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Crusoe's books: readers in the empire of print, 1800-1918

Bell, Bill ORCID: 2021. Crusoe's books: readers in the empire of print, 1800-1918. Oxford University Press. 10.1093/oso/9780192894694.001.0001

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This book examines the role of books and reading in relation to five itinerant constituencies in the long nineteenth century. It provides a critique of influential approaches to the history of reading within the context of the British empire. Beginning with the figure of the ‘hermeneutic castaway’ in Robinson Crusoe, it moves on to explore this and other phenomena as they were manifest among shipboard emigrants, Australian convicts, Scottish settlers in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, among polar explorers, and in the trenches of the First World War. In each instance, it explores the tensions between official prescriptive reading cultures and the everyday responses of ordinary readers themselves. Far from demonstrating the confidence and coherence of a British imperial project during this period, the evidence provided by a myriad reading experiences suggests an underlying disruption and tension in the way that reading subjects saw themselves and their political masters throughout the empire. Using archival, official, and other printed sources, the book sets out to show the diversity of readerly response in this period and what it can tell us about the complexity of the mentalities of ordinary subjects in an age of empire

Item Type: Book
Book Type: Authored Book
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780192894694
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2022 11:15

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