Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-544b6db54f-rlmms Total loading time: 0.38 Render date: 2021-10-24T07:23:53.462Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

2 - Victorian reading

from PART I - AUTHORS, READERS, AND PUBLISHERS

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 March 2012

Kate Flint
Affiliation:
University of Southern California
Get access

Summary

In 1847, Sir Arthur Helps began an essay on reading with the dutiful observation that ‘It appears to me remarkable that this subject should have been so little touched upon’, but one sometimes feels that the Victorians touched on little else. Literacy was credited for reducing criminality and blamed for encouraging sexual licence; the topic fuelled both visual and verbal media, writing and speech. When twenty-first-century scholars gain access to nineteenth-century clichés about reading, they do so via print; but the Victorians themselves used the spoken word to praise writing. Sermons remained the traditional venue for arguments about the benefits and dangers of the printed word, but by the 1830s they faced secular competition from after-dinner speeches of benevolent organizations, lectures at the opening of mechanics’ institutes, and public addresses like Ruskin’s Sesame and Lilies – not to mention Parliamentary debates, themselves transcribed in shorthand and read by many more people than those who had heard them. To read that record now is to remember how many of the policies over which Victorian MPs argued related, directly, or indirectly, to literacy. Schools, libraries, copyright law, postal rates, and above all the taxes that determined the pricing of printed matter: the institutions that the Victorians established, reformed, and attacked were centrally concerned with reading.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2012

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)
3
Cited by

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

  • Victorian reading
  • Edited by Kate Flint, University of Southern California
  • Book: The Cambridge History of Victorian Literature
  • Online publication: 28 March 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521846257.004
Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

  • Victorian reading
  • Edited by Kate Flint, University of Southern California
  • Book: The Cambridge History of Victorian Literature
  • Online publication: 28 March 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521846257.004
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Victorian reading
  • Edited by Kate Flint, University of Southern California
  • Book: The Cambridge History of Victorian Literature
  • Online publication: 28 March 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521846257.004
Available formats
×