The first collection of criticism devoted to the problem of reading in Victorian literature

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"A terrifically engaging collection of essays, which exemplifies the very best recent work in the history of reading and affect. The distinguished contributors explore ‘the feeling of reading' throughout Victorian literature, showing how a broad range of works---novels, lyrics, critical essays---not only represent but also analyze and evoke the surprisingly varied experience of immersing oneself in a book. It's rare to encounter a collection of such consistently high quality: the feeling of reading it is one of rich and manifold pleasure."
---James Eli Adams, Columbia University

"This gathering of state-of-the-art work generates a convincing and compelling vision of the emerging state of the field."
---Daniel Hack, University of Michigan

The Feeling of Reading is the first collection to address how we think of reading today through a focus on Victorian reading practices and the individual experience of reading in the nineteenth century. It brings together essays from some of the most established writers in the field with contributions from younger scholars to provide new ways of thinking about this definitive moment. The collection moves from the general to the particular: from excavations of the material and intellectual conditions of Victorian reading to the consequences of such excavations in readings of individual texts. All of the contributors engage the crucial critical question of the shaping of readerly feeling. In addition, they address a set of interlocking issues central to understanding Victorian reading: Kate Flint explores the material and social settings of reading; Nicholas Dames and Leah Price consider the concrete realities of books and periodicals; and the consequences of the mass circulation of texts are explored by Flint, John Plotz, and Rachel Ablow. The temporality of consumption appears in the contribution of Dames as well as those of Catherine Robson and Herbert F. Tucker, who also address the implications of meter; and Ablow, Plotz, Stephen Arata, and Garrett Stewart investigate the notion of identification.

Rachel Ablow is Associate Professor at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York.

Cover design and art by Julian Montague

Rachel Ablow is Associate Professor at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York.

List of Contributors

"Though focused on Victorian readers and reading, this book offers delicious wisdom to anyone who cares about the affective life of words." 
Review 19

- Susan Bernstein

"The Feeling of Reading is a perfectly poised, beautifully curated collection."
—Kate Thomas, Bryn Mawr College, Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies

- Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies

"After encountering this collection, we readers will have new avenues for thinking about not only the rich world of Victorian reading and writing practices but also about our own textual practices...a marvelous introduction to the extraordinary complexity of these ongoing exchanges bewteen a reader and a text."
—Elizabeth Langland, Arizona State University, Victorian Studies

- Elizabeth Langland