Discuss the keynote here.
Discussant: Frank Felsenstein, Ball State University
Thank you, Mark, for your very stimulating keynote to the Library Circulation Histories Workshop. I think you’ve got us off to a great start! As you can see from the name that we have given to the workshop, the word “Histories” in its plural form has been given a prominent place. And, indeed, your keynote, “History Now Is the Favourite Reading: From Library Circulation Records to a History of Reading” picks up the same word, albeit in its singular form, and your talk reveals that books of history by such luminaries as David Hume, Edward Gibbon, and William Robertson frequently appear among the top ten most borrowed books from libraries in England, Scotland, and the new United States of the final half of the eighteenth century.
Our own project, What Middletown Read, is based on 175,000 reading records of the Muncie Public Library in Indiana that are a full century later than the period that you have been investigating so meticulously. Yet, your remarks immediately prompted me to enter the word “History” into a keyword search of our database. Surprisingly – at least for me – my search revealed strikes of 1,862 books borrowed by 3,231 readers, and representing 26,925 transactions (i.e. borrowings). If I added the plural word “Histories” to my search, I would augment the number of books by 98 with 93 patrons engaged in 100 transactions. Looking more closely again, The Muncie Public Library (MPL) acquired from one of its predecessors, the Delaware [County] Library, an 1835 multi-volume edition of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall, published in New York and bound in sheepskin, and a separate edition from 1854, also published in New York that had belonged to the Center [Muncie] Public Library, another predecessor of the MPL. To add to these, it also had a Boston published edition that had appeared in 1854, representing a third set of this iconic book. This set seems to have been transferred to the MPL from the Muncie Working Men’s Library, suggesting that this was not a book that would have been of interest to Muncie’s more proletarian readers. Similarly, the Muncie Public Library had copies of William Robertson’s History of Charles V and his History of the Discovery and Conquest of America, both from the Center Public Library, as well as two sets of David Hume’s History of England that came respectively from the Delaware and Center Public Libraries. At the MPL, these were books that formed the intellectual backbone of the original library when it was established in 1874, but the record of their actual borrowing is sparse to say the least. The records of their borrowing relegates these histories to an imaginary “top ten” of the books that were least in demand one hundred years after their earlier zenith. If nothing else, it demonstrates the fickleness of the term “popularity” which Mark quite legitimately employed with due caution. Contributors to our LCH Workshop and also those accessing this site at a later date may wish to employ Mark’s three historians as a gauge to their circulation histories elsewhere. It would be fascinating, for instance, to learn whether they may have obtained “top ten” status in imperial Australia, India, South Africa, Canada, or the Caribbean.
I am particularly pleased to have been asked to act as Discussant following Mark’s plenary as like him my primary area of research has been in the so-called “long” eighteenth century. My own areas of interest have included Tobias Smollett, whose own History of England was frequently tacked on to Hume’s as the latter’s timeline ended with the Glorious Revolution and did not venture into the eighteenth century. I am not surprised to see that Smollett’s History, which extended through to the Seven Years’ War in the 1760s, ranked high among eighteenth-century readers’ borrowings in such a city as Bristol and in much smaller Wigtown in the south of Scotland. Hume and Smollett remained the central history of England until Smollett’s contribution was superseded in the mid nineteenth century by Thomas Babington Macaulay’s History of England (1848). It is perhaps important here to point out that, with the exception of Gibbon, all these historians, including Lord Kames, were products of the Scottish Enlightenment, and that definitions of nationhood as well as the meaning of history were crucial concerns of intellectuals from North Briton who sometimes struggled to comprehend the impact of the Act of Union of Scotland with England in 1707. That struggle is no less evident today in the agenda of the present Scottish Nationalist Party. Benedict Anderson’s much discussed notion of nations as “imagined communities” deserves our attention as we look at library circulation records. What can we learn about the formation of national identity through an examination of the library circulation records of authors such as G.H. Henty or Horatio Alger or of foreign authors in English translation? Micro-level research here can have macro-level implications.
On a more intimate level, Mark Towsey’s keynote presentation delved among other examples into details of the “reading diary” of James Smith of Norwich (c. 1728-1795), and, toward the end of his presentation, the manuscript annotations contained in a copy of Lord Kames’s Sketches of the History of Man (1774) that is in the possession of the Library Company of Philadelphia, an institution that was founded in 1731 by Benjamin Franklin. Here, Mark is attempting to unmute the reading experience of what Thomas Gray elegiacally termed as “village Hampdens” and “mute inglorious Miltons”. We can marvel at the astonishing discovery a couple of years ago that the copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio of 1623 owned by the Free Library of Philadelphia contains annotations by John Milton (see https://www.inquirer.com/arts/books/shakespeare-john-milton-free-library-of-philadelphia-folio-20190917.html ). When it comes to the canonical authors of the long eighteenth century, we marvel no less at the marginal annotations in books that had belonged to, say, Samuel Taylor Coleridge (painstakingly reassembled by Princeton University Press) or William Blake. In the case of Blake, sundry critiques of the materialistic philosophy of John Locke pervade his writings, though his own annotated copy of An Essay Concerning Human Understanding remains to be rediscovered. Should that happen, it will deepen our understanding of Britain’s leading mystic poet. But, can we gain much that is meaningful from exploring the reading habits and experiences of the everyday “inglorious” reader? Mark goes a long way to show what can be gained through the kind of “historical biometrics” that he advocates. I hope that Workshop participants will be able to augment his findings in their respective presentations and, even more so, in our subsequent on-line discussions. I am aware that a chief source here will be the expanding Reading Experience Database, and I look forward to updates on the progress of this long term project.
One of the translated books that appears in James Smith’s “reading diary” and in several other lists of “top ten” circulated volumes is the Abbé Raynal’s History of the Settlements of the Indies. I have to confess a personal interest in this book as many of its editions included reference to Inkle and Yarico, a slave story, loosely based on fact, that had achieved considerable renown through its narrative inclusion in Richard Steele’s The Spectator (No. XI, 1711). Many of Raynal’s editions include a print showing the selling into slavery of the pregnant Yarico by her callous former lover who abandons her on the docks at the first moment after they land at Barbados (“Un Anglais de la Barbade vend sa Maitresse”). I included a reproduction of this in English Trader, Indian Maid: Representing Gender Race and Slavery in the New World (1999).
I think it is unlikely that Mark will have failed to consider that his reckoning of the place of works of history among books most circulated will point to or prefigure the debate on the slave trade which, in Britain, led to its abolition in 1807. In The Decline and Fall, Edward Gibbon had postulated that in Rome “the existence of a slave became an object of greater value, and though his happiness still depended on the temper and circumstances of the master, the humanity of the latter, instead of being restrained by fear, was encouraged by the sense of his own interest.” And, it was Lord Kames who wrote that “upon the brutality and harsh manners of savages….it was the politic of princes to keep their subjects in awe; and every subject became a creeping slave.” The abolition of the slave trade must surely stand as among the most significant achievements of the Enlightenment, and it will be valuable to examine whether people’s everyday reading may be seen as a visible record of developing attitudes that brought about such major social change.
Mark gave only a few examples – they are probably more difficult to find – of circulation data culled from women readers. We know that female readership greatly expanded during the eighteenth century, but to what extent does that indicate progressive gender biases? Can contributors to the Workshop show examples from this or other periods of how the circulation of books aided social change in such areas as racial disparities and women’s rights?
I reproduced just now an image culled from one of the many editions of the Abbé Raynal. My further purpose here is to draw attention to the visible impact of book illustration on readers’ perceptions. In my paper (which will be available shortly) I have tried to show that engravings or etchings that first appeared in serial magazines were printed again when a particular story was collected together in book form. As book historians, we are not always sufficiently adept in our response to visual images. Can participants in the Workshop draw our attention to examples of illustration as significant factors that take us beyond the two-dimensionality of the printed word?
A final question that I address both to Mark and to other participants is to ask which already existing on-line databases or printed sources are proving most valuable to your project? Mark’s work on eighteenth-century libraries will likely have benefited from the work of my late colleague, Robin Alston, who compiled evidence of the existence of more than 30,000 pre-1850 libraries across the English-speaking world ( https://web.archive.org/web/20090304202827/http://www.r-alston.co.uk/titlepage.htm ). Hardly less significant is the compilation begun by Peter Isaac under the title the British Book Trade Index, which includes “brief biographical and trade details of all those who worked in the English and Welsh book trades up to 1851.” It is now “housed” at Oxford, and may be accessed at http://bbti.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/ . A valuable advantage of our on-line Workshop will be to share with others the main sources that you have used to generate your research.
I should like to end this Discussant’s piece by thanking Jim Connolly and Linda McCaw for all the great labor that went into setting up our Workshop, and, once again, to Mark Towsey for getting the ball rolling. For your convenience, I am listing below the main questions that I have asked in this response.
- Did books of history obtain “top ten” status in imperial Australia, India, South Africa, Canada, or the Caribbean? And how about in America?
- What can we learn about the formation of national identity through an examination of the library circulation records of authors such as G.H. Henty or Horatio Alger or of foreign authors in English translation?
- Can we gain much that is meaningful from exploring the reading habits and experiences of the everyday “inglorious” reader?
- We know that female readership greatly expanded during the eighteenth century, but to what extent does that indicate progressive gender biases? Can contributors to the Workshop show examples from this or other periods of how the circulation of books aided social change in such areas as racial disparities and women’s rights?
- Can participants in the Workshop draw our attention to examples of illustration as significant factors that take us beyond the two-dimensionality of the printed word?
- Which already existing on-line databases or printed sources are proving most valuable to your project? Please share these.
If Jim will allow me to plug another upcoming conference, 2021 marks the Three Hundredth Anniversary of the birth of Tobias Smollett. Tobias Smollett at 300: The Work of Writing, hosted by the Institute of English Studies in London, is scheduled to take place on 13-14 May 2021. The site can be accessed at https://www.ies.sas.ac.uk/events/conferences/tobias-smollett-300-work-writing . Registration is free.
Excellent start to the conference, Mark. Thanks for sharing these thought-provoking examples.
Students at Dissenting Academies were actively borrowing Gibbons well into the middle of the nineteenth century. Copies were present at Homerton Academy as early as 1793 ( https://vls.english.qmul.ac.uk/cgi-bin/koha/opac-detail.pl?biblionumber=15494 ) It appears that their 1781 edition might have actually worn out between 1824 and 1834 and been replaced by a 1783 edition ( https://vls.english.qmul.ac.uk/cgi-bin/koha/opac-detail.pl?biblionumber=15493 ). The most extensive reading happened at Manchester Academy, where we occasionally students recorded for what class they read the book ( https://vls.english.qmul.ac.uk/cgi-bin/koha/opac-detail.pl?biblionumber=9357 ).
Hume's History of England also is to be found in Dissenting collections, and still borrowed at mid-19th century, but not nearly as much as Gibbon. The evangelicals seemed to borrow the title more ( https://vls.english.qmul.ac.uk/cgi-bin/koha/opac-detail.pl?biblionumber=18047 ) than the rational dissenters / unitarians ( https://vls.english.qmul.ac.uk/cgi-bin/koha/opac-detail.pl?biblionumber=9037 ).
And, interestingly, only one academy collecting Robertson's History of Scotland, with no evidence of borrowing, while 3 had the History of America, with some light borrowing at 2 academies.
Which raises a larger question: who is not borrowing Gibbons, Hume, and Robertson and why? I realize we are on even shakier ground in writing a history of inaction/absence, but how might we begin to understand where community identity (religion, class, region) might be at play in deterring selection, instead of just personal predilection? Can library circulation records help us understand that - or does that require speculation beyond our comfort zone?
The James Smith example is fascinating. At first I thought the example was going to be about the ways books participate in the formation of a colonial sensibility among the British to support an evolving imperial system, but then Smith's reading seems to turn this on its head. To what extent is Smith's promiscuous reading leading to original understandings? Or is he, in fact, reading the way in which the authors of these books intended? Finally, I'm not sure if there is any way of knowing, but to what extent is Smith's reading an individual act, as opposed to the social act that we have tried to restore to scholarly understanding through the Community Libraries Network? Is there any evidence that Smith's understandings are shaped in dialogue with other borrowers? Or is he a solitary reader?
I very much enjoyed Mark’s keynote, with its fascinating glimpses into late 18th century common reading practices through the lens of circulation records. Like Frank, I was prompted to look at the “popularity” status of history as a genre a hundred years later, in my own study of a small-town public library in the American Midwest (Reading on the Middle Border, 2001). In Osage, Iowa, I found that books classified as history occupied the largest segment of the collection, after fiction, at about 30%. When fiction is removed, this shoots up to nearly 60%. No other genre (Religion, Philosophy, Science, Fine Arts, Literature, etc.) comes close. Moreover, when it came to patrons’ choices, one title, James A. Froude’s History of England, occupied the top of the list of most popular titles. I was a bit stumped by this finding until I read the title myself, and found it to be written quite like a novel—fast moving, and colorful, even. Also, it consists of 12 volumes, so it definitely gets the kind of statistical leg up that Mark mentions. But the book itself reads like a piece of Protestant propaganda, which might account for its appeal, given very heavily Protestant affiliation of Osage’s library users. So, my main question is about readability. Was the “popularity” of history in the late 18th century at least in part a reflection of what else was on the shelves?
Thanks Frank, Kyle and Christine for your comments! This may be a multi-pronged response because I'm in and out of meetings all day today, but Froude is a fascinating one and may also help to explain the more partial reading of Hume's History in the nineteenth century. Hume writes very much for a political landscape framed by happenings in mid c18 Britain (the defeat of the Jacobite rebellions), and my sense is that - while his brand name remains very strong (so people continue to read him in large numbers for many decades) - his politics quite quickly comes to put readers off because it is not sufficiently Whiggish for the political climate of the later c18 and the run up to the Reform Act of 1832. Hume thinks Protestant 'enthusiasts' have been every bit as dangerous as the superstitions of the Catholic church in destabilising the English constitution in the sixteenth and seventeenth century, and his lukewarm approval of William of Orange doesn't go down especially well either. So by the 18teens you start to have 'student Hume' compilations and abridgements printed that carry Hume's brand name as the marker of historical prestige but that present a Whiggish narrative that Hume would absolutely not have approved - and readers are doing similar things in the privacy (or otherwise) of their manuscript reading notebooks. The problem is solved when Macaulay comes along with a Whiggish narrative and a fantastic brand name, by which point Hume as a historian starts to disappear from cultural consciousness. Froude comes in because he is very much a Protestant and Whiggish partisan, as well - as Christine says - as writing in a very appealing and sensational narrative style. (The decline in interest in Hume I think comes through in the circulation records - in the early sets I think readers are most interested in the later, Stuart, seventeenth century volumes, because that is where the really meaty politics lie; later sets of circulation records see library users more likely to borrow Hume in sequence from volume 1 (Roman Britain) onwards, and much more likely to give up before they even reach the later volumes.
Christine, the question of readability is important in at least a couple of different ways.
(1) Hume and Robertson go out of their way to write narratives that will appeal to readers - lots of juicy character sketches to enjoy, and lots of sentimental set pieces (see how Robertson handles the departure of Mary Queen of Scots from France). So these are meant to be enjoyable histories to read (by the standards of the time), written by historians renowned for their impeccable style. Gibbon is a little bit more bombastic, but his footnotes are wonderfully gossipy, and again there are lots of fulsome character sketches and (in Gibbon's case) exotic views for readers to get their teeth into. From all of these authors, readers love to copy out in full the pen portraits of significant figures, and eventually these too get collected together and re-printed in compilations of 'Beauties from Robertson' etc.
(2) At the same time, many of the libraries for which we have circulation records don't tend to stock novels in very large numbers, at least until the final decades of the c18 - novels are there (as the presence of Fielding in some of my tables reflects), but it takes a while longer for them to be seen as sufficiently respectable. Robby Koehler did a great essay on this at the New York Society Library in Before the Public Library - the library manager intentions to develop an respectable and monumental collection kept being thwarted by library members donating novels by the cart load.
Great question about inaction/absence, and one I'd love to hear others' views on. There are also practical considerations - library users may not borrow a specific title because they already have access to it by other means (they may own it, or have other library memberships) or because they have read it before joining the library (or before the library acquires it). And inactivity in the circulation records can also reflect intense busy-ness in other parts of library users' lives - borrowing rates at the Wigtown Library are much lower in the summer months (when more natural light allows them to do things other than read) and plummet during the harvest. But it can also be possible to infer ideological or cultural reasons why specific kinds of library users don't borrow specific titles, provided we know enough about the library users' biography and we have evidence of how (and why) readers with similar biographical characteristics behaved. If we have that sort of corroborating evidence, then of course the library circulation records show that this behaviour might be a more general trend rather than a single reader's idiosyncracy. And of course these inferences can also be made on the back of other kinds of evidence - book reviews, for example, or author correspondence.
On James Smith, he is reading broadly as most of the authors intend, and he is also responding as we would generally expect someone with his biographical characteristics to respond (as a Unitarian). But equally, some of the writers he weaves into this narrative do not write so explicitly against the deleterious effects of empire, and he adds and carries over key terms in his response from one text to the next. I should say as well, though, that I've really only just scratched the surface of Smith - my intention is to produce an edition of his reading diary (ideally online, so that it can be cross-referenced to book historical databases and ECCO) so that these patterns of response can be studied more comprehensively.
Women's reading is very much one of my central concerns, and I've long planned a book on women reading as important mediators of Enlightenment thought. In terms of progressive attitudes to women's role in society, the evidence provided by the library circulation records - cross-referenced to reading notes that survive - suggests that work by proto-feminists like Mary Wollstonecraft and Olympe de Gouges is really rather peripheral on the mental horizons of elite and middling sort readers. I've not yet found them in many catalogues, and they certainly don't make much impression on library circulation records. But what both kinds of records do show is the tremendously enthusiastic uptake of prescriptive writing (often termed conduct literature in this period) which seeks to shape how women behave - this is borrowed very widely, and is then used by women readers (and young girls) to help them learn the roles assigned to them within the separate spheres. Equally, though, women then make use of their conventional place in the home to insert themselves into other family members' reading experiences - in other words, since they are conventionally expected to be in charge of domestic education and the moral lives of their children (and their husbands, brothers, nephews etc), we frequently find them giving advice to male relatives (usually sons, but not always) about what to read and how to respond to what they read. Hume is a case in point - I have many examples of women readers warning their male relatives off Hume because of his reputation for irreligion and atheism, thereby inserting themselves into the encounter between male readers and important books of the Enlightenment.
Thank you Mark, for a thoroughly detailed, enjoyable and thought-provoking keynote talk. There's a lot for us to think about here, but I'd like to ask you (if I may) a few questions in relation to that extraordinary individual anonymous annotator of Kames's Sketches of the History of Man in the Library Company of Philadelphia. Do you have any further information about this particular act of 'writing back' (I use that term very deliberately, given the historical context of the American Revolution at the time). What was the period of marginal annotation, could you identify with any precision, when exactly the annotations were made? What was the Library Company of Philadelphia's policy on marginal annotation at the time (and subsequently)? Were there any other volumes in the Library Company's holdings from the period which were also heavily annotated? How long was this particular volume kept on the shelves for after the annotation was made? If it was kept in circulation for years (or even decades) after the extensive annotation, this must have been a deliberate (or at least a conscious) decision on behalf of the Library Company, as they would have known that this volume had been subject to considerable marginal annotation, and by allowing that to remain in circulation, they were in some way, endorsing it (and allowing readers to read both the work and the marginal rebuttal). And perhaps (I'm extrapolating here), what this annotated text indicates is the clear difference in opinion on the origin and standing of 'American nations' between a British author and an American reader - a difference given all the more value and significance at a time of self-conscious nation building in opposition to a (former) colonial power.
Thanks again for a brilliant start to the workshop!
Thank you Shaf for such great questions, many of which I'm still hoping to get answers for as I continue to work on this material! The Library Company is a formal partner in my AHRC-funded database project on Libraries, Reading Communities and Cultural Formation in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic, which aims to collate together all surviving catalogues and circulating records for subscription/social libraries in North America and the British Isles up to (initially) 1801. Alongside the data gathering, we're really keen to think more about annotating practices in these libraries, which is one reason for the partnership with the LCP. As it happens, virtually every copy held by the Library Company of the books I wrote about in Reading History (including multiple copies of Hume and Gibbon) have annotations of some kind or another - they very rarely have the scope and depth of the annotations in Kames, but they're a tremendous resource and (when our researchers are actually able to visit Philadelphia!) we're hoping to do much more work on the institutional history of these copies - and of course look for annotations in other kinds of books.
I think I'm right in saying that annotating books at the Library Company (as at other such libraries) was strictly forbidden, but that didn't stop readers elsewhere doing something similar - Rebecca Bowd has found some fascinating annotations at the Leeds Library, and in the minute book of the Liverpool Athenaeum there's an unusually heated moment where a member complains to the committee that he has been slandered in the margins of a newspaper held in the reading room. So this illicit annotation is clearly happening, and it's something we're keen to learn more about in our project.
On timing, my best guess is that the initial annotations form part of an intellectual moment in Philadelphia when Kames's book comes under particular scrutiny, around the time of Samuel Stanhope Smith's paper on Kames at the Philosophical Society - but they're undated, so these annotations (like most at the Library Company) can only really be given rough dates through inference and informed guesswork, together with a broad sense of the rough date of the hand.
Your final sentence is absolutely right about the significance of this specific response, and it fits very much with how readers in America were utilising historical books as part of an active process of making sense of emerging nation building.
Annotations are something I know very little about, except through my experience with a provenance project in the "Old Library" (ie C18 and earlier) of a Cambridge college many years ago. My job was to examine each book and record annotations as a clue to provenance. For C16 and C17 books these scribbles were often in Latin or sometimes Greek, and sometimes readers were clearly practicing their handwriting in the end papers (though less so as time went on and presumably the price of paper came down). But my point is that the books had been annotated before they entered the library. I imagine that the Library Company's records are probably detailed enough that you can rule this out for the Kames book you talk about (if it came directly from the publisher or bookstore, rather than as part of a collection they purchased, for instance). Just a thought.
Following from Christine's posting, it's perhaps worthwhile remembering that so many early incunabula were printed on large paper, thus supplying ample space for marginal annotation. For early readers of printed books, the work of the printer was simply taking the place of the scribe, and, implicitly at least, annotation was encouraged, even expected. At the end of the fifteenth century and into the sixteenth, Aldus Manutius's much smaller octavo volumes ("editio minor") began to make texts far more accessible and cheaper to buy, but at the expense of the wide margins. Much later, in the eighteenth century, printers like Baskerville made a point of returning to wide margins, though the choice there may have been more aesthetic than to encourage readers' marginalia.
Thanks Frank. I've found that there's a similar shift moving from the octavos and quartos of the eighteenth century, which do leave ample space in the margins for readers to make notes (practice signatures, draw sketches, doodle etc etc), to the mass produced steam-printed books of the nineteenth century where readers have to get a lot more inventive if they want to adapt the text.
This is a really interesting discussion! I'm currently in the process of reading Andrew Stauffer's Book Traces: Nineteenth-Century Readers and the Future of the Library (I have to review this for Library and Information History) and one thing that occurs to me is the disjunction between two sorts of annotation: "pre-loaded" annotation, if you like, that was already present in books before they were acquired by or donated to library collections, and surreptitious or proscribed annotation made by library users. I'm increasingly interested in the latter as a form of social and cultural practice (it is, for me, the most "marginal" form of marginal annotation). I guess the challenges in studying this are (1) the degree of social and institutional taboo involved (by studying it, are we condoning it?) and (2) distinguishing this from "pre-loaded" annotation. Stauffer, in Book Traces, is only concerned with the "pre-loaded" annotations.
@marktowsey @felsenstein The question of women's reading is one in which I'm also extremely interested! A couple of points to make but first I think the reason Wollstonecraft doesn't get picked up by library circulation records is quite straightforwardly that Godwin's biography ruined her reputation comprehensively by describing her relationship (and illegitimate child) with Gilbert Imlay, and her relationship with Fuseli, as well as making some other claims about her life that made her dangerous reading for 'good' women. So she isn't much bought by the kinds of libraries we know about, and thus couldn't have been borrowed from their shelves. Even where she does appear in library catalogues of the period I think I'm right in saying it tends to be in the shape of her Thoughts on the Education of Daughters and History of the French Revolution, not the more dangerous Rights of Women and Rights of Men. But I'm sure others know more than me.
Secondly, I'm interested in the intersection of history, conduct books and domestic education that you touch on, Mark, both in this comment and in the keynote lecture. I think it's absolutely right that history forms a really key part of an informal education for both women and men - and it's very interesting that conduct books from the 1780s onwards (and probably before - don't know so much about those) which promote themselves as providing systems of education (such as Hannah More's Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education really insistently promote history as the most important form of study for women. And they prescribe particular ways of reading it too - including the kind of extracting and organising as described in your keynote, Mark. These conduct books thus co-opt history into what I'd think of as quite a conservative agenda. But history also allows people the opportunities for subversion and resistance that we see in your marginalia on the copy of Kames, and of course in Austen's more famous marginalia (and then re-writing of) Goldsmith's History of England.