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Class, culture and conflict in the Edwardian book inscription: A multimodal ethnohistorical approach

O'Hagan, Lauren Alex ORCID: 2019. Class, culture and conflict in the Edwardian book inscription: A multimodal ethnohistorical approach. Wildfeuer, Janina, Pflaeging, Jana, Bateman, John, Seizov, Ognyan and Tseng, Chiao, eds. Multimodality. Disciplinary Thoughts and the Challenge of Diversity., Berlin and New York: de Gruyter,

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This study uses three examples of Edwardian (1901-1914) book inscriptions – a prize inscription, gift inscription and bookplate – to demonstrate how the adoption of an ethnohistorical approach, in which choices of image, colour, typography and materiality are grounded in archival research, can strengthen multimodal analysis. Furthermore, it argues that, while book inscriptions may seem insignificant markers of ownership, they, in fact, act as a material microcosm of many of the social tensions that existed between class groups in early twentieth-century Britain. The analysis reveals that inscriptions were primarily used to objectify their owners’ economic means and cultural necessities, and assert themselves in a social space, whether to uphold their rank or keep their distance from other groups. These findings demonstrate the importance of embedding hypotheses concerning the function and form of artefacts in concrete historical documents.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Publisher: de Gruyter
ISBN: 9783110607987
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 22 November 2019
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2022 08:16

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