tv Donna Harrington- Lueker Books for Idle Hours CSPAN September 2, 2020 7:40am-8:44am EDT
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c-span2. tonight beginning at 8:00 eastern booktv features several programs with the late author and columnist william f buckley junior. and joy booktv on c-span2. >> i am the director of programs and partnerships for the massachusetts political society. our program is a look at tradition summaries. we are joined by professor donna harrington who will speak about books for 19th-century publishing. she is a professor of english communications in new rhode island, she has a degree from marymac's college and a phd from the university of illinois. as a former magazine writer and editor her research interests include 19th-century culture, women's magazines and the radical alternative press.
before we begin i would like to extend a special welcome to anyone who will be joining us for the first time. if you are not familiar with the massachusetts historical society, we are the first historical society collecting and publishing and sharing our histories in 1791. an amazing collection of 14 million pages including the first three presidents of the united states. three of the first presidents of the united states. we are continuing to collect today and if you are interested, we are currently collecting material related to the covid-19 experience. we have a special initiative during this unusual time for the standpoint of first-hand accounts for future
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so. just to go over the details, we have a presentation by miss harrington luker, there are two ways guests can ask questions. the first is the q and a function. if you are using a tablet or cell phone on top of the screen, click on that and type of question in. we will read the questions to the speaker and she will answer them. the other way to do it is raise the hand function, ask a question and if we have time, the one thing, you will most likely need to unmute your
self. keep that in mind. without further a do i am going to introduce our speaker, donna harrington luker. if you will tto the races. i am now going to fade off into digital. >> thank you so much for coming. thank you to gavin and sarah for making this possible. before we begin i will acknowledge to these are such difficult times with so much of import on our mind. as we work with this lecture, this presentation, in the last week, i found myself thinking this is the time to talk about summer reading and summer research or 19th-century publishing, the last quarter of the nineteenth century the period i focus on was not
without challenges. at the beginning of the period, 1877, very. workers strike against the railroads and in the united states found itself in the spanish-american war. in between the country struggled with the failure of reconstruction and rapid industrialization so the period was not without economic, social and political upheaval. with a challenge in mind i would like to invoke one of the most prominent arguments in favor of some of these into summer reading and a short period of time, they gave people the wherewithal to engage with people on their return and i hope it might work in the same way. let's jump in. okay.
i talk about the rise of summer reading which could begin anywhere in the nineteenth century but i would like to start today's talk in boston or more specifically in dorchester with the daughter of lucy stone and henry brown black wall, the prominent 19th-century abolitionist and women's rate advocate. you can see a family photo over here on the left of the three of them. alice was a teenager and a voracious reader especially in the summertime when the reading turned dramatically to stories of adventure and sensation. if you read the summary journals, the journals are still with entries, accounts of rushing into boston by train or streetcar to pick up the latest issue of the popular weekly story paper. first stock about stopping at
the public library will, stacks of books she delivers and does the next. a quote from her journal, quote, changed my books and got out in time for dinner in july of 1872. a very good set of books but i read them all before. among the titles she mentioned in this journal she mentions the the in the night which readily upset her nerves and thomas hughes's tom brown at oxford which she describes as a favorite. alice took part in a different summer reading as well as that is where the picture on the right comes in. this is indoor chester. throughout the summer in the blackwell household they engaged in shared family reading. this is a common practice in the nineteenth century. in the summer they did so on a
windows walk, high atop the family's dorchester home to take advantage of the cool breezes in the nearby bay. the report that the family read books like sir walter scott and thackeray's vanity fair. as they read long novels through plots that spool out to the course of the summer, her delight in the shared reading would be a parent, here's another quote from her journal. this was in july of 1872. i chased poppa about to tickle his toes. restraint, informal, given to action and adventure, alice's summer reading choices and reading practices resonate with us today. every year we are familiar with it, the summer reading season begins. oprah makes her pick for the best summer reads but so does
the new york times, the wall street journal and a host of media outlets. summer is when we are advised to turn to lightweight paperbacks that we read without worry by the poolside. of time we are told to reach for the light popular novel, and the critic for the new york times wrote the issue for 1968, summer reading like the statue of liberty and motherhood is always with us. that is still true today, in this fraud season. i've taken some screen grabs, the first one to 3 came from the weekend, the memorial day weekend, from today. we see the top one from the new york times, these books are worth opening.
the next one down refinery 29 a fight for millennial young women, the 25 books you will want to read this summer. on the left, in summer of 2020 and this one came from today this afternoon, the best books to read this summer. i might note i had a chance to look through it and see what they were recommending and i was struck. at one point the new york times was criticized, one season they were accused of having reached peak capacity with their choices, to read this summer in the boston globe will be varied and diverse. where did this idea come from? summer reading is a specific
practice, how did it come to be an established part of literary commerce and american culture as well. those are the questions they began to explore. i am a book historian and practice in a field that looks at the intersection of authorship, reading, and publishing. it is a field that concerns itself has a material object but also with the cultural practices that surround books, how books are produced, how they are circulated, how they are received. one june i was returning from a print culture conference in nova scotia for something to read, and summer reads. thinking of my own summer reading rituals and the ways in which the publishing industry may have shaped and sustained those.
that led me to the john hay library when i worked with a magazine called book buyer, a magazine from charles scribner, new york city publisher. a rich text full of advertisements from other publishers, what the book trade was like and what people are reading. 19th-century magazines and newspapers, and the african-american period as well as a number of alternative precedents. after that, publishing archives at harvard and princeton to letters and journals and a long list of novels many of them written in the period's most famous authors, stephen crane,
william howell, louisa may out cost, they all practice new traditions of the summer novel at some point in their career. what i found, my summers were not so idle. what i found was an interesting chapter in the history of publishing. summer reading in the nineteenth century was a commercial construction. the idea of summer reading the product was part of the publishing industry's concerted effort to redefine a slow season to capitalize on a dramatic rise for summer leisure in victorian america. 19th-century summer reading involves more commerce as well, in the last part of the nineteenth century it became a well-established cultural practice and many of those characteristics are with us today.
overall an interesting chapter in the history of the book and the history of summer leisure. my book itself covered a lot of ground, i reproduce the table of contents to give a flavor of the larger argument. travel tourism and summer leisure in the period coming in the period where it is changing from week culture practice to one embraced by a middle-class and increasingly using it as a marker of gentility. i would be remiss in not noting professional authors of the period are all involved in summer leisure. a variety of books that were advertised as best summer reads and the developers of what i call the americans summer novel that was specifically at a summer resort. look at the ways in which authorship, exploited this new
genre and the ways in which physical spaces shape summer reading practices, in saratoga springs that were advertised for reading, with bookshelves built into the very very wide arm. i want to focus on one part of the argument, 19th-century magazine culture played in reframing summer reading into a genteel practice. i'm interested in the case making publications and reproduce coverage of these here. these are the atlantic monthly, and arrival in new york city. their role is significant. these were publications with a
significant degree of cultural authority. the atlantic for example as an exemplar of the yankee humanism in what was featured. in this age of the magazine these publications and others become the primary vehicle for the machinery of publishing and reviewing, the machinery that is a certain way, that establishes a context and prepares us to read it in a certain way with a certain framework in mind. these and other publications in this period shaped a discourse on summer reading through their texts and visual and that is what i was like to explore. where i want to go with this is in 3 parts. i want to look at early in the century, the beginning of a
discourse on summer reading. i want to move onto a complete depiction of what happened in the period. i want to look at publishers efforts to reframe and reclaim summer reading in something that develops. the first part, the early discourse on summer reading, let's go back a little bit and i have some images, paintings taking its lead from england, domestic tourism in the united states developed in the late 1700s in niagara falls, the hudson river, the catskills on the left and tourism develops around there. by the 1830s wealthy travelers, the bottom image on the right
is a painting of horseback riding on the side of mount washington, they were in a desert island in maine, mineral springs in the south and a host of other sites. excuse me. it is allergy season if you can bear with me. newport, rhode island takes place here as a respite for the heat in the summer. i want to look at two magazines to give you the tenor of how the discourse begins. on the left, 1835 new england magazine, you see the opening story of john goodman brown, 1835, an article called summer philosophy. and anti-this is the theme of the article. the philosophy advised younger
and less experienced travelers with ways to use their time and advised they needed to use their time to cultivate equanimity. here's a quote. walk slow, talk slow, think slow, read, write, dress, undress, in short, live with studied and exquisite deliberation. .. the article devise were lord byron and charles lamb especially his essay. here's another quote the review wrote quote, his essays were quote to soda, to a class of talk, to the customary after dinner nap with visions in the garden. do we dustman jazmine and chat with good girls under it.
the young man who followed this advice and article was specific about the gender of the summer reader would cultivate a sweet it and put herbal serenity that would last until october. men's on the right, buttons and 1850s have dignified approach. in 1853 but dems ran a review of a poetry collection called a book for the seaside from the boston firm. it was a collection of poetry about the evs featuring the works of shelley, tennyson, longfellow and others and putnam's was keen on it and said it would be not just a good summer read but a collection of permanent value. later in the 1850s putnam's would also recommend the work of washington irving for summer reading and it would describe irving who happen to be one of putnam's authors as a quote beautiful genius.
it noted irving said works were part of the contingent and party railway classic series that would be quote delightful for summer reading. here's our first look, first glimpse of a discourse taking shape, if rented as masculine. it it as deliberate and frames it as very, very distinctive and what it was designed to accomplish. by mid century that changed, that this course is gone. the discourse changes and it does so in large part because an interesting development in the literary field, and that is the wave of cheap paperback fiction that flooded the market place after the civil war. this was an unprecedented expansion of victorian americans popular culture and the challenge the mainstream publishers. that challenge took a variety of
forms and outgo to a wave of cheap fiction. first, in this time this was before the passage of the international copyright act, this wave of cheap fiction included print editions of british and european fiction. george elliott middlemarch, alice in wonderland, charles dickens, all of these were not protected by copyright and hybrid publishing in the trent quickly picked them up and publish them in very, very cheap paper covered edition. often in life are sometimes multiple of volume multiple times a week at a cost of about ten to $.20 a balding. readers wouldn't find is in bookstores these cheap paperbacks. they were tied them at newsstands, railway kiosks and even onboard trains. boys would go up and down selling snacks but also paperbound books. book the story and remarks by
the 1870s virtually everyone who took a a train for a journy of any length at all what if encountered a book from one of the popular cheap library. cheap fiction took another form. in stories from so-called fiction factories. these are stories that were quickly produced of questionable quality and were long on murders and rescue and melodrama. very, very heavy formulaic. a real industrial commodity that flooded the market. one of the part of this mix of cheap fiction needs to be mentioned. and that is the questionable and immoral french novel. typically appearing in yellow paper covered. people talk about this threat the time and the cry but one of the periods critics is not just think sinful but in scrofulous. but all of these are in the mix
and you can kind the c3 of the covers that will give you the flavor of this wave of cheap fiction. on the left seth jones, western stories were incredibly popular, get a lot in way of nationbuilding. in the middle lovell's library with barry lyndon. lovell's was particularly aggressive. and then on the right one of the most popular writers, lorna gene libby prolific wildly popular author working girl fiction in paper covers. once -- what's the relation with some reading? light summary to become part of, so save with this wave of cheap fiction. and indeed a number of publishers in the time tried to exploit that connection and take advantage of it. he was one of them george monroe, a new york publisher and yet and its successors called the seaside library.
you see on the left this would've been the typical seaside library cover. it doctor jekyll and mr. hyde, clearly pirated. it does say pocket edition. portability would become important in terms of marketing summer fiction at this time. the idea you could slip it into a pocket or a satchel. in the middle you see george monroe packaging that she paperback a little differently very great decidedly for the summer market. we have the seaside library pocket edition again, king solomons wives but then we have that postcard with the white house with a couple on the cliff overlooking the sea and the sailboat is going by. clearly evoking summer and summertime. finally over on the right is is one of my favorite cheap paperbacks and illustrates another way they figured in this marketplace.
again it's laura gene libby and it's called flirtations of the beauty. laura gene libby as i said wildly popular, three of her novels were set specifically at summer resorts. there's when athletics, one atlantic city and this one flirtations of the beauty is that initially story starts in newport, rhode island. her plots are really quite wild and incredibly predictable in the unpredictability. the plot here is the typical, a young woman falls in love with a very, very rich man at newport. she knows it will work out because of the discrepancy and here she shown expressing yourself by throwing herself off the work. if your you're familiar with nt i would like to think this is long wharf but have no reason for doing so. here she is throwing herself the wharf and a little line under it says i am going the bitterness of death. i am going to set you free.
this is early in the novel and she doesn't die. in fact, as the story progresses she winds up in the white mountains of new hampshire where she's kidnapped by pirates and taken down the connecticut river. this is all in about the first 70 pages. more worrisome preps for any publisher interested in jumpstarting the summer season was a culture of conversation around this kind of light reading and more. in 1876 the reverend, a prominent preacher uses some basically condemning summer life at saratoga springs. he criticized its dancing, the gossip, horseracing and all the other frivolities the associated with saratoga springs. but you leveled some of his severest criticism against some reading itself. in fact, he called some reading
literary poison in august 81 the times of just what kinds of white novel people read work dangers to his congregations or mortal souls. so here we have him come to post from a sermon and this would get repeated in the book with some regularity. do not let the frogs and allies of the corrupt printing press jump and call into your saratoga trunk or white mountain belize. would it not be an awful thing for you to be struck with lightning someday when you had in your hands one of these paper covered romances, the hero of parisian roué, the heroin an unprincipled sort, chapters and book you would not read to your children at the rate of $800 of. [inaudible question] i really believe there is more trash with the most intelligent classes in july and august than all the other ten months of the year. nor was talmage alone. criticism of the novel in general and cheap paperback was
rampant. 19th century clerks and cultural critics equated novel reading with physical world the basement, especially for the woman reader. so given this kind of cultural crosscurrents, the period between 1870-1900 wasn't the most congenial setting for the birth of light summer reading. but mainstream publishers persisted. they used a variety of tactics so they will reclaim some reading from this wave of cheap fiction. they use a variety of tactics because apple first in their advertising to begin to put labels on everything, the best summer reads. even if the book is nothing to do with the summer. they used another strategy of packaging books as part of the summer series making it easier recognizable summer brand. appleton had its down the country library. there was a sunshine series.
leisure hours series. there was a satchel series, and in the case of one newspaper a 100 degrees in the shade summer fiction series. they also embraced the paperback as the perfect summer read. here's a quote from the american bookmaker. in praise of the paper covers. these of the golden days of the paper cover, the limp leather, the flexible cloth, the pocketbook. being without covers they have a cool and summary look, and from their flexibility may be readily stowed away in one's pocket or thrust into an unfilled corner of the traveling bag. they adapt themselves to every conceivable reading attitude, from the bolt upright to the recumbent position assumed on the sofa or lounge or in a steamer chair, and the corbett, or stretched out on greensward or sandy beach. >> i think perhaps most
important taking aim at the cultural discourse that equated novel reading with flirtation and the sinful publishers work specifically to refrain and repackage light summer reading. training it as a genteel act, and welcome escape and an essential middle-class treasure. the case making that an injured order harpers atlantic, the century, arbiters of good taste and reading all help with this. you read issues in this period, you fight in their pages summer novels begin to be described as way to fill up the vacant hours at a resort or to protect against the boredom of rainy days. they were saying summer novels didn't even too much attention but that made the excellent company on long rides in pullman cars. summer novels were episodic construction but that just meant the best summer novels could be picked up and put down without losing the thread as other activities beckoned. most importantly i think light
and easy to read summer novels were an escape from the pressures of 19th century life. one of the most poignant examples i can across came from the overland monthly in san francisco, and when season the critic noted it was especially lightweight selection of summer fiction that was available that year. here's to was almost inclined o criticize but then stopped and they said, it is been an incredibly difficult cholera season that your and the postulate people needed something to take their minds away from that. most important, publishers, authors and the literary press together worked very, very specifically to refrain summer reading as a gracious feminine pastime. henry james starts this out, , incredibly young henry james come in the 1870s like many authors who are just starting out wanted to get, become part
of a literary marketplace, they begin with travel by the and james is no exception. in taking seven he wrote a travel column for the nation, and in the dispatch written from saratoga springs he observed, for example, that there are quote you pray your sites than a charmingly dressed woman established in some shaded spot with a piece of needlework or book in hand. or this quote later in the piece is recounted the trip on a steamer crossing lake george burlington, vermont, and he goes at length on the scenery around it but then the focus is on the young women who are on the steamboat that he is on come on the steamer. and reports that there standing in a group on the deck with copies of benjamin disraeli latest novel which are just been published that hereby appleton and they all had in their hands.
the scenery about the lake as a whole, the fast simple undisturbed wilderness, we are almost startled to behold these little makeshift assimilation. the young lady some hotel on the deck with copies of the books in your hand. summer reading is becoming a performance and women are embracing that performance. another link very, very clear link that links women summer reading. this is charles dudley warner eggen harper sees writing as certainly as the birds appear comes the crop of summer novels fluttering down the stalls in procession through the railway cars littering the drawing room tables in light covers,, ornamental, attractive incomes and fanciful designs as welcome and grateful as the girls in muslim. later on in this call he goes on
to say that when you're reading something summer reading should always, quote, lightly clad and out of states. that is, it should always come in a lightweight paperback, a metaphor. let me jewel down a little bit further to show you how this narrative art, , this discourse really takes shape in the book buyer is a really, really good site for doing this. you can see this process of refraining at work clearly in charles scribners the book buyer. this publication is little known today. it was published by charles scribners come one of the leading publishing companies of the 19th century and initially it was a house organ. that is, a magazine designed to feature the firms own work. at this time when it starts 1867
scribners specializing in ecclesiastical text in the history of protestantism picket specializing in school textbooks and maps. between 1867-1870 the first 77, the first decade of its run the book buyer was tepid at best about the prospect of summer publishing. for example, every month the book buyer feature to call purportedly written from its london office and was called for an literary intelligence and you can see that over here on the left. it was the copper column. this offer insights of the book trade in england in the continent. in 1868 the column noted in the space of a scorching summer driving everyone abroad in search of coolness, that few new books were being brought out. that would have to wait until late autumn for any kind of new offerings from the publishing world. i year later the column noted london was in the middle of a heated term that people sweltering in broadcloth and
tweets, his language not mine, and thereby stymieing the sale of books. let me read you a little bit from this august 1869 column. the papers say the thermometer in the fall that you can't at wimbledon on friday last at 130 degrees in the shade. and though this seems to be an exaggeration the heat has been so intense that books have become a willingness to the flesh, and the issues of the publishers drop off gradually until they nearly cease altogether during the months of august and september, or what is called the long vacation where everybody that is anybody be takes himself away from town. in short, people were just too busy in the summer with their travel guidebooks to at any time for reading. gradually though in later years eking in the 1880s especially,
gradually the book buyer begins to explore the market for the potential for summer titles in the united states. here's an advertisement from 1872, this is very early, it's the first advertisement that scribners specifically labeled as summer reading. summer reading popular books from scribner armstrong and company. it made it -- may be difficult to see of it basically this is the grab bag approach to summer reading. it's a real grab bag of titles that it happens to have on hand. it reads in the upper left-hand side, french authors, very, very popular historical fiction and they had a new book out on the war. also underneath it to something called common sense in the household by marion harland, a bit of a martha stewart of her agents using phenomenally popular author for scribners, author of domestic advice books.
on the right we are shooting, voting and fishing. utilitarian link with the summer season. that grab bag strategy, marketing strategy just refined a bit and we see scribners becoming very much more sophisticated. what follows this is advertisement in 1874 and again in 1876 for a series called the bric-a-brac series. this was a selection of gossipy literary reminiscences that scribner position quite specifically as a summer offering and advertisements, the newspaper potions and advertisements soon reflective that discourse as well. they begin to describe it as the most pleasant summer reading aim to take the tourist at the height of his on way. they described as a refreshing volume suitable for the country or the seashore and guaranteed to chase away the 50 of the long journey in a pullman car. you can see some of these and
the critical notices over here on the left, from the christian union to all lovers of literary anecdote and the gossip whose whispers are saying, the book will prove a refreshment at many a retired mood. or the boston coast, no more refreshing volume could be carried into the country or to the seashore to fill in the niche is a time which intervene between the pleasures of summer holidays. by the 1880s the discourse continues to develop the strategy, marketing strategy continues in the book buyer begins a very sustained defense of summer reading and it has a much more sophisticated marketing campaign. the book buyer has changed. it's very much less a house organ and much more of a literary magazine, a literary monthly and it is publishing reviews of new books and advertisements from a a varietf firms, appleton, ticknor,
mcmillan and others. in june 1884 the start of the summer season. it does the best summer books in paper editions. and then we have this, 1885. this is the first ad for summer books in paper covers. this is very interesting in terms of the way the advertisement works. if you look closely you can see the prices. these are paperbound books. they are 50 cents to about 30 cents so not as low as the chief of wishing a cheaper than the $1.25 cloth cover books might have appeared in. the first three are books by very, very popular well-established scribner authors many from the 1870s so they are not new. we have frank stockton the lady of the tiger, or a a story abot family on a canal vote. it also mentions france's hodgkin's brunettes outlast
lowry, story about the coal mines of england. but he was a very, very popular author. look at the titles underneath it. the three in the middle are all by george carson, what is new for a novel. something called a passion and the third is in the distance. all three of these are novels set that summer resorts so scribners is beginning to see this potential of capitalizing specifically on summer reading by featuring reading matter that is that novel, like fiction that is set at a summer resort. and then at the bottom we kind of have everything else that they had available. now, some of the firms most popular authors had been advocating this for years. over on the left we have france's hutchison nitpicker husband swan lobbied scribner's repeatedly to issue a low-priced edition of his wife's work to
compete with peterson. all the material for this site came from the scribner's archives at princeton or had the pleasure of spending a week reading. he wrote he hopes scribner could recommend a decent firm in new york that might take on the task of issuing his wife's work in chief. a dash paperback edition and is incredibly disingenuously mentions both george monroe which scribner would've been appalled by an even archrival harpers which he began its paperback franklin square addition for summer reading that year. in the middle frontal made a much more -- mary mapes dodge made a much more obvious pics pictures author of we know it from the silver skate pictures also editor of scribner's very, very popular summer children's -- sorry very for a popular children's magazine saint nicholas. it's yet a collection of short stories for the adult market and
scribner's have published that but she saw potential for reissuing it for the summer market and she writes to scribner's quote, do you think well of the idea of issuing a very cheap and abridged edition in the soft but attractive cover for summer reading? two years later she renewed a request for a cheap and then covered addition, assuring scribner's quote, a number of literary friends have suggested that the book would do well as a summer book of this kind. and then finally my all-time favorite over on the right mary virginia tehrune. she's one of the first best-selling authors, a prolific author, prolific novelist in her own right as well as a 19th century domestic diva here in 1890 she was editor of the magazine called the homemaker. she was just a real scribner's
celebrity. in march in 18 and she wrote to scribner asking if you'd be interested in her new novel which was then running in the homemaker. have been completed yet and it would be completed until september but in march she's writing to him. the novel was called with the best intentions and he to a sef the resort of mackinac island and increasingly popular resort in the great lakes. she would provide scribner it ought to have a fair summer sale especially in the west. she had not finished the novel but scribner was interested at least it was to publish the novel. in a little more than four months after first letter, the book was published as part of the yellow paper cover series, and scribner's advertised it heavily in july and august including that you among its pics of the best books for idle summer days. a little bit of an aside here,
she had an entirely commercial motive for making this ask if she admitted to scribner's quote, i'm building again and what a large sum of money. that is, she needed the $600 advance that scribner was offered. a final chapter in the book buyers history with summer reading which i want to suggest is that it suggested of the larger publishing industries discourse on summer reading as well. this is the june 1888 issue, and scribner's here decided to go head-to-head with publishers weekly which had been publishing a special summer issue for the trade since the 1870s. i'd devoted its entire june 1880 issue exclusively to the summer book market and summer reading. this was something publishers routinely did for their christmas promotion but they had not done it for the summer. and you can see on the cover is very, very definite buildup of
the obvious for summer reading as the woman reader. we see on the left a young woman a white muslin again holding up her book. she seemed to be under some kind of an apple blossom tree all freshness, nothing of the heat and dust and crowds of railroad cars that would've been on summer leisure. that image gets repeated on a full page ad with this familiar formula, an old favorite, backlist title a new volume as well. the woman reader becomes the center of the marketing strategy. the woman reader is going to stay there for the rest of the century. she going to become a trope that other publishers exploit making summer reading a female space. i have some posters here for example. by the 1890s publishers used art posters to publicize new issues of the magazine. we have a poster for the
century, lippincott, harpers, all of them featuring the summer read reader. to be sure, reservations remain. some magazines illustrators turned a really right eye to the woman reader and her summer reading practices. you can see these in the next three images. i'll try to go through these. this is a this is a life magazir from july 1883. it features several people in hammocks but the prettiest thing is the young woman in the center. she is absorbed in a novel title of burglars love. she is allowed wrapped in the habit. she has a baguette cad if you look closely at her elbow, a bag of candy at her side. such a becomes a consumer of both words and suites. another one, july 1886, six, this is an illustration from the
pilgrimage which was running in harpers, a fictional romp through summer resorts. here's a a scene from installmt that takes place at newport, rhode island, and it's called the shepherd and the flock by cs reinhardt. it shows a school teachers convention at the hotel in newport and every one of the young women here is told absorbed in your paperback book or magazine while the preacher looks on. i don't think that's the reverend talmage. and finally when my absolute favorite images is from july 1897 and its charles gibson called maroon. the distinctive gibson girl is here in her some address on the beach. her body language suggesting the effects of too much lead you, too much sun and its boxes and paperbacks at their feet are any sign their suffering from too much summer reading.
having consumed the latest novels to arrive by mail, the readers are spent. finally, i think i'm doing okay with the time. since i began with an example from boston i would like to end there as well. this example is very far removed from alice stone blackwell and her copy of feet in the night. it's also an example that complicates his discussion of summer reading by referencing a second tradition that takes shape in the 18th century. the counter narrative the summer is a time for serious sustained and thoughtful reading. so the book i want to end with and this illustration is taken from the book is called the new harry and lucy, esther of boston in the summer of 1891 and despite -- the plot is exceedingly familiar to anyone who is familiar with the genre,
to anyone who is rating of the novels set at a summer resort. two young people meet, fall involved in the summertime. the plot moves forward with the characters engaging in a variety of summer activities. in this case they write the streetcars to riverside where they rent a canoe. they visit the cemetery, the ride the boats in the hampton back. but the young lucy of the title takes her summers especially seriously. for her, summer is a time also to visit the temple to hear a lecture by helen keller. it's a time to teach in a vacation school for boston's at risk children. it's a timed and a birthday commemoration of jimmy collins, while suffragist and labor reformer established the charity home for boston's poor working women. so summer, in other words, was a time not just for willing and ferry rides but for serious
engagement with significant social issues. i found myself wondering as i put this together oppressed this would be the tenor of our summer reading today but still will be summer reading. so with that i think you. i guess i'm going to channel my inner swamp annette i call your attention here. this is the cover of my book, "books for idle hours." it is available online from the university of massachusetts press, and i just put the code year for 30% off off and free shipping. your support for the press be greatly appreciated, and i guess i will just stop sharing and we will go to questions. >> yes, that would be great. just to refresh everyone's memory, you can either use the race and function at the bottom of the screen or the q&a function and type in your questions.
we had a couple of questions that have come in. are there any 19th century summer reads that are still read today? >> okay. that's a question that i really grappled a lot with. they definitely are ephemeral. they definitely are of their time. not many of them are available today with the possible exception of the works of when most prominent authors of the time. so his work is still there. there was one book called one summer by an author by the name of blanche willis howard is incredibly popular. most of these novels were there for one season and then they disappeared but blanche howards novels were published every year from the 1870s on through to the 1900 and beyond. it took place in maine and tells the story of a young woman who
was courted by a young man. it was wildly popular. -references to it in the harvard college library, books donated by harvard professors. that would probably come closest, the works of sarah, but books have much of their time. the tradition is very, very much a a part of ours still today. thank you. that was a great question. >> was summer reading recommend as an escape from georgia birds version of -- i'm sorry, i can't pronounce it. american nervousness or associate with a version of american nervousness that characterized it as language -- [inaudible] >> i think with your most concerned with was a hypersensitivity and so the full. bake in which the talk about women and women's history, they
were in conversation. the critics of summer reading were in conversation with those notorious effects. but for women they were more worried nasa much about languor as about hypersensitivity to sexual stimulation by reading sensational novels. we couldn't have that. >> does summer reading among populist eon the middle class, is it marketed to working and non-caucasian audiences? >> i was surprised by the range of audiences that admit. i have to tease this out. i found a number of books that were contributed to libraries. so a copy of one summer appeared in the stanford university collection and it comes specifically from the stanford family come the stanford family estate. also copy at harvard that has
indication of the harvard political professor who has donated it. at the same time though i looked at, that the wonderful online site called what munsey read and a look at what was checked out of the library in muncie indiana and weekend candid trace summer novels there as well and a final piece of this, they were advertised not just in new england but in california as well novels about maine and the main cause would appear in california. working people would been featured in the fiction but maybe less clear that it went beyond middle class to the working-class except for marjorie. >> do you think this type of reading help the sort of quote keep women in the place and reinforce their inferior status in society?
>> marriage was definitely a major concern. all of the plot had to do with marriage is what event a time especially just after the civil war where you had a liberation of young single women. you have to say is a glass half empty or is it half full course does it provided with agency? it does and in marriage for just about everyone. i i can think of one exception d that is william dean howells novel. i guess with that in mind but the young women are shown in dramatically, summer was a period the relief sought young women and canoes and going out on chaperone. yet young women climbing trees and climbing mountains. it's like with that shakespearean comedy we have this festive company with theirs festive relief where women are trying out new roles and given the freedom to do that, whether
is that marriage at the end anybody see that as containment or fruition i think the books leave that up in the air. >> a wonderful presentation. in your book you mention many of the characters in these summer novels were themselves reading summer novels. can you talk about that question was it for fun, a wink and a nod marketing? >> yet. yeah. a number of the novels, the authors who were writing these are kind of very, very aware of what the conventions are. so very often there will be references to characters seeking out summer reading. in one summer, for example, the people were married. a meat because a young woman goes out on a rainy night because she is seen at paperback bestseller in the drugstore that morning and she has to go out in the rain in order to do that. she bumps into the man who would become her husband, because she has to do that.
another young woman is being courted by multiple suitors and they have reading in the novel itself. it's kind of a analysis if you look at the authors were very, very aware of what the conventions were, what readers expected at a don't want to say they were slavishly following it. in the number of cases especially for howells, he very much exit exploding some the conventions and showing the reason which this genre can tell stories that are more complicated than simply lightweight. >> i want to be conscious of the time. we may have time for one last question. i guess the last question could be, what happens summer novels in the 20th century as we turn into the 20th century? >> i had to stop at some point back and i stopped in the early 1900s. but it went back through and kind of looked. it persists.
i went back and looked come for example, in times of war what happens, and so the tradition of putting the label on it, this persists. the idea of it being a specific kind of novel i think that persists as well that you can take it and some the books that are set on nantucket and other places today that are very much design for female audience and you can chase that genre back. but as i say i cited barnes saying like the statue of liberty and apple pie, summer reading is always with us. it persists clearly as a marketing practice. i'm not sure it has the force of a cultural practice today as it did act in the 19th century. >> thank you very much for a wonderful presentation, and i'm going to share with everyone how to go about getting a copy of
this. if you would like to order a copy of the book it is available from mass press and discount code is on the screen here. thank everyone for joining us and we hope you enjoyed the program and we hope you will consider continuing to support mhs and joining us for the rest of our programs over the summer while two may be on a beach reading. i hope everyone has a wonderful read evening. thank you. >> when you read the things were said about thomas jefferson that he was an infidel and use an agent of the french government,
sounds a little reminiscent, doesn't it? that thinks are said about abraham lincoln, things are said about fdr that he wanted to be a dictator, so it does come with the territory but i think in trump's case the least in the modern political era post-world war ii, i have never seen anything like it. >> sunday at noon eastern on "in depth" our life to our conversation with author and face and freedom coalition founder ralph reed whose books include awakening, act of faith and his most recent for god and country joint in the conversation with your phone calls, facebook, scope tex and tweets. watch booktv's "in depth" sunday at noon eastern on c-span2. >> thanks for turning out. i'm laura miller and i am the books and culture columnist