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Print Culture And The Modern World: 10 SST

Question: “By the end of the 19th century a new visual culture was taking shape”. Write any three features of this new visual culture.

Answer:

  1. Printing Press and visual culture: The Printing press had a deep impact on the visual images also. Now, visual images could be easily reproduced in multiple copies.
  2. Images for mass circulation: Painters like Raja Ravi Verrna produced images for mass circulation. Wood engravers, who , made woodblocks were employed by the print shops. Cheap prints and calendars could be bought even by the poor.
  3. Caricatures and cartoons: By the 1870s, caricatures and cartoons were being published in journals and newspapers. Some of these made fun of the educated Indian’s fascination to copy Western tastes and clothes. Some openly criticised the imperial rule.
  4. Reduction of cost and visual culture: Mass production of visual images reduced the cost of production. So cheap prints and calendars were available in the market even for the poor to decorate the walls of their homes.
  5. Indian form: The new visual culture acquired distinctively Indian forms and style. Artists like Raja Ravi Verma depicted the scenes from Hindu epics.

Question: “Not everyone welcomed the printed books, and those who did also had fears about it”. Explain by giving examples.

Answer:

  1. Fear of negative thoughts: Many were of the opinion that printed words and the wider circulation of books, would have a negative impact on people’s minds.
  2. Rebellious and irreligious thoughts: They feared that if there was no control over what was printed and read, then rebellious and irreligious thoughts might gain importance.
  3. Destruction of valuable literature: There was also a fear in the minds of scholars that the authority of ‘valuable’ literature would be destroyed.
  4. Criticism of Roman Catholic Church: Martin Luther was a German monk, priest, professor and a Church reformer. In 1517, he wrote Ninety Five Theses and openly criticized many of the practices and rituals of the Roman Catholic Church. This led to a division within the Church, and led to the beginning of the Protestant Reformation,
  5. Compilation of ancient and medieval scientific text: The ideas of scientists and philosophers now became more accessible to the common people. Ancient and Medieval scientific texts were compiled and published, and maps and scientific diagrams were widely printed. When scientists like Issac Newton began to public their discoveries, they could influence a much wider circle of scientifically minded readers. The writings of thinkers such as Thomas Paine, Voltaire and Jean Jacques Rousseau were also widely printed and read. Thus their ideas about science, reason and rationality found their way into popular literature

Question: Why did people in the eighteenth century Europe think that print culture would bring enlightenment and end despotism?

Answer:

  1. Increase in literacy rate: Through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries literacy rates went up in most parts of Europe. By the end of the eighteenth century, in some parts of Europe literacy rates were as high as 60 to 80 per cent. As literacy and schools spread in European countries, there was a virtual reading mania.
  2. Role of periodicals: The periodical press developed from the early eighteenth century, Newspapers and journals carried information about wars and trade, as well as news of developments in other places.
  3. Ideas of scientists and philosophers: Similarly, the ideas of scientists and philosophers now became more accessible to the common people. Ancient and medieval scientific texts were compiled and published, and maps and scientific diagrams were widely printed. The writings of thinkers such as Thomas Paine, Voltaire and Jean Jacques Rousseau were also widely printed and read. Thus their ideas about science, reason and rationality found their way into popular literature.
  4. Print a powerful engine of progress: Louise-Sebastien Mercier, a novelist in eighteenth-century France, declared: ‘The printing press is the most powerful engine of progress and public opinion is the force that will sweep despotism away.’ In many of Mercier’s novels, the heroes are transformed by acts of reading.

Question: Explain the factors which were responsible for creating a virtual reading mania in Europe.
Or
How did a new reading public emerged with the printing press?Explain.
Or
Explain any three reasons for an increase in reading mania in Europe in the 18th Century.

Answer: 

  1. Johann Gutenberg’s printing press: The revolution in printing was brought by Johann Gutenberg’s printing press. With the invention of printing press, the cost of producing a book came down. So now even the common people could afford the books.
  2. Increase in literacy rate: The seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries saw the rapid rise of literacy rate in most parts of Europe. Churches of different denominations set up schools in villages. By the end of the eighteenth century, in some parts of Europe, the literacy rate was as high as 60 to 80 per cent.
  3. New forms of literature: New forms of popular literature were printed, which targeted new audiences. There were almanacs or ritual calendars, along with ballads and folk tales.
  4. Periodicals: The next phase was the development of periodicals. The periodicals combined information about current affairs with entertainment. Newspapers and journals carried information about wars and trade, as well as news of developments in other places.

Question: ‘Many historians have argued that print culture created the conditions within which the French Revolution occurred.’ Explain.
Or
“Print culture created the conditions within which French revolution occurred.” Give any three suitable arguments to support the statement.

Answer:

  1. Ideas of the enlightened: The print popularized the ideas of the enlightened thinkers, who attacked the authority of the Church and the despotic power of the state, e.g., Voltaire and Rousseau.
  2. New culture: The print created a new culture of dialogue and debate and the public became aware of reasoning. They recognized the need to question the existing ideas and beliefs.
  3. Criticism of the noble class: The literature of 1780s mocked the royalty and criticized their morality and the existing social order. This literature led to the growth of hostile sentiments against the monarchy.
  4. New thinking: Print did not directly shape the minds of the people, but it did open up the possibility of thinking differently.
  5. Role of means of mass communication: Means of mass communication like newspaper, journals, chapbooks carried information about wars, trade as well as news of development in other places. All this had a impact on the minds of the people.

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