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A. Bartoszewicz
Urban Literacy in Late Medieval Poland

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XXIV+484 p., 28 b/w ill. + 8 colour ill. + 5 Maps, 156 x 234 mm, 2017
ISBN: 978-2-503-56511-8
Languages: English
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Retail price: EUR 120,00 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




Introduction: Urban Literacy in Late Medieval Poland: The Main Research Problems 1

1. The Urban Network in Late Medieval Poland

2. The Topography of Urban Literacy

3. The Polish Municipal Chanceries and Their Heritage

4. From Vernacular Memory to Written Record: Literate Behaviour and Legal Procedures

5. Municipal Clerks

6. Other Professionals of the Written Word in Polish Towns

7. The Written Word in the Life of Polish Town Dwellers


Appendix: Chronology of the locatio of the More Important Towns in the Kingdom of Poland





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)

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