The Writing Culture of Ordinary People in Europe, c.1860-1920 (Hardback)
  • The Writing Culture of Ordinary People in Europe, c.1860-1920 (Hardback)
zoom

The Writing Culture of Ordinary People in Europe, c.1860-1920 (Hardback)

(author)
£72.00
Hardback 292 Pages / Published: 11/10/2012
  • We can order this

Usually despatched within 3 weeks

  • This item has been added to your basket
As war and mass emigration across oceans increased the distances between ordinary people in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, many of them, previously barely literate and unaccustomed to writing, began to communicate on paper. This fascinating account explores this surge of ordinary writing, how people met the new challenges of literacy and the importance of scribal culture to the history of individual experience in modern Europe. Focusing on correspondence and other writing genres produced by French and Italian soldiers in the trenches in the First World War, as well as Spanish emigrants to the Americas, the book reveals how these writings were influenced by dialect and oral speech and were oblivious to the rules of grammar, spelling and punctuation. Through their sometimes moving stories, we gain an insight into the importance to ordinary peasants of family, village and nation at a time of rapid social and cultural change.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781107018891
Number of pages: 292
Weight: 560 g
Dimensions: 228 x 152 x 20 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
'All historians, regardless of their specialization, will find enthralling material in this pioneering study of the 'common writer'. For here we find people at the bottom of the social pyramid writing their own history, as they experienced it and described it.' Jonathan Rose, William R. Kenan Professor of History, Drew University
'Martyn Lyons' new book is a rigorous, wide-ranging and deeply moving account of how ordinary people used correspondence to deal with the extraordinary events of emigration and war. It combines an authoritative grasp of comparative popular culture with a keen eye for the difficulties of expressing the most profound experiences of separation, loss and suffering.' D. M. Vincent, The Open University
'[Lyons] has a humane and sensitive approach to his subject matter.' The Times Literary Supplement
'Lyons' work participates in a new 'history from below': a history that takes seriously such documents as survive from the lives of the (mainly) rural poor, and, rather than subjecting them to an alien agenda, or deploring them as banal, values them as painstaking contributions to a complex 'family strategy' through which the priorities of home (household, farm, extended family, village, region and only rarely nation) compete with the pressures of self-individuation, self-invention, adaptation ... a richly nuanced map of changing patterns of literacy.' Archives
'Lyons' take on history from below succeeds first and foremost in restoring individuality to the writers and texts he studies. His careful readings of specific passages show that even the weakest and least educated of these writers wrote with purpose and care ... a work that does future researchers a tremendous service in calling attention to these underexplored archives and that lays the groundwork for reading alternative sources alongside and in opposition to official narratives.' Nineteenth-Century French Studies
'Throughout the book, Lyons successfully challenges two persistent notions: first, that few people were able to write about complex matters; and second, that there is little evidence of ordinary writing to be found. This immediately opens up a remarkable field of enquiry - a history from below - which is well worth investigating.' Arnold Lubbers, SHARP News
'Anyone working with the written sources of ordinary people will learn from this book.' William A. Christian, Continuity and Change
'Martyn Lyons concentrates his attention on the letters and family account books known generically as 'memory books' of French, Italian, and Spanish peasants to determine how writing allowed them to maintain disrupted family networks and to embrace or ignore the larger national agendas of their homelands. He has effectively mined Spanish and Italian archives, thus providing us with a much deeper understanding of the mental lives and scribal practices of peasant soldiers in Italy and emigrant families in Spain.' Martha Hanna, The Journal of Modern History
'[This book] offers a strong corrective to those who would read letters, postcards, diaries, memory books and other forms of communication penned by the poor and undereducated of rural Europe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries for content alone.' Kate Flint, European History Quarterly

You may also be interested in...

Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls 2
Added to basket
Long Road from Jarrow
Added to basket
£8.99   £7.99
Paperback
Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race
Added to basket
The Hidden Ways
Added to basket
£9.99   £7.99
Paperback
Homo Deus
Added to basket
£9.99   £7.99
Paperback
The Hungry Empire
Added to basket
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls
Added to basket
Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts
Added to basket
Endeavour
Added to basket
£20.00   £15.00
Hardback
Must I Repeat Myself...?
Added to basket
£9.99   £7.99
Hardback
Watling Street
Added to basket
£9.99   £7.99
Paperback
The Square and the Tower
Added to basket
£10.99   £8.99
Paperback
The Earth is Weeping
Added to basket
£10.99   £8.99
Paperback
Bread for All
Added to basket
£9.99
Paperback
Jane Austen at Home
Added to basket
£9.99   £7.99
Paperback
21 Lessons for the 21st Century
Added to basket
£18.99   £14.99
Hardback

Reviews

Please sign in to write a review

Your review has been submitted successfully.