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On vernacular literacy in late medieval Norway

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Abstract

For the study of literate people and local administrative literacy in late medieval Norway, a relatively large corpus of charters constitutes practically all the available source material. The present chapter tries to shed some light upon this material and to explore what answers we may deduce from it. Who were the literate people in Norway, apart from a few trained scribes in administrative positions, and to what extent is it possible to unveil literacy on the basis of the source material we have got? These are difficult questions to answer with any precision, but a distinct process of literarization can be observed, which is to say that the situation was less miserable than has traditionally been claimed in Norwegian historiography.

References

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