"The Circulating Library and the Novel in the Long Eighteenth Century" - ASECS 2011, Vancouver BC, March 17-20

full name / name of organization: 
Hannah Doherty, Stanford University
contact email: 

"The Circulating Library and the Novel in the Long Eighteenth Century"

Though perhaps most famously satirized by Sheridan in The Rivals as an "evergreen tree, of diabolical knowledge," the eighteenth-century circulating library attracted negative commentary from many quarters. The novels these libraries stocked, in particular, were frequently the objects of popular and critical mockery; it is perhaps unsurprising, then, that many of them have received relatively little subsequent scholarly attention. This panel seeks to give more consideration to these fictional works, not only as a significant literary-historical phenomenon, but as an important factor in the development and reception of the novel in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

Papers are invited on all aspects of the British circulating-library novel in the long eighteenth century. Possible topics might include: generic or stylistic trends; reception and reviews; the body of work of a particular author; specific libraries or reading communities; and the stereotype of the "circulating-library novel" vs. other, better-known novels (e.g. Clarissa) which also circulated in this medium.

Please send an abstract of 250-300 words to hdoherty@stanford.edu by September 15th, 2010.