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The meaning of literacy: an Italian reappraisal

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This article discusses the literacy trend in modern Italy in the light of recent literature on history of reading and, more generally, cultural history. The focus is on two subjects: (1) the essential features of Italian literacy in the modern age, highlighting elements such as heavy censorship, hostility to compulsory education from the ruling classes, training essentially based on voice and memorizing, etc., and (2) the uses of literacy, that is the access to and the comprehension of written texts, especially regarding people with minimal skills or cut off from college training (i.e. children, women and peasants).
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Keywords: Literacy; chivalry romances; cultural practices; history of reading; orality of print

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Turin,

Publication date: September 1, 2009

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