Of Victorian Interest

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Of Victorian Interest

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Call for Contributors: Where Victorians Got Their Readings (Deadline: 12/05/22)

Where Victorians Got Their Reading

Frederick Nesta (University College London) and Edward Everett Root

Book chapter proposals wanted:

There was Mudie’s Select library – and his bookshop – and there were Hatchards and other retail bookshops but what about the working man or woman who might have felt out of place in Mudie’s or in a bookshop or about someone who lived in a town without a bookshop? Where did they get their reading material? You are invited to submit chapter proposals for a new book on the alternatives Victorian readers had beyond bookshops, e.g., the second-hand trade, religious societies, free and workingman’s libraries, circulating libraries, newsagents, direct mail, prize books, books distributed as premiums, street booksellers, and books sold by drapers, grocers, and other retail outlets. The focus will be on Great Britain and Ireland but contributions covering the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa would also be welcome. Where Victorians Got Their Reading will be edited by Frederick Nesta (University College London) and published by Edward Everett Root in early 2024.

Possible topics include:

  • Where, besides bookshops, did Victorian readers get their books and other reading material?
  • Was there a reluctance of working-class readers to use bookshops?
  • Was the cost of new books prohibitive for readers, making them turn to alternative sources, such as subscription and later free libraries for new books and second-hand shops for older books?
  • What do reader diaries tell us about where they got their books?

Please send your chapter proposal to the editor, f.nesta@ucl.ac.uk by 15 December 2022. The proposal should be no longer than 500 words and include a title and outline of a chapter of 4,000 to 8,000 words. Please also include a brief biography of no more than 250 words.

The editor will respond to proposals by 15 January 2023. The final text will be due 30 July 2023.

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