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Reading Spaces in South Africa, 1850–1920s


Part of Elements in Publishing and Book Culture

  • Date Published: November 2020
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108814706


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About the Authors
  • Voluntary societies and government initiatives stimulated the growth of reading communities in South Africa in the second half of the nineteenth century. A system of Parliamentary grants to establish public libraries in country towns and villages nurtured a lively reading culture. A condition was that the library should be open free-of-charge to the general public. This became one more reading space, and others included book societies, reading societies, literary societies, debating societies, mechanics institutes, and mutual improvement societies. This Element explains how reading communities used these spaces to promote cultural and literary development in a unique ethos of improvement, and to raise political awareness in South Africa's colonial transition to a Union government and racial segregation.

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2020
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108814706
    • length: 75 pages
    • dimensions: 125 x 180 x 3 mm
    • weight: 0.1kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Becoming literate, becoming literary
    3. Reading, writing, debating, reciting
    4. Dickens on the page, the podium, and the stage
    5. The fiction Charlie Immelman read, and the films he watched
    6. The Cape's global Islamic printing networks
    7. Conclusion.

  • Author

    Archie L. Dick, University of Pretoria

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