The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Romantic-Era Women's Writing

Living Edition
| Editors: Natasha Duquette (Editor-in-Chief)

Private Libraries

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-11945-4_105-1

Definition

During the Romantic period, private libraries emerged in a twofold function with respect to women’s writing: as manifestations of traditions and power from which women had often been excluded, and as bourgeoning repositories of knowledge and conventions that invited emulating, appropriating, and undermining in order to make one’s marginalized voice heard. The Romantic period was also the age of “bibliomania” or “bibliophilia,” when book collecting reached new heights. The resultant growth of private libraries in number and size shaped the use of domestic space for both individual reading and the convivial exchange of ideas. Consequently, the history of women’s engagement with private libraries is reflected in fiction and historical sources alike, from Jane Austen’s depiction of Darcy’s private library in Pride and Prejudiceagainst the backdrop of Austen’s personal use of her family’s collection, to Charlotte Smith’s and Susan Ferrier’s contrasting notions of private...

Keywords

Private libraries Book collecting Reading practices Tradition and subjectivity Authorship 
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Austen, Jane. (1813) 1988. Pride and Prejudice. Edited by R. W. Chapman. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Barbauld, Anna Lætitia. 1812. Eighteen hundred and eleven. London: Johnson.Google Scholar
  3. Birch, Dinah, ed. 2009. The Oxford companion to English literature. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Butler, Marilyn. 2007. Jane Austen. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Casaliggi, Carmen, and Porscha Fermanis. 2016. Romanticism: A literary and cultural history. London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  6. Circulating Library. Oxford English Dictionary online. https://www.oed.com
  7. Davies, Keri. 1999. Mrs Bliss: A Blake Collector of 1794. In Blake in the nineties, ed. Steve Clark and David Worrall, 212–230. Basingstoke/New York: Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. ———. 2010. ‘My little Cane Sofa and the Bust of Sappho’: Elizabeth Iremonger and the female world of book-collecting. In Queer Blake, ed. Helen P. Bruder and Tristanne Connolly, 221–235. Basingstoke/New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dibdin, Thomas Frognall. 1809. The bibliomania; Or, book-madness; Containing some account of the history, symptoms, and cure of this fatal disease. London: Longman.Google Scholar
  10. ———. 1836. Reminiscences of a literary life. Vol. 2. London: Major.Google Scholar
  11. Ferriar, John. 1809. The bibliomania, an epistle to Richard Heber, esq. London: Cadell.Google Scholar
  12. Ferrier, Susan. 1818. Marriage. Edinburgh: Blackwood.Google Scholar
  13. Ferris, Ina. 2004. “Introduction” to romantic libraries. Romantic Circles. https://romantic-circles.org/praxis/libraries/intro.html
  14. Giscombe, Jane. 2013. Henry Crabb Robinson’s reading experiences in Colchester, 1790–96. M.A. dissertation, School of Advanced Studies, University of London.Google Scholar
  15. Gleadle, Kathryn. 2016. The juvenile enlightenment: British children and youth during the French Revolution. Past and Present 233 (1): 143–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Guest, Harriet. 2005. Hannah More and conservative feminism. In British women’s writing in the long eighteenth century: Authorship, politics and history, ed. Jennie Batchelor and Cora Kaplan, 158–170. Basingstoke/New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hunt, Arnold. 2006. Private libraries in the age of bibliomania. In The Cambridge history of libraries in Britain and Ireland, ed. Giles Mandelbrote and Keith Manley, 438–458. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kennedy, Deborah. 2002. Helen Maria Williams and the age of revolution. Lewisburg/London: Bucknell University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Lamb, Caroline. 1816. Glenarvon. London: Colburn.Google Scholar
  20. Lamb, Mary (and Charles Lamb). 1809a. Mrs Leicester’s school. London: Godwin.Google Scholar
  21. ———. 1809b. Poetry for children. London: Godwin.Google Scholar
  22. McCarthy, William. 2008. Anna Lætitia Barbauld: Voice of the enlightenment. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Pearson, Jacqueline. 1999. Women’s reading in Britain 1750–1835: A dangerous recreation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Potten, Edward. 2014. The rest of the iceberg: Reassessing private book ownership in the nineteenth century. Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society 15 (3): 125–149.Google Scholar
  25. ———. 2015. Beyond bibliophilia: Contextualizing private libraries in the nineteenth century. Library and Information History 31 (2): 73–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Rogers, Pat. 2004. Frances Burney. In Oxford dictionary of national biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Schmid, Susanne. 2013. British literary salons of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Basingstoke/New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Smith, Charlotte. 1793. The old manor house. London: Bell.Google Scholar
  29. St Clair, William. 2004. The reading nation in the romantic period. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Tomalin, Claire. 1974. The life and death of Mary Wollstonecraft. New York/London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.Google Scholar
  31. Walton, Izaak. 1653. The compleat angler. London: Marriot.Google Scholar
  32. Williams, Abigail. 2017. The social life of books: Reading together in the eighteenth-century home. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Wilmot, Catherine. 1920. An Irish Peer on the continent (1801–1803) […] as related by Catherine Wilmot. Edited by Thomas Ulick Sadleir. London: Williams and Norgate.Google Scholar
  34. Woolf, Virginia. (1929) 2019. A room of one’s own and three guineas. Edited by Michèle Barrett. London: Penguin.Google Scholar

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of LeipzigLeipzigGermany

Section editors and affiliations

  • Susanne Schmid
    • 1
  1. 1.Freie Universität BerlinBerlinGermany