The chapter explores both the vibrant pre-print cultures of Bengal, as well as their
legacies in an era of print. A key aspect is the close survey of
literacy and the various genres of writing and reading that existed in
18th-century Bengal. As demonstrated, the social profile of the pre-print
readers, in many ways, shaped the demands of the print age – in terms
of typography, vocabulary, lay-out, and content. The narrative of print
in India remains incomplete if we do not take into account the richness
of literacy and reading in the manuscript age. The material presented in the chapter is drawn from a range of hitherto unexplored Bengali printed and manuscript matter in the scholarship on print in South Asia and offers a significant intervention in reshaping the reading landscape of eighteenth century India.