Follow Here To Purchase How to Do Things with Books in Victorian Britain

Author: Leah Price

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN-13: 978-0-691-11417-0

In her introduction to How to Do Things with Books in Victorian Britain, Professor of English and Chair of the History & Literature program at Harvard University, Leah Price, asks a few key questions: “… what meanings do books make even, or especially, when they go unread? And why did Victorian authors care?” Following on these prefatory posers, she asks a great many more regarding the format and treatment of books during the nineteenth century, all of which she attempts to answer in this 350-page exploration of how Britons understood, and what they felt about, the uses of printed matter during that time and age. In this critical analysis of the major focus of the publishing arena, attention is laid on three major activites that were undertaken in connection with such material, namely reading, handling, and circulating.

Asserting that she writes from within the parameters set by reception history, which centres on the reader’s reception of a literary text in historical perspective, Price first explores the relation of book history to literary-critical theory and practice, before embarking on more accessible and detailed case studies covering a wide span of relationships, ranging from husband-wife, through parent-child, to master-servant, that had to do with the literary output of the day. The author neatly guides readers with specific interests in certain types of printed material (including bibles and newspapers) to particularly relevant chapters of the book. How to Do Things with Books in Victorian Britain pays much attention to the work of such leading writers of the day as Thackeray, Dickens, the Brontës, Trollope, and Collins, as well as to the urban sociology of Henry Mayhew.

Price’s discursive style does credit to her subject, as, in addition to it being packed with clearly well-researched information, it is also highly readable. The author provides prolific examples taken from the literature to illustrate the points that she expresses powerfully and clearly. Her profound insights and far-reaching understanding of her subject have emerged from her close familiarity with the genres of literature of which she writes. And, even though she clearly wrote How to Do Things with Books in Victorian Britain with the literary scholar in mind, the text should be highly accessible to any reader with a modicum of intelligence.

How to Do Things with Books in Victorian Britain is illustrated throughout with relevant satirical cartoons from Punch and black-and-white illustrations from some of the literary works that were produced during the nineteenth century. In addition to the 29 pages of endnotes, which are extensive and enlightening, the 24-page index is comprehensive and detailed, containing such key entries as “bildungsroman”, “it-narratives”, “libraries”, and “religious tracts”. How to Do Things with Books in Victorian Britain should make a worthy addition to any genuine book lover’s own library, as well as be acquired for any library or resource center that focuses on history and/or English literature.

Follow Here To Purchase How to Do Things with Books in Victorian Britain