Abigail Williams reviewed in Washington Post
The latest book by Prof Abigail Williams, Lord White Fellow in English at St Peter's, has been reviewed in The Washington Post.
The Social Life of Books (Yale University Press) is a fascinating and vivid history of the ways in which shared reading shaped the lives and literary culture of the 18th-century, much as radio, television and motion pictures would some two hundred years later.
Drawing on marginalia, letters and diaries, library catalogues, elocution manuals, subscription lists, and more, it offers fresh and fascinating insights into reading, performance, and the history of middle-class home life.
The review says, ‘[Abigail Williams] invites us to think about an era when increased leisure time worked with a widespread yearning for knowledge to change the act of reading. [Her] charming pageant of anecdotes, as revealed in diaries, letters and marginalia, conjures a world strikingly different from our own but surprisingly similar in many ways, a time when reading was on the rise and whole worlds sprang up around it’.
The full review can be read here.
Abigail is also the author of Poetry and the Creation of a Whig Literary Culture: 1680-1714 and the editor of Jonathan Swift's Journal to Stella.