Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The literary clubs and societies of Glasgow during the long nineteenth century : a city's history of reading through its communal reading practices and productions
Author: Weiss, Lauren Jenifer
ISNI:       0000 0004 6500 9110
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2017
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
This thesis uses the minute books and manuscript magazines of Glasgow’s literary societies as evidence for my argument that the history of mutual improvement groups—including literary societies—needs to be re-written as a unique movement of ‘improvement’ during the long nineteenth century. In foregrounding the surviving records, I examine what it meant to be literary to society members in Glasgow during this period. I discuss what their motivations were for becoming so, and reflect on the impact that gender, occupation and social class had on these. I demonstrate that these groups contributed to the education and literacy of people living in the city and to a larger culture of ‘improvement’. Further, I argue that there is a case to be made for a particularly Scottish way of consuming texts in the long nineteenth century. In Glasgow, there were at least 193 literary societies during this period, which I divide into four phases of development. I provide an in-depth examination of two societies which serve as case studies. In addition, I give an overview and comparison of the 652 issues of Scottish and English society magazines I discovered in the context of a larger, ‘improving’ culture. I offer possible reasons why so many literary societies produced manuscript magazines, and show that this phenomenon was not unique to them. These magazines fostered a communal identity formed around a combination of religion, class, gender and local identity. I determine that societies in England produced similar types of magazines to those in Scotland possibly based upon the Scottish precedent. These materials substantially contribute to the evidence for nineteenth-century mutual improvement societies and their magazines, and for working- and lower-middle class Scottish readers and writers during the long nineteenth century, social groups that are under-represented in the history of reading and in Victorian studies.
Supervisor: Halsey, Katie ; Blair, Kirstie Sponsor: University of Stirling ; University of Strathclyde
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Books and reading--Scotland--History--19th century ; Scotland--Intellectual life--19th century ; Learned institutions and societies--Scotland ; Readers ; Literature--Societies, etc.