Literacy, educational reform and the use of print in eighteenth-century Denmark

Munck, T. (2004) Literacy, educational reform and the use of print in eighteenth-century Denmark. European History Quarterly, 34(3), pp. 275-303. (doi: 10.1177/0265691404044140)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.

Publisher's URL:


This article argues that basic reading skills in eighteenth-century Denmark became more widespread at all social levels than hitherto assumed. Even though Denmark was on the periphery of the European Enlightenment, government policies from the 1730s were influenced by Pietist educational aspirations and substantial efforts were made to ensure their implementation. Evidence concerning parish schools is reviewed, and detailed episcopal visitation records are used to illustrate both the expectations of the authorities and the thoroughness of actual inspection procedures. Various kinds of material (other than signature evidence) are used to cast light on literacy and the use of print both in rural communities and amongst the urban poor, including women as well as men, by the last decades of the century. Judging from the most commonly available published material, however, the Danish government had little to fear from potential subversion through the printed word.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Munck, Professor Thomas
Authors: Munck, T.
Subjects:D History General and Old World > DL Northern Europe. Scandinavia
L Education > L Education (General)
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Humanities > History
Journal Name:European History Quarterly
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):1461-7110

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record