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By Bonnie Gunzenhauser

A suite of essays that provide a methodological framework for the heritage of studying. concentrating on a selected old second, it gathers data approximately such concerns as literacy charges, library subscriptions, book and revenues figures, and print runs to reply to questions about what was once being learn and by means of whom in a specific position and time.

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By Bonnie Gunzenhauser

A suite of essays that provide a methodological framework for the heritage of studying. concentrating on a selected old second, it gathers data approximately such concerns as literacy charges, library subscriptions, book and revenues figures, and print runs to reply to questions about what was once being learn and by means of whom in a specific position and time.

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As records of everyday life, they chronicle details that are often forgotten in grand historical narratives of the Whig type, and thus can help the researcher to build up a more detailed and nuanced view of the past. Diarists may write down useful information about the economic costs of reading, noting the price of buying and selling new and second-hand books, the charges for circulating and subscription library memberships, the cost of fines for late books, for example, as well as placing the relative costs of reading in relation to other relevant prices, costs and values.

Ordinary men and women who kept diaries or later compiled memoirs in which they described their reading experiences were a tiny minority. In fact, most were male, like Gerald Moore; very few women in this social group found the time or possessed the skills, tools and impetus to write lengthy accounts of their lives. Furthermore, the great majority of these men, again like Moore, were autodidacts desirous of rising in society, and so we might wonder whether their reading habits were at all representative.

13 Moore’s subjective and emotional responses to his reading are far from unusual; indeed, this type of affective response is one constant thread that runs through thousands of different diaries, journals, letters, autobiographies and first-person memoirs. Emotional and subjective responses (‘it spoke to me’, ‘it touched me’, ‘it seemed meant for me alone’, ‘the story haunted me’) are clearly a vital part of what reading has meant to millions of readers throughout history. Yet these sorts of responses have usually been ignored or devalued by the critical establishment.

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