[LMB] WGW literacy and paper generally

Gwynne Powell gwynnepowell at hotmail.com
Mon Jan 28 09:22:52 GMT 2019

From: <pouncer at aol.com>

John Lennard writes:
>Do we know with certainty that there are or are not
>printing presses in the WGW?

???? No but that's not to mention the problem of paper making.
 Mass producing paper, that is. Or making industrial quantities
of parchment or other alternatives.

Gwynne: Somebody's making a lot of paper. West Blue is described
as a hamlet, and the clerk has "...shelves stuffed with papers, rolled parchments, and bound record books. The litter of records flooded on into the rooms beyond...."

Fawn's family has a large, bound book to record all the family business,
inheritance portions, marriages, etc. And it seems to be the norm for
farmers. We also see the clerk later where Whit gets married, also with
masses of records. So even if there's no printing there's a lot of paper,
if even a clerk in a small village has more than one room full of records.

We're not so far from their world, where literacy is widespread but not
expected from everyone. I've seen the legal documents signed by my
great-grandfather when he bought some land. He signed with an X, and
the clerk signed that it was his mark. He couldn't sign his name, but he'd
earned the money to buy land and run his own farm. My cousin's wife
remembered when her parents gave her grandmother a lovely brooch that
said 'Mother'. She couldn't read the word and they had to tell her what
it said. (My father's family was rural. Really rural. And some people just
didn't get a full education then. When he was young he lived on a
large isolated property; they shared a teacher with the property next to
them, she did a few days on each. So the kids got two or three days a
week in a one-roomed classroom.)

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