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Book versus Power

Studies in the Relations between Politics and Culture in Polish History


Edited By Jacek Soszyński and Agnieszka Chamera-Nowak

This volume considers the various interactions between the culture of the book and politics in Polish history. Each of the fourteen authors deals with a different topic, chronologically starting with the beginnings of the early Piast monarchy in the 10 th century up to contemporary times: for instance, E. Potkowski discusses the political ambitions of Duke Mieszko I and his descendants with regard to the introduction of early writing and reading in Poland; A. Kamler analyses the attitude of the Jagiellonian dynasty in the 1500s towards books and education; and D. Jarosz traces the changing approach of the communists towards book production and the promotion of readership in their attempts to persuade Polish society to accept their ideology.
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The Jagiellons vis-a-vis the Book and the Education of the Nobility


Education of heirs to the Jagiellon thrones

During the fifteenth century, the approach of European social elites towards upbringing and educating their children underwent significant changes. These modifications applied both to the prospective successors to regal thrones and to children from the less distinct strata of society. Before the fifteenth century, little attention had been paid to the intellectual instruction of a prince: a future ruler was supposed to be acquainted with constitutional matters concerning his country and to display character and physical prowess. With the advent of the renaissance, harmonious development of soul and body became the model. Such upbringing was to be overseen by a special tutor, selected for this task by the parents and the parliament. Tutors of the young members of the Jagiellonian dynasty were directed in their efforts by European humanist pedagogical treatises (e.g. De librorum educatione by Enea Silvio Piccolomini, De re militari by Vegetius, or by De institutione regii pueri of unknown authorship). Władysław and Casimir, sons of King Władysław Jagiełło, were educated by Wincenty Kot of Dębno, a man of the world, doctor of canon law, and future archbishop of Gniezno. It is precisely the choice of the person of the tutor which proves false the opinion prevalent in modern Polish historiography, that King Casimir was illiterate.1 In turn, the sons and daughters of Casimir received a different, more sophisticated, rearing. Modern historians are aware of the names of their tutors and...

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