Reading History in Early Modern England

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This book focuses on the "after-life" of historical texts in the period between the arrival of printing in England and the early eighteenth century. Whereas previous studies of historical writing during this period have focused on their authors and on their style or methodology, this work examines the social forces that controlled what was written, and the impact of readers and publishers on authors. The intent is to situate the study of history books within the current literature on the history of the book and the history of print culture.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...a smorgasbord of research and observation...This admiring reader learned much and expects to consult it repeatedly in years to come." Seventeenth-Century News, Michael Mendle, University of Alabama

" provides a wonderful synthesis of research related to books and history writing in early modern England. This book should be a reference on the subject for many years to come." Choice

"A prodigious amount of work went into this volume in both manuscript and printed sources in repositories all over England. As a result, Woolf has a large number of highly interesting stories to tell, which will have to interest just about any professsional historian, whether it be of strains between publishers and authors, the race to get into print, the necessity of staving off younger rivals, or above all, how to reach an audience.... This is not your father's historiography, nor is it the sometimes rather elusive efforts by literary scholars to talk about audience and markets. No, this is the real thing, impressively documented, clearly argued, and in the main inspiring." Sixteenth Century Journal

"A meticulously researched study in which analysis is ably supported by a range of impressive statistical data and well-chosen (and sometimes entertaining) case studies of individual readers, publishers, and publications." American Historical Review

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Daniel Woolf is Professor of History at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada where he has also served as Vice-Chancellor and Principal since 2009. He previously held professorial and administrative posts at the University of Alberta (2002–2009), McMaster University (1999–2002) and Dalhousie University (1987–1999). He holds a BA from Queen's University and a D.Phil. from Oxford University. Professor Woolf is the author or editor of several books and many scholarly articles and book chapters. He has published A Global History of History with Cambridge University Press and is also general editor of the five-volume Oxford History of Historical Writing.

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Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. The death of the chronicle; 2. The contexts and purposes of history reading; 3. The ownership of historical works; 4. Borrowing and lending; 5. Clio bound and unbound; 6. Marketing history; Conclusion; Appendix A: A bookseller's inventory, c. 1730; Appendix B: History by auction: auction sale catalogues 1686–1700.

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