Stone argued that most societies are judged by the achievements of their cultural elites, but that what made seventeenth-century England remarkable was the appreciation and practice of cultural activity by ‘the whole of the rural and urban propertied classes’.1 Clearly it is one-sided to judge the achievements of education by the creativity of a tiny cultural elite, but if the focus is widened to take in all the people appreciative of intellectual culture it may embrace a larger body than is normally considered the ‘propertied classes’, an elitist term in itself. In this chapter it is proposed to take four focal points, the clearly cultural elite comprising writers of literature, philosophy and history on the one hand, and their scientific equivalents in mathematics, natural sciences and architecture on the other, then the literate elite of the magistrates and governing classes, then the receptive audience of the written word stretching into lower social ranks, and finally the ebb and flow of basic literacy.
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- Educational Achievements
Helen M. Jewell
- Macmillan Education UK
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