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Clanchy, M.T. From Memory to Written Record, England 1066-1307. Oxford: Blackwell, 1993.

This work traces the evolution of reading practices from oral culture to the more widespread use of written documentation and record keeping in the eleventh through fourteenth centuries.

Relavant Quotations:
“The changes which were made in the technology of writing in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries went largely unnoticed by contemporaries. They were subtle and technical and have necessitated discussion in this chapter of parchments, scripts, layouts, and so on. But because known methods of writing were adapted and extended, rather than revolutionized, fundamental changes in this most conservative area of human skills were set in motion” (144).

“Literacy is unique among technologies in penetrating and structuring the intellect itself, which makes it hard for scholars, whose own skills are shaped by literacy, to reconstruct the mental chages which it brings about” (185).

Return to the History of Reading Bibliography.

  tl, 03.20.06

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