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Popular Reading and Publishing in Britain 1914–1950$
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Joseph McAleer

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780198203292

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198203292.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 04 August 2021

‘The Quickest Way Out of Glasgow’: Adult Reading Habits

‘The Quickest Way Out of Glasgow’: Adult Reading Habits

(p.71) 3‘The Quickest Way Out of Glasgow’: Adult Reading Habits
Popular Reading and Publishing in Britain 1914–1950

Joseph McAleer

Oxford University Press

Light fiction sold well between 1914 and 1950. ‘Escapism’ appears to be the principal motive in reading during this period, particularly among the working classes. When one considers the book stock of the tuppenny libraries or the magazines which sold best, this is not surprising. Reading as a means of escape intensified in times of adversity such as the war and the depression. It was also encouraged by the peculiar attitudes towards books and patterns of selection held by the new reading public. Working-class readers did not distinguish between books and magazines in looking for something to read. One consequence was that the best-selling authors, novels, and magazines preferred by this public were increasingly of the same style and genre. This chapter examines the reading habits of lower-middle- and working-class adults, considering how much and how often they read, and why they read what they did.

Keywords:   light fiction, escapism, working classes, tuppenny libraries, war, depression, reading habits

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