Discusses the transition from a largely oral to a fundamentally literate society in the early modern period. During this period the spoken word remained of the utmost importance but development of printing and the spread of popular literacy combined to transform the nature of communication. Examines English, Scottish and Welsh Oral culture to provide the first pan-British study of the subject. Covers several aspects of oral culture ranging from tradition, to memories of the civil war, to changing mechanics for the settling of debts. The time-span concentrates on the period 1500-1800 but includes material from outside this time frame, covering a longer chronolgical span than most other studies to show the link between early modern and modern oral and literate cultures.