Coming soon . . .

Available from Oxford University Press Autumn, 2021 Crusoe’s Books: Readers in the Empire of Print, 1800-1918 Bill Bell with a foreword by Alberto Manguel This is a book about readers on the move in the age of Victorian empire. It examines the libraries and reading habits of five reading constituencies from the long nineteenth century:Continue reading “Coming soon . . .”

Performative Reading

In a previous blog we looked at the phenomenon of Anti-Social Reading, the way in which individuals use reading to fend off the unwanted attention of others. Here we consider the way that reading can be used as a form of self-invention through the deployment of performative literacy. Certain regimes of culture and class, observedContinue reading “Performative Reading”

The Strange Afterlives of Robinson Crusoe

FOR over three centuries, The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe has engaged some of the most influential literary and philosophical minds. At the same time, few other fictional texts have provoked so many idiosyncratic readings. J.M. Coetzee, who attempted himself to rewrite the classic, thought about the many ways that Defoe’s bookContinue reading “The Strange Afterlives of Robinson Crusoe”

Two Nineteenth-Century Expeditionary Libraries

Guest blog: Innes M. Keighren THE DECISIONS we take about the books we pack when we travel are often informed by three factors: 1) practicality (“Will this book help me to travel safely, agreeably, and productively?”) 2) pleasure (“Will this book provide entertainment or diversion when required?”) and 3) portability (“Can I accommodate the spaceContinue reading “Two Nineteenth-Century Expeditionary Libraries”

The Myth of the Wipers Times

There are a lot of myths surrounding the history of reading. From time to time, we aim to correct historical misconceptions that have entered the realm of received wisdom. This one relates to the most celebrated trench newspaper to be printed on the Western Front during the First World War. The title of The WipersContinue reading “The Myth of the Wipers Times”