This collection of essays draws together new research from leading scholars to offer a new methodological framework for the history of reading. A growing field, history of reading brings together practitioners from literature, history, sociology, education, philosophy, cultural studies and law. On the one hand, scholars have approached the subject empirically, focusing on a specific historical moment and gathering detailed statistics about such issues as literacy rates, library subscriptions, publication and sales figures and print runs to answer questions about what was being read and by whom in a particular place and time. On the other, scholars have approached the subject theoretically, focusing on how meaning is created and conditioned by a theoretical – and often largely ahistorical – reader. This edition synthesizes divergent approaches to reconsider the history of reading, the ways we make claims about readers and what they do with texts.