Reading History in Britain and America, c.1750–c.1840
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- Author: Mark Towsey, University of Liverpool
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The period between c.1750 and c.1840 is popularly known for the rise of the novel, yet historical works by Enlightenment writers, including David Hume, Edward Gibbon and William Robertson, were some of its most commercially successful books. Moving beyond the range of previous studies that have sought to explain this success by focussing on publishers, writers and their ideas, Mark Towsey's study is the first to focus on the reading audiences themselves. Drawing on a variety of sources including marginalia, letters, diaries and commonplace books, this lively book reveals why histories were so widely read, and shows how they were used by readers across the English-speaking world to make sense of social upheaval at home and revolution abroad. In doing so, it marks a major addition to the history of reading, shedding fascinating new light on how readers interpreted books in the past.Read more
- Delivers the first book length study of the success of historical literature from the perspective of the reading audience in the period c.1750–c.1840
- Draws on a wide variety of sources, including letters, diaries, marginalia and commonplace books, to shed new light on audience response to history books
- Explores how historical narratives, events and ideas were used by readers to interpret a rapidly changing world
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- Date Published: April 2019
- format: Adobe eBook Reader
- isbn: 9781108593793
- availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
Table of Contents
Introduction. 'History now is the favourite reading'
1. History and the life cycle of the reader
2. Sceptical historiography and the problem of infidelity
3. Contesting constitutional history
4. A nation united? Histories of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales
5. Rewriting the American nation
6. Historical information and the management of Empire
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