'‘No happy wearing of beloved leaves’: Women and not Reading in Nineteenth-Century Art' (chapter in Picturing the Reader: Reading and Representation in the Long Nineteenth Century, ed. Beth Palmer and Amelia Yeates (Peter Lang, 2021)

Yeates, Amelia (2021) '‘No happy wearing of beloved leaves’: Women and not Reading in Nineteenth-Century Art' (chapter in Picturing the Reader: Reading and Representation in the Long Nineteenth Century, ed. Beth Palmer and Amelia Yeates (Peter Lang, 2021). In: Picturing the Reader: Reading and Representation in the Long Nineteenth Century. Peter Lang. (Accepted for Publication)

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Abstract

Taking as its starting point a well-known instance of not reading in the nineteenth century – Becky Sharp’s spirited disposal of the dictionary she has just been given as a departure gift from her school in Thackeray’s Vanity Fair (1847-48) – this chapter explores a variety of examples of not or non-reading. Whilst much didactic commentary for women in the nineteenth century advised on how, what and when to read, the visual and literary arts of the period also feature many instances of ‘not’ reading – books put down, interrupted, abandoned, rejected, neglected or never taken up in the first place. This chapter explores examples of such instances, in both literature and the visual arts, in order to explore what was at stake in refusing, neglecting or failing to read, and what control readers could exert in making such decisions. I focus in particular on female readers, for whom guidance and restrictions about reading was at its strongest. The chapter draws on a range of primary sources dealing with reading and non-reading, as well as on the burgeoning recent literature on reading.

Item Type: Book Section
Keywords: images of women; reverie; nineteenth-century painting; readers; femininity; Victorian; books; domesticity; household; idleness; leisure
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > School of Creative and Performing Arts
Depositing User: Amelia Yeates
Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2021 08:15
Last Modified: 18 Jun 2021 08:15
URI: https://hira.hope.ac.uk/id/eprint/3317

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