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Writers, Readers, and ReputationsLiterary Life in Britain 1870-1918$
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Philip Waller

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199541201

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199541201.001.0001

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Consenting and Dissenting Bibliophiles in Public and Private

Consenting and Dissenting Bibliophiles in Public and Private

Chapter:
(p.17) 2 Consenting and Dissenting Bibliophiles in Public and Private
Source:
Writers, Readers, and Reputations
Author(s):

Philip Waller (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199541201.003.0002

This chapter investigates the passion for reading and book-collection across the social classes: what determined choice and availability of literature, both fiction and non-fiction, light and serious. It spotlights the struggles of working-class readers to improve themselves by acquiring classics, now produced in inexpensive editions — Dent's Everyman; the World's Classics; Cassell's, Collins', Methuen's, Nelson's, and Newnes' series — or simply to transport themselves into imaginative worlds of romance and adventure. It also considers authors' attitudes to cheap literature — who profited and who lost out — and their ambivalence towards the expansion of a free public library network, which eventually resulted in the Lending Rights demand. Authors featured include Matthew Arnold, John Buchan, Lewis Carroll, Marie Corelli, George Gissing, and George Bernard Shaw.

Keywords:   working-class readers, free public libraries, cheap literature, lending rights

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