New Book | The Edinburgh History of Reading

Posted in books by Editor on May 2, 2020

Spread across the volumes are essays addressing the long eighteenth century, including topics of illustrations and visual culture. From Edinburgh UP:

Mary Hammond and Jonathan Rose, eds., The Edinburgh History of Reading, 4 volumes (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2020), 1512 pages, 978-1474478717, £350. [Each volume is also sold individually.]

Bringing together the latest scholarship from all over the world on topics ranging from reading practices in ancient China to the workings of the twenty-first-century reading brain, the 4 volumes of The Edinburgh History of Reading demonstrate that reading is a deeply imbricated, socio-political practice, at once personal and public, defiant, and obedient. It is often materially ephemeral, but it can also be emotionally and intellectually enduring.

Volume Titles

Early Readers, edited by Mary Hammond, with contents listed here.

Early Readers presents a number of innovative ways through which we might capture or infer traces of readers in cultures where most evidence has been lost. It begins by investigating what a close analysis of extant texts from 6th-century BCE China can tell us about contemporary reading practices, explores the reading of medieval European women and their male medical practitioner counterparts, traces readers across New Spain, Peru, the Ottoman Empire and the Iberian world between 1500 and 1800, and ends with an analysis of the surprisingly enduring practice of reading aloud.

Modern Readers, edited by Mary Hammond, with contents listed here.

Modern Readers explores the myriad places and spaces in which reading has typically taken place since the eighteenth century, from the bedrooms of the English upper classes, through large parts of nineteenth-century Africa and on-board ships and trains travelling the world, to twenty-first-century reading groups. It encompasses a range of genres from to science fiction, music and self-help to Government propaganda.

Common Readers, edited by Jonathan Rose, with contents listed here.

Common Readers casts a fascinating light on the literary experiences of ordinary people: miners in Scotland, churchgoers in Victorian London, workers in Czarist Russia, schoolgirls in rural Australia, farmers in Republican China, and forward to today’s online book discussion groups. Chapters in this volume explore what they read, and how books changed their lives.

Subversive Readers, edited by Jonathan Rose, with contents listed here.

Subversive Readers explores the strategies used by readers to question authority, challenge convention, resist oppression, assert their independence and imagine a better world. This kind of insurgent reading may be found everywhere: in revolutionary France and Nazi Germany, in Eastern Europe under Communism and in Australian and Iranian prisons, among eighteenth-century women reading history and nineteenth-century men reading erotica, among postcolonial Africans, the blind, and pioneering transgender activists.

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