The Social Life of Books: Reading Together in the Eighteenth-Century Home

The Social Life of Books: Reading Together in the Eighteenth-Century Home

by Abigail Williams


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A vivid exploration of the evolution of reading as an essential social and domestic activity during the eighteenth century

Two centuries before the advent of radio, television, and motion pictures, books were a cherished form of popular entertainment and an integral component of domestic social life. In this fascinating and vivid history, Abigail Williams explores the ways in which shared reading shaped the lives and literary culture of the time, offering new perspectives on how books have been used by their readers, and the part they have played in middle-class homes and families.
Drawing on marginalia, letters and diaries, library catalogues, elocution manuals, subscription lists, and more, Williams offers fresh and fascinating insights into reading, performance, and the history of middle-class home life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300240252
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 11/06/2018
Series: The Lewis Walpole Series in Eighteenth-Century Culture and History
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 956,209
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Abigail Williams is Lord White Fellow and Professor of Eighteenth-Century Studies at St. Peter’s College, University of Oxford.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction: Home Improvements 1

1 How to Read 11

2 Reading and Sociability 36

3 Using Books 64

4 Access to Reading 95

5 Verse at Home 127

6 Drama and Recital 169

7 Fictional Worlds 204

8 Piety and Knowledge 239

Afterword 275

Notes 279

Index 341

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