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Nuns as Historians in Early Modern Germany$
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Charlotte Woodford

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199256716

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199256716.001.0001

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Reading And Writing In Early Modern German Convents

Reading And Writing In Early Modern German Convents

(p.1) 1 Reading And Writing In Early Modern German Convents
Nuns as Historians in Early Modern Germany


Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the function of literacy in nuns' daily lives during the early modern period. It begins by examining the social history of early modern nuns, reasons for entering a convent, responsibilities held by women, and differences between monastic orders in this period. It traces the importance of reading for nuns' spirituality from the monastic reform of the fifteenth century to the Counter Reformation by analysing the types of writings known to have existed in convent collections of manuscripts and printed books. The relative importance of Latin and the vernacular is also examined. The reasons why so few writings by nuns are known from this period are discussed, and examples of such writings introduced, in an attempt to show to what extent nuns may have composed original works.

Keywords:   counter reformation, Latin, literacy, monastic orders, monastic reform, social history

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