The market for print steadily expanded throughout the eighteenth-century Atlantic world thanks to printers' efforts to ensure that ordinary people knew how to read and use printed matter. Reading is and was a collection of practices, performed in diverse, but always very specific ways. These practices were spread down the social hierarchy through printed guides. Eve Tavor Bannet explores guides to six manners or methods of reading, each with its own social, economic, commercial, intellectual and pedagogical functions, and each promoting a variety of fragmentary and discontinuous reading practices. The increasingly widespread production of periodicals, pamphlets, prefaces, conduct books, conversation-pieces and fictions, together with schoolbooks designed for adults and children, disseminated all that people of all ages and ranks might need or wish to know about reading, and prepared them for new jobs and roles both in Britain and America.
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