Nineteenth-Century Publishers and the Birth of the “Beach Read”, with Donna Harrington-Lueker

For nineteenth-century readers, the summer novel offered an escape. For the period’s authors and publishers, it offered the possibility of a new market. Based on the new book, Books for Idle Hours: Nineteenth-Century Publishing and the Rise of Summer Reading, this talk explores the birth of the “beach read” and the practice of summer reading in the nineteenth century. Drawing on letters, diaries, publisher archives and other historical resources, it traces the ways in which nineteenth-century readers, authors, and publishing houses came to frame summer reading as a respectable pastime especially for the woman reader.

The Nantucket Historical Association preserves and interprets the history of Nantucket through its programs, collections, and properties, in order to promote the island’s significance and foster an appreciation of it among all audiences.

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