[LMB] OT: Women and education

Elizabeth Holden alzurite at gmail.com
Sun Sep 12 18:35:39 BST 2021

Sylvia said:

> Once the printing press made it feasible for people to read their own
> Bibles, people saw the value of teaching people to read.... so they could
> read the Bible, of course. Very pious.

But that isn't how it happened. In England, at least, some people saw the
value of reading the bible for themselves, and they espoused literacy. Then
they were burned at the stake for Lollardry. The establishment - most of
all, the established Church - thought this was a very bad idea indeed.

Literacy (especially literacy for women), Protestantism, and humanism
became linked over the next few centuries. The links between this movement,
and the Enlightenment, and rights/education for women, and the Industrial
Revolution, all had their part in social change, but it wasn't overnight
and it wasn't direct.

It also depends what country or continent you are looking at.

> Once a literate population existed, it was feasible to make some sort of
> income with "improving" books, such as Lady Waggoner's Guide To Young
> Ladies.

You make it sound like an immediate consequence. What are you thinking of?
I'm not finding any hits on Google for anything of that title, except "The
Ruthless Lady's Guide to Wizardry" by CM Waggoner., published 2021. I don't
think this is what you meant.

Gutenberg's bible was published in 1450; there were hundreds of years
before guides for Young Ladies were published mass-market. Young ladies in
the middle ages did have books to better their minds - Books of Hours - but
that existed before printing. Schools to teach literacy to middle-class
children didn't exist till the late Renaissance.

>  or How To Improve Your Grammar In 10 Easy Leffons!!!

Are you familiar with the popular best-seller, "English as She Is Spoke"?
Your comment made me think of it.

I think you see a simpler progression than I do.


Elizabeth Holden <azurite at azurite.ca>

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