edited by Shafquat Towheed and W.R. Owens ; foreword by Simon Eliot
How do we accurately recover the diverse engagement of readers with texts across time and in widely differing societies across the world? This volume brings together a representative sample of original, evidence based research in the History of Reading. Chapters cover individual readers, reading communities or groups and their engagement with texts in societies ranging from nineteenth-century Poland and Germany, apartheid era South Africa, Antebellum America, colonial Canada, India and New Zealand, and early modern England. Deliberately juxtaposing research on different countries, linguistic communities and historical periods, The History of Reading, Vol. 1: International Perspectives, c.1500-1990 demonstrates the challenges and rewards of undertaking empirical research on reading practices and asks whether readers' responses to texts are always entirely conditioned by their historical, socio-economic, or political circumstances. A wide-ranging critical introduction provides a succinct overview of evidence based approaches to the history of reading, and reminds us that the task of recovering the evidence of readers through history and across the world is still in its infancy.