8 Good Reasons Why We Ought To Read Classic Books

There are so many health benefits associated with reading books, and for your information, not just any books. You’ll want to ensure that the books you feed your mind with are enriching, relative, and expansive. Reading has been shown to help reduce stress, boost cognitive functions, and an overall improvement in your wellness. However, finding[…]

Humfrey Wanley, Library-Keeper of the Harleian Library in 1705

He continued to expand the Harleian Library with thousands of manuscripts. One of the many gems of the British Library is the Harleian collection, founded by Robert Harley, Lord High Treasurer and 1st Earl of Oxford, and his son, Edward (1689–1741), 2nd Earl of Oxford. It’s the largest intact 18th-century manuscript collection in the world,[…]

Medieval Bookbindings: From Precious Gems to Sealskin

These deluxe bindings are known as treasure bindings, because of their lavish and high-quality materials and craftsmanship. We tend to focus on the inside of the Library’s collection items, on their varied texts and remarkable illustrations. But the physical outside of a manuscript can be just as intriguing. Most medieval and early modern manuscripts no[…]

Octave Uzanne’s “The End of Books” (1894)

The Bibliophile’s vision of the bookless future is in some ways prescient. This article, Octave Uzanne’s “The End of Books” (1894), was originally published in The Public Domain Review under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0. If you wish to reuse it please see: https://publicdomainreview.org/legal/ The end of books has been declared many times. Over a century before[…]

John Locke’s Method for ‘Common-Place Books’ (1685)

Locke’s method built on a long tradition of commonplace note taking, most famously John Milton’s from the middle of the century. This article, John Locke’s Method for Common-Place Books (1685), was originally published in The Public Domain Review under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0. If you wish to reuse it please see: https://publicdomainreview.org/legal/ Popular in the seventeenth[…]

Victorian Print Culture

In the 19th century, more people were reading more publications than ever before. This explains how technological, social and educational change made this possible. Introduction The 19th century saw a massive expansion of the printed word. The sheer volume and diversity of printed matter was unprecedented: from moral and instructional works to crime novels and[…]

Victorian Readers

Exploring the way Victorians bought, borrowed and read their books, and the impact of the popular literature of the period. Introduction Victorians were great readers of the novel, and the number of novels available for them to read increased enormously during Victoria’s reign. The activity of reading benefited hugely from wider schooling and increased literacy[…]

“I Cannot Live Without Books”: Thomas Jefferson’s Library

Throughout his life, Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) collected books across a vast spectrum of topics and languages. Introduction Throughout his life, books were vital to Thomas Jefferson’s education and well being. His books provided Jefferson with a broader knowledge of the contemporary and ancient worlds than many of his contemporaries had obtained through personal experience. Jefferson’s[…]

Medieval Women’s Early Involvement in Manuscript Production

The discovery of lapis lazuli pigment preserved in the dental calculus of a religious woman in Germany radiocarbon-dated to the 11th or early 12th century, a rare pigment used in illuminated manuscripts. By Dr. Anita Radini (et.al.)Wellcome Trust Research Fellow in Medical HumanitiesUniversity of York Abstract During the European Middle Ages, the opening of long-distance[…]

The Birth of the Book: On Christians, Romans, and the Codex

The codex didn’t catch on until surprisingly late in the ancient world. By Benjamin HarnettClassics Scholar A codex is just the Roman name for a book, made of pages, and usually bound on the left. Its predecessor was the scroll or book roll, which was unrolled as you read. The codex is manifestly superior: one[…]

The Reformation and the Power of the Printed Word

Did you know that a man named “John Gooseflesh” changed the world? Did you know that a man named “John Gooseflesh” changed the world?Johann Gensfleisch, which in English is John Gooseflesh, was born in the city of Mainz, Germany, around 1397 CE. However, by the time Johann started school, he went by the name Gutenberg[…]

Publishing in Victorian England: Opening Up the ‘Class’-Room

In the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries, reading was a privileged skill available to the upper-class elite. This began to change with publishing and more access to education. The History of Reading In the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries, reading was a privileged skill available to the upper-class elite. Books were very expensive items and most of[…]