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Eighteenth-Century Manners of Reading
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Book description

The market for print steadily expanded throughout the eighteenth-century Atlantic world thanks to printers' efforts  to ensure that ordinary people knew how to read and use printed matter. Reading is and was a collection of practices, performed in diverse but always very specific ways. These practices were spread down the social hierarchy through printed guides. Eve Tavor Bannet explores guides to six manners or methods of reading, each with its own social, economic, commercial, intellectual and pedagogical functions, and each promoting a variety of fragmentary and discontinuous reading practices. The increasingly widespread production of periodicals, pamphlets, prefaces, conduct books, conversation-pieces and fictions, together with schoolbooks designed for adults and children, disseminated all that people of all ages and ranks might need or wish to know about reading, and prepared them for new jobs and roles both in Britain and America.


‘… a valuable book in its wide-ranging knowledge, its identification of new ways to think about eighteenth-century reading practices, and its new configurations of material from disparate disciplines and arenas.’

Min Wild Source: The Times Literary Supplement

'Bannet explores the ways in which 18th-century printers and print material offered instructions and models for ways of reading to ordinary people, thus creating the conditions for a widespread print and reading culture. Recommended.'

Source: Choice

'The book is a fascinating Shakespearean mousetrap of its own method. It can absolutely be read discontinuously, based on a reader’s individual interests, without compromising its overarching narrative or historical argument.'

Nora Slonimsky Source: The William and Mary Quarterly

'… occasionally surprising and undeniably satisfying.'

Aileen Douglas Source: The Scriblerian and the Kit-Cats

‘In five illuminating and subtle chapters, Eve Tavor Bannet recovers six differently defined (but fascinatingly interdependent) ‘manners’ of reading, greatly refining our understanding of prevailing reading perceptions, prescriptions, and presumptions. She convincingly presents these manners of reading as multiple strategies effectively to connect and reassociate the separateness (or, as she puts it, discontinuities and disconnections) of myriad texts, words, and letters.’

James Raven Source: Eighteenth-Century Fiction

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