Small Books and Pleasant Histories
Popular Fiction and Its Readership in Seventeenth-century England
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Small Books and Pleasant Histories by Margaret Spufford
Book DescriptionAttention has increasingly turned in recent years from the economic and agricultural framework of the life of the English villager in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to his or her social and mental world. Margaret Spufford's interest in literacy, and particularly in the ability to read, which laid the villager open to all sorts of external influences other than those coming from the pulpit and the manor house, has led her in this book to examine both the spread of reading ability, and one of the principal forms of cheap print available in the late seventeenth century at a price within the reach of the day labourer. Many historians, notably history of education specialists, had not realized the extent of elementary schooling and the consequent existence of a mass readership and a popular literature created especially for it before the Charity School movement. This book provides them with a radical new emphasis. Dr Spufford's book examines the profits made by these publishers, the scale of their operations, and the way the 'small books' were distributed throughout the country. It also examines their content, and compares the English chapbooks with their French counterparts. By so doing, the author throws light on one of the influences at work on the seventeenth-century villager, and illuminates some of the concepts and imagery that formed the imaginative stock-in-trade of the man behind the plough.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780521312189
(216mm x 138mm x 17mm)
Imprint: Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publish Date: 3-Oct-1985
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Books By Author Margaret Spufford
World of Rural Dissenters, 1520-1725, Paperback (January 2012)
A 1995 study of religious belief and practice in England in the early modern period.
Celebration, Paperback (June 1996)
Acting as an introduction to medical ethics, this is an exploration of the problem posed by pain in the field of medicine and religion. The author, Margaret Spufford, suffers from an incurable disease, but in spite of this, as a devout Christian she can write objectively of the problem of pain.
Contrasting Communities, Paperback (December 1979)» View all books by Margaret Spufford
A detailed history of the economic, educational, and religious life of Chippenham, Orwell and Willingham.
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