Oral Culture Of The Late Middle Ages

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Given the prevalence of books, magazines, and newspapers in everyday life today, it is difficult to imagine a world without print. The transition from the essentially oral culture of the late Middle Ages to the print culture of the Renaissance fundamentally changed human interaction. In Western society, the invention of the printing press and subsequent widespread literacy signaled the shift away from a primarily oral culture to a literate, print culture. Many scholars, including Plato and Harold Innis, have suggested that the advantages of an oral culture exceed those of a print culture. Even further, the past few decades have seen calls to orality, or propositions that we must return to oral culture to balance print culture. As seen through a lens of the history of print culture, the benefits of literacy and a predominantly print culture outweigh the benefits of an oral culture because of the impact print has had on standardized language and national consciousness, the field of science and accuracy, and the quick dissemination of information and dialogue. Through a comparison of advancements during the Print Revolution and current features of modern society, I will argue that there is no need to re-embrace orality because elements of oral culture already exist in our modern print culture. The Print Revolution was marked by the invention of the printing press and growing industrial capitalism in Europe. The idea of capitalism enabled publishers to seek mass markets for

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