II. New public venues and print media popularized Enlightenment ideas

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The Spread of the Enlightenment Notes on pages 524-526, 529-533, 534-536

II. New public venues and print media popularized Enlightenment ideas

A. A variety of institutions, such as salons, explored and disseminated Enlightenment culture.

B. Despite censorship, increasingly numerous and varied printed materials served a growing literate public and led to the development of public opinion.

C. Artistic movements and literature also reflected the outlook and values of commercial and bourgeois society as well as new Enlightenment ideals of political power and citizenship.

1. What was a “salon”?

2. How did salons increase the status and influence of women?

3. Other than at salons, how did Europeans learn about the ideas of the Enlightenment?

Literacy rates were increasing but not at uniform rates for all groups of people. For each group below describe the changes or continuities in literacy rates during the 17th and 18th centuries:




Middle Class professionals (civil servants, merchants, bankers, country gentlemen)

Middle class artisans (shopkeepers, tavern owners, tradesmen)

Low class urban workers


Protestant countries

Catholic Countries

4. Based on the above, would you expect to find more readers in…

Cities or rural areas

Eastern Europe or Western Europe

5. Based on the above which group of people became the paying, reading audience for the new novels, newspapers and pamphlets of the Enlightenment?

6. How did the publishing industry respond to the changes in literacy rates in the 18th century? (Increased literacy was the cause, what was the effect?)

7. Why did novels appeal to European readers of the 18th century?

8. If the new literate people were busy reading novels, going to salons and drinking coffee at the new coffeehouses, what were the rest of the people in Europe doing with their time? (What stayed the same?)

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