Professor Leah Orr

UK Host Institution: Keele University
Project status

Second-hand Literature: Used Books Across England, 1660-1800

Most scholarship on book production and reading in the eighteenth century has focused on new books published in London and their immediate readers, but for many people across England, the experience of buying books was very different. Second-hand books were sold alongside new by local booksellers and at regional fairs, and much like readers today, eighteenth-century readers bought both new and used.

This project looks specifically at readers and booksellers living outside of London and the ways they acquired, accessed, bought, and sold books in smaller cities and towns, to present a new view on literary history that is focused more on circulation and consumption than on original production. In this way we can better understand how literature was experienced by people at the time.

Outputs and Media

'The Behn Brand Name: Editing Texts with Uncertain Origins'

Presentation hosted by the University of Loughborough, 20 June 2023

'Afterlives of Antiquity: The Secondhand Trade in Books about the Ancient World'

International Congress on the Enlightenment/International Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Conference - Rome, 3-7 July 2023

'Marketing Women Playwrights in Restoration England'

Workshop hosted by Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany, 10 July 2023.

'What is a Used Book?'

Workshop on 'Used Books and the Uses of Books' hosted by the Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum, Lichfield, UK, 31 July 2023

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