The Book World

Selling and Distributing British Literature, 1900-1940


British literature underwent profound changes in the period 1900-1940. What role did audiences and channels of book distribution play in this? In this wide-ranging collection, the influence of publishers, distributors, librarians and readers come to the foreground to open up new perspectives on literature and print culture. Rooted in original archival research, chapters include studies of the engagement of canonical writers and bestsellers with the literary marketplace; the influence of international and mobile audiences; publishing practices involving genre, promotion, and censorship; and the significance of spaces of reading including bookshops, circulating libraries and on-board passenger ships. Through a series of detailed case-studies that focus on under-explored aspects of distribution and readership, the contributors open up new perspectives on literature and the British book trade.

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Dr Nicola Wilson, PhD (2007), Warwick, is Lecturer in Book and Publishing Studies at the University of Reading. She has published widely on the early twentieth-century book trade. Her first book is Home in British Working-Class Fiction (Ashgate, 2015) and she is currently working on a British Academy project on The Book Society Ltd, 1929-60.
Table of Contents

1.Introduction: The book world
Nicola Wilson


2.British publishers and colonial editions
Nicola Wilson

3.A trade in desires: Emigration, A. C. Gunter and the Home Publishing Company
Simon Frost

4.“Introductions by Eminent Writers”: T. S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf in the Oxford World’s Classics Series
Lise Jaillant

Genre, Marketing, and Censorship

5.Literary success and popular romantic fiction: Ethel M. Dell, a case study
David Tanner

6.“The market is getting flooded with them”: Richard Aldington’s Death of a Hero and the War Books Boom
Vincent Trott

7.Genre at the Hogarth Press
Claire Battershill

8.Alec Craig, censorship and the literary marketplace: A bookman’s struggles
Richard Espley

Libraries and Reading Spaces

9.The Boots Book-lovers’ Library: Domesticating the exotic and building provincial literary taste
Sally Dugan

10.Readers and reading patterns: Oral history and the archive
Nickianne Moody


11.Surveying the Trade: The Book World and its translocal reach
Sydney J. Shep
The book is aimed at academics and postgraduate students interested in book history, as well as scholars and research students of the literary and cultural history of the twentieth century. With an international range of contributors, it is hoped the book will appeal to a wide international market. Scholars attached to the thriving worldwide SHARP network would find the book of particular interest.

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