Résumé : An important topic in research on medieval literacy is the growth of so-called literate mentalities. In medieval towns one seems to have had more chance of being confronted with writing than elsewhere. The readiness on the part of town dwellers to engage in the use of written documents can be considered as an important sign of changes in thinking and the perception of the world. This urban use of written modes of communication needs to be studied in the context of all modes of communication available to town dwellers.The papers in this volume try to understand medieval urban literacy from a pan-European perspective, in which both western and Byzantine urban societies are taken into account. They cover several areas of medieval Latinitas (Switzerland, Hungary, Poland, England, France and Belgium) as well as medieval Byzantium.Together, they create an opportunity for putting into a comparative perspective not only the phenomenon of urban literacy, but also the different scholarly traditions in approaching the subject.