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War, Culture and Society, 1750 –1850

The British Soldier and his Libraries, c. 1822-1901

Authors: Murphy, Sharon

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  • Provides an account of the official provision of libraries to both East India Company soldiers in India and Crown forces during the 1800s
  • ​Draws extensively upon archival sources, official reports, memoirs and other writings published by soldiers, contemporary journals, newspapers, and letters
  • Shows that the history of the establishment of libraries for soldiers has much in common with that of (free) public libraries, 
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  • ISBN 978-1-137-55083-5
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Softcover $29.99
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  • ISBN 978-1-349-71559-6
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About this book

The British Soldier and his Libraries, c. 1822-1901 considers the history of the libraries that the East India Company and Regular Army respectively established for soldiers during the nineteenth century. Drawing upon a wide range of material, including archival sources, official reports, and soldiers’ memoirs and letters, this book explores the motivations of those who were responsible for the setting up and/or operation of the libraries, and examines what they reveal about attitudes to military readers in particular and, more broadly, to working-class readers – and leisure – at this period. Murphy’s study also considers the contents of the libraries, identifying what kinds of works were provided for soldiers and where and how they read them. In so doing, The British Soldier and his Libraries, c. 1822-1901 affords another way of thinking about some of the key debates that mark book history today, and illuminates areas of interest to the general reader as well as to literary critics and military and cultural historians. 

About the authors

Sharon Murphy is Lecturer in the School of English at Dublin City University, Ireland, where she is also Director of the Master’s in Children’s Literature programme. She is a graduate of University College Dublin, and of the University of Dublin, Trinity College. She is the author of Maria Edgeworth and Romance (2004), and has also contributed to essay collections and journals.    

Reviews

“There is much of interest in this book–it blends army life in India with changing attitudes at ‘Home’, in Victorian Britain, and shows how the soldier’s life undoubtedly got better during the 19th century. That the civilising influence of libraries had much to do with this may be questionable, but Murphy’s book provides a well-researched and readable argument in its favour.” (Rosie Llewellyn-Jones, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society JRAS, May, 2018)

Table of contents (6 chapters)

Table of contents (6 chapters)
  • Introduction

    Pages 1-27

    Murphy, Sharon

  • The East India Company’s Libraries

    Pages 29-61

    Murphy, Sharon

  • The Reading Environment, and Readers, in India

    Pages 63-92

    Murphy, Sharon

  • The Regular Army’s Libraries

    Pages 93-125

    Murphy, Sharon

  • The Reading Environment, and Readers, in the Regular Army

    Pages 127-156

    Murphy, Sharon

Buy this book

eBook $19.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-137-55083-5
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Softcover $29.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-349-71559-6
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Immediate ebook access, if available*, with your print order
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
The British Soldier and his Libraries, c. 1822-1901
Authors
Series Title
War, Culture and Society, 1750 –1850
Copyright
2016
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan UK
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-1-137-55083-5
DOI
10.1057/978-1-137-55083-5
Softcover ISBN
978-1-349-71559-6
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XI, 200
Topics

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