History events at the IHR

'I Can't Resist Sending you the Book': Private Libraries, Elite Women, and Shared Reading Practices in Georgian Scotland

06 November 2012, 17:30 - 19:30

Event Type: Seminar


Dr. Mark Towsey (University of Liverpool)


Despite intense recent interest in the crucial roles played by libraries in an Enlightened 'public sphere', the cultural and social functions of ostensibly 'private' libraries in the eighteenth century are much less well understood. This paper will sketch out the function of private libraries in one specific reading community in the rural northeast of Scotland, signalling some important themes for future research on the cultural and social meanings of private book collections. In particular, the paper will suggest some ways in which private libraries could help shape the reading experience itself - influencing the conditions in which certain texts were read and received, and contributing to the diffusion and widespread acceptance of important ideas relating to Enlightenment, social identity, and female education.

Venue: The Jessel Room (Senate House, first floor)

Senate House
Malet Street
London WC1E 7HU 


Related Events: History of Libraries History