Cultural History of Reading [2 volumes]

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Overview

What is it about some books that makes them timeless? Cultural History of Reading looks at books from their earliest beginnings through the present day, in both the U.S. and regions all over the world. Not only fiction and literature, but religious works, dictionaries, scientific works, and home guides such as Mrs. Beeton's all have had an impact on not only their own time and place, but continue to capture the attention of readers today. Volume 1 examines the history of books in regions throughout the world, identifying both literature and nonfiction that was influenced by cultural events of its time. Volume 2 identifies books from the pre-colonial era to the present day that have had lasting significance in the United States. History students and book lovers alike will enjoy discovering the books that have impacted our world.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"…The essays, written by scholars in the fields of English, history, languages, and cultural studies, share a common theme of relating how key cultural events and changes are linked to what people read in any given period of time. The chapters share a standard format: a chronology, a historical introduction, and an overview of reading trends and practices, followed by an examination of several specific trends and texts. Each chapter closes with a list of recommended readings. Although other works have examined the history of reading in particular cultures or at particular times, presently this is the most comprehensive work on the subject, and as such, is certain to be an indispensable addition to any academic collection. Essential. Upper-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers."

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Choice

"A Cultural History of Reading explores what people have read--and why--around the globe from 'before the common era' to the present. This two-volume set is divided geographically. Volume 1 covers the Americas (excepting the United States); Europe and Britain; Asia and the Pacific; South Asia and the Indian Subcontinent; and Africa and the Middle East. Chapters within these five sections are arranged topically or chronologically. Volume 2, also arranged chronologically, deals with the United States. The essays, written by scholars in the fields of English, history, languages, and cultural studies, share a common theme of relating how key cultural events and changes are linked to what people read in any given period of time. The chapters share a standard format: a chronology, a historical introduction, and an overview of reading trends and practices, followed by an examination of several specific trends and texts. Each chapter closes with a list of recommended readings…. this is the most comprehensive work on the subject, and as such, is certain to be an indispensable addition to any academic library collection. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers."

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Choice

"In a series of concise entries that span Europe, the Americas, Oceania, Asia and Africa, we are reminded that what we read creates and recreates us. In the first volume the contributors describe the growth of literature and the development of reading in the US, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, Russia, the Mid-East, imperial and postimperial China, Britain, and Europe, with sections covering ancient Greece, early Christianity, the medieval period, the Renaissance, the early modern period, the Enlightenment, the era of empire and colonialism, modernism and postmodernism. In the second volume contributors concentrate on American literature, focusing on settlement, the development of national identity, slavery and civil war, the world wars and the period between them, the collide of cultures and the rise of a new, uncertain century. The result is an able description of literary trajectory and a cogent analysis of readership and its effects."

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Reference & Research Book News

"Though book-loving browsers will find countless fascinating facts here, the work is best suited to those who need in-depth information on literary works and authors, and those taking Advanced Placement history classes. …Well executed, thorough, and enjoyable."

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School Library Journal

"Greenwood's Cultural History of Reading offers a fascinating picture of what people in different nations and at different times have read, and how their reading in turned helped shape their cultures. . . . Those interested in publishing history, the history of the book, and in all genres of literature will benefit from the concise accounts of reading habits around the world and throughout time. This set is highly recommended for academic and large public libraries supporting a strong collection in literature and world history."

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Oklahoma Librarian

"This cultural history is recommended for academic libraries."

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Lawrence Looks at Books

"The layout is extremely clear, with helpful illustrations and a timeline at the beginning of each section to indicate key historical and cultural events in that particular locality. There are useful notes for further reading of both primary and secondary sources. . . . The essays would provide useful overviews to students of literature and social history. . ."

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Reference Reviews

"…these volumes provide some helpful, concise background to the literature of other times and nations. Students of literature who wish to place their author or topic within its historical and cultural framework would do well to consult the pertinent essay here, and the book is recommended to academic libraries supporting literary coursework at any level."

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Catholic Library World

School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up

This wide-ranging work is a cultural history of writing as well as of reading. Volume One, World Literature , is divided by region, with sections on "The Americas" (excluding the United States), "Europe and Britain," "Asia and the Pacific," "South Asia and the Indian Sub-continent," and "Africa and the Middle East." Chapters address literature of countries and eras ("Canada," "The Renaissance"). The second volume, American Literature , covers the United States and the preceding colonies, and includes chapters such as "Reading Slavery and the Civil War" and "Reading in the Twenty-First Century: 2000-2007." Sidebars throughout expand the narrative, providing author biographies, information on reading in various subcultures, and historical notes; and there are occasional black-and-white maps, reproductions, and photographs. Though book-loving browsers will find countless fascinating facts here, the work is best suited to those who need in-depth information on literary works and authors, and those taking Advanced Placement history classes. For example, readers of Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children will find an extensive discussion of the genesis and significance of that work in the chapter on the contemporary period in South Asia, and students of the early American colonial period will appreciate "Reading during Settlement and Colonization: 1700-1776," which includes three pages on the literature of the Salem witch hunts. Researchers will be well served by each chapter's lists of recommended reading and of primary and secondary sources (which include print and online materials, some of them scholarly), and the extensive set index in each volume. Wellexecuted, thorough, and enjoyable.-Henrietta Thornton-Verma, School Library Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313337444
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/30/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 1088
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 10.30 (h) x 2.90 (d)

Meet the Author

SARA E. QUAY is Dean, School of Education and Chair of Liberal Studies, Endicott College, Beverly, MA and author of "Westward Expansion" a volume in the American Popular Culture Through History series (Greenwood, 2002)

GABRIELLE WATLING is an assistant professor of English at Endicott College in Massachusetts.

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Table of Contents

Volume 1

01 Frontmatter and Introduction

1.1 The Americas: Canada

1.3 The Americas: Latin American Diaspora

2.2 Britain and Europe: The Emergence of Christianity

2.5 Britain and Europe: The Enlightenment

2.6 Europe and Britain: Romanticism and the Nineteenth Century

2.7 Europe and Britain: Modern Europe and Britain

2.8 Europe and Britain: Postmodern Europe and Britain

2.9 Europe and Britain: The Soviet Union (U.S.S.R.)/ post-Soviet Russia

3.1 Asia and the Pacific Imperial China

3.2 Asia and the Pacific Modern China

3.4 Asia and the Pacific Korea

3.5 Asia and the Pacific Australia and New Zealand

3.6 Asia and the Pacific: The South Pacific and Melanesia

4.1 South Asia and the Indian Subcontinent: Classical Period

4.2 India and the Sub-Continent: European Arrival and the Colonial Period

4.3 South Asia and the Indian Subcontinent: Independent India

4.4 South Asia and the Indian Subcontinent: Contemporary India

5.2 Africa and the Middle East: Turkish Reading Culture during the Ottoman Empire

5.3 Africa and the Middle East: The Modern Middle East

5.4 Africa and the Middle East: Postcolonial Africa

6.0 Works Cited

Table of Contents Volume 2

1. Reading in the Era of Discovery and Exploration: prior to 1700

2. Reading during Settlement and Colonization: 1700-1776

3. Reading in the Revolution and the New Republic: 1776-1820

4. Reading and National Identity: 1820-1860

5. Reading Slavery and the Civil War: 1861-1865

6. Reading and the Growth of a Nation: 1865-1913

7. From the Great War through the Great Depression: 1914-1940

8. Reading andthe Second World War: 1941-1960

9. Reading Rebellions and Countercultures: 1960s-1070s

10. Reading and the (Sub)cultures of the late twentieth-century: 1979-1999

11. Reading in the 21st Century: 2000 to the present

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