This multinational collection of essays challenges the traditional image of a monolingual Ancient Regime in Enlightenment Europe, both East and West. Its archival research explores the important role played by selective language use in social life and in the educational provisions in the early constitution of modern society. A broad range of case studies show how language was viewed and used symbolically by social groups - ranging from the nobility to the peasantry - to develop, express, and mark their identities.
Willem Frijhoff is Emeritus Professor of Modern History at VU University, Amsterdam, and is now G.Ph. Verhagen Professor of Cultural History at Erasmus University, Rotterdam. His scholarly work focuses on cultural, linguistic and religious identities in early modern France, the Netherlands and North America.