chapter  1
44 Pages

CHILDREN AS READERS IN THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY

It cannot be assumed, however, that because levels of literacy remained extremely low-especially amongst the rural poor-up until the French Revolution, children did not have access to narratives. It was common, from the early days of printed books, for readings to take place in the homes of those who could aord them. At these readings family members of all ages would be present, and the strong oral

tradition amongst the peasantry meant that even the poorest and most educationally disadvantaged children heard folktales recounted by relatives or jongleurs, the minstrels who travelled the countryside with tales and legends. e inuence of both high and popular culture on the development of children’s literature is, in fact, an important part of this story.