Romantic Readers


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The Evidence of Marginalia

H. J. Jackson

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When readers jot down notes in their books, they reveal something of themselves—what they believe, what amuses or annoys them, what they have read before. But a close examination of marginalia also discloses diverse and fascinating details about the time in which they are written. This book explores reading practices in the Romantic Age through an analysis of some 2,000 books annotated by British readers between 1790 and 1830.
This period experienced a great increase in readership and a boom in publishing. H. J. Jackson shows how readers used their books for work, for socializing, and for leaving messages to posterity. She draws on the annotations of Blake, Coleridge, Keats, and other celebrities as well as those of little known and unknown writers to discover how people were reading and what this can tell us about literature, social history, and the history of the book.

H. J. Jackson is a professor, Department of English, University of Toronto. She has published extensively on Romantic literature, and her book Marginalia was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award in literarty criticism.

"I wish I had read this book years ago, when I was setting out to be a scholar of the Romantics. This book’s riches are manifold. Like its forerunner, Marginalia, this is scholarship of the highest distinction."—Harold Bloom

"I am sure that no one knows as much about Romantic marginalia as Jackson; this book will be welcomed by everyone working in the field. It offers a wealth of intriguing material and insight."—William Keach, Brown University

"An engrossing entry into the study of learning, culture, and societal change for any reader willing to approach it."—Library Journal

“In this delightful sequel to her outstanding Marginalia, Jackson argues that studying marginalia helps one reconstruct the experiences and practices of reading in earlier historical periods. . . . This splendidly argued book is a must for Romanticists, bibliographers, and anyone interested in the history of the book. Essential.”—Choice

"Fascinating."—Elizabeth Helsinger, Studies in English Literature

"Readers will leave Jackson's book with a new appreciation for the individual experience of reading, a wider understanding of patterns of reading (and writing), and a tremendous sense of how multidimensional any attempt to construct 'The Reader' must be. . . . A remarkable study."—Emily Smith, The Eighteenth-Century Intelligencer

Chosen as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2006 by Choice Magazine
ISBN: 9780300107852
Publication Date: July 10, 2005
384 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
30 halftone illus.

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