A Return to the Common Reader: Print Culture and the Novel, by Adelene Buckland, Beth Palmer


By Adelene Buckland, Beth Palmer

In 1957, Richard Altick's groundbreaking paintings "The English universal Reader" remodeled the examine of ebook heritage. placing readers on the centre of literary tradition, Altick anticipated-and helped produce-fifty years of scholarly inquiry into the methods and skill in which the Victorians learn. Now, "A go back to the typical Reader" asks what Altick's thought of the 'common reader' really capability within the wake of a half-century of study. Digging deep into strange and eclectic records and hitherto-overlooked assets, its authors supply new figuring out to the hundreds of newly literate readers who picked up books within the Victorian interval. They locate readers in prisons, within the barracks, and worldwide, and so they remind us of the ability of these forgotten readers to discover forbidden texts, form new markets, and force the creation of recent interpreting fabric throughout a century. encouraged and trained through Altick's seminal paintings, "A go back to the typical Reader" is a state-of-the-art assortment which dramatically reconfigures our realizing of the standard Victorian readers whose efforts and offerings replaced our literary tradition perpetually.

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By John O. Jordan and Robert L. Patten (Cambridge, 1995), pp. 250–68. 38 ‘Her Majesty’s Government v. “Dorothy”’, Dorothy’s Home Journal for Ladies 1/43 (7 July 1890), p. 3. 39 ‘Special Prize Competitions’, Dorothy’s Home Journal for Ladies 1/43 (7 July 1890), p. 3. 40 Dorothy’s Home Journal for Ladies 1/43 (7 July 1890), pp. 3, 16. 41 ‘A Guinea Prize Monthly’, Dorothy’s Home Journal for Ladies 5/137 (25 April 1892), p. 511. 42 ‘Award of Prizes’, Dorothy’s Home Journal for Ladies 4/100 (19 July 1891), p.

But those who live ‘remote from towns’ often find it impossible to do this, and it is especially on their behalf that Dorothy intends starting a Literary Class, which she hopes will prove a means of pleasure and profit to the members during the coming winter. The books required for this competition are Tennyson [sic], Kingsley’s Westward Ho, Hans Andersen’s Fairy Tales, The Autocrat by O W Holmes, and Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Merchant of Venice. As a good many girls will not have all these works in their possession already, we offer three copies of either of these books for the best three sets of riddles sent in by November the 18th.

12 Agnes Repplier, ‘English Railway Fiction’, in Points of View (Cambridge, MA, 1891), pp. 209–39. 13 Beetham, p. 122. 16 There is very little published on didactic self-improvement movements for women in late-Victorian periodicals, and the readers at the lower end of the literacy scale have largely been ignored. 22 However, these readers, though female, were not ‘common readers’. 23 Clare Gill’s work on the socialist reading schemes of John Trevor and The Labour Prophet in the 1890s looks at working-class readers in detail,24 but even here the periodical in question was of a relatively high quality, aiming itself at ‘rational’, focused Virginia Berridge, ‘Content analysis and historical research on newspapers’, in The Press in English Society, pp.

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