Language, literacy and aspects of identity in early modern Wales
in The spoken word

This chapter examines some aspects of the interrelations between writing and speaking in Wales broadly between about 1500 and 1800. It is hoped that a broad-brush treatment of oral and literate culture over this long period can bring out significant shifts in the relationship between literacy, language and aspects of identity in Wales. The experience of literacy in early modern Wales is often an expression of legal and religious authority reinforced by the spoken word. The changing relationship between the spoken and the written word and between English and Welsh has been considered in three periods. The first period extends broadly from the fifteenth-century recovery after the revolt of Owain Glyndwr to the Acts of Union. The second period, extending from the Act of Union to the Restoration, saw the institutional dominance of the new Court of Great Sessions. Lastly, the period from the Restoration to about 1830 is considered.

The spoken word

Oral culture in Britain 1500–1850

Editors: Adam Fox and Daniel Woolf


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