Roosevelt’s Pigskin Library

IT is difficult to believe that world leaders once had time for leisurely reading. U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt was surely one of the more bookish. Meditating on the intimacy that can exist between readers and their books, Roosevelt once asserted that ‘If a man or a woman is fond of books he or she willContinue reading “Roosevelt’s Pigskin Library”

Now published . . . . . .

Available from Oxford University Press 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 an age of empire. It examines the libraries and reading habits of five reading constituencies from the long nineteenth century: shipboard emigrants, AustralianContinue reading “Now published . . . . . .”

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”