Not Reading in Early Modern England


This exhibit was produced in conjunction with Eve Houghton's undergraduate senior thesis, "Pretending to Read: Humanist Culture and the Anxieties of Abridgement," and advised by David Scott Kastan, George M. Bodman Professor of English, Yale University. 

Special thanks to Melissa Grafe, Olivia Hillmer, Kathryn James, and the Beinecke Library digital services unit.


Works Cited


Early Printed Books

Roger Ascham, The Scholemaster (London, 1570)

John Earle, Micro-cosmographie (London, 1628) 

Stephen Egerton, "Admonition Concerning Reading," in Matthieu Virel, A Learned and Excellent Treatise, (London, 1594)

Abraham Fraunce, The Lawiers Logicke (London, 1588)

Francis Meres, Palladis Tamia (London, 1598)

John Milton, Areopagitica (London, 1644)

John Selden, Historie of Tithes (London, 1618)

Richard West, commendatory verse in Thomas Randolph, Poems (London, 1638)


Secondary Sources & Further Reading

Pierre Bayard, How To Talk About Books You Haven't Read, trans. Jeffrey Mehlman (New York: Bloomsbury, 2007)

Peter Beal, “Notions in Garrison: The Seventeenth-Century Commonplace Book,” in New Ways of Looking at Old Texts: Papers of the Renaissance English Text Society, 1985–1991, ed. W. Speed Hill (Binghamton: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 1993)

Ann Blair, Too Much to Know: Managing Scholarly Information before the Modern Age (New Haven: Yale UP, 2010)

Dennis Duncan, "Echard vs. Oldmixon: Tories and Whigs in the Index," Table of Discontents: A History of the English Book Index. 

Heidi Brayman Hackel, Reading Material in Early Modern England: Print, Gender, and Literacy (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2005)

Earle Havens, Commonplace Books: A History of Manuscripts and Printed Books from Antiquity to the Twentieth Century (New Haven: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library and University Press of New England, 2001)

David Scott Kastan, “Little Foxes,” in John Foxe and his World, ed. Christopher Highley and John N. King (Aldershot, Hampshire:Ashgate, 2002) 

Chloe Wheatley, Epic, Epitome, and the Early Modern Historical Imagination (Burlington: Ashgate, 2013)