Reading Culture and Writing Practices in Nineteenth-Century France

Reading Culture and Writing Practices in Nineteenth-Century France

Hardback Studies in Book and Print Culture

By (author) Martyn Lyons

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  • Publisher: University of Toronto Press
  • Format: Hardback | 272 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 231mm x 30mm | 431g
  • Publication date: 1 July 2008
  • Publication City/Country: Toronto
  • ISBN 10: 0802093574
  • ISBN 13: 9780802093578
  • Illustrations note: 12 tables, 2 maps
  • Sales rank: 1,637,289

Product description

Between about 1830 and the outbreak of the First World War, print culture, reading, and writing transformed cultural life in Western Europe in many significant ways. Book production and consumption increased dramatically, and practices such as letter- and diary-writing were widespread. This study demonstrates the importance of the nineteenth century in French cultural change and illustrates the changing priorities and concerns of l'histoire du livre since the 1970s. From the 1830s on, book production experienced an industrial revolution which led to the emergence of a mass literary culture by the close of the century. At the same time, the western world acquired mass literacy. New categories of readers became part of the reading public while western society also learned to write. Reading Culture and Writing Practices in Nineteenth-Century France examines how the concerns of historians have shifted from a search for statistical sources to more qualitative assessments of readers' responses. Martyn Lyons argues that autobiographical sources are vitally important to this investigation and he considers examples of the intimate and everyday writings of ordinary people. Featuring original and intriguing insights as well as references to material hitherto inaccessible to English readers, this study presents a form of 'history from below' with emphasis on the individual reader and writer, and his or her experiences and perceptions.

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Author information

Martyn Lyons is Professor in the School of History and Philosophy at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.

Review quote

'Lyon's absorbing collection of essays explores the place and meanings of reading and writing in the lives of various 'reading communities'... This volume offers a fascinating introduction both to his development as a historian and to the various ways we might hear from 'actual readers', as opposed to the 'imagined' readers of reception theory.' -- Alice Garner