Jean de Meun writing in his study from BL YT 21, f. 69v, c. 1380, Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun, British Library, Public Domain Mark

The rise of literacy in early modern Europe was a result of both the formal education of children and the changing reading habits of adults. Different types of texts were used at different times to spur the trend toward literacy.

From the bible to beekeeping, and from broadsides to bestsellers, this exhibition shows how a passion for the written word moved out of the Church and into society at large over the last four centuries.