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Title: The informal education of the landed classes in the eighteenth century, with particular reference to reading
Author: Dent, Keith Sidney
ISNI:       0000 0004 2696 043X
Awarding Body: The University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 1974
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Both contemporary and historians' views of the landed classes in the eighteenth century appear to offer an historical dilemma. In a period of cultural progress the landed classes' participation is in some dispute. If, as seems logical, these groups were involved in contemporary intellectual activities, it is suggested that informal agencies must have supplied both inspiration and direction. There is general agreement among historians that formal education had some limitations in what it offered, particularly in modern subjects. Upon the assumption that reading was the most likely agency of informal education, an examination has been made of both extant libraries and family records alongside other contemporary sources, taking into account the extent and availability of reading material. It would seem that not only did a substantial proportion of the landed classes possess libraries, but that such libraries reflected serious reading interests. The most significant factors in the development of such interests emerge as circles of acquaintance, including familial groups, and travel. It was possible therefore for the landed classes to extend their formal studies in a broader pursuit of knowledge, in which certain subject areas appear particularly favoured. Other points emerge relating to aristocratic women and clerics. In the course of this study certain methodological problems have been examined relating to deductive analyses of libraries and reading evidence.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available