04 - Beitrag Sammelband oder Konferenzschrift
In early modern Europe, relatively few people received a formal education, let alone higher education. This was not only due to the lack of schools—actually, schools existed in most cities and in many a rural parish—but mostly because many people left school as soon as they had obtained basic reading and writing skills. The generally low level of formal education led nineteenth- and twentieth-century historians to believe that literacy and numeracy rates in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Europe were considerably low, especially among the rural population. However, in early modern times, education was not only taught in schools. Noblemen and noble women were taught at home by private tutors, and learned societies, emerging in cities all over Europe, launched prize questions and printed the incoming treatises in order to enlarge their members’ knowledge. They also took measures to enlighten the rural people. City dwellers sent their children to private teachers who advertised to teach the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic. Farmers taught their children themselves, and for many, self-education was the method of choice to obtain useful knowledge and valuable skills. The biographical sketches of three women and four men presented in this chapter illustrate how those different forms of education and enculturation shaped the lives of people born in Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
A Cultural History of Education in the Age of Enlightenment
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