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The Oxford History of the Novel in EnglishVolume 6: The American Novel 1879-1940$
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Priscilla Wald and Michael A. Elliott

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780195385342

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780195385342.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 29 November 2020

American Readers and Their Novels

American Readers and Their Novels

Chapter:
(p.36) 3 American Readers and Their Novels
Source:
The Oxford History of the Novel in English
Author(s):

Amy L. Blair

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780195385342.003.0003

This chapter examines the central debates over the very nature of reading the novel in the period from 1870 to 1940. It considers the kinds of books that people read or should read, how reading for pleasure should be balanced with reading for information, and the use and dangers of reading. It also discusses reading and literacy in connection with the duties of citizenship. The chapter first provides an overview of American readers during the period and what they read, with particular reference to serial fiction and subscription series. It then looks at the role of public libraries in the increased availability of fiction and the impulse to control reader access, along with the role of book clubs and political clubs in driving library patronage. Finally, it assesses the impact of censorship on readers.

Keywords:   reading, novel, literacy, readers, serial fiction, subscription series, public libraries, book clubs, political clubs, censorship

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