Romantic Readers: The Evidence of Marginalia
When readers jot down notes in their books, they reveal something of themselves—what they believe, what amuses or annoys them, what they have read before. But a close examination of marginalia also discloses diverse and fascinating details about the time in which they are written. This book explores reading practices in the Romantic Age through an analysis of some 2,000 books annotated by British readers between 1790 and 1830.
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The resulting gallery of characters and publications (for the annotated books themselves are not all well known), which I thought of at first as a by-product of the survey, now seems to me of interest in its own right as a display of ...
More damaging to the notion that an increase in literacy rates effected a reading revolution during the Romantic period is the fact that the widespread ability to read seems to have existed before the period began.
It seems to me that between 1790 and 1830 we can see the beginning and end of a reading boom, a boom activated not so much by social, political, or technological changes (though partly by them) as by competitive commercial activity, ...
Periods of respite and recovery such as 1809–10 and 1817–18 seem to have been shortlived, and the longer hopeful period of 1822–24 led to inflation, financial panic, severe unemployment, and a general depression in 1826.
John Sutherland also demonstrates that the statistics do not bear out the publishers' sense of apocalypse: ''the British book trade as a whole,'' he says, ''seems to have weathered the 1826 storm quite serenely'' (161).
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Romantic readers: the evidence of marginaliaUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
In this follow-up to her magisterial Marginalia: Readers Writing in Books , Jackson (English, Univ. of Toronto) focuses on annotations that were made in books during the Romantic Age--that exciting ... Read full review