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White Field, Black Seeds

Nordic Literacy Practices in the Long Nineteenth Century

Edited by Anna Kuismin & M. J. Driscoll

White field, black seeds – who can sow? The riddle refers to the ability to write, a skill which in most Nordic countries was not regarded as necessary for everyone. And yet a significant number of ordinary people with no access to formal schooling took up the pen and produced a variety of highly interesting texts: diaries, letters, memoirs, collections of folklore and handwritten newspapers.

This collection presents the work of primarily Nordic scholars from fields such as linguistics, history, literature and folklore studies who share an interest in the production, dissemination and reception of written texts by non-privileged people during the long nineteenth century.

Paperback. 216 p.
ISBN 978-952-222-444-6
Library classification: 93
SF Litteraria 7
Published: 2013


Anna Kuismin & M. J. Driscoll

Exploring the Processes and Practices of Literacy in the Nordic Countries

Martyn Lyons, A New History from Below? The Writing Culture of European Peasants, c. 1850 – c.1920


Britt Liljewall

Recollections of Reading and Writing: Another Picture of Swedish Literacy


Davíð Ólafsson

Scribal Communities in Iceland: The Case of Sighvatur Grímsson


M. J. Driscoll

The Long and Winding Road: Manuscript Culture in Late Pre-Modern Iceland


Sigurður Gylfi Magnússon

Living by the Book: Articulating Life Experience in Iceland


Kirsti Salmi-Niklander

Monologic, Dialogic, Collective: Modes of Writing in Finnish Hand-Written Newspapers


Ann-Catrine Edlund

A Country Maid and her Diary: Methodological Reflections on Literacy Practices


Anna Kuismin

From Family Inscriptions to Autobiographical Novels: Motives of Writing in Grassroots Life Stories in 19th-Century Finland


Kaisa Kauranen

Odd Man out? The Self-educated Philosopher Kustaa Brask and his Analyses of 19th-century Finland


Guðný Hallgrímsdóttir

Material without Value? The Recollections of Guðrún Ketilsdóttir


Kati Mikkola

Self-taught Collectors of Folklore and their Challenge to Archival Authority


Petri Lauerma

Finnish Revivalist Movements and the Development of Literary Finnish


Lea Laitinen & Taru Nordlund

Language from below? Indexing Identities in the Writings of Common People in 19th-century Finland




Index of names