Colclough 2007

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Colclough, Stephen. Consuming Texts: Readers and Reaading Communities, 1695-1870. Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.

Reading Has a History

good overview of work on the history of reading from 80s-90s

Reworking the word: Readers and their Manuscript Books, 1695-1730

miscellanies of extracts and commonplace books

"a hybrid form of personal miscellany was common amongst gentry-class readers during the early 18c" (30) -- part commonplace book, part notebook

Charles Caesar (1636-1707) and Elizabeth Freke (1641-1714), both hybrid books, part commonplace

household books, receipts / recipes

"the typographic highlighting of passages suitable for transcription from printed books was also in decline in the late 17c" -- books no longer marked up visually to be commonplaced (33)

"the commonplace book tradition, with its insistence upon gathering together quotations for practical or studious purposes, was in decline from about 1650, but the survival of many personal anthologies similar to that created by Caesar proves that the connection between reading and transcription did not decay with it." (38)

Diversities of Reading Practices, 1695-1770

The Circulating Library, Book Club and Subscription Library: Readers and Reading Communities, 1770-1800

increase in book production during 18c: 23k titles produced beween 1710 and 1719, by 1790s this figure rose to nearly 68k (using ESTC data) (88)

18c iconography of reading, showing it as a solitary pleasure

"The libraries that real readers visited were of two main types: those that charged for each book borrowed and those that demanded a subscription. Libraries with a small stock of books were often an adjunct to bookselling or another business, such as hairdressing, and tended to charge on a nightly or weekly basis. Three pence per book per week was common in the last quarter of the eighteenth century, but some establishments asked as much as tuppence per book per night." (90)

"Circulating libraries that charged annual, six-monthly or quarterly rates tended to have a larger stock. By the end of the century a number of large commercial libraries existed to cater for those attending fashionable resorts such as Bath, Margate and Brighton, some of which offered subscription rates for 'the season'. During the 1770s and 1780s, 16s was a common annual rate at these larger libraries, but during the 1790s many began to charge a guinea. All of the libraries in Bath, for example, raised their fees to a guinea in 1797." (90)

hefty fines for overdue books and large entry fees kept subscription libraries relatively exclusive; Mechanics Institutes catered to middle-and working-class readers, not common until 1820s (91)

resort library promoted "first and foremost as a sociable space in which it was safe for well-to-do families to congregate, chat, play with their children, buy toys and trinkets, and perhaps peruse the newspapers or borrow books." (93)

Joseph Hunter, diaries of reading

Importance of reviews for shaping what gets read, example of Hunter

Communal Practice and Individual Response: Reading in the Late Romantic Period

Communal newspaper reading described by Hunter in 1790s still common until the 1840s, when the price of newspapers began to fall (119)

Book clubs, like Hackney — no permanent library; “texts were sold to the members at sales that took place every six months. The rules stipulated that any member nominating a text at one of the meetings had to be prepared to buy it at one of these sales for half the purchase price if it was to be included in the library. This process meant that members were able to buy books at a reduced price, but it restricted active membership to those who could afford to buy,.” (120)

Book clubs might take advertisement stating disagreement with a magazine’s position; way for middle class readers to speak in public without aristocratic patronage (121)

Little attention paid to commonplace books or notebooks after 1750

Survey of 92 mss produced between 1790 and 1850

Titles added by readers themselves — poems, beauties, rhymes, gleanings, extracts, scraps, excerpts; by mid-1820s, “album” “appears to have been the compilers favored term” (123)

Sometimes made as gift books

“’Scrapbooks’ made entirely from printed material were still relatively rare before 1860” (124) — until 1850s, newspapers relatively expensive and shared among individuals, so limited ability to make scraps

Sometimes transcribing bc can’t afford to buy whole text

“19c texts and their readers were often enmeshed in a complex web of textuality, and the manuscript book does not provide an easy route for historians of reading to get back to the text with which the reader(s) actually engaged.” (128-9)

“during the early 19c the expensive nature of new books and the concomitant dominance of institutions of reading (such as subscription libraries) encouraged readers to compile ms books that brought together a disparate range of texts” (130)

Made among groups of friends, shared, friendship album

Conduct books

Anne Lister, gave gift of books and exchanged excerpts from books in letters as a way of flirting with women she was interested in