Consuming Texts: Readers and Reading Communities, 1695-1870 by Stephen Colclough

By Stephen Colclough

Eating Texts explores the background of analyzing within the British Isles in the course of a interval during which the published be aware turned all pervasive. starting with an summary of contemporary paintings, it is going directly to offer a chain of case reviews of person readers and the groups to which they belonged. From filthy rich readers of 'amatory fiction' within the early Eighteenth century, via to women and men studying surreptitiously on the Victorian railway book shop, it argues number of new examining groups emerged in this interval.

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29 Caesar added marginal notes to both in order to identify the real people disguised by fake names or initials (‘Earnest’ in Heraclitus Ridens is revealed as ‘Sir Roger L’Estrange’), or to draw attention to particular passages (such as ‘Fornication described’ in All Men Mad). Both of these texts celebrate the anarchic nature of satire. 30 Caesar may well have transcribed the former because it was a relatively rare object that passed through his hands, but it is important to note the way in which the process of transcription transformed the portable, ephemeral, printed text into a subsection of the much larger personal miscellany.

171v). 192v). Such a collection, transcribed from both print and manuscript sources, suggests the anthologists delight in variety. It gives a sense both of what Caesar was reading in 1704/5, which included some much older material, and of the kind of texts that were shared by his reading community, or which he wanted them to share. Although it does not fit the restrictive definitions of the commonplace book or the personal miscellany offered at the start of this chapter, its hybrid form reveals the continuing importance of transcription to reading practices and text transmission during the early eighteenth century.

Smyth concludes that readers engaged in this process because the act of ‘transfer rendered the poems the property of the compiler in a way that mere ownership of a printed book could never do’. 33 Many of Caesar’s transcriptions are accurate reproductions of the formal contents of the printed original, but as with his copy of Ward’s All Men Mad he tended to personalize the text by making it conform to the paratextual conventions, such as headings and marginal glosses, used throughout Reworking the Word 39 the manuscript.

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