Liverpool Lyceum, Bold Street, constructed in 1802 to house England's first subscription library (founded in 1758).

Eighteenth-Century Libraries Online: Libraries, Reading Communities and Cultural Formation in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic

1:30pm - 3:00pm / Wednesday 2nd March 2022 / Venue: Lecture Theatre 5 Rendall Building
Type: Seminar / Category: Research / Series: History Seminar Series
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Speaker: Professor Mark Towsey
ECLO is a four-year AHRC-funded project led by the Department of History at Liverpool whose primary aim is to investigate the contribution of books to social, cultural and political change in the eighteenth century. It does this by exploring in unprecedented range and depth the role played by voluntary subscription libraries in the reading lives of communities and individuals across the Anglophone Atlantic between 1731 and 1800. This paper will outline the aims and objectives of the ECLO database, situating subscription libraries within the longer-term history of public book lending and highlighting some of the ways that library records can illuminate important questions relating to the development of leisured reading in this period, including the rise of the novel, the cultural impact of the European Enlightenment and the social penetration of radical ideas associated with the American and French Revolutions.