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“The great fiction bore”: free libraries and the construction of a reading public in England, 1880-1914

Record type: Article

The Public Libraries Act (England and Wales) was passed in 1850 at a time when democracy was being hotly debated but only one person in forty was eligible to vote, and compulsory elementary education for all was still twenty years in the future. This essay explores how the public library came to act as a legitimating body for the performance of class and gender through reading practices. It argues that the social and political history surrounding the library movement in England is crucial to an understanding of how, though founded on the Arnoldian principle of culture as social panacea, it had come by the First World War to function on the principle of cultural capital as social signifier.

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Citation

Hammond, Mary (2002) “The great fiction bore”: free libraries and the construction of a reading public in England, 1880-1914 Libraries & Culture, 37, (2), pp. 83-108.

More information

Published date: 2002

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 63889
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/63889
ISSN: 1932-4855
PURE UUID: 9e424349-bd61-445b-ad1e-24097b9aa08c

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 14 Nov 2008
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 14:15

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