Numeracy and popular culture : Cocker’s Arithmetick and the market for cheap arithmetical books, 1678–1787
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Cocker’s Arithmetick was the most popular English-language arithmetic textbook from the late seventeenth to the mid-eighteenth century. Though well known to historians of popular mathematics, the reasons for its remarkable success remain largely unexplored. To explain why Cocker became a bestseller, this article identifies the economic, sociocultural, and intellectual conditions which spurred demand for arithmetical books, before considering the book’s textual and material qualities, and finally its situation within the mass market for cheap print. The success of Cocker’s Arithmetick, it is argued, demonstrates the means by which arithmetic became so embedded in early modern Anglophone popular culture.
Fox , J 2022 , ' Numeracy and popular culture : Cocker’s Arithmetick and the market for cheap arithmetical books, 1678–1787 ' , Cultural and Social History , vol. Latest Articles . https://doi.org/10.1080/14780038.2022.2089078
Cultural and Social History
Copyright © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
DescriptionThis work was supported by the the Cambridge Trust and the Scottish Graduate School of Arts and Humanities.
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