Chapter opening illustration: Headpiece for “Broken Wings” in the Century Illustrated Magazine, December 1900, drawn by F. C. Gordon.
1. PT 1.
2. As Miller goes on to argue, “These conditions are essential to the meaning of James’s work, not adventitious to it” (Illustration 14).
3. For studies concentrating on the history of literacy in the United States, see the titles by Nina Baym and Michael Lund and the collections edited by Cathy N. Davidson and Emory Elliot et al.
4. On “parlour literature,” see Barbara Sicherman’s essay, “Sense and Sensibility: A Case Study of Women’s Reading in Late-Victorian America,” in the collection edited by Davidson. The essay in Cavallo and Chartier by Martyn Lyons, “New Readers in the Nineteenth Century: Women, Children, Workers,” briefly treats the tradition of “oral reading” in England. Howells’s letters to James provide numerous references to the family practice of reading aloud: see Anesko, Letters.
5. Lund discusses the activities of reading in installments and group discussion during the intervals, and the ways in which “the context of this social pattern framed the meaning of literature” (101).
The Reading Experience Database (1450–1945), an online project of the UK Open University, provides a wide range of excerpted reading testimonies, such as the following examples of British working-class readers’ responses at midcentury to the rise of serialized and illustrated fiction:
Henry Mayhew’s interviews (c. 1840–55) with costermongers who regularly read aloud and discuss among their peers various illustrated serials (Record 1257).
Thomas Okey’s recollection of circulating “penny bloods” and cheap weeklies among his schoolmates, c. 1870, and impatiently awaiting the next installments: “What it did was to evoke the reading habit…. I can even today visualize the number I read… and the front page illustration” (Record 12094).
Thomas Catling’s description of a reading group of fellow printers and compositors formed in the 1850s: “There were no free libraries, so the younger hands joined with me in starting a ‘Literary Fund’ of our own, towards which each paid