The Reading Nation in the Romantic Period

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9780521699440: The Reading Nation in the Romantic Period
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Paperback. Pub Date: 2007 Pages: 796 Publisher: Camidge. University Press during the four centuries when PRINTED paper was the only means BY which Texts could be carried across TIME and DISTANCE everyone engaged in the politics of education. Religion and literature believed that reading helped to shape the minds. opinions. attitudes. and ultimately the actions. of readers. William St Clair investigates how the national culture can be understood through a quantitative study of the books that were actually read. Centred on the Romantic period in the English-speaking world. but ranging across the whole print era. it reaches startling conclusions about the forces that determined how ideas were carried. through print. into wider society. St Clair provides an in-depth investigation of information. made available here for the first time. on prices. print runs. intellectual property...

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Review:

'... magnificent, original and compelling study ... stretches far wider than its title suggests. He has a mass of new and fascinating things to say about the centuries that followed the invention of printing and also about the Victorian age which succeeded the Romantic period ... The Reading Nation is clearly written and is throughout enjoyable to read.' Ian Gilmour, London Review of Books

'Over the next half century many scholars will rely on this book, argue with it, and produce further evidence to support or challenge conclusions. I am prepared to say without qualification, however, that The Reading Nation in the Romantic Period is one of the most important scholarly books I have ever read.' Rob Hume, Philological Quarterly

'... a rich, ambitious, and invariably stimulating study of publishing practices in the English-speaking world that reaches back to the sixteenth century and forward to current debates about the globalization of intellectual property' Heather Jackson, The Times Literary Supplement

'it is absolutely indispensable. ... It is strongly recommended reading for everyone interested in English literary history. There is nothing like it. We shall not be able to do without it. It defines a new standard in research into the history of reading.' Anglistik

' ... shows how one can revise many of the old unexamined truisms concerning romanticism by scrupulous quantitative analysis, without necessarily forfeiting an evaluative and critical stance ... Even more important is the dire story which the book tells, and the warning which it delivers to our own era, about the social and historical consequences of monopolizing knowledge.' Nigel Leask, History Workshop Journal

'... this dazzling, compulsively readable, intellectually challenging tour de force ... St Clair brilliantly explores and explains the impact of economics, legal history, popular culture, societal structure, and bibliographic evidence, creating a seminal work, one that is truly indispensable to Romantic period scholars of every discipline. ... This is a work of rigorous scholarship, imagination, supportable conclusions, and disciplined speculation. It is not to be missed.' Jack Gumpert Wasserman, The Byron Journal

'St Clair's voluminous book is important in the inter-related fields of publishing history, history of the book, and history of reading on two grounds - its methodology and its detailed data. St Clair's commentaries are informative, and his deductions will likely be regarded as bases for further studies.' Mid West Book Review

'The biggest idea the Tories ever had was to stop the people reading. Byron did more than anyone else to expose that crime and William St Clair has presented the whole story in an original guise.' Michael Foot, Tribune

'Mr St Clair's The Reading Nation in the Romantic Period is the most important and useful book I've ever read on the history of the English book trade. It covers a much greater time period than the title implies.' Terry Belanger, University Professor, Macarthur Fellow, University of Virginia

'St Clair's first few chapters are so well written and lucid that readers will be very quickly propelled into the subject, ready for the always pertinent supporting detail in chapters that range from Shakespeare to Frankenstein.' The Times Higher Education Supplement

Book Description:

In this 2004 book, William St Clair investigates how reading shaped the national culture over four centuries of printing and publishing, through a quantitative study of the books that were actually read. Using the Romantic period as a starting point, he reaches startling conclusions about the forces that determined how print carried ideas into wider society.

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9780521810067: The Reading Nation in the Romantic Period

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