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Title: The transition from orality to literacy in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.
Author: Miller, Lorraine Jennifer.
Awarding Body: University of Wales, College of Cardiff,
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 1990
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This is an interdisciplinary study which attempts to assess certain general linguistic theories about the adoption of literacy and its effects on society by considering them in relation to a specific historical society; Anglo-Saxon England. A major premise of the work is that many of the general theories about orality and literacy cannot be applied to specific societies without considerable qualification. A second, and equally important, premise is that the argument for a "literate consciousness", different from that of the consciousness of the non-literate, has not so far been adequately sustained. In pursuing this study I have concentrated on Early English prose; in particular the early law codes and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. The reasons for this are two-fold: law and history tend to be the first areas whose substance is committed to writing in any society which adopts extensive use of literacy; and their committal to writing can often be more precisely dated than that of story-telling, be it in poetry or prose. While this does not overcome the problems of discussing orality in a pre-soundrecording age, it does help to minimize them. The substance of the thesis, then, is concerned with an examination of the reasons for Anglo-Saxon expansion of their use of literacy, the identification of probable oral elements in early Anglo-Saxon prose and the tracing of the development of more formal expository prose in the vernacular.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: History History Literature Mass media Performing arts Anthropology Folklore