This collection provides students and researchers with a new and lively understanding of the role of institutions in the production, reception, and meaning of literature in the period 1700–1900. The period saw a fundamental transition from a patronage system to a marketplace in which institutions played an important mediating role between writers and readers, a shift with consequences that continue to resonate today. Often producers themselves, institutions processed and claimed authority over a variety of cultural domains that never simply tessellated into any unified system. The collection's primary concerns are British and imperial environments, with a comparative German case study, but it offers encouragement for its approaches to be taken up in a variety of other cultural contexts. From the Post Office to museums, from bricks and mortar to less tangible institutions like authorship and genre, this collection opens up a new field for literary studies.
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