people in the teaching profession? The increase of educational institutions?

19. Early Modern LiteraciesEarly Modern Literaciesby Harvey J. Graff 20. Print, Reform, and Reformation

  • According to the text, the protestant Reformation was one of the biggest factors in the development of literacy.
  • Two of the primary results of the reformation were the printing press and use of the vernacular


  • Protestant Reformation:A Christian reform movement that took place in Europe in 1517 which contributed to the development of literacy.


  • Ninety-five theses:a document written by Martin Luther that sparked the birth of Protestanism.


  • The availability of printed matter did not cause an increase in literacy; it increased the flow of communications and raised the probability of more and more persons receiving information. The use of printing insured that Luthers theses and later writings were rapidly and widely circulated.(Graff 104)

24. Discussion Question

  • What other factors/channels of communication might have influenced the Reformation?

25. Literacy in Colonial North America 26. New England

  • Those people with religious, familial, occupational, demographic, geographic, or economic reasons, and/or from places with higher-than-average rates of literacy, were more likely to migrate the long distance over to New England.

27. Some stats for you

  • In the 17th century in New England, male literacy rates were at about 60%
  • The literacy rate went up almost one-half to almost all of the population from mid 17th century to 18th century
  • About one third of women were literate in 1670.


  • The Puritan religion was a big part of the rise in literacy in New England because...
    • In the early 17th century, it was made a requirement for children to have schooling.
    • Literacy was a universal prerequisite to spiritual preparation (pg, 110)


  • Schooling was seen as a sign of wealth, commercialization and as a institution of maturity
  • It was traditional and religiously oriented
  • Children were taught in their households until they were old enough to be taken to church and then placed in school


  • Literacy was instrumental to the formation of modern personality characteristics in the new colonies. (pg.111)


  • The biggest rise in literacy came in the 18th century because in the 17th century, a lot of the Puritan culture was still oral.
  • Reading and writing were not daily activities

32. Virginia and Maryland

  • The rich were usually literate but only about half of the poor were
  • This number rose to about two thirds of the poor in mid 18th century


  • The schooling class was biased
  • Literacy was not needed for work
  • Placement of the population was all over which made it difficult to set up any type of schooling or schools.
  • Book ownership and libraries were limited to the elite