Eleanor Shevlin is seeking proposals for a panel to be held at the annual meeting of the American Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS) 18-21 March 2010, in Albuquerque, NM
"'Associational Reading': Libraries, Reading Societies, and Book Clubs in the Eighteenth Century”
“Associational Reading” is a term used to describe formal library activity defined by the association and sociability of the participants. It is used particularly to distinguish subscription and membership libraries, book clubs, reading societies and specialist societies that had libraries (medical societies, law societies, agricultural societies etc) from other book-lending institutions, especially the commercial circulating libraries (which were usually owned and managed by a single profit-oriented entrepreneur) and charitable foundations. Although profit-driven, commercial circulating libraries sometimes adopted associational language to promote their ventures many private libraries facilitating an associational (or at least sociable) form of reading, lending books to friends, neighbors and relatives in their area. This panel invites paper that explore various forms of “associational reading” in the long eighteenth century. Papers may focus on a particular library, reading club, society or reading group, or may focus on another aspect of as this phenomenon. Panelists may also wish to consider the ways that associational reading intersects with issues of race, class, gender, genre, or commerce.
Please send one page abstracts to Eleanor Shevlin, email@example.com (or 2006 Columbia, NW, Apt. 42, Washington, DC 20009)
All panelists who are not members of the Bibliographical Society of America are kindly requested to join before the ASECS meeting in March.