English literature professor John Mullan explores the dramatic increase in reading which took place in 18th-century Britain, as it went from being the preserve of the rich to the national pastime it is today.
In 1695 a tiny amendment to the British constitution allowed for a flood of publications, without which Britain would be almost unrecognisable. This was the era that gave us the first ever magazines, newspapers and perhaps most vitally, the novel.
Mullan takes us from raucous, politically-charged coffee houses to the circulating library, the social space of the late 1700s. There is a glimpse inside an 18th century lady's closet where she hid with her novel, and Mullan also celebrates the hero of the reading revolution, Dr Samuel Johnson.
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