Hans Nielsen Hauge: A catalyst of literacy in Norway
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionHaukland, L. (2014). Hans Nielsen Hauge: A catalyst of literacy in Norway. Scandinavian Journal of History, 39(5), 539-559. doi: 10.1080/03468755.2014.946533
In this article, the author examines the role Hans Nielsen Hauge (1771–1824) played in encouraging literacy in Norwegian peasant society in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, an aspect of his ministry rarely discussed. This poorly educated son of a peasant broke the unwritten rule of never publishing texts for a large readership without the necessary educational skills. Thus he opened up a new literate space where the common person could express him-or herself on paper. Hauge printed around 40 different texts, 14 of them books, in a language the peasants could understand. This inspired his followers not only to read, but also to write, mainly letters to Hauge and to Haugeans in other parts of Norway. Some even became authors. Women played a central role in this wave of literacy spreading throughout the country. Based on Hauge’s original texts, the author presents some crucial aspects of his mentality and shows how his ministry served as a catalyst to the growth of literacy among peasants during the period.
Author's accepted version (postprint).