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The History of Reading, Volume 2
 
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The History of Reading, Volume 2
Evidence from the British Isles, c.1750-1950
Edited by Katie Halsey and W.R. Owens
 
 
Palgrave Macmillan
 
 
 
 
 
26 Aug 2011
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£55.00
|Hardback Print on Demand
  
9780230247550
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eBooks ebook on Palgrave Connect  ebook available via library subscriptions ebook on ebooks.com 
 
 


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DescriptionReviewsContentsAuthors

How can we find evidence of reading in the past? And how can we interpret this evidence to create a 'history' of reading? To answer these questions, this volume presents eleven fascinating accounts of readers and reading in the British Isles over two hundred years. The authors reveal the huge variety of evidence that exists, not only of what people read, but how, and in what circumstances they read. Covering a wide range of readers and texts, the essays demonstrate how individual reading practices are influenced by – even sometimes defined by – factors such as social class, political affiliation, the place of reading, the availability of books, and changes in publishing practices. With chapters highlighting the importance of reading communities, the uses to which reading may be put, and the importance of newspapers, the volume provides a richly textured account of reading practices in Britain.


Description

How can we find evidence of reading in the past? And how can we interpret this evidence to create a 'history' of reading? To answer these questions, this volume presents eleven fascinating accounts of readers and reading in the British Isles over two hundred years. The authors reveal the huge variety of evidence that exists, not only of what people read, but how, and in what circumstances they read. Covering a wide range of readers and texts, the essays demonstrate how individual reading practices are influenced by – even sometimes defined by – factors such as social class, political affiliation, the place of reading, the availability of books, and changes in publishing practices. With chapters highlighting the importance of reading communities, the uses to which reading may be put, and the importance of newspapers, the volume provides a richly textured account of reading practices in Britain.


Reviews

'This is a welcome contribution to the recent expansion of interest in the history of reading in modern Britain. As befits a field that has become increasingly diverse in focus and methodology, this collection brings together a broad range of scholars at different stages in their careers and offers an unashamedly multi-faceted approach to the study of how contemporaries understood and related to printed texts.

A key feature is the inclusion of studies of readers themselves, in all their near-infinite variety. From groups of elite men and women living in Scottish castles to those who inhabited metropolitan Socialist circles, we learn about the crucial role that books and other printed materials played in the lives of large numbers of people. But individual experiences are not neglected: significant new insights are offered into how the consumption of texts shaped the characters, careers and outlook of avid readers like the bookseller James Lackington and the neurologist Henry Head.

Crucially the collection gives a powerful sense of the sheer variety and ubiquity of printed material in modern British society. Everything from Victorian newspapers and popular novels to crime reportage and biblical commentaries are shown to have animated whole communities of readers, enriching their cultural experiences as it shaped and directed their attitudes and behaviour.' - David Allan, Reader, School of History, University of St Andrews, UK

'This lively collection of essays demonstrates how complex even the simplest, most ordinary act of reading can be. It also vigorously explores a variety of research strategies for making sense of this still ubiquitous and meaningful practice in our digital age.' - Jan Radway, Professor of Gender Studies & American Studies, Northwestern University, USA

'


Contents

List of Figures
List of Tables
Foreword; S.Eliot
Acknowledgements
Notes on Contributors
Introduction; K.Halsey & W.R. Owens
PART I: READING COMMUNITIES
'The Talent Hid in a Napkin': Castle Libraries in Eighteenth-Century Scotland; M.Towsey 
Caroline and Paul: Biblical Commentaries as Evidence of Reading in Victorian Britain; M.Ledger-Lomas 
Reading the 'religion of socialism': Olive Schreiner, the Labour Church and the Construction of Left-wing Reading Communities in the 1890s; C.Gill
PART II: READING AND GRATIFICATION
Learning to Read Trash: Late-Victorian Schools and the Penny Dreadful; A.Vaninskaya
'Something light to take my mind off the war': Reading on the Home Front during the Second World War; K.Halsey
PART III: READING AND THE PRESS
What Readers Want: Criminal Intelligence and the Fortunes of the Metropolitan Press during the Long Eighteenth Century; R.Crone
The Reading World of a Provincial Town: Preston, Lancashire 1855–1900; A.Hobbs 
'Putting Literature Out of Reach'? Reading Popular Newspapers in Mid-twentieth Century Britain; A.Bingham
PART IV: READERS AND AUTODIDACTICISM
James Lackington (1746–1815): Reading and Personal Development; S.Bankes 
Henry Head (1861–1940) as a Reader of Literature; S.Jacyna 
In a Class of their Own: the Autodidact Impulse and Working-Class Readers in Twentieth-century Scotland; L.Fleming, D.Finkelstein & A.McCleery
Further Reading and Weblinks
Index


Authors

KATIE HALSEY is Lecturer in Eighteenth-Century Literature at the University of Stirling, UK. Her publications include numerous articles on literature and print culture, and the co-edited volumes The Concept and Practice of Conversation in the Long Eighteenth Century (2007) and The History of Reading (2010).

W.R. OWENS is Professor of English Literature at The Open University, UK. He has published widely on John Bunyan and Daniel Defoe, and is Director of the Reading Experience Database, 1450–1945 (RED) project. His most recent publication is an edition of the 1611 text of The Gospels for Oxford World's Classics (2011).