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The Purposes of Reading in late Georgian Britain: Science, Medicine, Industry and Intellectual Culture in the Leeds Subscription Libraries, 1768-1815

Bowd, Rebecca Elizabeth (2015) The Purposes of Reading in late Georgian Britain: Science, Medicine, Industry and Intellectual Culture in the Leeds Subscription Libraries, 1768-1815. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

This study of libraries in Leeds in the late Georgian era establishes why a range of subscription libraries came into being in the town in the mid eighteenth century, and provides a localised and integrated account of how several such libraries worked within the cultural economy of a provincial town. At the heart of this study is the question of how the Leeds libraries related to the reading and associate requirements of their first readers. Association, sociability, improvement and taste are words which usually describe the motivations for the establishment of subscription libraries but I argue for a new interpretation. The observation that a medical library was the first subscription library founded in Leeds in the eighteenth century raises the possibility that factors were at play in the decision to found these libraries other than those leisure purposes usually suggested by historians. I suggest that the Leeds libraries were founded to meet a range of practical purposes – professional, learned and industrial – as well as the leisure and other associated interests which have been discussed so widely in the prevailing literature.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Book History, Eighteenth Century, History of Science, Industrialisation, Leeds, Provincial Medicine, Subscription Library, Useful Knowledge
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Philosophy, Religion and the History of Science
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.675005
Depositing User: Dr Rebecca Bowd
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2015 10:38
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2020 12:31
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/11145

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