Writing and European Thought 1600-1830 argues for the central importance of writing to conceptions of language, technological progress, and Western civilisation during the early modern era. Attitudes to the written language changed radically between the late Renaissance and Romanticism, and Nicholas Hudson traces the development of thought about language during this period, challenging some central assumptions of modern historical scholarship. He asserts that European thinkers have not been uniformly 'logocentric', and he questions the assumption that the rise of print and literacy produced a more visually oriented culture. Through detailed readings of major writers, Hudson shows how writing became the emblem of the superiority of European culture, and how, with the expansion of print culture, European intellectuals became more aware of the virtues of 'orality' and the deficiencies of literate society.
'Hudson has written a succinct and careful monograph, which is easy to use, full of information and a pleasure to read ... it is to be hoped that his study becomes widely read both as a useful reference point for scholars from a multitude of disciplines and a fascinating story in its own right.' English