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Material Moments in Book Cultures

Essays in Honour of Gabriele Müller-Oberhäuser

Simon Rosenberg and Sandra Simon

This Festschrift honours the dedicated book historian and medievalist Gabriele Müller-Oberhäuser. Her wide-ranging scholarly expertise has encouraged and influenced many adepts of the book. The essays in this volume reflect the variety of her interests: The contributions range from Chaucer’s Fürstenspiegel to the value of books in comedy, from the material book to the magical book in religious and literary cultures, from collaborative efforts in manuscript production to the relations of distributors of books across national and ideological boundaries, from the relations between the makers of books to the relation of readers to their books. Covering a period from the Middle Ages to the present, the volume concludes with a look at the future of book history as a field of study.
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Juvenile Sunday Reading in Nineteenth-Century England


Sarah Ströer, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Münster


This article discusses Sunday reading in Victorian England. Using autobiographies, the essay explores the influences of religious affiliation and personal religiousness on reading habits of children and adolescents. It shows that religion could be an encouraging as well as a constraining factor.

Reading in nineteenth-century England has been studied extensively in the past decades and issues of class and gender are usually the focal points. This essay examines the interaction between religious denomination and degree of religiousness and reading, focusing on juvenile reading on Sundays. Religious affiliation and religiousness have always influenced reading choices and habits and continue to do so. For the nineteenth century this is especially true as society was infused with religion to a large extent. Questions of religiousness, denominational affiliation or leading a religious life were widely discussed. As this essay will show, reading served as a way to reinforce religious identities, it served as a means to religious socialization and was a devotional practice in itself.

There is a plethora of definitions of religion, some focus on the sociological functions of religion; others, for example, are substantial definitions, trying to capture the essence of what religion is.1 This essay focuses on individual religiousness as it shows itself in the actions of the people.2 With Detlef Pollack’s four ideal types of religiousness3 it is possible to define not just what religious means, but also what it does not...

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