- The Oxford Handbook of Early Modern European History, 1350–1750
- List of Figures
- List of Tables
- List of Maps
- List of Illustrations
- List of Contributors
- Introduction: ‘Early Modern’ Europe and the Idea of Early Modernity
- The Cartographic Emergence of Europe?
- Weather, Climate, and the Environment
- Disease and Medicine
- Historical Demography
- Travel and Communications
- Languages and Literacy
- Printing and Printedness
- A Revolution in Information?
- Economic and Social Trends
- The Social Order
- Households and Family Systems
- Social Roles and Individual Identities
- Consumption and Material Life
- The Agrarian West
- The Agrarian East
- Country and Town in Mediterranean Europe
- Towns and Urbanization
- The Christian Church, 1370<i>–</i>1550
- Protestantism and its Adherents
- Early Modern Catholicism
- The World of Eastern Orthodoxy
- The Transformations of Judaism
- Islam and Muslims in Europe
- Cultures of Peoples
- Belief and its Limits
- Index of Names and Places
- Index of Subjects
Abstract and Keywords
During the early modern period the volume of information gathered and the speed and extent of its diffusion increased massively, due to the combined impact of many factors, including printing and rising literacy rates, improved postal communication, mercantile and colonial expansion across the globe, and the growth of state governments and bureaucracies. This chapter surveys the growth of informational writing in various fields of knowledge, the collection and use of quantitative and qualitative surveys by states and churches, the collection and treatment of information (often kept secret) by imperial and commercial ventures, the rise of diplomacy and diplomatic records, and the rise of the news in multiple genres, including manuscript newsletters, printed pamphlets, newsbooks, and daily newspapers. As a result large new segments of the population became familiar with tools of information management such as alphabetical indexes, numbered lists, and the exercise of judgement required when confronting multiples conflicting sources.
Ann Blair, Department of History, Harvard University
Devin Fitzgerald, Harvard University
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