'Reading has a history. But how can we recover it?' This volume brings together original research essays focusing on the history of reading in the British Isles, using evidence ranging from library records to Mass Observation surveys to highlight the social factors that influence a seemingly private, individual activity.
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SOPHIE BANKES Doctoral Student, The Open University, UK ADRIAN BINGHAM Senior Lecturer in Modern History, University of Sheffield, UK ROSALIND CRONE Lecturer in History, The Open University, UK SIMON ELIOT Professor of the History of the Book, Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, UK DAVID FINKELSTEIN Research Professor of Media and Print Culture, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, UK LINDA FLEMING Postdoctoral Researcher for the Scottish Readers Remember Project, Edinburgh Napier University, UK CLARE GILL Doctoral Candidate in English, Queen's University Belfast, UK ANDREW HOBBS Postdoctoral Research Assistant, University of Central Lancashire, UK STEPHEN JACYNA Reader in the History of Medicine, University College London, UK MICHAEL LEDGER-LOMAS Fellow of Peterhouse, Cambridge University, UK ALISTAIR MCCLEERY Professor and Director of the Scottish Centre for the Book, Edinburgh Napier University, UK MARK TOWSEY Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in History, University of Liverpool, UK ANNA VANINSKAYA Lecturer in Victorian Literature, University of Edinburgh, UKReview:
'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
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