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A. Bartoszewicz
Urban Literacy in Late Medieval Poland

approx. 375 p., 30 b/w ill. + 8 colour ill. + 2 Maps, 156 x 234 mm
ISBN: 978-2-503-56511-8
Languages: English
The publication is in production.The publication is in production. (12/2017)
Retail price: EUR 100,00 excl. tax
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Detailed analysis of the basic features of literacy and urban culture in late medieval Poland.

From the end of the thirteenth century onwards, European towns exhibited a significant increase in the use of writing as a tool for administrative and economic purposes, as well as for social communication. The medieval towns of Poland are no exception to this pattern.

This book surveys the development of the literacy of Polish burghers in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, revealing socio-economic and cultural processes that changed the life of Polish urban society. Polish urban literacy is examined according to the reception of Western European urban culture more generally. Town networks in medieval Poland are explained, and the literacy skills of the producers and users of the written word are discussed. Literacy skills differed greatly from one social group to another, it is shown, due to the variety of town dwellers (clerics and lay people, professionals of the written word, occasional users of writing, and illiterates). Other issues that are discussed include the cooperation between agents of lay and church literacy, the relationship between literacy and orality, and the difference between developing literacies in Latin and in the vernacular languages.

Agnieszka Bartoszewicz is professor of Medieval History at the Institute of History, University of Warsaw.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Polish Late Medieval Towns

Chapter 2. The Topography of Urban Literacy

Chapter 3. The Polish Municipal Chancery and its Inheritance

Chapter 4. From Vernacular Memory to Latin Written Record: Literacy and the Legal Process.

Chapter 5. Employees of the Municipal Chanceries

Chapter 6. The Professionals of the Written Word in Polish Towns

Chapter 7. Private Urban Literacy


Appendix 1. List of the Polish medieval towns with information on the number of inhabitants and on the date of the locatio-charter

Appendix 2. Timeline of important events in the history of Polish medieval towns

Interest Classification:
Medieval & Modern (Indo-European) Languages & Literatures
Comparative & cultural studies through literature
Medieval & Renaissance History (c.400-1500)
Medieval European history (400-1500) : genres & specific topics
Urban history
Medieval European history (400-1500) : local & regional history
East-Central & Eastern Europe
Medieval History (400-1500) : subperiods
Late Middle Ages (c.1300-1500)

This publication is also distributed by: ISD, Marston
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