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Look Inside Reading Material in Early Modern England

Reading Material in Early Modern England
Print, Gender, and Literacy

$49.99 (C)

  • Date Published: March 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521104159

$ 49.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Reading Material in Early Modern England rediscovers the practices and representations of a wide range of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English readers. Heidi Brayman Hackel argues for a history of reading centred on the traces left by merchants and maidens, gentlewomen and servants, adolescents and matrons - precisely those readers whose entry into the print marketplace provoked debate and changed the definition of literacy. By telling their stories and insisting upon their variety, Brayman Hackel displaces both the singular 'ideal' reader of literacy theory and the elite male reader of literacy history. This interdisciplinary study draws upon portraiture, prefaces, marginalia, commonplace books, inventories, diaries, letters and literature (Spenser, Shakespeare, Sidney, Greene, Dekker, Lyly, Jonson and others). A contribution to literary studies, the history of the book, cultural history and feminist criticism, this accessible book will also appeal to readers interested in our continuing engagement with print and the evolution of reading material.

    Reviews & endorsements

    "Thoroughly researched, carefully crafted and lucidly written, this fine study reviews and extends our knowledge and understanding of the materialities and rhetorics of books and the conditions and practices of readers --- especially female readers --- in early modern England."
    Kevin Sharpe, author of Reading Revolutions and editor with Steven N. Zwicker of Reading, Society and Politics, Queen Mary, University of London

    " impressive study focusing on the material traces left by actual readers in books... Hackel's book significantly advances our knowledge of the reading practices by women and ordinary readers."
    SEL: Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900

    "With Reading Material, Brayman Hackel makes a major contribution to our knowledge of the reading and writing practices of many forgotten, underrepresented, or misunderstood book owners. [Hackel] has produced a study that is essential to our understanding of early modern reading and writing practices."
    Early Modern Literary Studies

    "Heidi Brayman Hackel's book is ambitious and wide ranging in scope, elegantly conceived, and lucidly written."
    Andrew Cambers, Oxford Brookes University, Sixteenth Century Journal

    "This is a book that early modern studies has needed and been struggling toward since at least the early 1980s. As scholarly inquiry has moved toward a more material understanding of Shakespearean and Jacobean England, we have been frustrated and stymied by simple questions...Hackel's extremely well-researched and comprehensive study attempts to answer some of these questions..." - Constance C. Relihan, Auburn U.

    "In this study of early modern manuscripts and printed books and their readers, Heidi Brayman Hackel shifts the parameters of reader-response criticism to include the material artifacts of book production. her discussion of what constitutes literacy in the period is especially illuminating...Hackel's book offers a considerable contribution to the emerging fields of New Textualism and the more established theories of reader-response criticism. Her analysis is thoughtful and often inclined to original insights with regard to reading evidence as a genre of literature in itself." - Seventeenth-Century News, Lissa Beauchamp, St. Francis Xavier University

    "Especially valuable features of Brayman Hackel's book are the illustrations, appendix, extensive bibliographic notes and bibliography, and index" Phyllis R. Brown, Santa Clara University

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521104159
    • length: 336 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.5kg
    • contains: 10 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Towards a material history of reading
    2. Impressions from a 'scribbling age': Gestures and habits of reading
    3. Framing 'gentle readers' in preliminaries and margins
    4. Noting readers of the Arcadia in marginalia and commonplace books
    5. Consuming readers: Ladies, lapdogs and libraries

  • Author

    Heidi Brayman Hackel, Oregon State University
    Heidi Brayman Hackel is Assistant Professor of English at Oregon State University and author of several essays on early modern readers, literacy, and libraries.

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